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Sprinting and hammering out of the saddle...(7 posts)

Sprinting and hammering out of the saddle...connolm
Sep 5, 2002 5:06 AM
Boy oh boy do I have questions about sprinting! Perhaps a coach or trainer can chime in with some responses.

First off: My bike goes all wobbly when I (and the pros I've watched on the Tour) jump out of the saddle for sprinting. My wheels are still going straight. I was wondering if all that wobbling is counter productive or irrelevant as long as the wheels go straight.

Secondly: Sprint in the drops or over the brake/shifter pods? The bike seems more balanced and less wobbly when I sprint in the drops but my body seems less efficiently posed. (This goes back to the question on whether the wobbling robs speed and efficiency).

Thirdly: How should I shift when I get ready to jump up out of the saddle - especially on climbs? It seems like I should shift into a higher gear because suddenly the cadence increases and the pedalling becomes easier.
Wobble away. Just focus on going straight.Quack
Sep 5, 2002 7:05 AM
As far as wobbling goes, I think it's something you have to consciously try and control because it is a natural response to the pushing/pulling effect of hard sprinting out of the saddle.

I would say always sprint in the drops. It feels unnatural at first, but once you get comfortable with the way your bike feels hanging your torso over the bars, you can concentrate more on leg speed and less on the balance thing. Plus, it just seems easier to spin up when in the drops, I liken it to a drag racer stance.

As far as the gear goes, get a good feel for your max leg speed and the max speed you are trying to attain and pick the right gear. I usually go big-ring when the pace starts to quicken and draft as much as possible to get into the right gear for the max sprint while still being able to accelerate. If you go too tall, when they jump, you will be dropped because you won't be able to generate the power necessary to accelerate quickly. Once out of the saddle, I never go for another gear. The second you think about shifting, you're dead. Just spin like a mad man and try and keep your body in control and the bike straight.
re: Sprinting and hammering out of the saddle...bm
Sep 5, 2002 7:09 AM
not an expert, but i'll give you something to think about . .

the wobbly feeling is normal, and you'll get used to it. put your hands where they're most comfortable. i'd say if it was a flat sprint, you might get away with the hands 'over the brakes.'

although i've never really tried it, i think hands in the drops might even be better. (I'll have to try that) By putting your hands in drops, you're not only more aero, you also have a lower center of gravity which decreases side-side momentum.

your hands should be effective enough to just counter act the bikes tendencies. don't use all your strength to keep the bike straight - you'll need it for hills.

shift to a higher gear, yes, because the cadence increases. sometimes i shift up 2 or three gears dependening the inclination.
i may be wrong about the gear thing . .bm
Sep 5, 2002 7:13 AM
i said in the last post about switching to a higher gear. that's what i do, but i think i may be wrong.

i remember someone told me the most important thing is to have a consistent cadence - i'd keep that in mind instead.
My easy answerTig
Sep 5, 2002 11:06 AM
I'm too lazy to think of sprinting advice, so I'll copy some of Davis Phinney's from RoadBikeRider.com. I love sprinting, since it is the one thing I'm naturally good at. It still takes plenty of training to maximize it.

Here's how to initiate your sprint.
1. Roll along comfortably.
2. Shift to a gear slightly larger than the one you're in.
3. Grasp the handlebar in the drops.
4. Come off the saddle as your pedal goes over the top of the stroke.
5. Accelerate smoothly and powerfully.
6. Go as hard as you can.

To keep the bike under control, pull hard with the arm that's on the same side as the foot that's pushing. Keep both arms fairly rigid. But be relaxed enough overall to let the bike move slightly beneath you. It should stay almost vertical, swaying back and forth only a bit.
Don't emulate riders who swing the bike wildly from side to side. That makes it hard to sprint in a straight line. And if you should encounter something slippery (water, gravel, sand, oil), slanted wheels could slide out from under you.
Keep your weight back to maintain traction on the rear wheel.
Keep your head up so you can scan the road for obstacles.

Once you've got the basics down, try these drills to really improve.
Go for the Goal: Pick a road sign, telephone pole, or mailbox about a hundred yards up the road.
Roll slowly in an easy gear (e.g., 39x15-tooth), then sprint hard out of the saddle. As soon as you get the gear turning fast (about 110-120 rpm) sit down and smoothly maintain that cadence to your landmark. Shift to an easier gear and roll easily for 3-5 minutes.
Repeat this sequence about 5 times.

Attack the Top: Find a gradual hill about 300 yards long. Climb the first half in a moderate gear, using your small chainring (e.g., 39x17- or 19-tooth). Then shift to the big ring but leave the chain on the same cog (the 17 or 19). Sprint as hard as you can to
the top. Maintain good form. If you blow up before the top, the gear is too big or the hill too long for your present fitness level.

Don't do this drill before you have a solid base of cycling fitness. Even then, limit it to once per week.
re: Sprinting and hammering out of the saddle...swvegg
Sep 5, 2002 6:26 PM
<<>>

Intresting term...
Sprint in the dropsMr Good
Sep 5, 2002 7:57 PM
One good reason to sprint in the drops is so that you don't hook bars with another rider in a pack sprint. When your hands are in the drops you are protecting the drops with your hands, forearms, and elbows.

You can also generate a little more power from the low position in the drops. Sprinting is all about power and leg speed. Leg speed is important! Leg speed leg speed leg speed. Work on a high cadence spin, then work on a high cadence spin out of the saddle in a big gear! (Easier said than done.) Selection of gearing, and when to shift, is dependent upon too many variables..it's not the same for every person, nor for every course.