Tandem rider physical dynamics
Been trying to figure this one out... been getting unusual leg cramps that I have only experienced on the tandem and only on organized rides.
We have done some basically flat recreational rides on the American River Bike Trail up to about 50 miles with no problems. I have done the jump to higher mileage previously on my half bike without any trouble. But on organized rides with the tandem... I hit the limits of the rectus femoris quad muscles. These are real buggers when they cramp because cramps hit with the muscle in the shortened position and standing up to get off the bike IS the shortened position here :eek: You sit down on the top bar pretty quick to get out of *that* danger zone.
I have hit this wall on level ground or climbing... back in February on the Rice Valley Tandem Ralley it was about 30 miles on flat ground and a couple weeks ago on Party Pardee we bagged it at 40 miles with some climbing. However after sending the stroker SAGing back for the car (nobody is prepared to SAG a tandem) I rode another 17 miles solo with no problems until I hit the 7% climb. Ever notice how the bike "comes alive" without a stoker? It was a totally different ride solo and I could pedal and get a response. For climbing I could gear it all the way down and take it easy and motor on up. The cramps were frustrating and the Jekyl and Hyde stuff was really playing with my head and I felt let down by my stoker. Personally I was on the edge of scaling back all tandem riding to just social runs. I probably said some things to the stoker after we got home that I should not have :notamused:
A week later on Bike Around the Buttes, we kept it short and limited ourselves to 40 miles of mostly flat and finished at about a 15 MPH average speed. I tried specifically not to push it and thus avoid cramps. I felt at the limit but without cramps threatening at the finish. The stoker took it as a challenge to keep our speed up to 15 MPH (using wireless we both have bike computers on our bars). A MUCH better attitude this weekend compared to the prior weekend.
So are tandems just more physical to ride than half bikes?
There seems to be a different feedback dynamic to pacing yourself on a tandem. Have others run into this and how did you figure out adjustments?
How do you manage to match your partners effort rather than compensate (or over compensate) for it?