Thursday, August 13, 2009

What's a better investments? More Aero vs.Weight or Pedal Stroke?

It's pretty funny how many times you have a person go to some bike shop, to have a sales person voice their advice on what you need to gain speed!

Has the voice done it's homework? Where does their approach to the game come?

I think many want a competent coach who will help correct you defects, a "how-to" authority, but has that authority methodically analyzed every aspect of the sport?

What are the role of the arms? What about the relationships of your muscles? When do you wrestle vs. relax? What about the shape and constraints of the spine? Do muscles move the bone or does the bone move the muscles?

Many discuss equipment, and position, but is there a position? Better is it to think of it as a zone that allows you the personal intricacies that allow balance, rhythm, and routine. Some are selling the idea that (aero + momentum + mass) and its proportional relationships are not going to going affect you on a tt bike? What about the hills that involves power rather than speed, wind resistance is less of a factor because you are going slower, so the weight kicks in. What about acceleration, braking, handling?

Do we not have to use more muscle energy to accelerate a heavier bike? As we know it, most of the world is not level, so many times what has gone down in a wind tunnel is not real world. Attacks very often happen on hills. So if you are looking for the smallest of % of edge, the disadvantage of a heavy bike should be obvious on a start, getting up to speed, braking and very obvious on hills.

Every person we have worked with, and many have won national championships in their aged races put together the lightest tt bike they can - every little bit helps. A race is not just about being more aero on flat ground. You have to fire your muscles in the correct order and avoid all useless tension, in order to move on down the road.

Aerodynamics is very important, but to what cost?

To what point is it better to sacrifice light weight for better aerodynamics? It's very hard to say. Not too long ago, we had a gal win a national championship on her road bike? She did not have the money to buy a full on tt bike. At the time, we informed her it was better to work on her muscles firing, her pedal stroke and she reached her goal, winning her age tt championships.

So when you go shopping for a new tt bike, aero is good but also look at the weight! We have had a few pro teams that have their butt handed to them in tt due to the weight of their tt bikes. Their tt bikes also flexed too much at the bottom bracket, but they looked cool. Careful what you hear. If you want to go faster, being able to get up to top speed is a real issue, and yes you will note the difference on any hill. Careful on what you invest you money regarding aero bikes. Some of them are real tanks. Don't forget the weight of x,y,z, brand aero bars that can add some very weight.

It's best to get your muscles working correctly on your choice of bike and aero setup and do your time. You would be amazed how few people know how to pedal or even work a bike? Do you work the bike under the upper body or do you work the body over the bike? We know you make more power is the body is not moving in all directions. As for the pedal stroke, it is not done in one fashion (toe down vs. heel down). That is the very reason is it takes much effort to earn & learn each stroke. You can't buy it! You have to practice it!

If you are willing to learn how to pedal, getting your biked dialed, do the homework,the results will come as with M.D. Kris Walker who is coached by Hunter Allen. She had a goal and went after it. Dr. Walker has raced for years, has won a national championship before, but still had to change her brain, she worked hard on her stroke's and her game got better!

A rider must discipline themself. You have to practice each stroke and it's not easy!


Hi Tom,
Just wanted to thank you for the fit! As you now know, it worked very well and allowed me to achieve my goal--winning the masters nationals time trial. Sorry I didn't let you know sooner, it has been crazy. I talk up your fit every chance that I get and am trying to get Barries to get your fit in the store instead of the Specialized system. I think Jonathan is going to come over and get a fit with you. I'd still like to get you over to Pocatello to do a day or 2 of fits, plus do you do cyclocross fits? Anyway, thanks so much for fitting me in--it helped a ton. I now tell people that want bike fits that there are many "systems" but if they want to go faster, go with wobblenaught.
MD. Kris Walker National TT Champion

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