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How to sprint?(4 posts)

How to sprint?Bruno S
Jun 27, 2001 4:05 PM
I have been practicing sprints but I have the following problems: Shifting is difficult since I am holding the hooks very tight. Are you suppose to shift during the sprint? I do the sprints standing.
The front wheel looses contact with the road which makes the front end unstable. I'm I doing something wrong here? Maybe pulling too hard the handle bars?
re: How to sprint?peloton
Jun 27, 2001 4:23 PM
Sprinting can be a little tricky at first, it isn't a skill that is innate and must be learned and practiced. Very basic sprinting might be described a little like this. First, find the gear that you want to sprint in appropriate to terrain and speed. You don't want to shift during a sprint as it will slow you down, and puts a lot of pressure on your drivetrain. You don't want to snap a chain at 40mph. When you start the sprint, you want to do it as explosively as possible. This is done out of the saddle to get the gear up to speed. Your hands should be in the drops, and your face should come closer to the stem. You will need to pull back on the hand opposite of the foot that is currently moving downward in it's pedal stroke. This will keep the rear wheel planted on the pavement where your momentum turns into speed, instead of skipping along slowly. If your front wheel is lifting, you are pulling with your hands too hard. Back off the pressure a little. You will get a feel for when everything is coming together and traction is best with no skipping. Practice makes perfect. Once the gear is starting to turn more easily standing up, sit down. You can spin your pedals faster sitting than standing. Now, spin the gear out with everything that you have. Think foot speed and circles and not mashing for best results. Final step is to die of oxygen debt at the line.

You should also practice sprinting in a straight line. No one wants someone who wanders all over the place in a field sprint. It's dangerous to you and eveyone around you. Stay loose during the sprint, and don't be tense. Tension will make it harder to control the direction of your bike. Practice sprinting with your riding buddies. Look for holes that you can move through in the pack, and become comfortable holding your position. There is a lot of contact in a field sprint. Remember, hands must stay on the bars- elbows are legal! Be comfortable with the fact that you will bang handlebars, and don't take it personally or be disturbed by it. It justs happens when lots of people are fighting for limited pavement. When someone does make contact with you, don't pull away violently. This can cause a crash. Instead, push lightly with your contact point against the other rider. It stabilizes you, and then you can move away gently from the contact. It also shows you are holding your position rather than giving it up quickly.

Keep practicing. It will come together, and you'll look forward to sprinting for a street sign with your buddies or your next race.
timing and formDog
Jun 29, 2001 8:17 AM
Once you get the form down, timing in a sprint is everything (well, aside from power :-) ).

Pick the right horses to follow, and be patient. You should practice to figure out how long you can sprint; it might be only 50 yards at first, especially at the end of a race. Find someone, or several people, and follow them until you KNOW you can accellerate around them and keep accellerating to the finish line. Watch videos of pro races with sprint finishes. Pay attention to just how long Cipollini will wait, wait, wait, until blasting past 50 yards from the finish.

You just need to practice to get the form. Think of it this way: explode, then spin. If you understand the difference between torque and horsepower it will help. Torque, twisting force, at the crank will give you accelleration. You get max torque out of the saddle mashing hard. For top speed, though, you need power, that is, doing a lot of work -- you get this from max rpms with good form and pedal pressure. If you can get on a trainer with a watt gauge, you'll readily see the difference. So, explode, then think fast legs pedaling in circles.

If you don't explode, someone will follow you and may pull around you, or you won't get around the guy you're following. It's a necessary part of the sprint.

Find a deserted road and practice sprinting from 25 mph up to top speed. Try to hold it for a few seconds. I do this by locating some landmarks and timing my sprint along the length of a fence or signs or something. Repeat with full rest in between. Then, do the same with a buddy, but taking turns leading out. Snap around the leader and pull away.

Try to get in the gear the will be a little slow at first but you can hold for top speed. In practice, figure out what works at various speeds.

Start standing, in a low head position, but then move to the saddle once you are spinning. You'll have more control of the bike sitting, too.

If you front tire loses contact, you need to smooth out your pedal strokes as well as your arm motion. You should be swaying the bike back and forth, but smoothly in rythm with the pedaling.

Practice, Grasshoppa. Make it fun.

Doug
Thanks Doug / PelotonBruno S
Jul 4, 2001 3:21 PM
I really have to practice and understand how it works. Last weekend during the bunch sprint to the sign, I though I was in second place when just in the last meters a bunch of 6-8 guys came out of no where and took the sprint. It turn out I had been pulling them all the time and was waisted just before the finish line.