Finding form is fun

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Jeff Potter, Jun 11, 2003.

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  1. Jeff Potter

    Jeff Potter Guest

    I'm just starting to get the smallest taste of right riding.

    It brings back memories of how it goes. Good form starts by feeling it in one gear in one position
    and kind of riding. As form gets better one can keep it with all the handpositions on the bars, then
    keep it in an ever-wider range of gears, then conditions. Also, as form improves one can keep it
    when riding with others at steady tempo when one picks both a harder or easier gear. You get a wider
    range including both faster or slower cadence. Fun stuff!

    (The flipside for me is that I know I'm dead on a ride when my legs feel tired at a certain cadence
    and neither slowing it down nor speeding it up helps. I call that no-man's-land. --I need to change
    something but no gear is better, so it's time to look off the back!)

    Yesterday I felt good form when 100rpm was something I didn't notice. I was just centered on looking
    down the road. My weight felt shifted a bit forward over the 3-oclock pedal position. It was high
    cadence yet I still got a tiny bit of float off the saddle. Enough float to keep the ride smooth but
    not so much float that it took energy as in riding out of saddle. (Better form might gradually allow
    one to sit heavier in the saddle or keep it even when out of saddle.)

    I felt I wasn't bogging down at all. Just a kind of smooth hustle that centered over 3-oclock. Each
    cycle was indistinguishable. There was just this sense of good pressure on both feet at 3-oclock. I
    also felt the back being flat, lower back pulled down a bit, hips rolled forward some, I guess, but
    no harsh impacts. Head up nicely.

    This was on the flats in 42x15 with hands on tops and elbows splayed. Gotta start somewhere!

    I got it in some other gears and positions briefly as well, but I noticed it harder elsewhere.

    When I can keep this same feel for an hour in any gear, any position, then I'll really go looking
    for races. Usually happens about Sept. Sigh.

    --

    Jeff Potter
    ****
    *Out Your Backdoor * http://www.outyourbackdoor.com for modern folkways and culture revival...
    ...offering "small world" views on bikes, bows, skis, books, movies...

    ...new books featuring: XC ski culture, a thriller about small town drug smuggling, and folding
    bicycles ... radical novels coming up! ...lots more books, downloadable music and videos ...
    articles galore!

    plus national "Off the Beaten Path" travel forums! HOLY SMOKES!
     
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  2. "Jeff Potter" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > When I can keep this same feel for an hour in any gear, any position, then I'll really go looking
    > for races. Usually happens about Sept. Sigh.

    People who imagine they've gotten really fast in the off-season usually don't realize everyone else
    (whom they are comparing themselves to) has quit trying.
     
  3. Raptor

    Raptor Guest

    Jeff Potter wrote:
    > I'm just starting to get the smallest taste of right riding.
    >
    > It brings back memories of how it goes. Good form starts by feeling it in one gear in one position
    > and kind of riding. As form gets better one can keep it with all the handpositions on the bars,
    > then keep it in an ever-wider range of gears, then conditions. Also, as form improves one can keep
    > it when riding with others at steady tempo when one picks both a harder or easier gear. You get a
    > wider range including both faster or slower cadence. Fun stuff!
    >
    > (The flipside for me is that I know I'm dead on a ride when my legs feel tired at a certain
    > cadence and neither slowing it down nor speeding it up helps. I call that no-man's-land. --I need
    > to change something but no gear is better, so it's time to look off the back!)
    >
    > Yesterday I felt good form when 100rpm was something I didn't notice. I was just centered on
    > looking down the road. My weight felt shifted a bit forward over the 3-oclock pedal position. It
    > was high cadence yet I still got a tiny bit of float off the saddle. Enough float to keep the ride
    > smooth but not so much float that it took energy as in riding out of saddle. (Better form might
    > gradually allow one to sit heavier in the saddle or keep it even when out of saddle.)
    >
    > I felt I wasn't bogging down at all. Just a kind of smooth hustle that centered over 3-oclock.
    > Each cycle was indistinguishable. There was just this sense of good pressure on both feet at
    > 3-oclock. I also felt the back being flat, lower back pulled down a bit, hips rolled forward some,
    > I guess, but no harsh impacts. Head up nicely.

    I'm not sure what you're talking about. Some sort of sweet spot in your position?

    I've got some comfortable positions on the bike, and a few uncomfortable ones. I avoid the latter.
    I'm probably faster in the comfortable ones but I never bothered to check.

    Have you recently started riding longer distances? You posted something possibly to that effect a
    little while back. It takes me a couple weeks to get re-accustomed to the bike after Winter, but
    after that, it's all a matter of conditioning and going faster.

    I think form applies more to conditioning.

    --
    --
    Lynn Wallace http://www.xmission.com/~lawall "I'm not proud. We really haven't done everything we
    could to protect our customers. Our products just aren't engineered for security." --Microsoft VP in
    charge of Windows OS Development, Brian Valentine.
     
  4. Jeff Pooter

    Jeff Pooter Guest

    "Raptor" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Jeff Potter wrote:
    >
    > I'm not sure what you're talking about. Some sort of sweet spot in your position?

    I'm talking about the SWEET spot.

    ooooooh.

    I wish that President Clinton had humidored me instead of Monica Lewinsky.

    Jeff Pooter [email protected]
     
  5. Jeff Potter

    Jeff Potter Guest

    Hmmm, my newsreader isn't getting all the Google posts, weird.

    Raptor mentioned that form was related to conditioning. It is, but it's fitness plus technique,
    and technique specifically in terms of finding one's OWN style. It took me a couple years of
    racing to find my style then another year of broadening it to apply it in all kinds of riding. (I
    recall I could first do it in crits, then I got it in TT's then in breaks/bridges.) Now even as a
    Fattie Citizen after a certain number of hours I can start finding it again. Nothing like it was
    back in the day but it's still something of the feel of form coming around. Not just fitness but
    that plus my own style. When it just starts coming around it's no good for racing, but it's the
    start of a base I can build on. I can still ride hard but it's not right in my own sweet zone. My
    best riding is when the personal style and the fitness come together and when it gets a broad
    aspect to it as well.

    I suspect some beginner/moderate riders don't ever find their style.

    When it's starting to come around, it's only in moderate gears and limited positions ("he said
    *position*, Beavis, hork hork"). It's not related to bigger distances for me since I don't ride
    em anyway.

    Anyway, I've lately been thinking it's kind of like running on the pedals. There's a kind of float
    where I'm only aware of good foot aspect and the 3 oclock phase. This is right when the foot is
    hitting down in running when you're hauling with high tempo, relaxed. Just one strike after another.
    Like trotting along, only with no bobbing action. Kinda like when you're dialed in with running, at
    a 5:30 min/mile pace, say, just floating along.

    Also, I can just look very relaxed down the road. Back is flat, neck relaxed. --That part sounds
    like conditioning. The riding is optimized yet you can forget about it.

    Anyway, I get it when 100 rpm doesn't seem rushed yet there's some gear to
    it. And, as I said, until I get quite a few more hours in I need my hands on the tops with elbows
    splayed. A good hustle, smooth, float to it.

    --

    Jeff Potter
    ****
    *Out Your Backdoor * http://www.outyourbackdoor.com for modern folkways and culture revival...
    ...offering "small world" views on bikes, bows, skis, books, movies... ...new books featuring: XC
    ski culture, a thriller about small town drug smuggling, and folding bicycles ... radical novels
    coming up! ...lots more books, downloadable music and videos ... articles galore! plus national "Off
    the Beaten Path" travel forums! HOLY SMOKES!
     
  6. Dashi Toshii

    Dashi Toshii Guest

    "Jeff Potter" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Hmmm, my newsreader isn't getting all the Google posts, weird.
    >
    > Raptor mentioned that form was related to conditioning. It is, but it's fitness plus technique,
    > and technique specifically in terms of finding one's OWN style. It took me a couple years of
    > racing to find my style then another year of broadening it to apply it in all kinds of riding. (I
    recall
    > I could first do it in crits, then I got it in TT's then in breaks/bridges.) Now even as a
    > Fattie Citizen after a certain number of hours I can start finding it again. Nothing like it was
    > back in the day
    but
    > it's still something of the feel of form coming around. Not just fitness but that plus my own
    > style. When it just starts coming around it's no good for racing, but it's the start of a base
    > I can build on. I can still ride hard but it's not right in my own sweet zone. My best riding
    > is when the personal style and the fitness come together and when it gets a broad aspect to it
    > as well.
    >
    > I suspect some beginner/moderate riders don't ever find their style.
    >
    > When it's starting to come around, it's only in moderate gears and limited positions ("he said
    > *position*, Beavis, hork hork"). It's not related to bigger distances for me since I don't ride
    > em anyway.
    >
    > Anyway, I've lately been thinking it's kind of like running on the pedals. There's a kind of float
    > where I'm only aware of good foot aspect and the 3 oclock phase. This is right when the foot is
    > hitting down in running when you're hauling with high tempo, relaxed. Just one strike after
    > another. Like trotting along, only with no bobbing action. Kinda like when you're dialed in with
    > running, at a 5:30 min/mile pace, say, just floating along.
    >
    > Also, I can just look very relaxed down the road. Back is flat, neck relaxed. --That part sounds
    > like conditioning. The riding is optimized yet you can forget about it.
    >
    > Anyway, I get it when 100 rpm doesn't seem rushed yet there's some gear to
    > it. And, as I said, until I get quite a few more hours in I need my hands on the tops with elbows
    > splayed. A good hustle, smooth, float to it.

    You need to quit running your mouth and get out on your bike. Forget all about that bullshit that
    you are spewing and ride.

    Dashii
     
  7. Raptor

    Raptor Guest

    Jeff Potter wrote:
    > Anyway, I get it when 100 rpm doesn't seem rushed yet there's some gear to
    > it. And, as I said, until I get quite a few more hours in I need my hands on the tops with elbows
    > splayed. A good hustle, smooth, float to it.

    It seems to me that you don't ride as often or as frequently as some of us do. My body knows how to
    ride a bike and has since my late teens, but I need an essential level of conditioning to move the
    bike fast as well as smooth. I get that in the first warmish month of the year. They seem separate
    to me though. Now that I'm doing indoor cycling classes (teaching and taking) I doubt I'll lose that
    basic conditioning.

    --
    --
    Lynn Wallace http://www.xmission.com/~lawall "I'm not proud. We really haven't done everything we
    could to protect our customers. Our products just aren't engineered for security." --Microsoft VP in
    charge of Windows OS Development, Brian Valentine.
     
  8. Jeff Potter

    Jeff Potter Guest

    Raptor wrote:

    > Jeff Potter wrote:
    > > Anyway, I get it when 100 rpm doesn't seem rushed yet there's some gear to
    > > it. And, as I said, until I get quite a few more hours in I need my hands on the tops with
    > > elbows splayed. A good hustle, smooth, float to it.
    >
    > It seems to me that you don't ride as often or as frequently as some of us do. My body knows how
    > to ride a bike and has since my late teens, but I need an essential level of conditioning to move
    > the bike fast as well as smooth. I get that in the first warmish month of the year. They seem
    > separate to me though. Now that I'm doing indoor cycling classes (teaching and taking) I doubt
    > I'll lose that basic conditioning.

    OK, there's conditioning but I also think there's technique. And form relates to finding your
    personal technique solution. Some people thrive on big gears, others twiddle, some ride hills out of
    saddle. There's a mindset as well that relates to form. When you find the right focus.

    I rode for a couple years at an hour or two a day before really discovering what finding form meant.

    Or maybe I'm combining two issues. Can you come into form without knowing your own style of riding?

    Proper breathing comes into it as well. As does pedal stroke and one's whole sense on the bike. Like
    when I was in form I wasn't thinking about my body much but focused down the road. When I considered
    my body it seemed like I was riding from my lower back area, powering from glutes. But also when I
    was in form I knew when/where/how I could be effective in a race.

    At about the same level of fitness I went from imitating others to finding out how I race/ride the
    best. Sure, more time on the bike and more races made this possible. But I suspect there are MANY if
    not MOST racers who spend years riding/racing before making this breakthru. I don't think it's
    unrelated to top results either.

    I think it goes: (1) get fit > (2) then find personal style > (3) then know when one is in or out
    of form. This can all be at the same level of fitness! It takes work and observation and trial and
    error to make each step up from 1. For any given level of fitness 2 will beat 1 and 3 "in form"
    beats both. Maybe there should be a level (4) where one gets fitter, adds to one's range of styles
    (not easy to do!!!) and improves one's form. Heck form could even relate to clarity of thinking or
    at least appropriateness of thinking while on the bike. As you develop tricks regarding tactics
    and timing that get better results, you'd be coming into form better for the mental part of the
    game. Maybe?

    I dunno. I'm just not sure that form = fitness.

    --

    Jeff Potter
    ****
    *Out Your Backdoor * http://www.outyourbackdoor.com for modern folkways and culture revival...
    ...offering "small world" views on bikes, bows, books, movies... ...new books featuring: XC ski
    culture, a Gulf Coast thriller folding bicycles ... with radical novels coming up! ...original
    downloadable music ... and articles galore! plus national "Off the Beaten Path" travel forums!
    HOLY SMOKES!
     
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