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Old 08-12-07, 06:39 PM   #1
Jet Travis
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That Silky Smooth Ride

After two days consecutive days of fairly hard riding, I decided to focus on simply riding with a silky smooth pedal stroke. I also decided that my breathing should be smooth and easy and that all my other movements on the bike should be completely relaxed. I guess this would be a recovery ride to some, but my main focus was, simply, on keeping everything smooth.

I was astonished how pleasant the ride was and how quickly an hour went by. I didn't have my computer on the bike but my perception was that my speed was nearly as fast as when I'm hammering.
I think I need more of these rides.

Anyone else have similar experiences?
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Old 08-12-07, 06:47 PM   #2
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That's one of the joys of riding a fixie - they reward smooth riding and tell you about rough riding.

On my fixie, I'll often hit 40km/hr going down hills which, with gearing, works out to a cadence of 145 - get it wrong and you bounce like crazy, get it smooth and it feels like you're part of a turbine and man does that feel good.

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Old 08-12-07, 09:40 PM   #3
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I've always been a fairly smooth spinner. I normally perform all the necessary movements like drinking, etc. quite easily. I've never paid much attention to breathing. Perhaps I should.
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Old 08-12-07, 10:59 PM   #4
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Blantent thread jack here. Louis,when are your friends moving into their new home on Vancouver Island ? "The best place on earth" We now return you back to your normal programing.

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Old 08-12-07, 11:18 PM   #5
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My daughter #4 is moving to Vancouver in three weeks.
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Old 08-12-07, 11:22 PM   #6
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Blantent thread jack here. Louis,when are your friends moving into their new home on Vancouver Island ? "The best place on earth" Now back to ypur normal programe.
We just saw them on Weds, and Sept. 19th was mentioned as the date. They found a buyer for their house, so all is on schedule. I printed up those other threads for them and they were delighted. Thanks for asking.
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Old 08-13-07, 04:37 AM   #7
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With regard to breathing. Exhale firmly and let the body inhale without straining. This is supposed to result in more air transfer with less effort. It seems to work for me on long steady low percent climb uphills but it could be that thats the only place I remember to do it.
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Old 08-13-07, 06:11 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Jet Travis View Post
After two days consecutive days of fairly hard riding, I decided to focus on simply riding with a silky smooth pedal stroke. I also decided that my breathing should be smooth and easy and that all my other movements on the bike should be completely relaxed. I guess this would be a recovery ride to some, but my main focus was, simply, on keeping everything smooth.

I was astonished how pleasant the ride was and how quickly an hour went by. I didn't have my computer on the bike but my perception was that my speed was nearly as fast as when I'm hammering.
I think I need more of these rides.

Anyone else have similar experiences?
I was just going to post a similar thread, but from the opposite track. I am trying to do that smooth circular pedaling, but am having problems doing it consistently. Whenever I stop reminding myself, I go back to hammering. Can you teach an old Fox new tricks?
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Old 08-13-07, 06:36 AM   #9
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Try this tip from Greg Lemond. Imagine that you are trying to scape mud off the bottom of your shoes when you are at the bottom of each pedal stroke. It will help you begin to pull up on the pedal. Also try it at a faster cadence.
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Old 08-13-07, 08:41 AM   #10
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Try this tip from Greg Lemond. Imagine that you are trying to scape mud off the bottom of your shoes when you are at the bottom of each pedal stroke. It will help you begin to pull up on the pedal. Also try it at a faster cadence.
Thanks - I can do it just fine, when I remember. The remembering is the hard part!
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Old 08-13-07, 08:53 AM   #11
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The fastest I can pedal is about 130 rpm, and then I'm just trying not to bounce off the saddle, and can't put much power into the stroke.

Last winter, I rode through the park on my mountain bike after 2 inches of new snow had fallen. If my balance on the bike was slightly off center, the front tire would start sliding out. It's interesting how much I depend on steering to balance and ride a straight line, instead of just staying centered on the bike.

All those small steering movements have to affect the efficiency of the ride, too. I see some riders, mostly masher types, where the bike moves sideways with every pedal stroke. You can hear the tires scrubbing, too.
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Old 08-13-07, 09:38 PM   #12
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I had a really, really good ride today.

I started out going as slow as I could stand going for the first 5 miles, then a bit faster for the next 5, then a bit faster for the next 5, etc. I ended up doing 52 miles, and by the last 8 or 10, I was sailing along at a much faster average than usual...and pedaling much smoother and rounder strokes.

I even had a flat right in front of a little park area, with shade and grass and a nice restroom facility.

When I finished I wasn't the least bit tired, my average speed was about the same as usual...but I had a lot more fun. Which is bordering on criminal, because I always have fun on my bike.
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Old 08-13-07, 10:36 PM   #13
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Another analogy I've read is to pedal like you are walking up stairs. The lifting, the pushing, the balance and transfer of weight. Works pretty well, I guess. I never thought of it before exactly like that, but that's pretty much how I breath, too, when I climb -never focused on it much on the flats or light inclines- but at the bottom of my left foot stroke, I inhale deeply -from the gut- for half a stroke. When my left foot hits the top, I hold in my breath until my right foot comes back around to the top, then exhale through one full revolution. It keeps my breathing even and in tempo with my efforts. Seems to help me as much as anything can.

But, yeah, certainly not on JT's level but I've had rides where everything just seemed to flow.
Sometimes it's when I focus on it, sometimes I don't even know why. But it does always feel good.
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Old 08-13-07, 11:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jet Travis View Post
After two days consecutive days of fairly hard riding, I decided to focus on simply riding with a silky smooth pedal stroke....
I was astonished how pleasant the ride was and how quickly an hour went by. I didn't have my computer on the bike but my perception was that my speed was nearly as fast as when I'm hammering.
I think I need more of these rides.
Anyone else have similar experiences?
Yes, but it happens not as often as I;d like.
Those are magic days and rides. Even when you put the power thru, it just seems to flow through. Really seems as much a state of mind as anything else.
Even on days I expect to do a hard training session, I try to warmup with the 'smooth' in mind. Feel the circular motion of the stroke, each deep breath, without consciously trying to 'alter' either. Sometimes the warmup is so good it carries into the training workout. Best would be to be able to kick in that mood at any time, on any ride. Shame it doesn't happen often enough.
The old idea of having 'form'. Thankfully its happening more often. Yeah, its magic
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Old 08-14-07, 09:16 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Jet Travis View Post
I decided to focus on simply riding with a silky smooth pedal stroke. I also decided that my breathing should be smooth and easy and that all my other movements on the bike should be completely relaxed.
Anyone else have similar experiences?
Yeah, after several weeks getting used to riding rollers. I can't think of anything that builds a smooth stroke quicker than riding rollers. You stay smooth or you get bruised.
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Old 08-14-07, 10:00 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jet Travis View Post
After two days consecutive days of fairly hard riding, I decided to focus on simply riding with a silky smooth pedal stroke. I also decided that my breathing should be smooth and easy and that all my other movements on the bike should be completely relaxed. I guess this would be a recovery ride to some, but my main focus was, simply, on keeping everything smooth.

I was astonished how pleasant the ride was and how quickly an hour went by. I didn't have my computer on the bike but my perception was that my speed was nearly as fast as when I'm hammering.
I think I need more of these rides.

Anyone else have similar experiences?
Yes, that's what I've been trying to do lately. I've had so much going on this last few weeks, I decided to just cruise for a while and try and get my head together. I just got back from a 20 mile ride and I feel, I could do it again. I just looked at the weather and the heat factor is 101, didn't bother me at all.
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Old 08-14-07, 11:23 AM   #17
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It is always good to mix things up a bit. I have some days where I just stay in my small chain ring. I end up just doing a lot of spinning without thinking about speed at all. Other days I may just target a specific HR and not look at speed or cadence. If you just go out and hammer it day after day it gets a bit boring and wears me out on riding.
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Old 08-14-07, 11:27 AM   #18
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Did my regular (alomst daily) 30 miles this morning, and remembered to do circles most of the way. Felt good!
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Old 08-14-07, 01:42 PM   #19
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It is always good to mix things up a bit. I have some days where I just stay in my small chain ring. I end up just doing a lot of spinning without thinking about speed at all.
That is "small" as on the small ring of a double, right? Which is the same as the middle ring on my hybrid triple, which is what I use 99% of the time.

If it were possible to lose the big ring and I did, I might not ever find out.
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Old 08-14-07, 02:19 PM   #20
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Easy way to ride in circles is to Practice. I went to spinning classes and learnt more about pulling up on the pedals than I realised. The gym bikes had toe clips and straps that I really had to keep very tight to do the exercise. Out on the bike a few days after and I found I was pulling the feet off the pedals- on the up stroke. Tightened the pedals and cured it for a month or so- then it was tighten again. Every now and then- I loosen the pedals to see what happens. Surprising how many times I pull out on the upstroke and that is with my normal pedalling stroke.

Now Up severe hills- I lose every thing. I do concentrate on some of the steeper parts of the hill on pulling up on the pedals- as I know that I start putting power in on the Downstroke only. This gets worse by the 3rd hill of the morning- but a couple of years more practice and I might get it right.

Daft thing is that on a flattish ride- I do not think about the pedalling- it is just work the pedals and enjoy the scenery- Couple of times just recently these have been my fastest rides for a while. Couple of rides like this and I start on the hills again. It pays off- No hammering up them- Look around- don't bother about the computer and at the end of the ride- Or at least by the time I get to the cafe-I could go for another 20 miles or so. Just a pity about the Butt ache occasionally.(But even that is getting less.)
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Old 08-14-07, 02:55 PM   #21
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Yes, pulling up on the upstroke is becoming very natural to me. My "pulling up" muscles are getting much stronger. Clipless are ideal for this. I couldn't do this on platforms. It is even hard (but possible) with toe clips.
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