Forcing an agressive bike position upon yourself.

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Vin Stein, Jan 11, 2014.

  1. Vin Stein

    Vin Stein New Member

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    I have my bike set to a more aerodynamic agressive position. Now I am comfortable for short-medium distances 40-50 miles but I start getting sore in the aerodynamic position. I find mmyself choking up on the handlebars. Some people tell me to adjust my bike geometry to a more upright position. I am trying to condition myself to this super aero dynamic form. Should I switch geometry or continue to condition myself.
     
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  2. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Making changes in small increments and adjusting after every several rides is usually the best way to go, no more than .3-.5mm at a time imo. To help avoid excessive possible soreness and/or injury keeping the intensity a little lower while making the transition helps. Stretching a bit after the ride may also help the transition.

    As the upper body goes lower you will be engaging muscle groups that may not have been used as much, especially the glutes and posterior leg muscles. Also your neck muscles will be more hyper extended in the lower position to see down the road.

    There is a purpose for those small spacers...
    [​IMG]

    Edit: Btw just took a quick look at your Giant, nice bike. You got a deeper drop than some pros :p

    Doesn't look like you have too much stem to add spacers too, you could try flipping the stem which will probably add about 2cm of rise give or take. Rotating the handlebars very slightly, just a degree or two (bringing the brake levers up a tiny bit) may also help.
     
  3. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Without seeing you on the bike it's hard to determine where "super-aero" is on the spectrum. But getting into this gradually, as danfoz suggests is certainly a good idea. And if your thighs are hitting your belly or the position is causing breathing difficulty, you're definitely too low.

    A lot of riders simply have difficulty adapting to being athletic with a nearly horizontal torso. Here are some suggestions to make getting low more comfortable. Bend from the hips, not the shoulders or upper back, and extend the neck. Envision a straight line from the lower back to the base of your spine. The center of gravity should be roughly over your feet. If you're using the arms for too much support, move the saddle back and lower it a bit.
     
  4. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Quote by OBC:
    "...it's hard to determine where "super-aero" is on the spectrum."

    Allow me to be of assistance!

    On a scale of least to most aero:
    1. Fred
    2. Touron
    3. Brevet
    4. Ultra-Marathon
    5. Sportive
    6. Roadie
    7. Tri Guy
    8. Aero Maximus
    9. Super-Aero
    10. Cruise Missile

    So we can assume the OP is generating some real downforce with his negatively-sloped back (unless he's rocking the Armstrong Humpâ„¢).

    Like Dan stated, adjustments should usually be made in several smaller steps instead of one large drop/extension to the desired position. And often the desired position is not the optimal for power production or the type of riding being done or matching the age and physiology of the rider.
     
  5. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your assistance, Bob.

    My scale for road positioning is more historically oriented.

    1. Gino (Bartali)
    2. Jacques (Anquetil)
    3. The Belgians (Eddy & Roger)
    4. Francesco (Moser)
    5. Spartacus (Cancellara)
    6. Ryder (Hesjedal)

    I do not recommend trying to emulate Ryder. He has to sprint from the hoods.
     
  6. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Just looked at a vid of Ryders drop on YT, even for a big guy that's something else... seriously long arms though:

    [​IMG]

    Funny part is these guys going into oxygen debt to catch up while RH is just smiling along as he motors away.
     
  7. PoorInRichfield

    PoorInRichfield New Member

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    And here I thought LeMond was the King of low...

    [​IMG]

    On a related note, my Domane was setup to have relatively high handlebars from the store when I got it about 2 months ago (top of the bars were just about the same height as the seat). I tried lowering the bars a bit, but now my hands are going numb. The position feels comfortable every where else, except my hands. I'm not sure if the numbness is the new position or the fact that I'm stuck indoors riding rollers and can't vary my hand position that much.
     
  8. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    I experienced the same both with gloves and without. About half an hour into a ride without fail I would start to feel the tingling, with relief found mostly by shaking out and adjusting hand positions. I've discovered the culprit in my case is riding on the hoods, both on my new Campy levers as well as my old Shimano's, the 7800's as well as the 7900's. I would usually ride on the hoods from the start of the ride, maybe the tops here and there, but mainly the hoods for extended periods. Of course once the hands start to go numb they sort of stay close to numb even with shifting around and shaking out. What I have discovered is they do not go numb deep in the drops (like Lemond is pictured above), or holding the hoods with elbows bent about 90 degrees, where my core is doing most of the support. It's probably the way I'm compressing some nerve, and this strategy is really only feasible when hammering. This may not be your issue but a static hand position is the first thing to address. It could be having lowered the bars that now more weight is resting on your hands, and if that is the case moving you saddle back just a tiny bit (.5-1cm) may help alleviate. Padded gloves help some folks, they didn't help me. But make a conscious effort varying positions, even while on the trainer to start, before any numbness sets in.
     
  9. Mansmind

    Mansmind New Member

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    Exact same issue with hand numbness, and I've discovered just about the same exact thing. I believe the nerve in question is called a medial nerve or something like that,and it basically runs along the middle of your wrist on the inside into your palm. At least for me that seems to be the pressure point. As you indicated, if I make sure my core is doing the work much of that is aleviated. I've got a bike with a significant amount of drop, and one with very little....no difference between the two in regards to that problem.
     
  10. Cycle Drama

    Cycle Drama New Member

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    Same issue here as well. I assumed my problem was because I am a heavier biker I rely more on my hands as a resting point. I have an old pair of gel gloves that have wore through (had the gloves for 15 years) and have now purchased a new pair to see if it will relieve the issue this year. After reading these posts I will also try adjusting the saddle and bars to see if that helps.

    Thanks,
    John S
     
  11. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Quote by PIR:
    "I'm stuck indoors riding rollers and can't vary my hand position that much."

    Check the wheelbase of your rollers v. your bike. Make sure the front roller centerline is about 1/2" in front of your front wheel's centerline. Drop a weighted fishing line if you have to, but check it out.

    When warmed up, move your hands right next to the stem and relax...now push off evenly with both hands and sit up. Keep your RPM's up smoothly.

    Ride with no hands. It's easy. Easier than riding with hands IMO. I do it using a track bike with a twitchy, short rake fork. riding like that will take the pressure off your hands, wrists and shoulders on the rollers and just as importantly, relieve the boredom.

    When going back to the bars, I find it easiest to grip the flats and then adjust back down to the drops.
     
  12. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Strong core and plenty of saddle setback. Some say the setback was the cause of HInault's and Fignon's knee injuries, but I think it was the big gears.

    These days the reach is shorter and lower. I don't know if that would work for me. When I tried a shorter stem I started curving my back and that hurt. At my age old habits die hard.
     
  13. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    You HAD to have a strong core to haul around those boat anchor Delta brakes. Looks like Greg was still using an Avocet computer. That frame looks like it's pretty slack and a 130 or 140 MM stem? I agree about pushing the huge gears. I'm surprised more pros haven't trashed their knees.
     
  14. mpre53

    mpre53 Well-Known Member

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    If my memory isn't failing me---which seems to be a more frequent thing these days---wasn't LeMond nursing a knee injury when he decided to come home and go turkey hunting with his moron of a brother-in-law?
     
  15. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Well, to be fair to his B-I-L, Greg is a turkey.

    As far as Greg's "core strength"...I remember a comment he made in an interview (probably Velo News). When asked if he did any upper body strength work or gym workouts his reply was that a cyclist only has to be strong enough to hang onto the handlebars.
     
  16. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Despite what some say about riding a track bike to "improve" pedal stroke, Greg told is it was the fastest way to kill it. I tend to agree with him on the fixed gear comment but feel some pushups are a good strategy to help mitigate soreness after a long day facing steep climbs out of the saddle with tall gears when form gets a bit sloppy. And they certainly don't hurt when some idiot starts blaming you for his wipe-out in the field sprint and wants to get physical about it.
     
  17. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Maybe some of us are just born with it. Wish I had Greg's V02 max, though.
     
  18. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    I wish I had the number of Lance's doctor! [​IMG]

    Greg was really good. I still re-watch the old Tour coverage...on VHS tape!
     
  19. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Greg was pretty special to watch. Cycle Sport, the UK magazine, posted two articles on the 1989 Worlds last month. One is Sean Kelly's account. Finishes don't get better than this--Fignon jumps on the last hill, the only move he has left. Greg drags the group up to him, Fignon wags his finger at him: "You just trying to make me lose?" Kelly gets back on at the bottom of the hill, Greg leads out the sprint at 200m, and nobody can come around.

    And then there's the textbook domination of the '83 Worlds.
     
  20. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    That's Greg going downhill, he didn't ride that low...

    If you stick your seat far enough back then you take most of the weight off your hands when you pedal. Alternatively, do the John Cobb slam - drop the bars until your hands stop hurting. Cobb worked on LeMond's aero position many years ago after LeMond had plenty of time doing biometric and aero stuff in the Renault wind tunnel.

    Riding indoors is a different beast. You don't get the force of the wind providing support when indoors.
     
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