Category Archives: Pedaling Technique

Dave Scott stretching video

Dave Scott, who is a six time IronMan World Champion, and show some of his favorite stretches in this video. They include stretches for your glutes, hip flexor, piriformis, hamstring, quad and shoulder girdle.

Enjoy and remember to check out the resources page with other great videos. Our online store offer terrific videos as well.

Intervals Workouts for Triathlon

If you’ve had a significant amount of base training and want to run faster, this article is for you. This excellent excerpt reprinted with permission from Human Kinetics of Triathlon Workout Planner by John Mora

Triathlon Workout Planner“Intervals (also known as repeats) are short bursts of speed repeated over a measured distance with recovery periods between each interval. As I discussed in the previous chapter, intervals are a key component of training for swimming and running. In this chapter, we’ll further explore 80/20 running workouts and also learn how to apply interval training to cycling.

Elite runner and author Jeff Galloway once wrote, “Intervals are based on a simple principle: The only way to run faster is to run faster” (Galloway 1984). Although that premise is true, there are some specific guidelines to interval training that can help you prevent injury and get the most out of your hard work.

* Base training first. Never begin any kind of speed work without a year’s solid base of consistent distance running. Intervals are demanding and can be very rough on your body, so it’s important that you’ve developed the muscle strength and joint integrity to support the effort.

* Set a baseline with a time trial. It’s a good idea to start off your interval training with a performance benchmark that tells you where you are now so that you can measure your speed improvements down the road. To set a baseline with a time trial, warm up at a slow pace for 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) on a running track that’s at least a quarter-mile (0.4 kilometer) long so that you don’t have the constant turning. Perform a 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) time trial at a hard pace you can sustain throughout the entire distance. Time yourself with a stopwatch (or have somebody time you). Cool down for another 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) of easy jogging. Make sure you record your trial time (not including warm-up or recovery distance) in your training log. Once every other month, repeat your 1-mile time trials, and you should see some steady, measurable improvements.

* Train for your distance. The interval workout for an Ironman-distance triathlon is much different than that for a sprint distance. For example, if you’re training for an Ironman-distance triathlon, you should be running half-mile (0.8-kilometer) intervals, 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) intervals, or a combination of both. This regimen builds your stamina and improves form for longer distances. For Olympic- or sprint-distance races, your workout should consist of a combination of half-mile (0.8-kilometer) and quarter-mile (0.4-kilometer) repeats.

* Sandwich intervals with easy workouts. Speed work is very demanding, so you need to be relatively fresh going into one and give yourself a day or two of easy work afterward.

* Base your speed on your best running race times. Most intervals come in three distances: quarter-, half-, or 1-mile (0.4-, 0.8-, or 1.6-kilometer) intervals. How fast should you run them? You should feel as though you’re running close to your redline of effort, but err on the side of caution. If you feel as if you’re blowing a gasket, ease off. For a quarter-mile interval, run 5 to 7 seconds faster than your 5K to 10K race pace. For a half-mile interval, you should run at 5K pace to 5 seconds faster. For a mile interval, you should run at 5K to 10K pace.

* Increase gradually. The first time on a track (once you’ve done a proper warm-up and a performance benchmark time trial as previously described) you’ll want to start with only one or two repeats. It may even seem like an easy or short workout at first, but err on the side of caution. Gradually increase the number of intervals according to your race distance and goal.

* Watch your form. The tendency for some triathletes is to lose proper running form after a long and arduous bike leg. Track workouts are an ideal time to focus on your form and make an effort to keep your body under control during sustained, high-intensity efforts. Similar to proper technique in the pool, good running form helps you become more efficient and avoid injury with good biomechanics. If you feel yourself running awkwardly or find your feet striking the track improperly during the latter half of an interval workout, consciously bring your body back to running smoothly and effortlessly.

* Aim for consistent interval times. Done properly, interval workouts help your body to adapt to the prolonged hard effort of the running leg of a triathlon. By “properly” I mean a consistent pace on all the intervals. If there is more than a 5-second difference between interval times, you’re probably going out too fast for the first few. You need to hone your internal pace clock, which is in itself a valuable skill to have during any running event.

Although athletes most often associate intervals with running on a track, you can employ this type of speedwork just as easily on the bicycle, with great success. Professional cyclists have known for decades that a track isn’t always necessary for interval work.”

The Science of Cycling Position

Here’s another excellent excerpt reprinted with permission from Human Kinetics of High-Performance Cycling by Asker Jeukendrup

cycling performance“Throughout this chapter, we have used a set of reference values for aerodynamic drag area. Although these values represent good approximations to the drag area of a 70-kilogram (154-pound) rider in each position, those values are not fixed. Rather, a cyclist can influence his drag area in several ways. Riding with knees close to the centerline of the bicycle frame can reduce drag area by approximately 8 percent compared with riding with knees wide apart. This knee position will affect drag similarly whether the rider uses conventional racing handlebars or aerobars.

For riding with standard handlebars, arm position, including elbow bend and forearm alignment, can even more dramatically influence drag area. Bending the elbows allows the rider to lower his torso and thus reduce frontal area. Indeed, carefully positioned arms with the forearms horizontal and parallel to the bicycle can reduce drag area by up to 12 percent compared with widely positioned arms or straightened elbows. A wide-elbow position may result from poor technique, but it also may be due to poor bike fit and thus may not be within the control of the rider. Specifically, if the saddle-to-handlebar distance is too short, the rider may be forced to widen the arms so that they do not contact the legs. Consequently, drag area may be substantially increased because of a poorly fitted frame-stem-handlebar combination.

Optimal Time-Trial Position
Riders often ask, “How do I optimize my time-trial position?” The simple answer is, “Go to a wind tunnel and have your aerodynamic drag measured in various positions.” But, of course, not every cyclist has the opportunity to take part in wind-tunnel optimization.

As an alternative, we offer several suggestions that will help riders position themselves using only a trainer and a mirror or video camera. We recommend the following procedures to establish a preliminary position before wind-tunnel testing, and this often will result in a position that is within a few percentages of the optimal drag area.

Over the past 10 years, two very different approaches for optimizing aerodynamic position have been used. During the early 1990s, it was recommended that riders use a dedicated time-trial bicycle with a steep seat-tube angle (78 to 84 degrees). With bicycles like this, a low drag-area position could be achieved with a relatively formulaic procedure. Those positions are, at the present time, allowed for triathlons and by some national cycling federations. However, UCI rules currently prohibit forward seat positions. Within the current UCI rules, low drag-area positions can be achieved but the procedure is less formulaic and depends on individual morphological characteristics.

To achieve a low drag position with a forward seat position, start with your current road position. You achieve the aero position by “rolling” that position forward until the torso is horizontal. Specifically, the elbow pads should be lowered and the seat should be moved forward (and slightly up) so that the body rotates about the bottom bracket and the joint angles at the hip and knee are maintained. You can use a mirror or a video camera to assure yourself that your torso is horizontal and that your relative hip, knee, and ankle angles are maintained during this procedure. This procedure usually results in seat positions that require a bicycle seat-tube angle of 78 to 84 degrees depending on body type. Taller or more slender riders tend to require less steep seat-tube angles, whereas shorter or more muscular riders require greater seat-tube angles to achieve a horizontal torso. You can achieve a similar position using a standard frame with a forward-angled seat post and a long stem. However, that configuration may result in a bicycle that may not handle well. If you are to use a forward position, we recommend that the frame be specifically designed for proper handling with that position.

Once you have achieved the horizontal torso position, it has been our experience that details regarding positioning of the arms are less critical. Changing elbow-pad width (center to center) from 11 to 14 centimeters has almost no effect on total drag area, but wider positions (greater than 20 centimeters) can increase drag area by 0 to 3 percent. Similarly, arm angles (measured from horizontal) of 5 to 40 degrees have very little influence (0 to 3 percent) on drag area. The small effect of these changes on drag area suggests that, once a horizontal torso position is established, differences in arm position only affect the location of the arm’s frontal area but do not significantly affect coefficient of drag or total drag area.

Cyclists must accomplish aerodynamic positioning for bicycles with conventional seat-tube angles with more subtlety. Initially, riders must learn to roll their hips over as described by Lemond and Gordis (1987). This posture can be difficult to adopt, but it is an essential element of a low drag-area position with a standard bicycle. The level to which the elbow pads can be lowered will be limited by contact between thigh and torso (which will occur at acute hip angles). Because the elbow pads cannot be radically lowered, frontal area cannot be dramatically reduced for a conventional seat-tube-angle bicycle. Rather, reductions in drag area must be accomplished with careful positioning of the hands, arms, and shoulders to reduce the coefficient of drag. Specifically, the width of the hands and elbows and the angle of the forearms are critical elements that, in an optimal configuration, act to channel airflow around the rider’s torso. Additionally, the contour of the rider’s shoulders can influence the point at which airflow separates. Rounding the shoulders and rolling them forward (i.e., protraction and downward rotation of the shoulder joint) can allow airflow to stay attached further around the rider’s body and thereby reduce pressure drag. The combined effects of redirecting (arm and hand position) and smoothing (shoulder contour) airflow around the body can reduce drag area by 10 to 20 percent.

Comfort and Power
Optimized aerodynamic positions can be uncomfortable in two ways. First, by rotating the hips forward, the cyclist places pressure directly on highly sensitive areas. Additional seat padding may help to distribute that pressure but probably will not completely eliminate the discomfort. Some riders try to alleviate this problem by tilting the nose of the saddle down, but that approach will result in a tendency for the rider to slide forward, off of the saddle. That sliding force must be restrained with forces produced at the shoulders and arms that can become fatigued very quickly. Second, riders may experience muscle soreness or strain in the muscles that extend the neck. This discomfort will be reduced with training and can be ameliorated with stretching and massage.

Riders often express concern that changes in position may compromise their power or efficiency. Heil et al. (1995) investigated the effects of seat-tube angle on metabolic efficiency and reported that efficiency was significantly greater with 83- and 90-degree seat-tube angles than with a 69-degree seat-tube angle. Similarly, Price and Donne (1997) reported that efficiency with an 80-degree seat-tube angle was higher than that with 68 or 74 degrees. Thus, steep seat-tube-angle bicycles should not decrease metabolic efficiency and, indeed, may improve efficiency. Conversely, Heil et al. (1997) reported that reductions in mean hip angle increased cardiovascular stress for a given power output. Such decreases in hip angle often occur when riders attempt to reduce their frontal area by lowering their elbows excessively. Therefore, you must exercise caution when adjusting your position to avoid excessive hip flexion.

This exploration has produced several useful findings for the cyclist. Typical cycling positions exhibit drag-area values that range from 0.48 to 0.27 meter squared, which can mean up to a 20 percent difference in velocity for a given power output. Surprisingly, the proportional difference in velocity is nearly independent of power, suggesting that novice and elite cyclists will realize similar benefits from improved aerodynamic positioning. When a rider is cycling uphill, differences in cycling velocity related to drag area are markedly reduced but are still substantial for less steep grades and for high power outputs. Even though the effect of drag area is reduced during uphill cycling, adopting a standing position is not recommended because of increases in metabolic energy expenditure. Finally, for any given cycling position, drag area can be affected by the position of the knees, elbows, arms, and shoulders.”

Optimal Pedaling Cadence

This is an excellent excerpt reprinted with permission from Burke’s book, High-Tech Cycling-2nd Edition.

High-Tech Cycling book cover“Most studies examining pedaling cadence have focused on pedal optimization in terms of economy/efficiency and local muscle stress. In this section, we will summarize the findings of the numerous laboratory studies that have attempted to identify which cadence is optimal. Unfortunately, few investigations have analyzed the question in well-trained cyclists riding their own bikes, making it difficult to apply the findings to actual cycling.

Optimal Cadence and Oxygen Cost: Economy/Efficiency
The two main messages to emerge from the numerous studies published since the beginning of the 20th century are as follows:

  • Low cadences (50 to 60 rpm) tend to be more economical/efficient than high pedaling cadences (> 90 rpm)
  • Paradoxically, most individuals prefer to pedal at high, theoretically inefficient/uneconomical cadences (examples include Boning, Gonen, and Maassen 1984; Cathcart, Richardson, and Campbell 1924; Chavarren and Calbet 1999; Coast, Cox, and Welch 1986; Croissant and Boileau 1984; Gaesser and Brooks 1975; Garry and Wishart 1931; Gueli and Shephard 1976; Jordan and Merrill 1979; MacIntosh, Neptune, and Horton 2000; Marsh and Martin 1997; Marsh and Martin 1998; Seabury, Adams, and Ramey 1977; Takaishi, Yasuda, and Moritani 1994; Takaishi et al. 1996; Takaishi et al. 1998).

A detailed look at the published studies suggests that both general conclusions need to be approached with caution. Several factors may alter the optimal and preferred pedaling cadence, including absolute and/or relative power output (i.e., watts or percentage maximal oxygen uptake [V·O2max], respectively), duration of exercise, test mode (cycle ergometer tests versus riding a bicycle on a treadmill), fitness level of the subject (cyclist or noncyclist), and the high interindividual variability, even among trained cyclists of similar fitness levels, reported by most authors.

In general, during laboratory tests performed by noncyclists at constant power outputs (usually = 200 W), pedaling at low rates (~ 50 to 70 rpm) resulted in lower oxygen uptake (V·O2) than pedaling at higher rates (> 90 rpm). In any case, such a generalization is of little practical value. First, one questions the benefit of optimizing pedaling cadence in subjects whose power output rarely surpasses 200 W, those who cycle for fitness or recreation. Second, elite cyclists are the ones interested in optimizing cadence and making it more economical/efficient, and they are able to generate much higher power outputs during long periods. The average power output of Bjarne Riijs during the 1997 Amstel Gold Race, a World Cup classic lasting over seven hours, was close to 300 W (data from During the most important stages of professional road cycling races, riders are often required to generate power outputs of over 400 W (Lucia, Hoyos, and Chicharro 2001a), not to mention the one-hour record in a velodrome (Bassett et al. 1999).

Bassett and colleagues (1999) estimated that the mean power outputs required to break the one-hour world records in a velodrome during the last years (53.0 to 56.4 km) ranged between 427 and 460 W. The average power output of Miguel Indurain during his 1994 one-hour record averaged 510 W (Padilla et al. 2000). Probably most pro riders are so economically below 200 W, that pedaling cadence hardly changes anything. Below 200 W, Lance Armstrong’s human engine is probably similar to that of the last rider in the overall classification of the Tour de France in recent years, and pedaling cadence does not have a significant effect on either one. The picture is likely to be different above 400 W, but there are scarce data in the literature related to the oxygen cost of generating power outputs over 400 W for 20 or more minutes (Lucia, Hoyos, and Chicharro 2000), and no data exist on how pedaling cadence could alter this variable. This is the type of information needed in cycling science.

We should therefore be cautious when applying the findings of previous research concerning cadence optimization to highly trained cyclists. The most economical of cadences tends to increase with absolute power output, that is, with watts (Boning, Gonen, and Maassen 1984; Coast and Welch 1985; Hagberg et al. 1981; Seabury, Adams, and Ramey, 1977). For instance, Coast and Welch (1985) showed that the cadence eliciting the lowest V·O2 at 100 and 330 W was 50 and 80 rpm, respectively. Thus, absolute power output is a key factor of cadence optimization and precludes any simple answer to the problem. On the other hand, trained cyclists are more effective than recreational riders at directing pedal forces perpendicular to the crank arm (Faria 1992). Such an ability carries a biomechanical advantage and probably allows trained riders to pedal at high cadences with no major loss of efficiency.

Instead of speaking of an inverse relationship between cadence and economy/efficiency, maybe it would be more correct to speak of a U relationship during constant-load exercise. There may be an optimum pedaling cadence below and above which oxygen cost increases significantly. Yet, can we assign a value to this theoretical optimum cadence at the bottom of the U? Probably not, given the great variability among cadence studies involving trained cyclists yielding the lowest V·O2, from ~ 60 to ~ 90 rpm (Chavarren and Calbet 1999; Coast and Welch 1985; Hagberg et al. 1981).

It is generally accepted that the theoretical optimal cadence in terms of oxygen cost for most humans is generally lower than that preferred by trained cyclists (> 90 rpm). This generalization requires some specification. First, the gap between the most economical or efficient and preferred cadence is usually narrower in trained cyclists. For instance, Hagberg and colleagues (1981) found both to be close to 90 rpm in trained cyclists. Second, few data in the scientific literature concern the preferred cadence of trained cyclists during actual cycling, although it is consistently assumed to be higher than 90 rpm. Indeed, the latter is only really true for one-hour records in the velodrome. Besides, fixed gears are used in velodrome events. Fixed gears are designed so the rider is constantly forced to move the pedals and might elicit different physiological responses than normal, free gears.

Only one report addressed the preferred pedaling cadence of professional cyclists during three-week races (Lucia, Hoyos, and Chicharro 2001b). Among other findings, the mean preferred cadence of the subjects was shown to range from 70 to 90 rpm, and high variability was shown between subjects and the type of terrain (flat versus uphill). High interindividual variability has also been reported for the preferred cadence of trained cyclists (72 to 102 rpm) during laboratory testing (Hagberg et al. 1981).

Finally, irrespective of the cadence adopted, the oxygen cost of pedaling is largely determined by the percentage distribution of efficient type I fibers in the main muscles involved in cycling—the knee extensor muscles, particularly the vastus lateralis—at least in trained cyclists (Coyle et al. 1991, 1992). We could speculate that, in subjects with a particularly high percentage distribution of type I fibers in the knee extensor muscles, the choice of theoretically inefficient/uneconomical cadences (too low or too high) would have a lower impact on the metabolic cost of cycling than would that choice in cyclists with a smaller proportion of this fiber type.”

Triathletes and Injury Prevention

Having spent many years training for fitness, it wasn’t until the last few years I became aware of how delicate a balancing act it can be of knowing how and when to push yourself toward greater fitness and avoiding injury.

I have had many injuries and hope I’ve learned how to approach training with the long tern goal of staying healthy and injury free. I would often push myself too hard when I did not need to or it was not the right time to push. Maybe I did not give myself enough of a rest, either between intervals, sets, or laps. It absolutely is a science and the more I read and study, the more I am able to understand when and WHY I do the things I do.

With the idea of sharing that, I posed several questions to my physical therapy group that helps heal me, Elite Physical Therapy in Charlotte, NC. Kelly Floyd started this the group and Joe and Lesley have joined in the last year. They are immensely qualified and have vast sports experience themselves as well as treating patients of all ages and ailments.

I treasure their input and advice. Here’s some advice I hope you can learn from as well.

What are the training rules of thumb and why are they important to follow?

Always break a sweat before stretching. Think of your cold muscle as a piece of bacon out of the freezer. You bend it and it breaks! Heat it up and it bends much easier!

It all starts with the core, the area of your body from your diaphragm to your groin. When running, jumping, cycling, swimming, or weight training, sitting, standing, bending, you name it, keep your spinal alignment perfect. Your spine is made to be stabilized, not twisted and bent. That’s what our other joints are for.

When increasing your mileage/running time or weight lifting, especially if you have not trained in a while, live by the 10% rule. Don’t increase your training initially by more than 10% per week. For example if you have been running for 10 minutes 1 week, don’t increase to 20 minutes the next. Try up to 5 minute increases each week. We sometimes tell our patients that if they are running every other day up to 4 days per week, try adding 1-2 minutes onto each run for the week for a total of about 5 minute increase in time per week.

As for weight training, try to only increase your resistance if your form is perfect for 2-3 repetitions in addition to your planned repetition stopping point. For example, if you had planned to do 10 repetitions with 50 lbs, if you could perform 12 repetitions with 50 lbs with perfect form, you would be able to lift the next time with 10% more weight (55 lbs) at 10 repetitions.

As to not sound redundant, most of the overuse injuries can be prevented with a gradual training program and adequate rest. But for those athletes just starting out without knowledge of their own body, it’s best to see a sports medicine specialist (physical therapist, orthopedic surgeon, athletic trainer, some well-respected personal trainers, contact local triathalon clubs for information on these specialists). These specialists can assess your muscle imbalances and functional strength, assist with appropriate shoe-wear, nutritional requirements, and make necessary training corrections in mechanics to optimize your training.

Are there any training practices specific to triathlon athletes should adhere to?

Triathletes need to understand that the specificity of their training comes from performing 3 consecutive events sustaining a relatively high intensity. Therefore program optimization would be to carry this idea into your cross training as well. For example, Pick 3 consecutive exercises, (push ups, pull ups, squats) and maximize your effort on all 3 for a certain period of time. This type of training develops anaerobic power, or the ability to work through the burn, utilizing large muscle groups. Another example would be to get on a spin bike for a mile as fast as you can, then the treadmill for ¼ mile as fast as you can, then do 1 minute of step ups onto a 8-16 in. box as fast as you can.

Your practice sees many athletes after they have injured themselves. Given your experience, what are some things triathletes can do to prevent injury?

Hydrate! Your muscles need the correct electrolyte balance for optimal contraction. If you are lacking fluids pre- or post- training, your muscles lose efficiency to contract and then you may sacrifice proper technique, cramp, or strain a muscle.

Rest and Nutrition! Sleep is a triathlete’s best, but often unappreciated friend. Plan your training to allow for maximal rest the day or night after your hard training day. Also, periodizing your programs will permit proper work to rest training days working up to the event.

Shoe-wear! A lot easier to say than do, but a proper shoe-wear assessment by a physical therapist, podiatrist, or pedorthist can be a life-saver as your mileage and intensity increases. Also, make sure you have 2 pairs of shoes to rotate at least 48 hours between because the EVA rubber in the shoe heats up and needs time to cool down to regain its properties.

Professional Movement Assessment! Along the same lines as a shoewear assessment, a physical therapist can assess the entire body from heel strike to leg swing, from pedal stroke to breast stroke to determine faulty kinetic links in your triathlete body. Many times overuse strains and sprains can be prevented before heavy training begins by a full body athletic movement assessment.

What role does technique play in athletic performance and injury prevention?

Technique can affect efficiency and spinal control. Many overuse injuries come from your muscles’ inability to slow a body part down. This is called an eccentric contraction, and this type of contraction is where muscle strains show their ugly heads…usually right when you are pushing to the next level of training. The overuse injury can often be avoided by improving your efficiency of movement, in other words optimize your muscle’s overall ability to contract, especially eccentrically.

As for spinal control, excess spinal motion leads to uneven wear on your spine’s joints. It also leads to unwanted motion that your extremities need to control. Say you use your quadriceps muscles 10% more when cycling by leaning side to side vs. keep your spine still. You are already fatiguing yourself for the run portion, and the extra 10% muscle use can affect your technique in the last leg of the race

What are the most common injuries you see in triathletes and how can they help prevent them?

Overuse injuries- The “ itis’s “(tendonitis, bursitis) Usually at the foot, ankle, knee, hip, shoulder. Usually caused when training is increased too dramatically too soon, or when the body has not rested the necessary amount.

Stress Fractures- especially of the navicular in the foot and top of tibia in the leg. In women stress fractures may be more prominent, especially in the leaner female triathlete, where the body fat percentage is low.

Joint Pains/Muscle strains- Cause by muscle imbalances, overtraining, poor knee alignment, hip abductor weakness, incorrect shoe-wear, improper postural habits while cycling.

I wholeheartedly recommend them and if you have questions feel free to contact them at:

Elite Physical Therapy
2630 E. 7th Street, Suite 206 •Charlotte, NC 28204
Office: 704.333.1052 • Fax: 704.333.1054

Here’s alittle about them:

“Kelly Floyd, president and owner, graduated with a Masters in Physical Therapy from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Kelly is an active triathlete and former collegiate basketball player as well.

Joe and Lesley Tedesco graduated with their Doctorates in Physical Therapy from Duke University and are also Certified Athletic Trainers. In addition, Joe is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. As former athletic trainers for the University of Florida, Joe cared for the men’s basketball team and Lesley worked with the women’s volleyball team. Both have experience initiating functional training programs to professional, collegiate, and high school athletes.

At Elite Physical Therapy, we emphasize a hands-on-approach to treatment of orthopedic dysfunction of the spine and extremities. Our services also include movement assessment rehabilitation, injury prevention programs, therapeutic massage and/or strength and conditioning consultation for all sports and fitness levels.

We believe in community outreach and promise dedication to excellence using effective programs to keep our community’s athletes healthy now and in the future!”

Pedaling Technique

Like swimming, and running, there is technique to cycling. More specifically, there is a technique for optimizing your pedaling. If you’re going to on your bike a few hours, why not do it right from the beginning.

I found a terrific excerpt from a book that was recommended to me by a friend/triathlete. Click here for the book, Swim, Bike, Run. One of the authors is Wes Hobson who runs Triathlon Camps. He also co-authored the DVD, Science of Triathlon, available at our online store.

“Many studies have focused on pedaling mechanics. Just as we think we know everything we need to know, we learn more. Knowledge evolves as more discoveries are made and as theories are developed, proved, disproved, and overturned. The simple act of pedaling has seen many of these evolutions, with elliptical chain rings, one-directional cranks, camming cranks, power cranks, and vastly differing technical advice (supply power 360 degrees, pull up on the backstroke, lower your heels, point your toes, and so on). We like to keep it simple. The pedal stroke hinges on a simple motion: moving in a circle, the most mathematically perfect shape in the world.

When pedaling, think, circles: nice, smooth, round, perfect circles. This may sound like we’re telling you to supply power 360 degrees, but we’re not—this concept has been disproved. Human anatomy dictates that more power is available in the pushing downward phase with the strong quadriceps muscles than in the pulling up with the hamstrings. Go ahead and imagine supplying power all the way around, but don’t get hung up on the idea: don’t overcompensate at any point in the circle. Keep it smooth. Imagine your thighs are piston-driven levers and your calves connecting rods. Keep the pistons moving up and down with a nice, regular rhythm thighs doing most of the work, while the lower leg travels a relaxed circle. The connecting rods transfer that power smoothly to the pedal. You’ll need a smooth and quick cadence, as it is nearly impossible to perform at a low rpm.

Your calves, hamstrings, and gluteals supply a lot more power than you may feel or realize. After months or years of riding diligently, you may notice the greatest muscle mass change in your hamstrings first, then your calves, butt, and finally quads; inexperienced riders may notice quad development first. All these muscles are employed to complete a simple circular, mechanical action. Keeping it all smooth by balancing the work over these muscle groups is the key to efficient power transfer to your pedals.

Riders debate over foot angle: should it be level, toes down, heel down, or what? The answer: relax and do what comes natural. Don’t make a conscientious effort to alter the angle. Keep thinking circles, relax, and don’t lock up. Experiment however, under different conditions. When climbing a steep hill, try dropping your heels a bit; this works for many but also may work only if you change other body mechanics (more on this later). In any case, dropping your heels employs the calf muscles more, supplying additional power. Pointing your toes can be effective during high-cadence spinning workouts to reduce “hopping” in the saddle. But be careful, don’t make this a habit, as pointed toes keep calf muscles contracted and can lead to cramping, especially when transitioning to the run phase.”

Click here for the excerpt

Improve Your Time Trials Results

This was sent to me in email and I thought I would pass it along. I’ve done this cycling time trial several times and it’s really cool doing it at Lowes Motor Speedway.

How Will You Improve Your 2008 Time Trials Results?

If you’re time trialing as well as you ever thought possible, or
you know all there is to know about time trialing, stop and delete
this e-mail. For the rest of us, you must be at the Time Trial
Seminar @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway, February 9, 2008 – 1:00 – 5:00

Okay, so Saturday afternoons is the time when you ride your bike with
your buddies. So consider this, in a few short months, you’ll be back
on the track riding until you’re about ready to drop. The information
you learn at the TT Seminar could make the difference between an okay
and a GREAT Time Trial season. What’s it going to be for you? Come
learn how to improve your time trialing, or just do another bike ride
with your buddies?

Lowe’s Motor Speedway Media Center

February 9, 2008 – 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.

$25.00 adults – $12.50 under 18 and collegiate

Preregister click here > ActiveZach

Don’t get left out. Seminar limited to 150 people.

If not sold out – $35.00 at the door for everyone

Some of the topics that be will covered:

How to make sure your TT is a success

Do’s & Don’ts on the track

Buying speed – Items that will get you the most speed for the

How to focus on your TT & Lap counting techniques

Drink & Food for Basic Training

Basic set-up of your road bike – How to improve your position for a

How to identify your weakness and set up a TT self vs. formal
training program

Do’s/Don’ts on food and hydration types and use of sports

TT bike/rider position optimization

Pre-race prep and warm-up for 10 mile & 40k TT events

Wind Tunnel Testing – What is it & what can it do for cyclists?

Learn From the Best

Chad Andrews – Per4mance Training

Andy Applegate – Velosports Performance Center

Mike Giraud – A2 Wind Tunnel

Bruce Guild – Cool Breeze Cyclery

Jim O’Brien – The Right Gear

The Speedway Media Center is located in the infield of the track,
behind the Sunoco gas pumps and the Winners Circle. Doors open at
noon and the seminar starts promptly at 1:00 pm

Pre-register click here > ActiveZach