Looking for a short turbo boost?
Focus all of your emotions into the pedals.
There is a saying around the interwebs about ‘Stomach of Anger’. Although I’m not really sure what they mean by that I can tell you that I have pedaled with Anger before. And it makes you fast! But also out of breathe very quickly.
You see I was on a group ride that was usually very steady paced. Everyone rotated evenly and the pace of the group as a whole was pretty quick at around 22-24 mph. But this day we had 1 rider that was randomly attacking the group.
It was throwing off the rhythm of the group and thus lowering our average speed, and it was getting on my nerves. So with each successive attack I was getting more and more P-O’d at this person and their failed attacks off the front that were distracting other riders, until he attacked one time, and I had enough!
I down shifted & MASHED the pedals, shift, MASH, shift, MASH, until I not only went by him at a much greater pace than he was going, but had gotten a significant distance up the road to a red light. As I sat at the red light attempting to catch my breath, I had a chance to think for a minute about what had gotten me so riled up. Although I felt better getting some anger out, I also felt guilty for doing the same thing that this person was doing to the group.
I guess in hindsight I was trying to tell him that he wasn’t the only strong rider in the group that ‘could’ go faster. I’m still not sure, but one thing I learned from this was that when I got my emotions together and focused my energy, that I could create a large amount of watts for a brief amount of time.
I could pedal in Anger!
The thing about pedaling in Anger is that your mind shuts down – you don’t feel any pain, all you have is raw emotion – and all that energy is poured into stomping on those pedals!
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We have several conversations with clients about compact cranks that tend to come on new bikes.
Recently we had a strong client at the studio that was loosing a block of time in the bike portion of this Triathlon. After looking at his VO2 max and wattage numbers in spin class, we asked him to bring in his bike, sure enough he was on compact cranks – he was actually spun out during his race! Granted this won’t happen to everyone, but this is a case where to race to his potential compact cranks were holding him back!
There are good reasons for compact cranks, and there is debate for why people should or should not ride them.
The PROBLEM with compact cranks is that too many people use them for too long and then end up relying on the ‘bail-out’ gears more and more on the same hills until they slowly loose strength since they no longer challenge the leg muscles, but rather transfer the workout to the lungs via spinning.
Train your weakness and Race your Strengths! However, the problem with compact cranks is that you ‘CAN’ end up training yourself into muscle weakness. As a racing buddy Kent Bostick used to say, if you don’t race the small chainring, why train in it? This from a guy that at 45, was an alternate for the US cycling Olympic team in 1996.
If you were doing a workout to get stronger, would you add more resistance or would you just do the reps faster – and then expect to be stronger?
During the Spring, I would do my climbing on a grade that did not allow me to spin easily. I would have to mash the cranks to get to the top of this climb, I did this because I know it would make me stronger! It was training. Mashing is something that I avoid during a race or big ride, but when I would start the season, I would make myself mash some hills! Mash now, so You can spin a bigger gear when it counts!
If your training is periodized as it should be, there is time to gain strength & a time to gain speed.
This blog post is not a new one for this site, I wrote about this previously here
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