Is A Noseless Saddle Right For You?

In the last ten years, we have seen an increasing trend in saddle manufacturers to create a short or no nose saddle.  These saddles originated in Pro Tour TTs as athletes began cutting the nose of saddles off to make their seat fore/aft position meet UCI regulations. It later caught traction in triathlon due to the improved comfort and is now prominent in the road and off-road scenes.

Many cyclists wonder, “Will a noseless saddle work for me?” Here are some changes you might see if you switch to this saddle style.

Aggressive position

In this situation, the wider front of a noseless saddle provides greater support of the ischial rami and helps to alleviate numbness in many circumstances.

Further forward saddle position

Most riders sit further forward on a noseless saddle. This naturally moves the rider forward in relation to the saddle rails and provides an increased forward placement of the rider.

No more irritation from the saddle nose

For some cyclists the longer nose of a traditional saddle has a tendency to get in the way. By switching to a noseless saddle you can reduce chaffing in both the thigh and groin.

Curious about your bike saddle and how it affects the way you ride your bike? Learn more about our bike fitting services where we can dial in your saddle, cleats and cockpit for the ultimate riding experience.

Take A Seat

As the Science of Speed team guides athletes with custom coaching and when we provide professional bike fits, one of the most frequent questions asked is, “Where should I be sitting on the bike saddle?”

The short answer: there is no one right place for a rider to sit on their bike saddle.

Why? To achieve the best performance and comfort, you’ll find that your position on the bike seat changes throughout each and every ride. It’s all about adaptability. Your riding style, your bike’s saddle, and your own body will determine how your posterior meets the seat. Understanding how these affect placement will help you find the sweet spot.

First, consider the way that you ride. For example, when a road cyclist is riding in the hoods, their pelvis will be rotated more anteriorly or more backward. Due to this, they’re going to gravitate to a wider portion of the saddle as they’re on the ischial tuberosity (AKA the sit bones.) However, as the position becomes more aggressive (as the ride becomes more intense,) that same rider will rotate their pelvis more forward. At that point, the saddle pressure goes to a narrower spot in the ischium causing them to shift forward on the saddle.

Second, take a look at your own saddle! Is it designed to match your riding style? Is it a traditional road bike saddle designed for multiple positions, a noseless saddle geared towards a more “aggressive” riding style, or maybe you are riding a more cushioned saddle designed for fitness riding and a more upright posture?

Finally, listen to your body on the ride. Try out different positions. Get to know what feels more sensitive and what positions offer you more longevity. Do those positions that feel the best support your ability to maintain your desired posture? 

If you’re still struggling, it’s probably time for a professional bike fit. Your saddle is just one element of creating the right angles and positioning for a comfortable and efficient ride. If you’re in North Florida, schedule a fit in person. If you’re anywhere in the US or simply desire a fit at home, enjoy a virtual bike fit experience with Bike Fit Box.

Consider A Summer Transition

Across the world, endurance events are being canceled due to the pandemic. It’s causing more than just heartbreak for athletes who were looking forward to their races. It’s causing athletes to step back and reassess their training for the foreseeable future. While it can be disappointing to see event days put on hold, it doesn’t mean all your training was for nothing. In this unique moment in history, there lies an opportunity for athletes to bank the hard work they’ve been putting in.

Science of Speed coaches create periodized training for our athletes. What is periodization? We’ve got an entire article here to break it down for you. Here’s the Spark Notes version: your training should cycle through periods of building, tapering, racing, and transition on an annual, monthly, and weekly basis.

As racing takes a pause, Science of Speed is recommending this to our athletes: consider taking your transition (aka your recovery) block now. For anywhere from ten days to upwards of four weeks, allow your body to rebuild after these months of high intensity. We often think of rest or recovery as “losing” fitness. This is not the case. In fact, burnout is one of the largest reasons we see athletes stop training and racing altogether.  Training is a time commitment and these transition periods will help you to physically recover but they help to mentally rejuvenate you, which is just as important!! 

So, as you review your entire season during this constantly changing and adapting world, consider how you can also change and adapt. Need help periodizing your training? Our coaches are here to help you create a plan for success — event or no event! Contact us now.

SoS Uses Retül Technology for Your Best Fit

Bike fits are one the most popular offerings provided by Science of Speed alongside our custom coaching and other fitness analysis services. For cyclists, we cannot say enough about the importance of a proper bike fit and educate you often on when to seek out a fit.

Science of Speed utilizes Retül to provide our cyclists with the best bike fit possible. Retül recently shared this video about the importance of bike fit and how to not only adjust the bike to the rider, but what the rider can also do to improve their mobility to help with proper positioning on the bike. Watch it now by clicking on the play button below.

Ready for your best ride ever? Book your bike fit with Science of Speed today.

How To Be A Better Hill Climber

Hills are often something that is misconstrued on the bike. Unlike running, where biomechanics and force vectors change, seated cycling biomechanics stay very similar. There are some changes like scooting back in the saddle and utilizing more hamstring and glute muscles, but they are less significant. 

Climbing on the bike comes down to one thing:  Power to weight.  Gravity is pushing our behinds down and we have to constantly overcome that force.  So, there are two ways to climb faster: lose weight and/or increase your power to overcome gravity. 

When we see or hear people saying they are doing hill repeats on the bike to prepare for a climbing race/event like Six Gap, we scratch our heads. Unless they have a 10+ minute climb to do intervals on or are practicing positioning and climbing out of the saddle, they are not testing and building the physiological systems that they are going to need to be at top form.  Climbing for 20-60 minutes is a highly aerobic effort and a 1-3 minute climb is not the trick to attain the goal.  By improving FTP you will go uphill faster. 

During a specialization phase, the one variance that our coaches can add into longer sustained efforts (tempo, threshold, under overs) that helps people when they go to the mountains is lower cadence work.  

Climbing often forces you to have a lower cadence and if athletes are used to spinning at 90-100 RPM, being force to spin 50-70RPM for extended periods of time will blow them up neuromuscularly.  Adding in intermittent portions in a workout at 70rpm will help them to be prepared for that.

Curious how you can build the skills and strength you need for your unique event or goals? Our coaches are ready to help. Learn more about custom coaching!

Drawing By Henry Vandyke Carter – Henry Gray (1918) Anatomy of the Human Body (See “Book” section below)Bartleby.com: Gray’s Anatomy, Plate 235, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/…

If you ever have a question about training advice, technical specs, or the athlete’s body you see online, your Science of Speed coaches are here to confirm or debunk! Science is the first word in our brand name and we take that very seriously. It’s why our team is comprised of people with the highest level of education, experience, and expertise. We looking forward to hearing from you soon!

MythBusters: Sport Edition

“Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet.” – Abraham Lincoln

If you didn’t just chuckle out loud, read that first line again. It’s so easy to trust the quotes, articles, and images that are served up to us online, including those about sport! As we scroll through our social media apps and click through our emails, you might see something and think, “Is that for real?” 

You’re not alone! Coach Brady spotted this social media ad last week and it made him say, “Huh?” 

He sat down to fact check this social media ad. Here’s his feedback:

“In the image and the description, the company states that pressure is put on the ‘pubis bone’ due to the necessary rotation of the pelvis for an aero/triathlon position. 

It is true that we do have to rotate our pelvis forward in the aero position. It is also true that certain saddles and a bike fit that includes that saddle can help you avoid discomfort.

What’s misleading here is the idea that your rotation would be extreme enough that your weight and pressure is supported by the pubic symphysis (pubic bone.) That would result in a contact point in front of your genitals. This would not only be uncomfortable but very awkward from a positional standpoint. Ouch! 

The change that actually occurs when we move to this position is from our ischial tuberosity on to the inferior rami of the ischium.”


 

Drawing By Henry Vandyke Carter – Henry Gray (1918) Anatomy of the Human Body (See “Book” section below)Bartleby.com: Gray’s Anatomy, Plate 235, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/…

If you ever have a question about training advice, technical specs, or the athlete’s body you see online, your Science of Speed coaches are here to confirm or debunk! Science is the first word in our brand name and we take that very seriously. It’s why our team is comprised of people with the highest level of education, experience, and expertise. We looking forward to hearing from you soon!

NUTRITION SERVICES NOW AVAILABLE

Science of Speed is excited to announce a new partnership that will help us better serve our athletes. We’re adding the next piece of the performance puzzle: nutrition. Ryan Kohler, MS is a sports nutritionist, endurance athlete, and coach. Both his education and experience make him the expert in advising on baseline, training, and event day nutrition. As you work towards your goals, Ryan will now be able to help you build the ultimate nutritional plan that perfectly compliments your customized Science of Speed training.

As a youth athlete, Ryan competed in mountain bike racing, multisport events, freestyle and GS ski competitions, and running events. He grew from an athlete to a coach and nutritionist, applying his education to athletes of all ages and ability levels. 

As our nutrition partner, Ryan will help Science of Speed athletes in two key ways: creating nutritional baselines and creating nutrition plans for training and events. 

A nutritional baseline service generates a comprehensive foundation for athletes and active individuals of any ability level. It is great for student-athletes, weight management, and improving nutrition quality or eating habits. In addition, athletes suffering from overtraining/under-recovery or chronic low energy will find this assessment as an excellent way to make changes to enhance healthy eating patterns, improve recovery, and promote high-quality exercise and training sessions over the long term.

The event and training nutrition planning service utilizes the same steps, knowledge, and expertise but through the lens of your unique endurance event. Design or update your fueling and hydration plans for training and race day for peak performance!

Curious to discover your body’s unique metabolism? Want to dial in your nutrition needs for your next event or upcoming training cycle? Send a message to us now!

Let’s Review: Running Form

You’ve been out logging the miles, pounding the pavement, but when was the last time you thought about your form? Everyone’s running form will look a little different. The mechanics of your body while running is determined by your flexibility, your muscle strength, and your body’s proportions. Even if you’re currently running comfortably and are happy with your results, some major benefits can come from improving your form:

Reduced Risk of Injury

Nearly 80% of runners experience some kind of injury every year. Good form helps you utilize your body evenly and effectively, ensuring that you’re not neglecting one group of muscles/joints or putting extra strain on another.

Higher Efficiency 

Put simply, high efficiency means more miles with less energy. Checking in on your form can allow you to enjoy the run more and go farther.

Increased Speed

When you combine better efficiency and healthier muscles and joints, you’ll see an improvement in your pace. Those who consider adjustments to their form often find they can push the pace.

Knowing this, you’re probably eager to find ways to tweak your running form. Here are the basics to consider:

Lean Angle

Think about the angle of your torso and legs as you run. Are you bending at the hips and leaning your torso and head forward? This common example of poor form. Here’s how to improve: lean at the ankles. Your body should stay in alignment together from your contact with the ground, creating a clean line from legs, to hips, to chest, to head. 

Arm Position

Consider where your arms sit and how they move while you run. Are you holding your arms low? Do they travel far when they swing with each stride? These are examples of poor form while running. Here’s how to improve: Keep the bend in your elbows at a 90-degree angle or tighter. As you swing your arms, check that they are brushing your sides (indicating that you’re holding them in close to your body.) A slight swing is great, but make sure your elbow or wrists don’t completely cross the line of your body.

Sightline

Where do you look when you run? Are you gazing down at your shoes or in the couple feet ahead of you? This means you could improve your sightline while running. Here’s how: aim to keep your gaze about 20-30 feet in front of you.

Need more assistance with your running form? Curious about other ways you could step up your running game? Our coaches can provide testing, analysis, and training plans that will help you make the most of your miles. Contact Science of Speed today.

5 Reasons You Need A Bicycle Fit

Schedule a Static Bike Fit

Too often, we hear stories of athletes who have been dealing with debilitating pain, recurring injuries, or other symptoms that sound more like they are riding a medieval torture device than a bicycle.

Our goal at Science of Speed (and Bike Fit Box) is to provide athletes with the training, fits, and testing they need to enjoy a lifetime of cycling.  Here are five signs that it’s time to see how a bike fit can be beneficial to your cycling longevity:

Joint Pain

Cycling is a minimal weight-bearing form of exercise and any joint pain should be immediately assessed. If you’re feeling discomfort in your joints during and after your ride, it’s time to schedule a fit.

Saddle Pain

Saddle sores, excessive soft tissue pressure, and numbness are all factors that are indicative of an improper fitting.  These symptoms quite often immediately lead to the assumption that the incorrect saddle has been picked. This however is not always correct and saddle comfort can be improved by bicycle fit!

Numbness 

When you hear the two words “cycling” and “numbness” in the same sentence, what comes to mind? More than likely, you thought of groin numbness.  That can be a terrible sensation, and it is a concerning one. Numbness can arise is the hands and feet as well. No matter where you may experience numbness, it is indicative of nerve trauma and should be resolved as quickly as possible. A bike fit can help you avoid irreparable damage.

Tendonitis

Cycling is a repetitive sport that occurs predominantly in one plane of motion.  At 90 RPM, you are asking your body to repeat the same motion 5,400 times in an hour of cycling.  That repetitive movement is asking a lot of muscles, ligaments, and tendons. If your bicycle fit is not correct, you are placing the tendons, which connect your muscles to your bones and provide the needed leverage to pedal, under greater strain than necessary.

Cycling Economy

The body is a series of levers and hinges. In order to make them function effectively and efficiently, each of those hinges needs to perform in optimal ranges.  A fit is the optimization of these movements to improve your efficiency. It is an amazing sensation when your bike fit is perfected. You can’t beat the feel of the wind in your face and the smoothness in your pedal stroke as you glide with less effort!

Ready to schedule your bike fit? If you’re in the North Florida area and desire an in-person professional fitting, visit this page to book your appointment now. If you desire an at-home fitting anywhere in the US, try Bike Fit Box!

Training in the times of COVID-19 – A Coach’s Perspective

Athletes respond to training differently, have different tactics that suit them best, different responses to diet and different responses to stressors in life.  Coach Brady provides a bit of insight and detail in to what he has found in working with athletes over the past 5 weeks and how Covid-19 has impacted athletes in varying ways.


Training in the times of COVID-19 – A Coach’s Perspective

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I know what you are thinking… “Oh great, one more article about this virus!”  Yep, we are all fed up with it and we are all tired of hearing all of the details, drama and the continuous political argument.  With the amount of communication that I have with athletes (don’t freak out, it is via phone, social media and e-mail), it has been interesting to see how training impact has varied dependent upon the four mindsets or approaches individuals are taking.  I hope that maybe this will help you either truly assess your stress level or help you to realize that you are not alone in where you fall on the spectrum.

I want to preface this with the fact that none of these approaches are wrong, in any way shape or form.  We all process stress differently and remember that training is a stressor, so you need to factor in ALL of your life.  Now, ON WITH THE SHOW!

Training during Covid-19

THE FULL GAS – This person views the virus as an inconvenience but believes that with their spare time and lack of ability to go out and see things they are going to put the proverbial pedal to the metal and charge harder with training than what they were originally intending.

THE STEADY AS SHE GOES – This approach, I have found, is more common among the people who had events that were further out on the horizon or who are still able/must go to work.  The 

THE ¾ TEMPO – The individuals in this group can have children at home they are now schooling, be immuno-compromised in some capacity or simply feel a bit of the stress of all going on.  They are lightly training or exercising (there is a difference but we don’t have time for that now) but are utilizing their activity less for an event performance down the road and more for their general well being.

THE WHOA NELLY! – This person is truly concerned about what the impacts of this virus can do to their health and the loved ones around them.  They do not want to be part of the spread and are either in the high risk groups or in contact with those in the high risk groups. Stress levels are typically high and training simply is not a great idea, unless it is a recovery ride, leisurely walk or something similar.

There can certainly be some crossover and some variations in these but most important is to be open and honest with yourself as to which group you may fall in and, if you have not already, adjust your training schedule to reflect where you are at and should be at.

In times of stress and illness, your well being is first and performance is secondary.  Please take care of yourself and your health.  Both physically and mentally.

Interested in reading more of Coach Brady’s content?  You can find him at bradyirwin.com