Thursday, 13 May 2010

Legs are shot?....again, or are they?

Relatively nice day today, well any day where there is no rain is going to be nice. The forecasters seem to have got the weather wrong everyday for 2 weeks. Heavy rain showers were predicted in Manchester today but didn't materialise. Got up fairly late again and only had 1hr 30mins to get to work so took the medium commute of 15.6 miles. Every pedal stroke took all my effort and concentration, I think the wind contributed to my demise this morning but only partially. Was sooo happy to get to work. Average speed was adequate, expected less actually.

Distance 15.6miles
Average 18.5mph
Ascent 500ft

Being a train driver I get lots of time of time to think. There is a pedal at the footplate known as a driver's safety device which needs to be held down and whilst sitting down, on some units, it can take quite a bit of force. I have experimented, crossing legs, leaning forward so using my upper body weight, lowering and raising the seat, moving seat forwards and back . Can you see where I am going with this?

Well today I tried sitting with the seat back, and pushing using the ball of my foot. I pushed and found it was so much easier that I could lift my whole body up too without much effort. My knee was quite far back so maybe it doesn't need to be over the spindle of a pedal and , or it isn't as important as made out and my legs were kinda outstretched. Previously I thought the best position was up close and using my body's weight to aid me in a cramped position but couldn't get alot of power down, took alot of effort to lift myself, just like on my bike even though it felt right.

Fast forward to my cycle home. Before I set off I set the saddle back all the way and lowered the seat post to compensate. Was going to move my cleats but didn't want to try too many things at once. Wind wasn't as bad as earlier on but swirled terribly. I get the wind direction from a set of flags on Oldham road but today one was blowing towards me another across me and the other nearly away from me and they are yards apart in open space. How does that work? I figured my legs would be in the same state they were this morning, shot to pieces! so didn't go as hard as I usually would have done until I found my legs weren't tiring as quick. It was dark and I couldn't measure my performance on the computer as its near my chest due to my super aero position so just pedalled and found I could put lots more power down and not get the fatiguing effects I previously had. The hills were still tricky and I really had to work hard up them but after a hard standing session my legs die when sitting, and need time to recover, but not today, I could put the power straight back down. The last 5 miles were the best as I could feel the effort I was putting in and getting lots back from the bike. Its not the most comfortable or natural of positions, Im sure it wont take long to get used to it.

I remember a recent article on Russ Downing. He's a short ass just like me and uses a mega long stem but he said he had his saddle as far back as possible and I just wondered what the hell for? I have tried it before, once but it felt awkward so reverted back. Due to the new found strength or whatever it was I did the longer 20 mile commute home tonight. One word regarding the average...gutted:( Tried so hard on the home sprint to get it up. I did have way more traffic light stops than normal for the time of night though. Also had to fight off the pain from a few cramps, nothing major though.

Distance 20.8miles
Average 19.9mph!!
Ascent 1050ft

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