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Cadence on drops - VERY strange

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Cadence on drops - VERY strange

Old 02-05-06, 04:20 PM
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Cadence on drops - VERY strange

Hi all first post,

Recreational rider for about a year, have spent the winter working on losing weight and increasing my power with a view to riding some crits. I did not use the drops much on the road but I know they're important for racing so I have been doing nearly all my turbo work on the drops.

I get a guaranteed 5-10 rpm increase in cadence when I go to drops from hoods with no change in my effort (roughly from 90 on hoods to 100 on drops) every time without fail

When I am hurting myself through one of the intervals if I sit up and go to hoods the cadence drops 5-10, so if I push it back up I start hurting even worse, so I go back to drops - cadence back up to 100 and a bit of relief.

Crazy or what?

I'm not complaining, I hope it transfers to the road but I've not tried it anyone else experience this?

What the hell is going on mechanically speaking?
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Old 02-05-06, 04:22 PM
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Maybe since you're more aero on the drops, you're pushing against less resistance, thus the cadence increase.

Oh, and welcome to Bikeforums. It's a good place.
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Old 02-05-06, 04:23 PM
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hey thx for the reply but I should have said I'm doing all this training on the turbo
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Old 02-05-06, 04:35 PM
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I don't understand this. On your trainer there is no aero advantage hoods vs. drops. For most folks they have an easier time getting air into their lungs on the hoods. Does your saddle position change when going to the drops? Perhaps the answer lies there.
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Old 02-05-06, 04:41 PM
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I think it's classical conditioning. You've spent a lot of time working hard in the drops, so you associate the drops with hard work. Once you get down in the drops you just automatically go a little harder without really realizing it.

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Old 02-05-06, 04:45 PM
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maybe that's all it is, I never used them on the road as i'd get killer backache but gradually got over that

mollusk yeah i move forward an inch or two on the drops

I guess heart rate will give it away as mental conditioning or not

Last edited by PistachioAddict; 02-05-06 at 04:51 PM.
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Old 02-05-06, 04:48 PM
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what may be happening is your body is more powerful in that position. getting into the drops changes your hip angle and usually straightens out your back. i think you're able to generate a tad more power in this position.

when i was professionally fit on my bike the fitter had me ride on the trainer like normal. then then placed his hand on my lower back and told me to push back toward it. this changed my position (less crunched up then before). it immediately resulted in more power to the pedals.
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Old 02-05-06, 05:02 PM
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timmhaan I'd love for that to be the reason

It's definately less "comfortable" but I still have an half an inch or so around the middle to get rid of, that should give me clearance

I will try a flatter back as I do slip forward a couple of inches on the saddle without thinking about it but my hams are so tight I got no choice about that!
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Old 02-05-06, 05:04 PM
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you don't sit as much in the drops, your butt rides the seat less and you can spin faster.
Most people think the drops are only for aero advantage , but using the drops will increase saddle comfort and give you a higher cadence ...and prevent blood constriction.
 
Old 02-05-06, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by PistachioAddict

It's definately less "comfortable" but I still have an half an inch or so around the middle to get rid of, that should give me clearance

I will try a flatter back as I do slip forward a couple of inches on the saddle without thinking about it but my hams are so tight I got no choice about that!
it'll get more comfortable as you get used to it. actually over the winter i don't feel very natural riding in the drops, but as i put more miles in and spend hours on the bike every week i regain some flexability. by spring and summer the drops feel good to ride in and my back doesn't get stiff like in the winter.

the two best things i learned are to keep the lower back straight and keep the shoulders back. sort of like keeping good posture. that way you don't restrict breathing as much. it helps over the long run.
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Old 02-05-06, 05:27 PM
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so much to think about, good advice thanks dude, it's been 3 months reading journal studies, eating right and working my ass off on the turbo if I somehow have managed to get more aero in that time as well I can't be happier
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Old 02-05-06, 05:42 PM
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as said before, different position for the body, using the muscles a little differently, you're using your hamstrings a bit more effeciently. I feel the same thing when i'm on aero bars too, almost feels like i'm falling into the bike if i don't pedal faster.
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Old 02-05-06, 06:32 PM
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...it's been 3 months reading journal studies, eating right and working my ass off on the turbo
Congrats.

I love the drops, too. They're my most used position, but (old age speaking) I really need to move all over the bars if I'm on more than an hour ride.

By the way, are pistachios part of your training diet?
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Old 02-05-06, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by silversmith
Congrats.

By the way, are pistachios part of your training diet?
thanks

unfortunately not cos of the high fat %, but I used to get through bags of them before getting fit and I still get called it at home (best is peel about 20 then shove them all in in one go hehehe)
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Old 02-05-06, 07:08 PM
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Consider this concept for a minute.

You are sitting on the floor and have to push something as hard as possible, say a car with both feet. If you put your hip angle like it is when you are on the tops you can only apply so much force, but you need more force. So you bring your legs closer to your chest ,more like when you are on the drops and push that way, and you get more force as you are stronger in that position. Very similar to getting your legs closer to your chest when you lean forward in the drops, you have more power.
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Old 02-05-06, 08:31 PM
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Back when I had my old Centurion I used to ride in the drops most of the time and was quite comfortable.
Now that I'm not using downtube shifters, I spend most of my time on the hoods and find the drops less comfortable. They're not painful....just not as relaxed as on the bars or hoods. I actually find the drops to work my quads more. Wonder if it has anything to do with my frames being 2 cm larger than my ol' Ironman.
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Old 02-05-06, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by cydewaze
Maybe since you're more aero on the drops, you're pushing against less resistance, thus the cadence increase.
Well said. In fact, If this doesn't happen whoever set your bike up was a noob.
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Old 02-05-06, 09:07 PM
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When you are in the drops your head is tilted back which opens your throat and allows the air to pass into your lungs more easily. This allows you to sustain a high rpm longer. This is based on zero medical/scientific resaearch.
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Old 02-05-06, 09:52 PM
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Yeah I think Andrew's got it down...

But seriously, if you're moving forward on the seat when in the drops, as most people do, you will get more power. If you look at pictures of riders in Time Trials, there is always a bit of saddle showing out the back.
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Old 02-05-06, 11:58 PM
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I find that when I go into the drops, my butt slides back on the seat just a little bit, and the angle gives me more leverage at the pedals. If I've already got 'em spinning pretty good, I can get a little acceleration that way. I don't know if other folks have this same result, but that's how it goes for me.

I just don't like the feeling of steering from the drops. My bike has kind of twitchy steering, and I have a hard time being subtle and precise while in the drops.
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Old 02-06-06, 02:44 AM
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I think it's the sliding forward on the seat that did it for the OP. More forward positions tend to make spinning easier...
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Old 02-06-06, 04:27 AM
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I never want to overlook anything so... summarising all that's been suggested


Possibly produce more power in the drops due to angle of hips, legs, and more efficient use of hamstrings

The mental aspects of doing lots of hard training in the drops gets you ready to do more

Your weight being distributed more between ass & elbows can increase spin, comfort and blood flow

By keeping your upper body straighter on the drops you can fill the lungs better

The only things that maybe contradicts is the sliding forward-backward on the saddle comments.

I have also noticed in the Td France TT's that there's always a few inches of saddle free at the back (or in Rasmussen's case the whole saddle, pedals and bars ). But I know many people say sliding back on the saddle increases power as this gives you more leverage... and I've noticed this on steep climbs (but maybe it was just me changing muscles to give a little relief) so I'm not sure there.

Maybe 3 maximal tests back, forward and centre with a power meter. I need to buy one anyway, I will post "results".
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Old 02-06-06, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by PistachioAddict
I never want to overlook anything so... summarising all that's been suggested


Possibly produce more power in the drops due to angle of hips, legs, and more efficient use of hamstrings

The mental aspects of doing lots of hard training in the drops gets you ready to do more

Your weight being distributed more between ass & elbows can increase spin, comfort and blood flow

By keeping your upper body straighter on the drops you can fill the lungs better

The only things that maybe contradicts is the sliding forward-backward on the saddle comments.

I have also noticed in the Td France TT's that there's always a few inches of saddle free at the back (or in Rasmussen's case the whole saddle, pedals and bars ). But I know many people say sliding back on the saddle increases power as this gives you more leverage... and I've noticed this on steep climbs (but maybe it was just me changing muscles to give a little relief) so I'm not sure there.

Maybe 3 maximal tests back, forward and centre with a power meter. I need to buy one anyway, I will post "results".

It's really not strange, it's rather typical.........

Moving to the rear of the saddle for more power when climbing = closing the angle or moving your legs closer to your chest for more power.

Climbing on the hoods instead of the tops for more power = closing the angle or moving the legs closer to the chest for more power. The upper body goes down a little.

Moving the BB in relation to the seat = changes the angle/leg chest distance too.

Lots of things change this angle, stem length, bar height, seat height, seat design, frame design etc.


Sit on the floor, put your feet against a wall. Push hard. Vary the leg to chest distance and do it again. Vary the distance a lot if you need to so you can feel the difference. Try to notice how much you change your position and how much power you have.

That's probably all you need to do to feel how important it is.

Last edited by 2manybikes; 02-06-06 at 10:41 AM.
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Old 02-06-06, 11:11 AM
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Funny that I just saw this thread. I am also a new rider (base training) and found that I can keep a cadence of 100-105 easily when in the drops but when I am on the hoods I can only do 90-95 without bouncing around.
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Old 02-06-06, 02:17 PM
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pretty sweet no?
to drops just like that? took me ages to get used to drops
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