The Tri Town Times: 3/21/22

The Tri Town Times: 3/21/22

Image: Professional triathlete Travis Wood in his element.

This week: dropper post helps Mohorič win Milan-Sanremo; bicycle fit considerations for the triathlete- does pushing your saddle back help engage your hamstrings?

Hi all,
Here is your weekly Tri Town Times newsletter:
Weekend race report:
Expect to see more dropper seatposts spec'd on road bikes after this weekend. Professional Slovenian cyclist, Matej Mohorič, used a dropper seatpost to win the Milan-San Remo. The 185 mile race has a steep and technical descent just miles from the finish line, and Mohorič, already known as a top descender, used a dropper post to separate himself from the field and hold on for the win.
Events I'm looking forward to:
As usual, the pro field at 70.3 Oceanside on April 2nd is completely stacked.
Training thoughts and updates:
Super-triathlete Kristian Blummenfelt, made an interesting comment during a post-race video recently. He mentioned that his quads were blowing up during the bike leg of the race, and that he will move his saddle back to activate his hamstrings more. This touches on a number of important bike fit considerations for the triathlete and cyclist in general:

- Studies have confirmed riding in the aerobars tends to activate the quads and gluteus maximus more than upright cycling.

- Other studies suggest that a more forward position on the bicycle shifts activation from the hamstrings to the quads.

A common issue I see with athletes I fit is not quad-dominance in the pedal stroke, it is a lack of glute activation during the all-important downstroke phase. Many athletes never feel their glutes engage while pedaling. If you're not activating your glutes appropriately during the downstroke, you're asking a lot of your quads.
Consider this simple thought: if your butt muscles are not sore after a hard bike ride, you're not doing it right.
Another issue I see is an over-emphasis on the upstroke. When you push down on the pedals during the downstroke, you are activating approximately nine major muscles, all working in harmony, to drive power to the pedals. When lifting your foot through the upstroke, you are activating two (tibialis anterior and adductor longus).
The best cyclists in the world are not pulling up much, they're simply pushing down harder than you or me.
Ultimately, the goal of pedaling a bicycle well is not to simply shift the load from one muscle group to another, it is to balance the forces acting upon your muscles based on their ability to generate force. The good news is we often do this intuitively, i.e. when shifting forward or back on the saddle when transitioning from flat terrain to a climb.
Finally, remember that riding fast on a bike requires balancing a variety of factors. A more forward and low position may allow you to ride in a more aerodynamic tuck, and the tradeoff in favor of a more quad-dominant pedal stroke may be worth it. Just be sure you give yourself time to adapt to the new position, and don't forget to activate your glutes.
Quote that struck a chord:
"We are ruthless and transparent in the analysis of our own performance... If you understand why you fell short of your own expectations you can move on, and try to improve for the next race." Toto Wolff
Have a great week!
Antonio Gonzalez
Tri Town Bicycles
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