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Old 07-18-11, 01:11 PM   #1
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Maintaining efficient and aerodynamic form on longer rides

Does anyone have any suggestions for staying in efficient and aerodynamic form? Iím able to spin at a high cadence, hold a faster speed, accelerate at will and keep my upper body in position for about two hours of riding. However, once I begin to tire, my cadence slows, speed drops, Iím unable to accelerate at will and I begin to sit upright.

Iím able to regain my form after slacking-off for 10 -15 minutes. However, Iíd like to keep my form for longer periods of time.
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Old 07-18-11, 01:37 PM   #2
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Staying in the aerodynamic position for long periods takes good core muscles. One thing to do is to go OTS every 30-45 minutes for a minute or so to give those muscle groups a break and to recharge. I practice staying aero during the winter when I spend a lot of time on the rollers and trainer by riding in the drops, tops' in the aero tuck, and on the hoods by rotating positions every 5 minutes.

Riding for 2 hrs at a hard pace will use up all the stored fuel from the blood, liver etc.. leaving only fuel from fat and what you are consuming while riding. If you are riding at 800-900 calories/hr you should be eating and drinking 400+ calories/hr. If you have used up the 2hrs of stored fuel and are not eating enough, all the energy that might be available is 300-350 calories/hr from fat. Continuously eating while riding, like the TDF riders, is one way of extending the stored fuel beyond the 2hrs allowing the body to burn more calories/hr. The processes are trainable over time.
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Old 07-18-11, 01:43 PM   #3
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...[snipped for brevity]...
^^^This.

Or, the Clif Notes version: You're working too hard during the first 2 hours.
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Old 07-18-11, 02:15 PM   #4
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I’m riding with a faster rider and can't fully control the pace. We compromise on speed, but still stay in the 19 to 24 mph range for most of the very flat route we use.

It seems that my ability to stay on the drops and hold a higher speed has increased as the year progresses. I’ll ride 75 miles once a week. In April, I was losing form after an hour. Now I’m able to go hard non-stop for twice as long, about 45 to 55 miles, but the last 25 miles are less consistent with faster & slower segments. I am eating and drinking well, with a combination of fruit, an energy bar and a few scoops of Hammer Sustained Energy in a bottle.

What’s strange to me is that my upper body position, cadence and willingness to push hard all drop off at once.
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Old 07-18-11, 02:27 PM   #5
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I think it is common to have that limit, past which things break down. It was 2.5 hours for quite awhile for me, but I kept doing longer rides, and I eliminated the limit. If you routinely do 5 hours, 2.5 becomes a "so what". A'Jet nailed it though: core strength workouts and nutrition/hydration. Also making sure there are no limiting comfort factors, like the wrong saddle. Those things have worked for me.
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Old 07-18-11, 02:28 PM   #6
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What’s strange to me is that my upper body position, cadence and willingness to push hard all drop off at once.
Sounds to me liking you're "hitting the wall".

Last edited by on the path; 07-18-11 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 07-18-11, 02:53 PM   #7
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Too fast too soon but you have found the Cure----

"I’m able to regain my form after slacking-off for 10 -15 minutes"

Thats the time to tell your mate that it is time to smell the roses and while doing it- take a gel -some food and water and rest while you are doing it.

"I’m riding with a faster rider and can't fully control the pace. We compromise on speed, but still stay in the 19 to 24 mph range for most of the very flat route we use."

Compromise a bit more by staying in the slipstream. It's hard work taking your turn too often so don't do it.

I had a mate just like that and I relaxed on the hills. I just dropped off the pace----but it was not too long that on the longer hills I caught him and sat behind or if strong enough- took the lead for the last bit of the hill. Then after a couple of years like this- my mate dropped the pace on the hills and we increased our overral speed and the pair of us were equal.
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Old 07-18-11, 04:32 PM   #8
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Aero bars.
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Old 07-18-11, 05:17 PM   #9
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Not a problem with a recumbent. Lets see---------that would be reason 17 why bents are better.
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Old 07-18-11, 05:19 PM   #10
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Two hours without proper refueling ? That's the dreaded KaBonk wall. I have to constantly remind myself to eat once an hour or everything starts to fall apart.
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Old 07-18-11, 06:00 PM   #11
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Does anyone have any suggestions for staying in efficient and aerodynamic form? Iím able to spin at a high cadence, hold a faster speed, accelerate at will and keep my upper body in position for about two hours of riding. However, once I begin to tire, my cadence slows, speed drops, Iím unable to accelerate at will and I begin to sit upright.

Iím able to regain my form after slacking-off for 10 -15 minutes. However, Iíd like to keep my form for longer periods of time.
Welcome to the club. I know of very few accomplished racers who can hold an aero position for 2 hours. We had a pro Ironman give a talk and he was able to hold 305 watts for 5 hours in the aerobars.

This is the point where cycling leaves club riding and enters a level of sophistication that puts a premium on riding posture and what muscles are contracted and by how much while others are relaxed. Bike fit, power and endurance are givens.

I am most efficient when I have a flat back, light touch on the handlebars, core engaged, shoulders down with the lats slightly engaged while everything else is totally relaxed. That list can be expanded but you get the idea that the ideal posture and muscle control takes practice and muscle memory plus strength and endurance to execute for long periods of time.

Relaxation is probably the key to maintaining great cycling posture and efficient power production.
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Old 07-19-11, 11:01 AM   #12
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Lets see---------that would be reason 17 why bents are better.
And yet... and yet... so few of us find that to be true. Makes you want to go "Hmmmmm....."
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Old 07-19-11, 11:06 AM   #13
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VeloMobile .. given: It's a streamlined Tadpole recumbent trike..
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Old 07-19-11, 12:20 PM   #14
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Not a problem with a recumbent. Lets see---------that would be reason 17 why bents are better.
Better than what?
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Old 07-19-11, 12:21 PM   #15
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I think it's important to remember that recovery is a concept that can be applied not only between rides, but within a ride. Sounds like that's all that's happening.
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Old 07-19-11, 12:36 PM   #16
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Well, you're doing exactly the right things to get you there. Riding with a faster rider is helping you to reach the "limits" and it sounds like you're eating and hydrating well--which you probably would not be doing riding solo. Just give it time. Keep pushing through those miserable time periods and eventually your body will adjust. If it was easy everyone would be doing it!

The only thing I would add is I've found the sugar/caffeine boost to be a great add sometimes. You might find one of those 7.5 ounce cans of Coke and drink one while you're riding after about 2 hours just to see if it gets you over the hump. I think I saw a 8 pack in Walmart.....
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Old 07-19-11, 02:10 PM   #17
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I have a question.... What do you consider high cadence for 2 hours?
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Old 07-19-11, 02:16 PM   #18
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I have a question.... What do you consider high cadence for 2 hours?
Alert! If you don't want to feel totally uncoordinated, do not ask Hermes about his cadence!
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Old 07-19-11, 02:26 PM   #19
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I have a question.... What do you consider high cadence for 2 hours?
I'm good at staying between 90-105rpm. This will drop to the 80-95rpm range when I go off-song. I will start to bounce on-the-saddle above 115rpm and the leg muscle will tire more quickly below 80rpm.
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Old 07-19-11, 02:32 PM   #20
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Aero bars.
I'm actually putting together a Ridley road bike that will have Aero Bars. These will be installed by my well-qualified fitter at Get-a-Grip in Chicago. I'm planning on using these as a third hand position, about 50% of the time. For the last year, my riding partners have been Tri-geeks with Aero Bars. My current riding partner is on a Look TT bike. I think his aero profile is 25% better than mine. Not only is he and his bike aero, he is about 50 lbs less than me and several inches shorter.
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Old 07-19-11, 02:36 PM   #21
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That seems like a normal and satisfactory range for extended efforts certainly not high cadence. My "Russian Coaches" who coached the national team wanted 100 in the pack and 90 off the front. Two very simple reasons for this. Higher cadence at lower power promotes recovery and if there is an acceleration, you are already at 100 and can jump to 110 more easily since you are in a lower gear. Off the front at higher power, 90ish is more efficient for the muscles without loading them up. So the goal is to always feel like you are on top of the gear. When I time trial 10 miles plus i am generally between 90 and 95.

Track is totally different since we have to be able to accelerate quickly from high speed - so the lower the gear the better. Hence trackies spin faster in the pack. If we could change gears, we would do it.
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Old 07-19-11, 05:14 PM   #22
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VeloMobile .. given: It's a streamlined Tadpole recumbent trike..
On this year's 50+ ride I saw a Velokraft No-Com - awesome machine! It looked like a fast black snake.
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Old 07-19-11, 05:59 PM   #23
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BTW, I have no idea what "off song" means. It must be some kind of Asian supplement.
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Old 07-19-11, 06:01 PM   #24
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Also, stop bouncing in the saddle. It is bad for the prostrate.
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Old 07-20-11, 01:15 AM   #25
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Reading this thread made me realize that I do not bounce in the saddle anymore since riding in the mountains and peddling like a fixed gear going under bridges(spinning at a very high rate). Before this I would bounce at times trying to go high cadence. Going uphill under load and doing hill repeats would help in this regard because the rider can feel what is going on with every stroke and apply smooooth force at the proper time. The OP should be able to go higher than 115 at times without bouncing. I saw video of guys doing 180 plus on a stationary bike, just insane.
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