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  1. #1
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Externally Forced Spin Mental Block

    I want to preface this to note I have well over 10k of miles on FG in the past couple years.
    The issue is new and something I have never had a problem with even when first starting out.

    I recently have a worsening fear of low resistance high spin. Its been getting worse over the past few weeks to the point of ruining my enjoyment when there are downhills, even relatively minor ones, or even very strong tailwinds.

    I get this paralizing fear of OOC spin when going down inclines. Paralizing as in my body freezes up which on FG is not pleasant.

    At first a couple weeks ago it first started at ~140rpm, it gotten worse, last night I started to get mental at ~110rpm. That's ridiculous, I've previously peaked at 160-170rpm down hills.

    I used to be able to comfortably go down any hill at 120-130, using legs and front brake to modulate speed as needed. Now I start to freeze up as soon as I feel the pedals pullling me. Now I only feel comfortable going down with massive resistance to pedals and/or riding brake hard. Way too slow.

    This of course is only downhill when the speed comes externally, not from my legs. Now it is even minor downhills freaking me out.

    I think the solution maybe to gear down and focus on high spin on flats and then work back to gentle declines. Or maybe take a break from FG?

    Has anyone else experienced this? Why now? Physically I feel fine.
    Any other (serious) suggestions to get over it?
    Maybe it just will pass. Probably one of those things where the more I think about it the worse it gets.

    Al

  2. #2
    jack of one or two trades Aeroplane's Avatar
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    Do you have a brake?
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Irwin Goldstein
    Men should never ride bicycles. Riding should be banned and outlawed. It is
    the most irrational form of exercise I could ever bring to discussion.

  3. #3
    thomas masini lives
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    he mentions using a brake
    not a 2ksuck'r

  4. #4
    jack of one or two trades Aeroplane's Avatar
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    Sorry, it's buried in there, and it's a lot of words...

    Depending on your level of anxiety (assuming it's not causing heart-palpitations, etc.), here's what I'd do:

    Go to a long, low-to-no-traffic area with a long hill. Take your feet off the pedals. Ride down it, coasting entirely. Make sure your brakes are working well before this, of course. This will (hopefully) teach your brain to not panic if your feet loose control, because you still have your hands to steer and to brake.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Irwin Goldstein
    Men should never ride bicycles. Riding should be banned and outlawed. It is
    the most irrational form of exercise I could ever bring to discussion.

  5. #5
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aeroplane
    Sorry, it's buried in there, and it's a lot of words...

    Depending on your level of anxiety (assuming it's not causing heart-palpitations, etc.), here's what I'd do:

    Go to a long, low-to-no-traffic area with a long hill. Take your feet off the pedals. Ride down it, coasting entirely. Make sure your brakes are working well before this, of course. This will (hopefully) teach your brain to not panic if your feet loose control, because you still have your hands to steer and to brake.
    Thanks that is an idea I can try. I've never unclipped downhill before.
    I think part of my recent OOC feelings come from feeling like I've lost the ability to smoothly modulate pedal speed with legs, that is the transition smoothly from free-spinning at high rpm to adding a bit of resistance at high rpm. Its like when I add resistance its jerky which leads to 'bad feeling' in legs, which then leads to 'panic'.
    On flats I can easily modulate speed, that is part of the joy of FG.
    Why this is happening now is beyond me.

    Al

  6. #6
    nothing but a gnab gib
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    Has your day to day diet or other "recreational activities" changed at all recently?

  7. #7
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    What an interesting problem. It sounds like you may be developing a phobia, of what exactly I'm not sure. I would agree that a good solution would be to gear down and spin a lot on the flats.

  8. #8
    Banned.
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    Maybe try a gentle incline that would not normally get you to the reps where you start to panic, but force yourself to accelerate instead of letting the bike carry you, that way you get used to going downhill at the higher reps but have more of a feeling of control?

  9. #9
    spinspinspinspin fatbat's Avatar
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    Another downhill spin tactic: rather than letting the pedals pull your feet, keep on putting on pressure to force the spin- try to focus on the back side of the pedal stroke, as that's where people tend to get jerky.
    By keeping the spin smooth, you feel more in control, and you're not jerking around on the bike, which can be scary on fast descents.

    To keep your speed under control, sit up straight for air-braking action, and use the brake as required.
    a radar blip, an empty clip, post-nasal drip, and kung fu grip

  10. #10
    King of the Hipsters
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    I've recently geared waaaay down to 58 gear inches.

    Spin, spin, spin.

    Along with gearing down, I had a professional fitting on my bike and some spin coaching.

    As a result of all the above, I find myself spinning at rates I never thought possible.

    As part of my spin improvement, I have learned to "stay ahead" of the pedals in downhill situations, and thus avoid "bobbing."

    On a few long downhills, I have found myself fatiguing as I attempt to stay ahead of the pedals, and as I fatigue the pedals start to catch up with me and drive my feet.
    When this happens, I feel a brief sense of anxiety, fear, panic, whatever.
    I think this comes from a sense of the bike driving me instead of me driving the bike, and my body interprets this as a loss of control.

    Because of my ultra-low gearing, I can easily convert from staying ahead of the spin to slowing the spin by putting more of my weight on the pedals.
    As soon as I convert from staying ahead to slowing the spin, my anxiety disappears.
    I only experience the anxiety when the bike catches up with me and starts to drive me instead of the other way around.

    It might help if I share my method of staying ahead of the pedals.

    In order to spin at super high rates going downhill, I transfer more and more weight to the saddle by literally pulling up on the pedals, as if trying to raise the bottom bracket.
    At the same time, I make an image in my mind of trying to hit the handlebars with my knees.
    Of course, I can't hit the handlebars with my knees, but creating the mental image of wanting to do so helps.
    My physical therapist refers to this as creating organizational intent.

    When I envision my knees going towards the handlebars, it moves the organizational intent out of my thighs and into my hips.
    I also envision pushing my feet over the top and I attempt to pull earlier in the spin than I think necessary or possible; and all of this contributes to putting more weight on the saddle and pulling up on the bottom bracket.

    Using the above method, I usually hit some sort of aerodynamic terminal velocity before the pedals start driving my feet.
    However, with a tail wind, sometimes my pedals catch up with my feet and start driving them; and, similarly, with a long, long hill, I sometimes run out of steam and the pedals catch up with my feet and drive them.

    When that happens, I take a new tack and revert to slowing by back pedaling.
    I put my weight on my pedals, especially the rising pedal, and resist it as much as I gracefully can without mashing on the descent portion of the spin.

    So, I put weight on the pedals, with the majority of my weight on the rising pedals, and this slows me down to a speed where I feel in control again.
    This involves a whole leg-and-hip movement, where my hips rock but the center of my pelvis does not go up or down.

    I don't like it when the bike pushes me instead of me pushing the bike.
    When the pedals start driving my feet because I can't stay ahead of them any longer, whether because of a tailwind or because of the length of the hill, I regain control by reverting to a back-pedaling, weight-on-pedals, weight-off-saddle mode.

    Like I said, this only happens at extremely high spin rates that I previously thought impossible.
    I can see how one could transfer this to lower spin rates where one feels the pedals driving the feet.

    The original poster might consider gearing way down for a few days and playing with converting back and forth between staying ahead of the spin and back-pedaling braking.

    Fun stuff.

  11. #11
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cox
    Fun stuff.
    Ken - almost all of what you write matches what I've been thinking and feeling while riding. These techniques have what has worked for me in the past. Seeing it again in writing will help me focus again.

    I know the feeling of pushing butt into saddle and pushing pedals through entire stroke, especially the up.
    It's the transition I suddenly can't deal with anymore. I too like to pull up on pedals, a full even stroke, but that also increases speed, suddenly* I get this desire to slow cadence and its like I can't transition from pulling to resisting pedals evenly, then I get that out of control feeling, I panic and want to lock up. That is where the lower ration practice that transition is good advice.

    *Suddenly - this I think is the mental problem, I think oh my its not gonna happen again and the faster speed it happens at the more concerned I get. Again the practice can regain that confidence.

    I'm glad I posted (my too wordy ) thoughts on this. I thought others may not get it, but it seems it came across. I was hesitant given all the joking going on around here.

    It just bugs me, why now after all these thousands of miles and many previous (very) enjoyable fast spins down the same hills? Nothing is different as far as I know.

    I've never been a person prone to anxiety or panic, maybe its my turn for a bit.

    Al

  12. #12
    Spawn of Satan
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    I'm with mander on this. I think something happened and you have a mental issue.

    Try having a couple of cocktails (or another drug of your choice) to relax then have a go at a hill. It can't hurt and will probably be fun.

    Good luck and keep us updated!

  13. #13
    Save yo teef.... Zurich's Avatar
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    As a future dentist, person. I feel compelled to add this picture. It's the mental nerve block that I use daily. This will not help you with descending at all. Carry on with your downhill discussion.

    Foco for life.

  14. #14
    Senior Member morbot's Avatar
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    mm needles into gums

  15. #15
    Save yo teef.... Zurich's Avatar
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    Dude if people get to post pics of their fixed gear - messenger rides, then I get to post shizz from my job.
    Foco for life.

  16. #16
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    Get some rollers. On a set of competition rollers (with larger, weighted drums) I've hit 200rpm. If that doesn't teach you controlled spin, nothing will.

  17. #17
    road curmudgeon, FG rider GeraldChan's Avatar
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    Noisebeam: Perhaps you are looking at the part of the road which is too close to the bike; this causes your brain to interpret a graeter sense of speed. Whenever I hit a steep downhill where I know very high rpm are approaching I look far down the road, relax and try NOT to think about the pedaling motions as this would disrupt my high cadence spin. Your brain already knows how to fire the correct muscles in the proper sequence so by consciously thinking about it you screw up the timing and add anxiety.
    Gerry
    1973 Nishiki Professional, steel, green/black, Campy NR FG conversion, Brooks Pro
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  18. #18
    some new kind of kick Suttree's Avatar
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    why don't you build your bike all Quickbeam style--with front and rear brakes--
    sorry--it will help you control your speed the fast and easy way. Hell--get
    a Quickbeam if you have the dough.

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