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  1. #1
    Road runner
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    Riding in the drops

    Hi , I have been riding in the drops 100% of the time for the last couple a weeks and have started to like it, I use to just ride in the drops when I was pulling a paceline or on a windy solo ride.
    I have noticed that it is working my hip muscles but not sure if what other muscles are being used more vs. riding in on the hoods. ?????? I also developed a slight knee pain, I believe it's from switching to this position all at ones rather than slowly adding miles in the drops on each ride .. After a 3 day rest all is fine with the knee..
    What is the opinion on power > more while riding in the drops or on the hoods ?????

  2. #2
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    By riding in the drops you're engaging your glute muscles which are of the mosst powerful and explosive muscles that we have. However... If you ride 100% of the time in the drops, these muscles will get tired and not be as effective. I like to switch up positions on the bike to stay as fresh and comfortable as possible.

  3. #3
    Road runner
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    after doing about 40 miles yesterday I noticed that my right hamstring is a little tight that must be getting work tomorrow also , would you agree to that ????;

  4. #4
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    I don't think you mean "more power"? I think you must mean faster? Actually, I don't know what you're talking about. I used to ride in the drops all the time when I was 17 and didn't know any better. Then someone showed me where my hoods were supposed to be.

    It's not about muscles, really. If you know how to pedal, you have more muscles in use with hands on the bar tops. That's one reason pros climb in that position. The other is breathing. The more you sit up, the more you open your chest, thus the more easily you can breathe.

    So it's really about aerodynamics. There's a speed for the bar tops, a speed for the hoods, and a speed for the drops. In this case, "speed" includes the added resistance of a possible headwind. I've climbed passes on my aerobars.

    All you need to do is go out with a speedometer and a heart rate monitor. Pick a speed on the flat. Try different positions. Watch your HR. The lowest HR position for that speed is the most efficient. Do that for your normal speed range, from say 9 to 30 mph. You can do it again, combining different speeds, positions, and different pedaling techniques. Do it again at different cadences.

    One figures out how to go faster by experimenting and gathering data from those experiments.

    Of course as others have pointed out, muscles get tired if one stays in one position, so it's best to trade out positions every once in a while to stay fast over distance. Around here, terrain provides plenty of opportunity to change positions.

  5. #5
    Senior Member robabeatle's Avatar
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    I’ve been told that it is a good idea to get used to riding in the drops if you plan to race as many people sprint from the drops. So if you are in the drops a lot, people will just think that is normal riding for you and that you are not about to attack, unbeknownst to them at times.

  6. #6
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    When I'm at group training at my track, everybody rides hoods all of the time during chaingang/through and off. I've never really thought any different of it. The only time they ride drops is when racing (bare in mind, this is track) or when we're making a massive effort. I've *assumed* it's because being higher on the hoods, you defend the guy behind you better from the wind than if you're low, in the drops. I prefer the drops, but would rather pull my weight than use them. I can't say I've noticed a beneficial effect from swapping up positions every now and then, but then again, I only ride 2 hours a session. Somebody feel free to prove me wrong about the aero group benefit if something is wrong with my theory.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    You're right that sitting up makes more of a draft for the rider behind, but the group would be faster if they all used the drops.

    If being less aero made a group go faster, why do pros in team time trials use aero TT bikes?

    How do ride on the hoods on track bikes, which have no brake levers?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by robabeatle View Post
    I’ve been told that it is a good idea to get used to riding in the drops if you plan to race as many people sprint from the drops. So if you are in the drops a lot, people will just think that is normal riding for you and that you are not about to attack, unbeknownst to them at times.
    You race in the drops because it takes less power. Everyone is generally in the drops so there isn't really a surprise advantage. In addition everyone knows where the finish line so final sprints aren't a surprise.

  9. #9
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    mainlytext.com/bike.html Bicycling in winter, the entertainment version

  10. #10
    Senior Member bike56's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    I don't think you mean "more power"? I think you must mean faster? Actually, I don't know what you're talking about. I used to ride in the drops all the time when I was 17 and didn't know any better. Then someone showed me where my hoods were supposed to be.

    It's not about muscles, really. If you know how to pedal, you have more muscles in use with hands on the bar tops. That's one reason pros climb in that position. The other is breathing. The more you sit up, the more you open your chest, thus the more easily you can breathe.

    So it's really about aerodynamics. There's a speed for the bar tops, a speed for the hoods, and a speed for the drops. In this case, "speed" includes the added resistance of a possible headwind. I've climbed passes on my aerobars.

    All you need to do is go out with a speedometer and a heart rate monitor. Pick a speed on the flat. Try different positions. Watch your HR. The lowest HR position for that speed is the most efficient. Do that for your normal speed range, from say 9 to 30 mph. You can do it again, combining different speeds, positions, and different pedaling techniques. Do it again at different cadences.

    One figures out how to go faster by experimenting and gathering data from those experiments.

    Of course as others have pointed out, muscles get tired if one stays in one position, so it's best to trade out positions every once in a while to stay fast over distance. Around here, terrain provides plenty of opportunity to change positions.
    I'll try that,thank you
    placebo is my friend
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  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    You're right that sitting up makes more of a draft for the rider behind, but the group would be faster if they all used the drops.

    If being less aero made a group go faster, why do pros in team time trials use aero TT bikes?

    How do ride on the hoods on track bikes, which have no brake levers?
    Good point, I had completely forgot about TTT events. Thanks.

    Because I'm a Youth (by British Cycling's category). Being Youth A we have to attend training sessions with newer riders as well as experienced. (Newer riders closer to the sprinters lane and more exp'd above the stayers line). As not all the riders are track riders we train on road bikes 2x a week, I just throw a front brake on and freewheel wheel rather than a new shiny road bike. My club is very strict about the use of fixies, especially in Youth age ranges. Only train once a week w/ fixed, no brake. In those sessions, it's all drops, I wasn't clear enough
    Back to later posts, how beneficial is the switching up of positions? I've not personally seen these benefits myself (I tried it on track, I rode tops rather than hoods as well, I didn't have them.)
    Sorry for long post.

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