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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 06-03-13, 11:52 PM   #1
bike4fun12
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Flipping the Stem! soreness in some places

hello fellow Clydes/Athenas. so, I flipped the stem finally. I had a little soreness in the neck and lower back. slight, but, it was there. it's been a few rides and still a little sore. Just wondering if this will eventually go away with miles/time riding?

I had the stem up, it was comfortable and no there was no soreness but with the new position that I have, I feel faster and also feel like I am putting more power into my stride, which I like.

any opinions or advice on anything to reduce/get rid of the soreness would be much appreciated. thanks
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Old 06-04-13, 12:09 AM   #2
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your body/ muscles are getting used to those new positions and like all muscles, takes time to get stronger. How long are you on the bike when it starts to get sore?
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Old 06-04-13, 12:58 AM   #3
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Just ride more and eventually it will go away. Happened to me but I'm 20.
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Old 06-04-13, 01:04 AM   #4
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I feel it after maybe 10 miles. it doesn't get to the point of pain. so, I can keep riding.

the soreness does go away within 15 minutes after a ride. so, not to worried about it at this point. Like chris said, I think riding more miles and eventually, the body will get used to it. I hope.

but, ballpark....how long should the soreness be around for? should I be worried or flip the stem back if the soreness remains after a few months of riding?
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Old 06-04-13, 01:20 AM   #5
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You forgot to mention if you're riding in the drops or hoods.
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Old 06-04-13, 01:28 AM   #6
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Why did you flip your stem?

And do you have proof you are going faster, such as a time trial over a measured distance in the same weather conditions?
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Old 06-04-13, 01:53 AM   #7
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riding on the hoods. drops sometimes, but mostly hoods.

no time trial proof, but I have been about 0.5 mph avg faster on my daily ride. according to my garmin. not sure if that is placebo or maybe just me trying a little harder. I feel the same tiredness after my rides. but, just neck and lower back soreness.
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Old 06-04-13, 01:54 AM   #8
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Why did you flip your stem?
I just wanted to. I have no real reason. I just wanted to give it a try. I can always go back.
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Old 06-04-13, 02:00 AM   #9
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riding on the hoods. drops sometimes, but mostly hoods.

no time trial proof, but I have been about 0.5 mph avg faster on my daily ride. according to my garmin. not sure if that is placebo or maybe just me trying a little harder. I feel the same tiredness after my rides. but, just neck and lower back soreness.
There aren't many people who would flip their stem and go from a comfortable position on their bike to one that causes them grief. For no significant gains.

I am all for tinkering with bike fit as C&As change their body shape, improve their flexibility and gain core strength. But this just seems like too radical a move right now. You are supposed to ride to enjoy, not suffer discomfort all the time.

Your increased average speed may well be to do with weight loss and improved cardio-vascular fitness. I'd leave the fine-tuning of the bike until the engine has been well and truly refined.
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Old 06-04-13, 03:09 AM   #10
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There aren't many people who would flip their stem and go from a comfortable position on their bike to one that causes them grief. For no significant gains.

I am all for tinkering with bike fit as C&As change their body shape, improve their flexibility and gain core strength. But this just seems like too radical a move right now. You are supposed to ride to enjoy, not suffer discomfort all the time.

Your increased average speed may well be to do with weight loss and improved cardio-vascular fitness. I'd leave the fine-tuning of the bike until the engine has been well and truly refined.
Thanks Rowan. you make very good points. I did just do it on a whim. I felt like I was ready enough to flip it. Maybe I will give it a couple more weeks and see what happens. I am doing some core training pretty much everyday.
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Old 06-04-13, 03:57 AM   #11
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Thanks Rowan. you make very good points. I did just do it on a whim. I felt like I was ready enough to flip it. Maybe I will give it a couple more weeks and see what happens. I am doing some core training pretty much everyday.
Fair enough. We have to experiment sometimes and I am for all that, too. That core work will also have benefits right through your riding.
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Old 06-04-13, 06:08 AM   #12
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I tested lowering my bars and flipping my stem over the last 2.5 years. If I could ride in the drops most of my longish weekend ride, 40 to 50 miles, without discomfort I would remove one spacer or flip the stem. I'd then go back to spending more time in the hoods and gradually work back to the drops. I didn't need a power meter to notice I was faster as I got lower. I've got my bars all the way down now which is still not a dramatic amount of drop as I'm riding a frame that is on the large size for me.

As I was going though the above if I got sore I'd revert back to my previous setup and spend more time in the drops. Maybe I built some core strength doing this? Anyway I wouldn't ride sore as it just diminished the fun. The other thing I had to watch was my weight. If I dropped too much my belly would get in the way of my breathing, a sure sign to go back to my previous setup and work more on the weight loss.

Good luck!
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Old 06-04-13, 10:21 AM   #13
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bike4fun12, I'm assuming that you have never had a "pro fit". Somewhat agree with Rowan. Why fix what isn't broken? Just because the racer-wannabes think stems should be flipped doesn't mean it is best for everyone. If the pain doesn't go away if a week or so, or after some mid-long rides, then put it back. A half-mile per hour gain isn't worth the discomfort. If you are constantly in pain, you'll probably stop riding.
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Old 06-04-13, 10:32 AM   #14
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+1 what volosong said. Set your bike up for a proper fit.
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Old 06-04-13, 11:18 AM   #15
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A half-mile per hour gain isn't worth the discomfort.
No doubt I've got issues and you don't ride in the circles I do. I'd crawl naked over gravel if I thought it would get me a half-mile per hour gain.
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Old 06-04-13, 11:58 AM   #16
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Thanks guys for the advice. I totally agree with the comfort comes first aspect of road cycling. I just wanted to give it a try is all. riding is still fun, just with a little soreness. I'll give it a go for a little bit longer and then flip the stem back if the discomfort continues.

I've never had a pro bike fit. maybe now is a good time to get one.
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Old 06-04-13, 10:35 PM   #17
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flipping the stem both lowers AND lengthens the cockpit... I would remove a small spacer at a time and then move on from that...

use this as a guide http://yojimg.net/bike/web_tools/stem.php and know that 5mm can make a huge difference (good or bad)
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Old 06-05-13, 12:36 AM   #18
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thanks, donalson. according to the math, my stem is 4mm longer in reach and 10mm lower when flipped.

today's ride (20 miles) was not bad at all. hardly any soreness during or after. I'm a clyde by definition. but, I have always be athletic. soccer, lacrosse and baseball were my main sports growing up. but, I've played numerous more. I just gained the freshman 20 in college.....more like 50. lol

golf is now a sport I do mostly. I do attribute some flexibility that I have to golf.
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Old 06-05-13, 09:57 AM   #19
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nothing wrong with a good experiment.

I last year i tried taking out a spacer after spacer and getting lower and lower, all in the pursuit of SPEED. All I found was a bit less enjoyable ride and not much speed gains. So i went back to the original set up and just worked on the leg getting stronger for speed. Enjoyed that better.

This year is different i have gone the other way, flipped the stem up and added a spacer. I got 10lbs fatter and my flexibility is lacking so i tried this new set up. not any slower or faster and i haven't broken in the body enough yet to say if i like it over the original.

Just do what makes you comforatable, the more comforatable you are, the longer you will ride, also ride more frequent. The longer you ride and the more frequent you ride, the faster you will get. then you will soon get to a speed where lowering the bars will actually make more of a difference.
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Old 06-05-13, 02:17 PM   #20
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I totally see what you are saying, CJ C.

I believe the more you ride, the faster and more comfortable you get to your bike.
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Old 06-22-13, 06:23 PM   #21
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Any updates on your soreness? I've been thinking about doing this for awhile now.
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