Road Cyclists Blogs

Rat Hole

Went down the rat hole last week. Actually didn't find rats! Found a few gems. Be careful if you venture down the rat hole - know what may lie ahead and decide if you can stand the stench. The set-up: A panel of three cycling experts (I was one of three...one an exercise physiologist and one a USCF Cycling Coach). Topic: Cycling Biomechanics with a bunch of "cycling coaches" and cyclists who supposedly "race" in the audience. We each had a total of 1 hours to discuss pedaling mechanics, geometry issues and power training. Heck, I could have addressed each one of those for 3 hours. But, I was brought on to offer my experience to these three specific topics. Cool, I thought, but this is going to go down some alleys that may completely lose a few folks. My mission - if I lose them to recognize it then bring them back and give them a few topline items to ponder on... I went last. It sucked because the first two guys put the audience into a coma. Lots of technical, lots of data. Two total questions out of the 50 in attendance. TMI. They had super-cool graphs, angles and textbook material with very little reality from where I sat. See, here's the thing cyclists...overthink and overanalyze and you may just be f'ed. Case in point. Pedaling mechanics. I can't start answering questons about where your heel strikes until I address how to pedal right. I had to address the power phase, peak power points and the relationship of Q angle along with the understanding of geometry and fit. Are you starting to see how you can quickly complicate something and lose someone? My point is that focusing on simple technique and ensuring you hit topline points will help you (or others if you are providing the content) accomplish your objective. Make sense? There are a lot of cycling-specific coaches and "experts" that need to understand the utility of what it is they teach. I think simple is better providing the simple can lead to a deeper discussion (the rat hole) when needed. So, although these three topics are potentially brutal to go after on their own, there is a way tie them in together without losing quality of content. I tied in how bike angles (geometry) affect pedaling mechanics and how that relates to achieving power (potential). I asked the audience questions! We had dialogue. I tied in these three subjects to invariably drive home one theme = maximizing efficiency. Simple Then, I gave specific drills and skills to address the flaws. It actually became fun. We even laughed at crappy pedaling technique (I showed some ridiculous video). So that rat hole become a nice nest to learn from. Just fresh on my mind everyone...for you coaches, think about this when you are approaching your athletes.
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