Stefanie Mick, Silver Sage athlete and Reno WheelWoman, shares her odyssey transitioning from an elite runner to a promising cyclist…
After running for many years, the wear and tear on my body was catching up getting to the point where running became increasingly painful. I knew it was time to make a change. With much encouragement from my doctor (or should I say convincing evidence and forceful nagging) that I needed to stop running, I finally purchased my first road bike in May 2014. Wow!! Just wow!! Had I really been missing out on this amazing sport called cycling my whole life? And so began my journey in to the world of cycling.
I had so much to learn about cycling I didn’t even know what I didn’t know. Not only that, but I was very eager to improve (quickly I might add, since somehow I inherited my Dad’s competitive nature along with having competed in running for many years) but most especially because now I could push myself with minimal pain. But there was still some pain and this discouraged me.
Enter Julie Young.
Julie’s name had been given to me by two separate individuals – a sales associate at Scheels and a friend who had a fit with Julie. I kept her name in the back of my mind, and then was recommended a third time when I road with the Reno WheelWomen who suggested I schedule a bike fit after I incessantly complained my legs felt extremely fatigued most of the time. I was convinced so I scheduled a fit.
My first impression of Julie was how I felt by her warm and inviting nature. She was kind sincere and listened to my story. I could tell by the way she explained things, as well as her extensive experience in competitive cycling, that she knew what she was talking about.
Next, I was put through a series of physical tests so Julie could understand my off-bike range of mobility and strength. She also had me ride my bike on a trainer so she could watch my form in order to correct posture and position. One significant thing she noticed was my foot position on my peddles. I was pedaling with my toes, placing greater demand on my quads and torque on my knee, and taking the powerful hip out of the pedal stroke. In order to correct this, she moved the cleat back, and the foot forward. This made a huge difference when I started riding again as I started powering the pedal with my glutes. This greatly reduced the fatigue and soreness I was experiencing in my quads and hamstrings.
I have now begun a training program with Julie to strengthen my trunk and hips, through various exercises. This will help me to better stabilize and hold a neutral pelvis and spine, to better recruit power from my hips, which in turn will continue reducing the fatigue in my quads and hamstrings. I also look forward to this training to increase my cycle efficiency through understanding and practicing correct pedaling technique and drills. All I can say is I’m very grateful for Julie’s knowledge, experience and encouragement. Can’t wait to do my first race in the spring.