Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Carlsbad, CA
Bikes: '09 Felt F55, '84 Masi Cran Criterium, (2)'86 Schwinn Pelotons, '86 Look Equippe Hinault, '09 Globe Live 3 (dogtaxi), '94 Greg Lemond, '99 GT Pulse Kinesis
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Another vote for a professional bike fitting.
I remember feeling like a doofus for paying Nate Loyal $180 to shift my saddle a few millimeters forward and up, and my cleats another few millimeters in some direction...
...but after a few weeks more of riding, I realized it was the best $180 I'd ever spent. It completely transformed my riding.
On top of that, road riding is fundamentally different from mountain biking. There are frequently times during a mountain bike ride where the rider must clench up and muscle-through situations. But on a road-ride, those brief, steep sections are much less frequent, and you spend a lot more of your time exerting maximum effort while focusing on remaining unclenched.
On your next road ride, instead of hammering through the whole thing, focus on breathing deeply, remaining relatively relaxed, and pedaling as smoothly (but powerfully) as you can.
Believe me, it's a lot harder than it sounds, and "remaining relaxed" doesn't mean you aren't busting @$$!
If you can master this tendency to clench up when riding hard, you will go much, much faster than you can currently ride.