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Old 08-03-08, 12:31 PM   #1
backinthesaddle
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riding in the drops -- breakthrough

Well after 3 years of riding, my belly roll has shrunk enough that this past week I suddenly found I can ride comfortably in the drops again!

Feels like I bought a new bike -- better steering and control, more "at one with the bike", and best more leg power (and for someone as slow as me that's important)

Now I recall that in my youth I rode almost always in the drops. So it's also like finding an old friend.

I'm looking forward to more of this.
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Old 08-03-08, 12:45 PM   #2
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Took me 6 months after getting a road bike before I could ride the drops comfortably. Previous top this- I was only using the drops downhill so I could reach the brakes more efficiently. 20 Seconds or so was all I could manage before the backache came in and I had to get more upright. I still only use the drops for headwind or if I want that extra 1 or2 mph- I find it more comfortable to ride on the hoods.

And on the 12 pack- watch out for it when deciding to hammer up the inclines in the drops. The knees and belly still make contact.
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Old 08-03-08, 12:53 PM   #3
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I'm in a simillar position (pun intended). After 5 years riding I can finally stay in the drops for somewhat extended periods. I think in my case the problem was (is) core strength. I have been doing more core workouts, and now my back only gets sore when pushing hard but pain goes away after backing off a bit. Sure is worth it to get aero and mitigate the wind to some extent though.
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Old 08-03-08, 02:26 PM   #4
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i'm like back in the saddle.... riding in the drops when i was a kid was the norm. it IS like finding an old friend. i find now that i am more comfortable in the drops than not. especially on long rides.

be well,

jim
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Old 08-03-08, 05:28 PM   #5
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i'm like back in the saddle.... riding in the drops when i was a kid was the norm. it IS like finding an old friend. i find now that i am more comfortable in the drops than not. especially on long rides.

be well,

jim

Glad to find I'm not the only one!

One thing I realize, though, is that I set up my bike kind of "old school" with the top of the bars at the same height as the top of the saddle. On a lot of the newer bikes, the drop to the top of the bars is as much as to the drops on my setup. Which means that some of you with newer bikes may be riding more in a dropped position when you're on the tops, than I am in the drops. ??? does this make any sense or do I have to rewrite it?
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Old 08-03-08, 09:26 PM   #6
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If I'm in the drops, I'm either bucking a head wind, or I just got dropped by some other old fogy, and am trying desperately to catch up! Might be different if I hadn't been breathing so deeply that my lungs hang over my belt.
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Old 08-04-08, 06:59 AM   #7
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Glad to find I'm not the only one!

One thing I realize, though, is that I set up my bike kind of "old school" with the top of the bars at the same height as the top of the saddle. On a lot of the newer bikes, the drop to the top of the bars is as much as to the drops on my setup. Which means that some of you with newer bikes may be riding more in a dropped position when you're on the tops, than I am in the drops. ??? does this make any sense or do I have to rewrite it?
The effect of "riding in the drops" is that the rider is more aero. Depending on bike fit and set up most riders will see an aero advantage by riding in the drops because their shoulders will be lower, thus catching less air. To some extent there is a power advantage if the rider is in a position to apply more force to the pedals. You may see some post using the term "flipping the stem". By flipping the stem to a lower or even negative angle the top of the bars will be lower than the seat height. Even with older style quill stems the bars can be lowered to have a more agressive fit. The key to riding in the drops is being able to have the core strength to support your upper body weight as it's weight has been moved froward causing additional work on the shoulders, arms and hands. One way to get more aero and spend more time in the drops is to make small adjustments to the seat/bar height. Once you are comfortable riding for extended time in the drops you can drop the bar height a little more, ride until comfrotable, then drop the bar again and so on...

Over the past year I've flipped my stem and even took out two of the spacers that came on my Roubaix. I don't even think about how long I've been in the drops anymore, where I used to be reminded by the pain in my shoulders and hands.
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Old 08-04-08, 02:44 PM   #8
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Glad to find I'm not the only one!

One thing I realize, though, is that I set up my bike kind of "old school" with the top of the bars at the same height as the top of the saddle. On a lot of the newer bikes, the drop to the top of the bars is as much as to the drops on my setup. Which means that some of you with newer bikes may be riding more in a dropped position when you're on the tops, than I am in the drops. ??? does this make any sense or do I have to rewrite it?
I actually set up my bike with the bars a bit above the seat. Took me a long time to get flexible enough to ride in the drops comfortably. Although I suspect I'm still not very aero, it's good enough for me.

OT: I saw your location listed as Alameda, CA. I was there a week ago visiting my brother -- it's a really nice little island, especially considering it's proximity to Oakland.
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Old 08-04-08, 04:24 PM   #9
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OT: I saw your location listed as Alameda, CA. I was there a week ago visiting my brother -- it's a really nice little island, especially considering it's proximity to Oakland.
I enjoy Alameda, but Oakland is really nice too, much better than its reputation, and has some great bike riding. I do most of my training rides in Alameda, most of my fun rides in Oakland.
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