Re: [CR]Re: pedaling circles -- myth - Vintage Content!

(Example: History)

From: "ehbusch" <>
To: <>, "Edward Albert" <>, <>, <>
References: <>
Subject: Re: [CR]Re: pedaling circles -- myth - Vintage Content!
Date: Fri, 16 May 2008 20:32:24 -0400

I agree here- Learned very early about spinning. Beeing smooth, quiet, and still on the bike. In Jan.& Feb. Club training rides had a 42x16 gear limit, fixed or feewheel.100-110 rpms was a target spin rate. Several jams a few sprints and at least 50 miles. It helped set the tone for the rest of the season.. As far as pulling up havin nothing to do with power. Why is that several times each year in the Tour De France you see a sprinter out of the saddle sprinting for all he's worth pull out in the last 250 meters. Maybe because he is stomping down as hard as he can with the left leg but he also is pulling as hard as he can with the right one, in the biggest gear he has. Not many people put out more power on a bike than the Pro sprinters in the last 250 meters. Not that I'm even close to a Tour de France sprinter but I've been there many times and I've pulled a foot out more than once. Crushed the old nuggies on the top tube more than once. Right or wrong I know I was pushing and pulling for all I was worth..A lot of the time I was trying to catch up with Patrick Gellineau...Unfortunately that rarely happened, just having him in my site was an accomplishment in itself....

Ed Busch
Vonore Tennessee USA

----- Original Message -----
To: Edward Albert

<>; <> Sent: Friday, May 16, 2008 6:29 PM Subject: Re: [CR]Re: pedaling circles -- myth - Vintage Content!

> Right on Eddy!
> East Coast riders may remember the legendary Joe Tosi. Joe would race on
> one of his gorgeous silver Cinelli bikes (but well worn, the ultimate tool
> for racing!) into his early 60's and try to hang with pretty fast cat 2/3
> packs filled with people 40 years his junior. If Joe could hang on to the
> end of a crit, you would see him move from the back of the pack towards
> the front - his head bobbing up and down at 60 cycles while the rest of
> his upper body was perfectly still but his legs would be spinning at some
> other wordly high RPM. He would have an amazing surge that would propel
> him to the front. Yeah, he didn't beat everyone usually, but he could get
> by most of the pack.
> In training rides, Joe would train riders to spin - spin, and spin some
> more. He'd split riders into two groups, the slow riders could use
> whatever gear they wanted, the fast group had to stay on the small
> chainring (to improve technique even more) - and the goal was for the
> slower group to catch the faster.
> The riders that Joe mentored were often tops in the area. And Joe was at
> it into his 60's (those knees apparently kept working) until a horrible
> tragedy struck him down. Where did Joe get his amazing technique? Turned
> out he rode with some of the legends of 6 day racing in his earlier years.
> The folks who dominated the world cycling scene back in the day.
> I think I'll continue to work on my pedal stroke.
> Mike Kone in Boulder CO USA
> -------------- Original message --------------
> From: "Edward Albert" <>
>> It may indeed be true that the pedaling in circles idea is a myth and,
>> as Morgan states, you get more watts just pushing down hard. But, I
>> would wager that the bike racer who pedals in circles has a longer
>> cycling career than the guy who stomps on the pedals and puts those
>> incredible forces on their knee tendons. Its not just about power.
>> Further, spinning circles in little gears early in a race leaves you
>> something left to stomp on those pedals when it counts....a the end.
>> Edward Albert (still protecting his patella tendons by spinning circles)
>> in
>> Chappaqua, New York, U.S.A
>> Edward Albert, Ph.D.
>> Prof. Emeritus, Sociology
>> Hofstra University
>> >>> "Hillery" 05/16/08 5:14 PM >>>
>> OK --
>> It is a persistent myth that 'perfect circles' or 'technique training'
>> w
>> ill appreciably improve power, speed, or any other measurement of real
>> cy
>> cling efficiency. USAC recently did a fun webinar called 'mythbusters',
>> m
>> odeled in part after the Discovery TV show, and one they addressed was
>> th
>> e perfect circles bit. The presenter was Steve McGregor, PhD of Eastern
>> M
>> ichigan U. and USAC. As Steve said, pros pedal in squares, not circles.
>> He then presented data to prove it -- specifically invoking Ed Coyle's
>> wo
>> rk
>> (see Coyle EF, FeltnerME, KautzSA,
>> Hamilton MT, Montain SJ, Baylor AM,
>> Abraham LD, and Petrek GW. Med Sci
>> Sports Exerc 23: 93-107, 1991.)
>> You can google or go to and see
>> f
>> igure 1 for a different article that references the same study - and
>> it's
>> the chart that tells the story best. Note that the maximum torque is
>> dev
>> eloped at 90 deg from TDC - the horizontal part of pushing down. The
>> full
>> study looks at professional and ranked amateurs. Measurements were also
>> done with people consciously trying to pedal in circles. Minuscule
>> change
>> in torque accomplishes in 'pulling,' and some potential loss of overall
>> ability by using energy in ways that did little to really help - a net
>> ne
>> gative.
>> The upshot is that the studies - with real metrics - show that best
>> pedal
>> ing is using max power on the normal down stroke. It's muscle (fibre
>> type
>> and Lactate Threshold) that govern total power output.
>> The best way to improve 'efficiency' is to include shorter intense
>> workou
>> t in the mix. Hills, sign-post & town line sprints, and working to push
>> y
>> ourself above your current 'max efforts' to raise the lactate threshold
>> -
>> the point (at or slightly below ~90% of max heart rate) where your
>> muscl
>> es are generating waste faster than the blood can flush it out -- it's
>> no
>> t actually lactic acid, but that's a whole 'nuther story.
>> Raising LT allows you to do more work (power over time). Beyond the
>> point
>> of smooth pedaling (not stomping, choppy action), striving for elegance
>> won't help on that next hill.
>> What's wild is that this myth persists -- note that Coyle's work was
>> publ
>> ished in 1991 ! -- in spite of consistent additional study that supports
>> & affirms the original testing.
>> It's like the apocryphal story (one that may not be true, but should be
>> b
>> ecause it makes a good point) about Jaques Anquitil. It's said that at
>> th
>> e base of a steep climb, he'd shift his bidon from it's holder to his
>> jer
>> sey pocket ... he wanted the bike to be as light as possible for the
>> clim
>> b. !
>> Bob Hillery
>> Retro Randonneur
>> USAC level 2 coach, 240221
>> Stratham, NH
>> US