open topic, for anything cycling related.
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We know that its good to maintain a hi-cadence, drop a few gears an spin up hills, etc.
What techniques do you use to vary your pedaling technique. Is it even good to vary the technique? I've always thought that cycling is alot like swimming. It takes many hours on the road to get good, the elite athletes often change frequently etc. I'm doubting swimmers vary thier technique much however they don't have to deal with an altering terrain.
Personally, I find that I use alot more calf when I need to spin on the hills. I also find myself switching to a technique where I pretty much employ the back of the leg / lower back to spin when i need to recovers the main muscles.
My technique might seem odd, but it works for me and some people I know. I ride with an unloaded bike and train normally. I then load the bike with a touring load and drop the speed by a couple of km/h.
This tends to use a different set of muscles in a different way. I also drop down a gear or two and spin up hills. When the bike is unloaded, I don't spin but apply more power.
I also alter my speed on rides. This one is harder than it sounds. Pick a good straight, reasonably flat path and keep your speed to a set amount. Don't go above it or below it. It's harder than it sounds, as stopping the increasing speed is hard when one wants to pedal faster, but I find doing this aids in endurance riding.
Here are a few techniques that I have found useful:
1. Ride with lifting action only instead of pushing on the pedals (provided you have clip in pedals) - This should work the opposite set of muscles to those you normally use when cycling. After a while I find that if you lift and pull at the same time whilst on normal rides, you will ride faster and longer.
2. Interval sprint training - do an all out sprint for 10-20 seconds then cruise for 40-50seconds then repeat as many times as possible. This technique will help sustain longer periods where sprinting or high speeds are required. I find that I can now almost sprint entire bike legs of mini triathlons by practicing this techniue
3. Ride your normal routes standing. - comes in handy when hill climbing
4. Load the bike - I attach a kiddies carry trailer behind (with 2x kids = 35kg) sometimes and try to tackle the nearest hills....I don't do this too often because of the constant "are we there yet???".
Hope that helps
I'm not quite sure what you mean by this statement.
When you say you use a lot more calf, are you implying that you pivot your ankle upwards on the up-stroke, then pivot it down on the down-stroke? If so, I've tried to do that on occasions but find it takes too much concentration and my technique then falls down somewhere else.
Also not sure what you mean by employing your lower back or back of the legs when spinning.
Much like Mr888, I pull up on the pedals when my legs need a break, especially when climbing. It's also good to practice doing this on flats as I find it increases my stamina significantly.
I know what you mean Kev by trying to maintain a lower speed than you body wants to do. I sometimes ride with a friend who doesn't ride that much anymore, and consequently his average speeds are somewhat lower than mine. Just trying to maintain a pace that I know won't burn him out is difficult, but I also find that I can pedal all day if I want.
The most important for me seemed to be focus. If I stay positive with a "can do" attitude, then I'll make it to the top. But with any lapse or doubt, I die and slow down big time... And the death only comes after I crest. Those people who can push up a hill and then continue to generate power and run away over the crest are just incredible.
Otherwise, it's a matter of focusing on the pedaling technique and make sure there's power transferred at every point in the circle.
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I'd say "Bl**dy annoying!" as well as incredible. As sogood said, it is very important (and damned difficult) to sustain a positive attitude, good pedalling technique and controlled breathing up a hill - then carry the impetus over the crest and into the descent, rather than back off. Back off, even just a tiny bit, and some mongrel is going to put a break on you and instead of a nice, restoring descent you've got a chase to get back on the pack.
It's important to be able to power up a hill, because its the most likely place to be dropped.
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