I've been having some rough rides the past few weeks. Pumping hard and not really getting the results I thought I should. Speeds down, times up, HR up, etc. At first I thought this was just that I'd taken a 2 week vacation and, even though I worked out on vacation, I needed some time to get back into the rhythm of the ride. Then we had the rains and wind last week, so I figured that must have been the problem. Well, Friday and yesterday were pretty good from a weather standpoint, but I was still huffing and puffing. Something was wrong.
On the ride home yesterday I finally figured out what it was. I realized that my knees were coming up higher than they should have and that my legs weren't quite fully extended when the pedals were bottoming out. I stopped and raised the seat a couple of inches. Sure enough, that was it. I immediately felt more powerful and my legs felt better. On the ride home last night I cut 15 minutes from last Friday's ride. On the ride in this morning I was 10 minutes faster than yesterday, and I felt much better at the end. Energy levels were higher, didn't feel like my legs were going to fall off, etc. What a change!
Guess I should add "check the seat height" to my list of weekly maintenance items.
I had a similar thing happen to me when i had a carbon (wrapped as it turned out) seat post. No matter how much torque i put on that thing it wouldn't stay put. On my commutes home it would creep lower and lower to the point where i felt almost like i was bonking... just no power. Pull off to the side and notice i was an inch lower. swapped that post out for a dandy aluminum one and it hasn't budged in 8 months.