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Q: When you train for racing do you have to push and pull...(9 posts)

Q: When you train for racing do you have to push and pull...SGrouts
May 27, 2003 12:37 PM
all the time on the pedals, or only when you want more power (climb, sprint...etc) and the rest time you just push down the pedals?
Is there a standart answer or it depends on the rider and racing style? If so, what is the most common style? Push-Pull all the time? OR Push all the time and pull some time?

Thanks for any answers.

Ride Hard

SGrouts
A: learn how to pedal circlesmohair_chair
May 27, 2003 1:10 PM
Learn how to pedal circles and try to make it automatic. It will make you better whether you are training or racing or just riding around the block. If you don't do it consistently, it will never become automatic.
re: push and pullFredrico
May 27, 2003 2:11 PM
It's natural to push hard when you want to go fast, so most people train this way. The legs get strong, and can mash a big gear at 60-70 rpm--for awhile. Eventually, the lactic acid builds and you have to ease up to get rid of it. Turning the crank in circles distributes the load to all the muscles in the legs, not just the quads. The faster you pedal, the less intense each muscle contraction must be, so the legs stay aerobic, the lactic acid can be simultaneoulsy expelled. Your legs don't tell you when you've had enough, your lungs and heart do.

Pedaling fast in circles not only saves your legs, but also is better training for the cardiovascular system, which is the point of fitness in the long run. Strength without cardio fitness is alway temporary. On a ride, strength alone will buy you a few minutes, while pedaling fast in circles will take you the distance. Long term, muscles atrophy in months, while cardiovascular systems decay more slowly over years.

It is not natural for humans, exquisitely equipped for walking, to work their legs in circles. That's why even professionals have to re-learn their spin after the season is over. It takes a fair amount of mental and physical practice to perfect a round pedal stroke. The reward is when you want to go fast, as in a chase effort or break, you can pedal fast and thus sustain that speed for much longer periods of time than mashing big gears. Unlike Jan Ullrich, who mashes, you also won't have the knee problems he and many others have had. Pedaling fast will also make bike-fit problems quickly obvious, so you'll be more "one with the bike," after you get your spin down.

Eventually, you'll be able to turn the crank in circles even when you can't spin, as on a climb, or pushing a big gear on a flat.
re: push and pullhank
May 27, 2003 2:52 PM
First, can someone try to describe the sensation of peddling in a circle?
Second, is this a good excuse to buy a fixed gear bike?
Pedaling circlesKerry
May 27, 2003 5:36 PM
The best description is trying to get to the feeling of extending the portion of the revolution over which you're applying power. Not just stomping as you come over the top, but a fluid application of pressure over as much of the circle as you can. At a slow cadence, you can do the "pretend you're scraping mud off the bottom of your shoe" deal, but it's not going to happen at 90+ rpm. One legged drills are a good way to improve your stroke.
Fixed gear at track pace ...Humma Hah
May 28, 2003 7:11 AM
... I won't claim I can do it, but I'm assured the top trackies can pedal circles at speeds approaching 160 RPM. There's about a 15% power increase if you can pull it off.

It's all I can do to not fly off the bike at those speeds, much less pay attention to making smooth circles.
re: push and pullmja
May 27, 2003 2:59 PM
I agree that you should develop an approach -- or style -- of pedaling, and use it all the time. For me, it's not pulling back, so much as lifting heel to "up-weight" the pedal. That way the force applied to pedal being pushed isn't wasted lifting the other "pulling" foot, but rather is directed as much as possible to propulsion of the bike.
(LeMond's book actually has a nice description --with photos -- of his pedalling technique. I found it at the local library.)
Thanks all for the great help, but how many km (aprox) do you...SGrouts
May 28, 2003 12:47 AM
need to learn to pedal in circles? 2.000km or 10.000km, more or less?
I train everyday for a total of 300km to 500km per week (friel plan.

Thanks again...

SGrouts
We'll let you know .. most of us are still working on it ...Humma Hah
May 28, 2003 8:26 AM
It doesn't take all that long to "learn", but it does take a while to learn to pedal full circles so naturally that you do it without thinking about it. Most cyclists, if they are honest, don't really do the pulling-up part of the stroke unless actively thinking about it. Kerry is probably an exception ... he probably pedals circles in his sleep.

Riding a fixed gear bike for several months is supposed to be a big help. I have not been doing it long enough to tell if it works, but it feels like it ought to. I do pedal semicircles without having to think much about it.