Below you'll find our currently featured blog article, plus links to our entire collection of posts organized into the following categories:
This collection of blog articles addresses topics such as indoor cycle training techniques, correct hydration, how to setup your exercise or stationary bike and biometric information on some of the rides we offer. We even have a thought provoking series of posts that looks at cycling from the perspective of Chinese medicine.
By Brian Maldonado, Guest Contributor and Owner of Précis Velo
The time to take the bike out for the inaugural Spring ride is approaching, the moment of truth. The transition from trainer to road riding
should be seamless as far as technique is concerned. Practice the pedaling technique I discussed in the last article on the flat segments
of road and keep the eyes on the road ahead. Wally will be nipping at the heels and follow through with the movement of the torso, the
hike of the hip and driving the knee upward and then forward.
When you begin questioning your sanity, it will be so easy to throw in the towel. Two features may help keep you remain on track, the first is that elite athletes do perform these sequences; their movement sequence is very precise and second nature (if you ask them, chances are they won't be able to tell you what they do unless they have read these articles!). Secondly, you will encounter a brief moment when you feel that you cobble a nice sequence together; when you can sense that for yourself, in your very unique way, only then will you feel this is a valuable way to spend your time. One added bonus from these techniques is a better sense of balance and stability on the bike, which ought to be confidence building.
Hand placement is your decision, just because it's a headwind does not mean you have to tuck into a position that you are not accustomed to and have not practiced. How often do you see riders looking tense, eye balls ready to pop from the sockets when they face a headwind. Remaining relaxed means that you are still working hard but the effort is focused, with a full body effort. After all it's just wind! Let someone else worry about it.
Keep the hands, elbows and shoulders relaxed; when you need them for any reason whatsoever, they will be there for you. Besides, overall comfort is improved. The down pressure with the hand supports and guides the movement of the torso from side to side. If you need to grip, then grip.
What is available from your repertoire of cycling skills? If you are like most riders, your "downstroke" effort will be all tapped out. If you subscribe to the notion of the "Wally" technique, then accessing the upstroke is a viable option to you. No doubt this is appealing conceptually, you need to try it out and experience the difference. Accessing the upstroke now, calls for a higher physiological demand, which may not be available to you. How should you negotiate that issue? It will take practice to ensure you are capturing the features of the upstroke, and as you do so, you should consider easing up on the downstroke effort to make "space" for the demands of the upstroke. By spreading the wealth you will be able to ride into the wind for a longer period and with greater confidence. Knowing that the coffee shop is around the bend will ease the sting, reward yourself for all that hard work!
An uphill section of road can also be a nightmare for some riders. You've seen it before, anxiety builds in the group as the base of the climb, and momentum builds for the charge of the light brigade, hoping it will carry them to the top. Inevitably the three bears climb on about a third of the way up, the torso begins to bop up and down and riders drop the heels on the downstroke. What this means is that the effort disappears into thin air, score one for the hill.
What should you do? Follow the "Wally" technique you are learning, and going slower may work in your favor to some extent, in that it gives you just a bit more time to sequence the movement. Apply pressure on the downstroke and as soon as you run out of "square" you are done, time to switch to the back sweep. Keep roughly the same degree of bend in the ankles throughout the pedal stroke (don't allow the foot to dangle on the upstroke).
I hope these articles have been of help. Enjoy your cycling exploits. Wally is nipping at your heels, so better get a move on!
Brian is a Physical Therapist, previously working in Sub-Acute and Long Term Care settings in
Minneapolis-St. Paul and vicinity. Brian is the owner of Précis Velo
business dedicated to the Performance Movement Patterns approach in cycling; developing video-based
training tools and the first detailed video analyses of elite and amateur performances with Dartfish
technology (http://www.dartfish.tv/precisvelo). Education:
University of Western Ontario, Canada (MSc); Rush University, Chicago, IL (PhD, Biochemistry); University of
Minnesota (Masters in Physical Therapy).