The sweet spot in biking

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Badger_South, Oct 21, 2004.

  1. Badger_South

    Badger_South Guest

    A few folks here have mentioned getting into cycling directly or incidently
    after having problems with jogging, a great activity, but problematic for
    quite a few after years or even sooner.

    The problem I found is that you just don't get that runner's high, which
    for me involved moving into a higher plane of activity, with more demand on
    the body at the 6-7 min/mile threshold (ymmv), with cycling like you do
    with jogging. (not to say biking doesn't make you high, John Denver).

    I've hoped that this higher plane would be available on the bike, but
    wasn't sure. But for me, when in this state while jogging was as clear as
    night and day. Biking can be a bit too mild - even when you're highly
    trained and moving at 20mph easily, you're not really in the 'zone'
    (whereas a beginner would be).

    I'm now beginning to think that there is a comperable, if not enhanced
    version of this runner's high on the bike, and it lies in the area of
    spinning up, and continuous climbing. I really felt this sensation strongly
    yesterday on the 2 mile climb at 4-5%, and felt as though I could keep this
    high demand output for extended periods. (of course the more advanced
    riders would be going faster, but the analogy is similar). There was a nice
    sensation of tightness in the lower body, which felt like when you stand
    and tense your muscles to 'make a muscle' in the mirror, but obviously the
    quads were contracting and relaxing - it's hard to describe, I guess.

    In addition, I felt like I needed to stay at this output level and not drop
    off to coast or even hit the flats, or I'd move out of the zone or
    metabolic 'sweet spot'. It was -really- disappointing to have to coast
    slowly to the bottom after turning around at the summit, and wait that long
    to do a repeat. Obviously, I need to increase the warmup. The two to three
    miles to the park from my house will include some shorter but steeper
    sections. But the neat thing is that this 'mistake' highlighted an
    interesting illumination (for me).

    What's also nice is that on the bike you can fine tune this sweet spot much
    easier using gearing than when running where your adjustments are coarse.

    I also found that I had to push to get into this zone. I.e. at the first
    urge to gear down, I upped the cadence, and would try to hold it for
    another 100yds. With this method I felt the -body- shift gears internally,
    which is pretty cool.

    Anyway, early morning raving. Imagination or not, I'm having fun... ;-D

    -B
     
    Tags:


  2. Paul Cassel

    Paul Cassel Guest

    Badger_South wrote:
    > A few folks here have mentioned getting into cycling directly or incidently
    > after having problems with jogging, a great activity, but problematic for
    > quite a few after years or even sooner.
    >
    > The problem I found is that you just don't get that runner's high, which
    > for me involved moving into a higher plane of activity, with more demand on
    > the body at the 6-7 min/mile threshold (ymmv), with cycling like you do
    > with jogging. (not to say biking doesn't make you high, John Denver).
    >


    I came into cycling after running for years too. IMO, the reason we
    can't get similarly 'high' is that in most cycling we are distracted
    often by the need to navigate traffic or other breaks in our flow.
    Running was an activity where I could just put myself on auto and float
    along where cycling, for the most part, isn't similar due to the need to
    do it in multi use areas where we are either much faster than walkers or
    slower than cages.

    We have a bike path near me. If I can get there when few others are
    there then can get into the same flow as running. Unfortunately, the
    others on the path are often walkers or even families with baby
    strollers so usually I have to keep alert enough to give them way.

    My guess is you found your high not due to the slope, but that you were
    able to produce significant wattage without interruption. But I could be
    wrong.

    -paul
     
  3. Badger_South

    Badger_South Guest

    On Thu, 21 Oct 2004 07:00:19 -0600, Paul Cassel <[email protected]> wrote:

    >My guess is you found your high not due to the slope, but that you were
    >able to produce significant wattage without interruption. But I could be
    >wrong.
    >
    >-paul


    Yes, this is my feeling. It explains why cyclists like to go ride in the
    mountains, with that uninterrupted wattage opportunity. Serously that
    hadn't occured to me in just this way until now (duh). ;-)

    -B
    (Mostly it's that they are freaks of nature, though, and enjoy pain,
    dontcha think?<g>)
     
  4. "Badger_South" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]

    > I'm now beginning to think that there is a comperable, if not enhanced
    > version of this runner's high on the bike, and it lies in the area of
    > spinning up, and continuous climbing.


    I wrote about this tangentally, a few years back -- see:
    http://tinyurl.com/6zkpd. The post was entitled, "riding like drinking
    schnapps?"


    --
    Warm Regards,

    Claire Petersky
    please substitute yahoo for mousepotato to reply
    Home of the meditative cyclist:
    http://home.earthlink.net/~cpetersky/Welcome.htm
    Personal page: http://www.geocities.com/cpetersky/
    See the books I've set free at: http://bookcrossing.com/referral/Cpetersky
     
  5. Badger_South

    Badger_South Guest

    On Thu, 21 Oct 2004 13:18:27 GMT, "Claire Petersky"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >"Badger_South" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >news:[email protected]
    >
    >> I'm now beginning to think that there is a comperable, if not enhanced
    >> version of this runner's high on the bike, and it lies in the area of
    >> spinning up, and continuous climbing.

    >
    >I wrote about this tangentally, a few years back -- see:
    >http://tinyurl.com/6zkpd. The post was entitled, "riding like drinking
    >schnapps?"


    Yes, I'm in the 'honeymoon' phase of this, and knowing that I'm intending
    to enjoy the heck outta it.

    When I read about your century and double century rides I get this glazed
    over feeling and wish I was at that level. But the truth is 'you'll get
    there soon enough...don't wish your life away, etc.', and you've
    highlighted this admirably. (funny post, that).

    I only wish I had been at this point when the Shenandoah ride came up in
    Sept. (missed it by -that- much..., lol). If I can get the cue sheet from
    them, I may go ride it as a preview in November. It's only about 80 miles
    from here by car...thinking aloud.

    -B
     
  6. amh

    amh Guest

    Badger_South <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > A few folks here have mentioned getting into cycling directly or incidently
    > after having problems with jogging, a great activity, but problematic for
    > quite a few after years or even sooner.


    How so? I've been running since 1979. No major problems that prevent
    me from anything. Running does no damage if done properly (warm up,
    down, stretch) with good shoes.

    >
    > The problem I found is that you just don't get that runner's high, which
    > for me involved moving into a higher plane of activity, with more demand on
    > the body at the 6-7 min/mile threshold (ymmv), with cycling like you do
    > with jogging. (not to say biking doesn't make you high, John Denver).


    I find that runner's high occurs more with time than it does with
    effort. There have been long runs I've done where I have little
    recollection of them when I'm done.

    >
    > I've hoped that this higher plane would be available on the bike, but
    > wasn't sure. But for me, when in this state while jogging was as clear as
    > night and day. Biking can be a bit too mild - even when you're highly
    > trained and moving at 20mph easily, you're not really in the 'zone'
    > (whereas a beginner would be).


    I tend to think that there is more going on while riding a bicycle.
    When I'm running for 90 minutes + I can zone out. I just have to be
    mindful of my surroundings to a small degree. The rest is automatic.
    Cycling I'm changing grears, trying to keep upright, looking for
    potholes all at a higher speed. Running is a highly repetative motion,
    while cycling there are many different positions (3 on the bars and on
    or off the saddle).

    >
    > I'm now beginning to think that there is a comperable, if not enhanced
    > version of this runner's high on the bike, and it lies in the area of
    > spinning up, and continuous climbing. I really felt this sensation strongly
    > yesterday on the 2 mile climb at 4-5%, and felt as though I could keep this
    > high demand output for extended periods. (of course the more advanced
    > riders would be going faster, but the analogy is similar). There was a nice
    > sensation of tightness in the lower body, which felt like when you stand
    > and tense your muscles to 'make a muscle' in the mirror, but obviously the
    > quads were contracting and relaxing - it's hard to describe, I guess.


    This situation you describe is a lot to do with high levels of
    concentration. It may almost become a yoga like situation. But I see
    your point and can identify with it.

    I think that I've gotten more of a cyclist's high while touring
    someplace quiet. I just soak in the surroundings and it seems I don't
    notice my legs moving.

    >
    > Anyway, early morning raving. Imagination or not, I'm having fun... ;-D


    To paraphrase Duke Ellington "If it feels like fun it is fun."

    Andy

    >
    > -B
     
  7. neil0502

    neil0502 Guest

    amh wrote:

    > Badger_South wrote
    >> A few folks here have mentioned getting into cycling directly or
    >> incidently after having problems with jogging, a great activity, but
    >> problematic for quite a few after years or even sooner.

    >
    > How so? I've been running since 1979. No major problems that prevent
    > me from anything. Running does no damage if done properly (warm up,
    > down, stretch) with good shoes.


    Count yourself very, very fortunate.

    Running can be very, very tough on the knees (and shins and ligaments and
    tendons), proper technique, good shoes, forgiving surfaces, low BMI, and
    best intentions notwithstanding.
     
  8. gds

    gds Guest

    Badger_South <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > A few folks here have mentioned getting into cycling directly or incidently
    > after having problems with jogging, a great activity, but problematic for
    > quite a few after years or even sooner.
    >
    > The problem I found is that you just don't get that runner's high, which
    > for me involved moving into a higher plane of activity, with more demand on
    > the body at the 6-7 min/mile threshold (ymmv), with cycling like you do
    > with jogging. (not to say biking doesn't make you high, John Denver).
    >
    > I've hoped that this higher plane would be available on the bike, but
    > wasn't sure. But for me, when in this state while jogging was as clear as
    > night and day. Biking can be a bit too mild - even when you're highly
    > trained and moving at 20mph easily, you're not really in the 'zone'
    > (whereas a beginner would be).
    >
    > I'm now beginning to think that there is a comperable, if not enhanced
    > version of this runner's high on the bike, and it lies in the area of
    > spinning up, and continuous climbing. I really felt this sensation strongly
    > yesterday on the 2 mile climb at 4-5%, and felt as though I could keep this
    > high demand output for extended periods. (of course the more advanced
    > riders would be going faster, but the analogy is similar). There was a nice
    > sensation of tightness in the lower body, which felt like when you stand
    > and tense your muscles to 'make a muscle' in the mirror, but obviously the
    > quads were contracting and relaxing - it's hard to describe, I guess.
    >
    > In addition, I felt like I needed to stay at this output level and not drop
    > off to coast or even hit the flats, or I'd move out of the zone or
    > metabolic 'sweet spot'. It was -really- disappointing to have to coast
    > slowly to the bottom after turning around at the summit, and wait that long
    > to do a repeat. Obviously, I need to increase the warmup. The two to three
    > miles to the park from my house will include some shorter but steeper
    > sections. But the neat thing is that this 'mistake' highlighted an
    > interesting illumination (for me).
    >
    > What's also nice is that on the bike you can fine tune this sweet spot much
    > easier using gearing than when running where your adjustments are coarse.
    >
    > I also found that I had to push to get into this zone. I.e. at the first
    > urge to gear down, I upped the cadence, and would try to hold it for
    > another 100yds. With this method I felt the -body- shift gears internally,
    > which is pretty cool.
    >
    > Anyway, early morning raving. Imagination or not, I'm having fun... ;-D
    >
    > -B

    Agreed! You need to work hard to get those endorphins going. Cycling
    allows yu to break up the continuus hard work of running. Runners
    don't coast and runners work hard going downhill as well as up. On a
    bike it is easy to just sit up for a while and that will slow down
    endorphin production.
    On longer rides I use a HR meter. Mostly so that I won't blow up
    chasing better riders for long periods of time. However, when the
    group isn't hammering I'm sometimes surprised to see that I am riding
    comnfortably in the pack at 20 mph but my HR is only ~65% of LTHL.
    When I run my HR never goes much below 85%.
     
  9. Claire Petersky <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > "Badger_South" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]
    >
    >> I'm now beginning to think that there is a comperable, if not enhanced
    >> version of this runner's high on the bike, and it lies in the area of
    >> spinning up, and continuous climbing.

    >
    > I wrote about this tangentally, a few years back -- see:
    > http://tinyurl.com/6zkpd. The post was entitled, "riding like drinking
    > schnapps?"


    time for you to start touring, claire. 90+ mile days, lots of climbing.
    every night the sleep of angels.
    --
    david reuteler
    [email protected]
     
  10. On Thu, 21 Oct 2004 08:20:41 -0700, gds wrote:

    > Agreed! You need to work hard to get those endorphins going. Cycling
    > allows yu to break up the continuus hard work of running. Runners don't
    > coast and runners work hard going downhill as well as up.


    Sounds like an argument for a fixed gear.

    --

    David L. Johnson

    __o | When you are up to your ass in alligators, it's hard to remember
    _`\(,_ | that your initial objective was to drain the swamp. -- LBJ
    (_)/ (_) |
     
  11. David L. Johnson <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > On Thu, 21 Oct 2004 08:20:41 -0700, gds wrote:
    >
    >> Agreed! You need to work hard to get those endorphins going. Cycling
    >> allows yu to break up the continuus hard work of running. Runners don't
    >> coast and runners work hard going downhill as well as up.

    >
    > Sounds like an argument for a fixed gear.


    one thing i've always liked about fixed gears proves this wrong. you
    can "coast" (aka rest your legs while spinning) and slack and still look
    like you're working your ass off. it's also the reason why it's not hard
    to go back and forth between a fixed gear and a freewheeled bike -- you
    just relax your legs: if the pedals keep spinning you're on your fixed
    if not you've got a freewheel. the one thing i never do anymore on any
    of my bikes are the things that don't work on fixed geared bikes: the
    little victory dances at the top of hills for instance. lowest common
    denominator, i guess.
    --
    david reuteler
    [email protected]
     
  12. Paul Cassel

    Paul Cassel Guest

    amh wrote:
    > Badger_South <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    >
    >>A few folks here have mentioned getting into cycling directly or incidently
    >>after having problems with jogging, a great activity, but problematic for
    >>quite a few after years or even sooner.

    >
    >
    > How so? I've been running since 1979. No major problems that prevent
    > me from anything. Running does no damage if done properly (warm up,
    > down, stretch) with good shoes.
    >
    >

    Gee, is this a silly and annoying type of post. I know of someone who
    drinks a quart of whiskey a day, eats nothing but fat and is in great
    health at 90 years old. Why not then say that if you drink whiskey and
    eat fat right, you'll be a healthy 90 year old? Makes as much sense.

    -paul
     
  13. Badger_South

    Badger_South Guest

    On Thu, 21 Oct 2004 16:07:03 -0600, Paul Cassel <[email protected]> wrote:

    >amh wrote:
    >> Badger_South <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    >>
    >>>A few folks here have mentioned getting into cycling directly or incidently
    >>>after having problems with jogging, a great activity, but problematic for
    >>>quite a few after years or even sooner.

    >>
    >>
    >> How so? I've been running since 1979. No major problems that prevent
    >> me from anything. Running does no damage if done properly (warm up,
    >> down, stretch) with good shoes.
    >>
    >>

    >Gee, is this a silly and annoying type of post. I know of someone who
    >drinks a quart of whiskey a day, eats nothing but fat and is in great
    >health at 90 years old. Why not then say that if you drink whiskey and
    >eat fat right, you'll be a healthy 90 year old? Makes as much sense.
    >
    >-paul


    True, but I really don't think he meant it like that... Every runner hears
    tales of shin splints and knee problems and soforth; maybe he was mostly
    expressing enthusiasm. But I get your point.

    What's amazing to me is that anyone could do a highly repetitive activity
    like running, even given that the human skeletal system is an amazing
    example of architecture (just study the load on the spine).

    Hell, examine the architecture of the human foot. If you looked at it from
    an engineering perspective, nobody would ever design such a structure and
    task it to do what a human foot needs to do normally to locomote, yet in
    practice it does all this and more.

    In addition, sometimes non-running related injuries can curtail a runner's
    career. Runners are fragile things and guys like Shorter and Rogers who are
    still running are the exception, not the rule.

    He did seem to miss my adjectival use of 'a few', above... ;-D

    -B
     
  14. "David Reuteler" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Claire Petersky <[email protected]> wrote:


    > time for you to start touring, claire. 90+ mile days, lots of climbing.
    > every night the sleep of angels.


    Instead, I wake up at 4 PM, and can't back to sleep. I feel like cat food
    all day. That is the sleep of the damned.

    I'm thinking of doing this:
    http://www.alaw.org/support_alaw/big_ride/pacific_coast/ for 2005. I've got
    two close family members with emphysema. It is a horrible way to die, and
    maybe I could do something about that. I could hit up relatives for the
    money. It's a thousand miles, two thousand dollars, but I think I could
    manage both.

    It would also justify the acquisition of a new bike, don't you think?


    --
    Warm Regards,

    Claire Petersky
    please substitute yahoo for mousepotato to reply
    Home of the meditative cyclist:
    http://home.earthlink.net/~cpetersky/Welcome.htm
    Personal page: http://www.geocities.com/cpetersky/
    See the books I've set free at: http://bookcrossing.com/referral/Cpetersky
     
  15. Claire Petersky wrote:
    > I'm thinking of doing this:
    > http://www.alaw.org/support_alaw/big_ride/pacific_coast/ for 2005. I've got
    > two close family members with emphysema. It is a horrible way to die, and
    > maybe I could do something about that. I could hit up relatives for the
    > money. It's a thousand miles, two thousand dollars, but I think I could
    > manage both.


    Ooh. Let us know if you do this, and give us LOTS of
    details afterward if you do.

    When I get my endurance up, I think I'd like to ride for
    cancer research -- specifically breast cancer research. My
    mum died of that. That's another horrible way to die.

    > It would also justify the acquisition of a new bike, don't you think?


    Absolutely!

    Make sure it's a *red* bike, though. *grin*

    -km

    --
    Only cowards fight kids -- unidentified Moscow protester

    http://community.webshots.com/user/blackrosequilts
    proud to be owned by a yorkie
     
  16. Bill Baka

    Bill Baka Guest

    On Thu, 21 Oct 2004 16:07:03 -0600, Paul Cassel <[email protected]> wrote:

    > amh wrote:
    >> Badger_South <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >> news:<[email protected]>...
    >>
    >>> A few folks here have mentioned getting into cycling directly or
    >>> incidently
    >>> after having problems with jogging, a great activity, but problematic
    >>> for
    >>> quite a few after years or even sooner.

    >>
    >>
    >> How so? I've been running since 1979. No major problems that prevent
    >> me from anything. Running does no damage if done properly (warm up,
    >> down, stretch) with good shoes.
    >>
    >>

    > Gee, is this a silly and annoying type of post. I know of someone who
    > drinks a quart of whiskey a day, eats nothing but fat and is in great
    > health at 90 years old. Why not then say that if you drink whiskey and
    > eat fat right, you'll be a healthy 90 year old? Makes as much sense.
    >
    > -paul


    I have to agree that the sweet spot is just getting on the bike
    and doing it. Jim Fixx found the sweet spot, permanently, some years
    back. So much for that line of thinking. Bicycling is a mode of
    transportation that just happens to be enjoyable to many of us.
    Warm ups, yeah about 3 miles into it I start to get warm, and don't
    have to look silly in public getting ready to bike.
    Bill Baka, 3 bikes and counting.

    --
    Using M2, Opera's revolutionary e-mail client: http://www.opera.com/m2/
     
  17. Badger_South <[email protected]> wrote:
    >I've hoped that this higher plane would be available on the bike, but
    >wasn't sure. But for me, when in this state while jogging was as clear as
    >night and day. Biking can be a bit too mild - even when you're highly
    >trained and moving at 20mph easily, you're not really in the 'zone'
    >(whereas a beginner would be).


    I wonder if it involves giving yourself a low-grade concussion,
    or production of endorphins to mask the pain in your gut and your
    knees...

    Focus on the horizon (or the crest of the next hill) while you're
    riding, and avoid bobbing. You'll zone.

    --Blair
    "They call it jogging because
    crack and self-mutilation were
    taken..."
     
  18. SlowRider

    SlowRider Guest

    [email protected] (amh) wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > Badger_South <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > > A few folks here have mentioned getting into cycling directly or incidently
    > > after having problems with jogging, a great activity, but problematic for
    > > quite a few after years or even sooner.

    >
    > How so? I've been running since 1979. No major problems that prevent
    > me from anything. Running does no damage if done properly (warm up,
    > down, stretch) with good shoes.


    Oh, how I wish that were so. Perhaps my track coaches in school
    didn't teach me to do these things properly, but I think they did -
    they were pretty smart guys. Despite all these efforts I had to give
    up running about 10 years ago to save my knees.

    Cycling has been a wonderful alternative. I don't feel the same
    "high", but I do so love doing long climbs, so I suspect it's a
    similar experience to a runner's high. The mental distractions
    (gears, traffic, etc.) aren't so bad once you get a lot of miles in
    your legs and it becomes second nature, but it still probably detracts
    from exercise-induced nirvana.

    I'm now doing some swimming for my off-season training and it seems to
    have similar characteristics (once you get your body past the "oh
    s--t, I have to BREATHE!" sensation). No traffic to worry about, and
    once you get into a rhythm, the laps just keep going by.

    Still, I can't wait to get back on my bike...

    JR
     
  19. amh

    amh Guest

    Paul Cassel <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > amh wrote:
    > > Badger_South <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > >
    > >>A few folks here have mentioned getting into cycling directly or incidently
    > >>after having problems with jogging, a great activity, but problematic for
    > >>quite a few after years or even sooner.

    > >
    > >
    > > How so? I've been running since 1979. No major problems that prevent
    > > me from anything. Running does no damage if done properly (warm up,
    > > down, stretch) with good shoes.
    > >
    > >

    > Gee, is this a silly and annoying type of post. I know of someone who
    > drinks a quart of whiskey a day, eats nothing but fat and is in great
    > health at 90 years old. Why not then say that if you drink whiskey and
    > eat fat right, you'll be a healthy 90 year old? Makes as much sense.
    >
    > -paul


    No it isn't the same. Whiskey and other alcohol are known to cause
    liver damage and intestonal problems not to exclude of people allergic
    to alcohol. There is now way to drink large amounts of alcohol and not
    do liver damage. Alcohol reacts chemically with the human body to
    produce those affects. You may or may not be able to survive with
    those issues but they are happening regardless.

    Running is different in that it doesn't react with the body. If you
    take measures to reduce injury (stretch, wear proper shoes, don't over
    do it, eat properly, etc) the body will adapt to the running just
    fine.

    Subtle difference but none the less important.

    Andy
     
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