Friday, June 06, 2008

Controlled Fury! Some Explosive Thoughts!

The faster you move your feet through impact, the more energy that goes into each stroke. That's a simple equation, but obtaining foot speed and power on the down-stroke is easier said then done.

Practice makes permanent! Your goal may be unattainable - to groove your pedal stroke to the extent that you make each of the 5,000 stokes perfect! There is only one way that's going to happen. Practice!

A problem almost every rider encounters is rushing the down-stroke-letting loose with everything you have the moment you want to go! The brain outrace the feet and most of the foot speed is expended too soon and the foot is actually losing speed as it strikes the pedal when it should be accelerating!

No doubt about it, the toughest thing that can happen to you while in a pack is when someone attacks at the front of the pack "shake & bake" take off, causing a delayed reaction to the last person in the back, and if you are at the back, the guy on the front really puts some distance on you.

When you follow races, you see this happen all the time. But it seems very few work on this part of their game? Perhaps a overhaul of your pedal stroke is needed?

I think in every sport, choosing a particular player to model your pedal stroke after is hard. Perhaps even counterproductive! You need to take into consideration the player's height and build. Tall and thin vs. short and stocky affects your foot (windup) speed.

Never judge your practice sessions on how long you practiced the pedal stroke. Many times most productive practice sessions regarding the pedal stroke are much shorter in time. If you spend a ton of time doing the wrong thing the body will keep that stroke.

We are lucky to be in an era where so many technological resources are available to optimize our performance. There are many ways to get an edge, and technology is on of them.
"The key is to be open-minded toward any innovation that can potentially make you better."
We use Dartfish as a tool on critiquing your pedal stroke, to see if the tiniest of flaws that you might be able to work on. We want to build an action to last. Just understand that a overhaul can take more than a year before the changes really start to kick in. There is no guesswork, it is cause and effect that enables you to pinpoint the reason immediately.
"There are always prospect of ever greater breakthroughs. It is a life time sport."

The point to this story is that the pedal stroke will always be a work in progress regardless of how good you are. The goal is to have the pedal stroke that is mechanically sound, repeatable, works with every gear and holds up under pressure. We don't know if anyone will ever achieve a state of perfection-no one has! But, you should keep trying!

When people come in to get fit, they don't seem to know how to make more speed with their feet. They don't seem to think about it, they just muscle it? Part of the reason is many saddles lock them into one position. They ride and ride, perhaps working on a smooth tempo? Then come game day, that is all their brain and muscle can do during that event!

Making the transition from a smooth tempo in pedal stroke to an all out attack is tricky. It is not as easy as you might think. Some times working harder is not very effective.

Next time you go for a ride, spent some time working on your CG over the bottom bracket and accelerating through impact, along with your follow-through of your feet.

It takes time to wind-up the foot speed. That means you can't muscle it. You need to lighten the pressure on your feet and that increases your ability to generate speed, and speed is necessary at given times.

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