Does your tail bounce too?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by CatSpin, May 30, 2003.

  1. CatSpin

    CatSpin New Member

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    First, this site has become one of my bibles. A tip of my hat to all the members who both ask and answer issues that effect us all.

    Now into a successful mini-comeback to cycling, I am placing top five in most all my crits (my race specialty) and even keeping up with the climbers on the team during longer races. While sprinting up a 7% incline to the line during my last crit I felt my tail “bounce”. On every upstroke, I was actually lifting my rear wheel off the ground about a centimeter (estimated by my teammate). Having never had this happen before I wrote it off. Since then, I have felt it several times while training. This morning’s training ride was the latest occurrence. It does not happen on all climbs, just on the once I am accelerating up.

    Is this a function of:

    a) poor body positioning (pls note: hands on the crowns, shoulders square, knee coming up about 3cm from the handlebars on a level plane)

    OR

    b) an unbalanced (favoring the recovery) pedal stroke

    My instinct, and some laws of physics, are telling me that my center of gravity is too far forward. However, my body and legs are saying that this is my best (most relaxed and powerful) climbing position.

    Stumped…this is a new phenomena for me. I welcome all wisdom.

    CatSpin
     
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  2. J-MAT

    J-MAT New Member

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    CatSpin:

    First of all congratulations on your "comeback." Finding joy in your riding is what riding is truly about, regardless of whether you race or just ride for fun.

    Think of how much power is lost every time your rear wheel comes off the ground. You need to correct this.

    To correct the problem, practice your uphill sprints at a very low speed in a very low gear like a 39x25 or 39x27. Don't focus on speed at all. The goal is to practice the mechanics/technique of your uphill sprint.

    Your technique is very important, and really can't be practiced at high power output. In slow-to-medium motion, do your sprints.

    Even though you are doing them slowly, you will probably feel where in your stroke you are lifting the wheel off the ground. Because your power output will be much lower, you probably won't raise the wheel off the ground, but it might feel like it is starting to.

    Most importantly, you should also move back more towards the tip of your saddle. Lots of riders sprint standing straight up, close to the stem and bars. This is bad form. You will get more power transfer from your hips and glutes if you sprint with your back flat and butt closer to the tip of your saddle.

    When climbing out of the saddle, you should occasionally brush the tip with your butt to make sure your are back far enough. Climbing or sprinting too close to the bar/stem will tire your legs prematurely and not maximize power output, since you are not fully recruiting the hips and glutes.

    It also takes strong abs to support the body with your back parallel to the ground compared to standing straight up, and that is the "path of least resistance" many riders take. They don't like to feel the extra pressure in their abs. Don't take the easy way out. Take the path of the "harder right" versus the "easier wrong." Correct technique will maximize power output.

    The best athletes in the world, regardless of sport, practice the mechanics of their sport at very low speeds to ensure correct form. It could be kicking a soccer ball, swinging a baseball bat, or pedalling a bicycle.

    If your technique is bad, all you will do at high speed/power output is amplify your mistakes. You can only practice the correct technique at slow speeds/slow motion. This is yet another reason why isolated leg training (ILT) improves your stroke and power output. If you have ever ridden behind a rider who does ILT, you might mistake them for a professional, because their spin is so smooth and beautiful.

    Do several low-speed "technique" drills to correct your form, recover for a few minutes, then apply what you have learned in full-power sprints.
    Since you are a spinning instructor, make sure your spinning bike is set up identical to your road bike, with the same saddle height and saddle setback, and bar/stem height distance. Ideally, you would have the same pedal system and cranklength as well. When you are sprinting in class, be sure to apply the correct technique as well.

    The body does what it is trained to do. If you practice incorrectly, you will race incorrectly. Technique is critically important. Neglecting it will prevent you from reaching your full potential as a rider.

    Good luck!!!
     
  3. clever_guy

    clever_guy New Member

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    CatSpin;

    You need to develop your "central stabalizer"...

    A strict diet of beer, hotwings and cheetos will provide with additional mass to keep the bike on the ground...

    ;)

    -CG
     
  4. CatSpin

    CatSpin New Member

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    J-MAT and Clever Guy:

    Thanks for your responses. I practiced (during my spin class) this morning lowering my body during my out-of-the-saddle efforts. J-MAT you are right about the additional muscle stress on both the glutes and hams, my abs handled the strain well though. That session folllowed by 15 mins ILT will be the menu for the next couple of weeks. I had a feelling that my body weight was too far forward since my knees were coming up so close to the bars.

    Wating to see what happens when I get that power back on the road where it belongs. Will keep you posted.

    CatSpin

    PS - Clever Guy, I took you diet suggestions to task this weekend. Several glasses of wine and some huge slices of my daughters birthday cake and I am up 1 kilo. Its it truly amazing how tough it is to get off and how quickly it comes back. Who said fitness was "fair" though.
     
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