Group Riding 201

In our article “Group Riding 101,” we detailed the key basics of riding in a group.  In this article, we will go into the most common group riding pacelines, the single paceline and rotating paceline, and how to properly work your way around a paceline.  

PACELINE.png#asset:410

Single Paceline

The single paceline consists of an acceleration (“fast lane”) and deceleration (“slow lane”).  This is a very commonly used paceline because it is fairly easy to navigate, takes up minimal space and can be modified to the needs of the group very easily.  

Rotating Paceline

The only variation from the single paceline is that there is a constant line of riders in the deceleration lane and the acceleration lane rotating fluidly from one to the other.  “Pulls” on the front are usually very short with the rider in the acceleration lane passing the rider’s front wheel in the deceleration lane and then they drift into the

ROTATING-PACELINE.png#asset:409

deceleration lane waiting for the next person to pass them.  This is the beautiful paceline that you often see in breakaways of large races where riders are constantly moving up to the front and then rotating to the back.

Pulling Off

Getting off the front of the group is something that is a highly desired end.  Legs are burning, lungs are screaming, the heart is pumping at capacity and the desire to end the effort is nothing short of coveted.  Before jerking the bars to the left, you must consider the position of any riders in the direction of your planned direction (cars too).  As you are passing the rider, you should wait to begin drifting over until your hips have passed the hoods of the rider that you are overtaking.  Once you begin pulling off, you will signal the rider behind you that you are wanting him/her to take your position with a flick of the elbow. When pulling off, you are trying to leave just enough room for the rider to be able to pull past you, ultimately keeping the group tight knit and more aerodynamic.  Pulling off to the center line not only decreases the efficiency of the group by decreasing the draft of the rider behind you. It endangers you by putting you in the path of potentially passing vehicles.

Getting Back On

BirdLegs212.jpg#asset:406

The hardest part of the paceline, for many, is getting back into the paceline.  The number one mistake that cyclists make is to wait too long to accelerate to try and get back onto the paceline.  If your group is consistent in rotating through, you can continue to look for the same rider at your shoulder as a marker but you will often have to sight back to find the last person.  Once the last person is found, you will wait until your front skewer is even with the other rider’s rear skewer. At that point you will want to provide two to three powerful pedal strokes and drift in behind the rear wheel of the last rider.

Ready to keep improving your group riding knowledge? You’ve graduated from 201 and are ready for the next level: Group Riding 301.

Is Inseam Length a Good Way to Set Seat Height?

Biycle-Female-Saddle-height-inseam-length.jpg#asset:395
There are several fit methods that exist where either inseam length or leg length is the measurement that is used to determine seat height based off an equation.  Where as this is an option that could help you determine a reasonable seat height we do not feel it is an optimal, or even a viable option for finding your seat height.

When initially hearing the thought behind these methods they make sense.  Your leg extension is the primary factor in the equation of saddle height and based on a fraction of this you could feasibly create an accurate saddle height.

Upon greater inspection and comparison with motion capture, of how individuals interact with a bicycle it has become evident that there are many factors not able to be considered when solely using inseam length/leg length.  These factors include the three key angles (ankle, knee & hip) that vary from one cyclist to the next, how you determine where you sit on the saddle as well as pelvic rotation. With these factors, and a firm understanding of bicycle fit, we find it very difficult to believe that one simple measurement could take all of these factors into consideration. 

IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS REGARDING BICYCLE FITTING OR ARE CURRENTLY STRUGGLING WITH AN UNCOMFORTABLE FIT, PLEASE CALL US AT 850.408.6820 OR SEND US AN E-MAIL AT [email protected]

Our Thoughts Regarding Mid-sole Cleats

In a recent article posted by Triathlon.com there was discussion of a mid-sole cycling cleat placement in cycling shoes.  This mid foot cleat placement is nothing new to the cycling world.  It has been an idea for decades now and has resurfaced many times as the latest and greatest thing for bicycling performance.  It seems strange to think about having a cleat in the middle of your foot, mostly because fore foot cleat placement has been the only thing many cyclists have ever witnessed.

The article sings the praises of mid-foot cleat placement, and there are benefits, but there are also a few key details that are a detriment.  We are going to break this down into several key areas include Fit and Function.

BIKE FIT

At Science of Speed, we live and breathe bike fit, so we will begin there!  Mid cleat placement does have merit when it comes to bike fit.  The calf muscles do not provide much benefit, regarding propulsion on the bike but act more as a stabilizer for the ankle.  We will even place cleats further back on shoes of riders with larger feet to help reduce the lever arm, and ultimately reduce calf strain.  With a mid-foot cleat placement you will reduce this more significantly and only moderately utilize the calf for stabilization which should ultimately result in fresher calves for run propulsion.

This mid-foot cleat placement will also result in a lower seat height.  As you reduce the impact that “ankling” plays on total leg extension.  This, with changes made in cockpit setup will result in a smaller frontal area and mean a slightly more aerodynamic position.  Which, in a world of marginal gains, this could result in sizable increases in aerodynamics.

As we have not personally tried this mid-foot cleat placement, the one thing we are uncertain of is, how does it fit, feel and function as a rider is out of the saddle climbing?  This may be a position that is more suited for a flat, straight and fast course.  If there is that big of a benefit, we believe that professional cycling teams who focus on the small areas, such as Ineos, would have shoes for riders with mid-foot placement for time trials, and forefoot placement for climbs and technical courses where safety would be a concern.

FUNCTION

Unfortunately, in this article, normalized power is misrepresented.  This is not so much a representation of “efficiency” with reference to the benefit of your position, but a representation of a rider’s smoothness on the ride.  Normalized power is an algorithm that is designed to quantify the stress that accelerations create on the body and therefore shows a higher number if a file has more accelerations.  With course, conditions and fitness all being the same, average power would be a better representation of whether the cleat placement did result in statistically significant power outputs.

It pains me to see that the shoe manufactures are demonized in this situation.  This lack of adoption of mid sole could be because it has the potential to be very dangerous.  If you have ever heard of toe overlap you understand why mid-foot cleat placement can be, not only a scary thing, but a dangerous thing.  This toe overlap impacts your ability to pedal through corners and not clip your front wheel with your shoes.  With current bicycle geometries, fore foot cleat placement this is a small issue, but by sliding your foot forward on the pedal you are now putting the ball of your foot into the front wheel when your pedal is in it’s forward most position and turning what was once a small problem, into a major safety concern.

Lastly, in regard to functionality we have to touch on the triathlon specific area that may not have been considered.  Transition. If you run through transition with your cycling shoes you have either personally fallen or witnessed someone else fall because of how slick cycling cleats are.  Now you are going to be either, skating on the cleats, or feel like you are trying to walk on stilts as you are perched upon your Look, Shimano, or even scarier, Speed Play cleats.

As you weigh the advantages and disadvantages of a mid-foot cleat placement and make your decisions, please keep in mind three key factors of entry.  First and foremost is the price.  Just like anything, being an early adopter of a product, theory or technology, you will pay more.  In this case the “more” could be upwards of $1500 in some circumstances.  You can also expect there to be a bit of a learning curve (no pun intended) when it comes to cornering as you learn what your new limitations are.  Last, but not least, assess the potential benefits of this cleat placement and will it compensate for you factors that could arise in transition.  If you are not racing for the win, running the entire run leg or comfortable and confident handling a bike, it may not be the best option for you.

​Back In The Saddle

Sometimes, athletes step away from training due to injury, other times to reflect on their goals. No matter the reason, absence can indeed make the heart grow fonder. Even if you’re looking forward to starting a new training cycling, returning to a routine after a break has its difficulties. Long-time SoS Athlete Kearstin recently started up her custom coaching again after a hiatus. We asked her about her experience in returning to her training regimine.

SOS: What’s it like to come back into training with your coach after a break? Is it easier because of the customization of your workouts?

Science-of-Speed-Athlete-Kearstin-Hess.jpg#asset:326

KR: I think the hardest thing is seeing how much power and endurance I lost before training again. At first, I was really embarrassed by not being able to do rides I used to do, but Coach Brady has been the perfect amount of push and compassion that I need in a coach. It is definitely easier with the customization of workouts! I tried making a comeback on the bike by myself and I just needed more structure and guidance. That’s what I get from Science of Speed.

SOS: What goal events are on the horizon for you as you return to training?

KR: I’ve had one elusive goal for the past 3 years now. I’d like to be able to qualify for the Race Across America. To qualify, I have to complete 370 miles in 24 hours. That is what I’m currently training for and the race is in February. While I don’t know if I’ll be able to hit that goal this next February, I’m just excited to be getting my fitness back!

SOS: Overall, how have you liked working with your SoS Coach? What have been your favorite results that you’ve seen in the past from your customized training?

KR: I love working with SoS. I’ve used SoS on and off for the past 3 years and I’ve always been my best self on the bike when I’m being coached by them. While the results are slow going at the moment, I love what I’m seeing now. I honestly feel like we are starting from ground zero and every week I see improvements or, at the very least, I feel good about myself.

Looking to get back in the saddle and rededicate yourself to your goals? We’re here for you at every step of your athletic journey. Let’s get you ready to return to the race course. Contact us today.

Welcome to the Endurance Training Club

Untitled-design.png#asset:306

Welcome to the the place even your coach would want you to workout at!

Science of Speed’s Endurance Training Club

Science of Speed’s Endurance Training Club is the center of your fitness adventure.  Experience endurance workouts, strength training, recovery modalities and the fun and challenges that keep us working hard.  The Endurance Training Club offers everything the endurance athlete needs to be well prepared for each event that they participate in.  

Our cycling trainer classes provide you with structured interval workouts to challenge athletes at their own personalized training ranges, while simultaneously pushing you when it is needed most.

Strength classes help to strengthen the common weaknesses that endurance athletes battle, helping to prolong time in sport, increase overall strength and ultimately improve quality of life.

Recovery is a very important aspect of training that is often overlooked. Participating in one of our various recovery classes will help you to stay limber, increase blood flow to fatigued muscle tissue and decrease the side effects of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.  

What does being a member of the Endurance Training Club provide you?  Accessibility to our classes that are specifically designed to help athletes increase fitness and help to reduce the risk of sport related injuries. Members can also enjoy discounted rates on testing services.Schedule Appointment

Membership

Monthly – As Low As $65/month

Individual Class – $15/class

Personalized onsite training is available by appointment @ an hourly rate

Monday

  • 6:00 am Trainer Class
  • 7:00 am Strength

Tuesday

  • 6:00 pm Trainer Class (Could be switched with a run workout if necessary/requested)

Wednesday

  • 6:00 am Trainer Class

Thursday

  • 6:00 pm  Trainer Class
  • 7:00 pm Strength

Friday

Saturday

Schedule Appointment

  • 11:00 am Active Recovery

*Class availability and times are subject to change.

The Power of Perception

A recent research study from Northumbria University in the UK showed the importance of the power of perception.  In this study, athletes were tasked with an initial 4km time trial in order to achieve a baseline result.  Once the baseline result was achieved, two subsequent 4km efforts were performed. One effort was at the same power as the initial effort and the other was 102% of the initial effort, unbeknownst to the athlete.  

Cycling Coaching

The athletes who were at the same level, on average performed slightly lower than 100%.  When athletes were given a pacer that was at 102% of their baseline, they were able to improve their performance, showed no signs of exercise-induced neuromuscular fatigue and rate of perceived exertion (RPE) was the same as their baseline.

At Science of Speed, we believe that every workout should have a purpose. Bear in mind that all of those purposes aren’t just to improve performance. They can be as simple as fun, camaraderie or, as this study supports, for a mental reset on what “hard” really is.  Much like the Northumbria study, we have seen that by altering athlete’s perception of what high intensity is we can alter their ability to push beyond what they previously felt was possible. In this research article from Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom, we see the same concept being tested in a laboratory.  As our coaches have experienced with our athletes, there is more than one reason to structure intervals other than the physiological adaptations that occur.  Here, a psychological adaptation resulted in an increase in time to exhaustion (TTE) and an increase in their pain tolerance by 41% when compared to athletes who completed moderate continuous training over the same six week period.

It may be hard for you to recognize the potential that lies in you. It may be hard to know how to unlock that potential and push beyond the mental barriers that may be holding you back. Working with educated and experienced advisors can help you build confidence and develop the mindset you need to succeed.

Curious how coaching can help you strengthen the body AND the mind? Contact us today.

March Athlete Shoutouts

March was a busy month for SoS Athletes and Coaches — and it’s showing in all their excellent results. As we welcome the month of April, let’s look back on the big wins and improvements made by athletes working with Science of Speed to reach their goals!

28576054_1174903575946532_523483229771477167_n-ANIMATION.gif#asset:271
  • Shoutout to #SoSAthlete Eric who, in just 11 weeks of training, has seen an 8.5% increase in power at threshold! Keep up the great work, Eric.
  • Five months ago, Earl took his last field test. After hard blocks of winter training with SoS, this athlete is 11.5% higher at threshold than the last test. Working hard to gain those watts! Nice work, Earl!
  • A hard winter of training with Coach Alex has paid off for Mason. A PR in the 1600, as well as 3rd in the 1600 and 1st in the 3200 just a couple weeks earlier! Congratulations Mason!
  • Shoutout to SoS Athlete, Eric! He took on the SEC#2 Old Capital Classic 6 HR MTN BIKE RACE in Milledgeville, GA and took home 2nd place for XC 1 PRO/EXPERT. Nice work!
  • What an amazing performance from SoS athlete, Stacy! Congratulations to you and Coach Armando on meeting goals and making PRs happen at Best Damn Race – Orlando, FL!
  • Congrats to Jake Oswald who took 1st place overall at Tour de Murrietta Stage Race – Category 5!
  • This one goes to our PR guru, Meg! On her last field test, she cut 1 minute 4 seconds off of her threshold pace.
  • Congrats to Coach Brady on a successful launch of the Champions Ride, a new nonprofit cycling event in north Florida. The event raised close to $10,000 for a local charity.

Ready for some new accomplishments of your own? Contact us today and let’s set exciting goals today!

Coach Brady’s Albany Half Marathon Recap

While Science of Speed coaches are offering athletes across the country advice and guiding them towards their goals, they are also athletes themselves. From swimming to cycling, from triathlon to obstacle racing, our staff is out chasing their own dreams in sports of all kinds. It is because of this that we believe they connect so well with their athletes during training. They understand the grind of training and know what it takes to succeed.

Coach Brady recently put his legs to work off the bike and on the run at the Snicker’s Albany Half Marathon in Georgia. Here are his recap of race day and key takeaways for other athletes.

At the end of 2017, I began training for the Snicker’s Albany Half Marathon.  For those of you who have followed my journey over the past two years, I made it part of my winter activity to mix it up and run a bit. Last year, I took on the Tallahassee Half Marathon in Northern Florida. This year was no different, but my goal was to go with a course that was flatter than the course in Florida’s Capital City. The Albany course is notoriously flat, with many participants in the full marathon event qualifying for Boston.

The Plan

68484.jpeg#asset:263

The past two years, I have taken running fairly half heartedly into the lead up to the half marathon.  It was a good quick 30-45 minute workout that I could get in and my longest run (singular, not plural) was 9 miles leading to the half.  

This year, I wanted to approach things differently.  My goal was to not only to beat my PR from Tallahassee, but to obliterate it.  I publicized a sub 1:25, but, in the back of my head, I was shooting for a 1:20. Does this sound familiar? I know many athletes who have these dueling goals — one for sharing, one that is unspoken.

With that in mind, my plan was to increase my running intensity and time from Thanksgiving on.  It was laid out beautifully to do more longer runs in the month of January and February with plenty of shorter, threshold based workouts throughout the week.

The Journey

As the saying goes, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”  Nothing could have held more true. Up through Christmas, training went well. Then, we made a family trip to Kansas.  I have clearly become soft living in Florida, but temperatures were colder than average — in the single digits — and not above freezing for the highs.  These temperatures were the first of many excuses to come.

Once we returned, everyone in our house passed around some sort of respiratory illness. Having a history of this type of stuff turning to sinus infections and worse, I laid low.  And laid low. And laid low. That dang thing hung out with a nasty cough for weeks!

Once the cold-season plague had lifted, I got back on track and running again. Then, age caught up with me.  A raking related injury, (yes, yard work) laid me up for another ten days with low back pain that made it hard to sit, stand, bend over and lay down, let alone walk.

At it once more, I was set on damage control mode.  With 6 weeks wasted out of the first 10 weeks of the year, the best I could do was work on building mileage to a decent amount and hoping for a 1:30 finishing time.

The Result

1:28.22, 22nd overall and 3rd in my age group.  This was a mere 6 seconds better than my previous PR at Tallahassee half marathon in 2017.  It was a long ways from my original, intended goal, but was surprising given where I felt my fitness was going into the race.  

There are several things that I have to note looking back at the data, however.  Let me preface with the fact that for the past two years I have not run with a watch.  The first year, I forgot it at the house and, the second year, I decided not to wear it because I didn’t the year prior.  This year was different. I had pace and heart rate but tried not to use it during the race. I wore it for the information it would collect.  This is what I learned from the data.

  1. Albany-half-Marathon.JPG#asset:261Miles 1-4 were a bit faster than they should have been – no real surprise here.  I felt good, and how could you not at the start of the run.
  2. Mile 8 I began talking myself out of the ability to run as fast as I was.  Mile 9 was my slowest mile at a 6:50
  3. I negative split the last 5.1 miles
  4. Mile 13 was my fastest at 6:22 pace
  5. The mind is as powerful or as strong as you make it be.  I talked myself out of a lot through miles 8 & 9. One key thing was the gentleman that caught me right at mile 8 that I should have/could have stayed with and gone off his pace.

Ultimately, a bit of adrenaline paired with a lot of grit and determination paid off!  If you look at my pictures during the race, it is apparent that I was not in a comfortable place.  Let’s be honest, I looked like a moving corpse.

Kudos to the City of Albany for a well run event.  Other than a few intersections at the end that didn’t have police support, it was a very well done event.

Tips for your Gravel road Adventures!

One of the largest growing cycling trends in the United States over the past ten years has been gravel road riding.  With large events, such as Dirty Kanza & Grinduro, it is becoming even more enticing for many people to hit the dirt roads.  There is no better time than now for you as a cyclist to do that as well.  

Why Ride Gravel/Dirt Road?

With an increase in focus on cycling safety and driver awareness, many people are opting to head to the less trafficked roads.  Whether this is for peace of mind, enjoyment of nature or a little added thrill, it is a great option.

Gravel roads are also a great option in winter.  When weather temperatures drop the wind chill on a bike, riding at 20+ mph can be nearly unbearable.  Riding on gravel roads can, in some instances, decrease your average speed by 2+mph with the exact same amount of work effort.  This means you can still get an amazing workout and stay a bit warmer.

A Little Different Skill Set

Bokanev-Trek-04877_edit.png#asset:238

Many times, gravel roads are not as well maintained because they see little to no traffic.  This means that you need to be better prepared for what may lie ahead of you.  For many, this means equipment and we recommend you consult your local bike shop to provide you with the specifics of what is needed for your area.  Once you have the knowledge and gear you need, here are some skills that will be very important for you to consider on your adventure into gravel grinding:

  1. Watch your line – Much like riding on a mountain bike, you need to be thinking about your next move.  It is important that you are sighting 10-30 feet up the road. You should be looking for the smoothest surface, sand, larger pieces of gravel and any other object you might want/need to avoid.
  2. Keep your weight back – If and when you find yourself in sand or deep gravel, it is best to keep the handlebars lighter by shifting back on your saddle. This will allow your front wheel to track more effectively through any ruts or bounce over any large rocks.
  3. MORE POWER – Just like Tim the Toolman Taylor, (google it, youngins!) you “need more power” when it comes to sand. Applying added power when you get to sand helps to keep the front end of the bike lighter, much like sliding back, and helps your bike track through the deep stuff.
  4. Braking bumps – These rough wave like formations in the dirt can sometimes be so bad that your eyes begin to blur or make you think that your headtube may separate from the rest of your bike.  Remember to relax, stay off the front brake and ride it out.  Some of these sections can be feet others can be 20-30 yards.  Keep a level head and look for the smoothest portion or road.

Now, it is time.  There is so much exploring to be done and fun to be had! Get out there and get dirty.

Cold Sweats Would be Better Than Sweaty and Cold

Winter is coming and the temperatures are falling. In today’s blog, Coach Brady offers his tips on how to select the right attire for every degree.

Every year, it takes a few workouts to realize what all I need to wear for each temperature range.  Sometimes it is the sudden shift in temperatures, the fear of being cold or the simple fact that sometimes I can’t remember what I did yesterday (let alone the last time it was cold.) All I know is that I always end up cold one way or another. I bet you’ve had this same issue as the seasons change. Let me help you by providing a starting guide that you can consult and modify for you and your climate.  

CYCLING:

60-65 degrees: Arm warmers, vest is optional as it gets closer to 60 degrees

50-60 degrees: Arm warmers, knee warmers/leg warmers, short sleeve base layer, wind front gloves & vest

40-50 degrees: Arm warmers, knee warmers/leg warmers, short sleeve base layer, wind front gloves, toe/shoe covers & vest or long sleeve jersey

<40 degrees: Arm warmers, knee warmers/leg warmers, short sleeve base layer, windproof thermal gloves, wind front briefs, shoe covers, wool socks & wind front long sleeve jersey

RUNNING:
shutterstock_92550337.jpg#asset:237

60-65 degrees: Shorts and shirt

50-60 degrees: Shorts and shirt

40-50 degrees: Shorts, shirt, light glove & arm warmers

<40 degrees: Tights, shirt, lightly insulated glove & arm warmers (as it gets below freezing thermal tights are a great option)

Unsure about tights? I hear you — I try to maintain my ability to adapt to changing weather and, because of this, you will notice that I rarely use tights or anything similar.  A 5 degree swing in temperature can mean you’re either too hot or too cold. Arm and knee/leg warmers allow for quick modulation vs. tights and long sleeve tops.  If you use the above tips as a starting point, you will quickly find a combination that works for you no matter the temperature.