Friday, September 07, 2012

WSSC 2012 - My Recap

A little late, but better than never!!!

WSSC 2012 was an incredible year for me. I managed to present three of my favorite sessions, three new ones and attend some of my incredible teammate’s rides and lectures. It was an amazing experience for me. To top it off, one of my teammates from my MI class, Angie Scott, was there to assist me in my rides. It was the first time that I have been able to ride with her since we joined the MI team back in 2007. Thanks Angie, you really helped me stay calm and you provided the visual example of perfect riding form.

My experience started on Thursday, I arrived at the hotel later than I usually do, but still managed to get connect with some of my friends I’ve met throughout the years, both on the MI team and attendees. It was relaxing and fun. Our presenter dinner was good and it provided the opportunity to see everyone on the MI team in one place.  I could feel the excitement of the conference starting to build.

My conference sessions started early Friday morning as I was scheduled to present “Communicate with Style” at 7:00 AM. You truly learn the benefit that caffeine can provide at that early hour. The participants were incredible for such an early hour and their contributions to the group sessions were unbelievable. The beauty of this session is that everyone learns a little about themselves as well as those that participate in their classes. I really enjoy presenting this session since so many of us fall into one specific communication style without realizing we may unintentionally ignore the styles of others in our classes.

My Friday afternoon session was “Riding on the Edge”. The ride is based on your threshold as determined by a practical sub-max test. Then the heart or the ride is based on those numbers. The hardest part is to keep within the heart rate parameters prescribed by the ride. Holding to heart rate parameters throughout the ride proved difficult for some as we moved through the core movements during intervals of threshold riding followed by an increase of only 5 heartbeats. Riders experienced the opportunity to see how only 5 heart beats can take them beyond their threshold and how quickly fatigue can set in.

Friday night was the MI team ride. I loved the energy in the room and this year and there was no shortage of excitement. An opportunity to ride with my teammates as well as 200 attendees makes me realize just the special connection we all have when we attend a WSSC.

I was able to sleep in on Saturday, well at least I didn’t have to present at 7:00 AM again. “The Sizzler” was first on the list for my sessions during the day. Thankfully Angie was my model of perfect form on the bike while I got to coach this exciting Race Day™ session from the floor. The riders responded well to the challenges and I’m sure they all reached their goals. The ride was followed immediately by the lunch break which allowed everyone to recover and refuel before their afternoon sessions.

Saturday afternoon I presented my “Dissecting the Pedal Stroke” workshop. We dove into the major muscles used during cycling based on the position in the pedal stroke. Muscle fiber types were discussed and how their use is based upon the power demands of our ride. We looked at a couple of videos to start to develop our coaching skills to correct flaws in the pedal stroke of our students. Finally, we explored pedal stroke drills that everyone can take back with them to their studio to help improve pedal stroke dynamics. Thanks to Cesar Valera for assisting me in tweaking bike setup and coaching the on-the bike portion of the class.

Sunday morning came early again as I presented “Exhilarating Endurance” lecture at 7:00 AM. I was surprised at the number of participants that actually showed up that early considering the time and it being the third day of the conference. This was a new session for me this year and I covered how instructors can make the endurance ride a regular part of their training regime.

My final session was Sunday afternoon entitled “Hear it, See it, Ride it.” My goal was to help instructors identify ways to make their classes more accessible to members that may be deaf, hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired. The ride was broken into three segments where riders rode blind folded for the first session, without music and verbal instruction for the second segment, and finally with both verbal and visual cues for the third segment. This was an emotional ride for me to coach. I couldn’t believe the way the participants found their level of flow and rode with so much energy. It was an amazing display to watch. I hope that I can present this one next year.  The response from the participants was very touching and overwhelming.  Almost everyone that was there shared a story of how this ride affected them personally.  Some participants had children, relatives or friends that they knew were being excluded because of visual or auditory limitations.  Thanks to all of you for being there with me and sharing your experiences.

As for my own education, I took Natashia Iacovelli’s “Warrior Within” and came away with such an incredible sense of accomplishment. I highly recommend taking Natashia’s sessions as she has such a way to bring meaning to her rides and lectures. I also rode in Sarah Morelli’s “Reload” where we rode blindfolded the entire hour. This was a great experience for me as I got to prepare for my own session on Sunday. Sarah has such an incredible voice that it blends in and becomes part of the soundtrack. I took Teri Aerands workshop “Finding your S Factor” and learned a lot. The ride was just what I needed.

Overall, I’m grateful for having the opportunity to share the WSSC experience with instructors from all over the world, enthusiasts that just love the conference, and my master instructor teammates. I’m already thinking of sessions for next year and have notes for a couple new rides for next year. I hope to see all of you there!!!

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