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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:28 am 
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In order to get into the aggressive geometry, where you're lower back is bent over at a 90 degree angle on their saddle, is this about flexibility? If so, is it just mainly hamstring and lower back flexibility?

I think Mr. Alberto Contador shows it perfectly in the first 30s.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szLGtG_yQzo

I am looking to make this one of my goals, but I not sure if I should just continue to stretch out my hamstrings, or whether there is anything else I can be doing.

Btw, I am talking about a road bike. Not the aero position in a tri bike.


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Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:28 am 


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:50 am 
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The way I'm working towards this is by lowering the position a bit every few months. And of course stretching exercise and torso training, so I can go even lower next year. I've been amazed how much there is to be gained in just cruising-along-speed by a lower position.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:57 pm 
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From my understanding and experience this has more to do with rolling your hips forward and flexability. To achieve this position I think its a combination of proper fit, flexability, and time in the saddle. It seems like some pros achieve this better than others, take a look at Sergei Ivanov for example. This has been something ive been working on myself for the past few months with my fitter. Interested to see the other comments from other riders, coaches and fitters.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:53 pm 
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Jersland wrote:
... rolling your hips forward ...

Does that mean they sit more on the soft parts, and less on the harder ones?

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:42 am 
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He certainly has outstanding form. When I roll my hips forward, which they tend to want to do, my back is pretty darn flat though the angle is still about 35 degrees. I'm Ok with this angle but, I feel a bit of a loss of power when my hips roll - due to the more acute hip angle. I sometimes think these pro riders, being young, can keep their hips from rolling forward and just bend more. This reduces the more acute hip angle resulting from rolling the hips forward and thus maintains a more powerful position. But I don't know...


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:57 am 
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NealH wrote:
He certainly has outstanding form. When I roll my hips forward, which they tend to want to do, my back is pretty darn flat though the angle is still about 35 degrees. I'm Ok with this angle but, I feel a bit of a loss of power when my hips roll - due to the more acute hip angle. I sometimes think these pro riders, being young, can keep their hips from rolling forward and just bend more. This reduces the more acute hip angle resulting from rolling the hips forward and thus maintains a more powerful position. But I don't know...


I feel more power as I roll forward as my glutes engage more.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:10 am 
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Definitely work on hamstring flexibility but the key is pelvic rotation forward. You cannot be rolled back on your sit bones and get a flat back. Senor Armstrong comes to mind as an example of this situation.

Sent from my Droid using Tapatalk


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:50 am 
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Flat back is not only question of low bars.
Look at Schleck. Low bars but by no means aerodynamic in cruising mode.
Of course he can bend by puting the forearms horizontal but he can handle it 30min maybe?

Even Bartoli aka Mr Classy Look, wasnt in aero position most of the race.
Having a flat back is about flexing the arms to drop the shoulders. It flips the hips a bit and thats it.


When i started racing, the trend was the belgian position. Search for the cofidis era of Franck VDB and Nico Mattan. Their saddles was tilting upward as well as the bars/levers. Yet the long reach allows to be stetched enough to have a flat back.
May be its because I have long femurs but its the position i like best. I feel more powerful because the hips are well locked.

Sorry it sounded nonsense mix of clueless ideas.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:38 pm 
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A proper position saves a ton of energy. My coach kept wanting to re-calibrate my PowerMeter because he didn't believe speed vs watts.

What you want to do is to extend your stem length, lower the bars and move your saddle back on the rails. There is no quick and easy way to do get to that kind of position. I have been doing it since I was a junior. You won't need that long, but I would recommend doing it gradually over several seasons. An adjustable stem (like a Look) would make things easier.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:46 pm 
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Geoff wrote:
What you want to do is to extend your stem length, lower the bars and move your saddle back on the rails.

Hmm -- knowing the optimum is probably somewhere in the middle -- which of those would you give priority to, stem or saddle? I tend to move forward on the saddle when digging in, probably like most rider, and also Contador in the clip linked above.

I ditched my last spacer a few months ago and will try a 17° stem in spring as next step. Wondering whether to go from 120mm to 110 though, to help me stay centred on the saddle. That might help when riding on the hoods, but my dilemma is I would rather have an extra cm between bars and saddle when in the drops.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:20 pm 
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A good deal of flexibility is involved with it. I've been working on my flexibility for years, especially since I started time trialing. Usually during the winter I will do some Yoga to try and work on getting low and compact. By the start of the season I will have about 3/4 of an inch of spacers, but about 6 weeks in, most of the spacers will be gone (for warranty I need 1mm under the stem, but that is nothing). By mid-late season I'm able to get so low that my knees will be very close to hitting my chest, while being able to maintain the same power if I were sitting up.


Contador is a great example, O'grady used to be pretty decent at it as well if my memory serves me correctly. It is not always about bar drop, but about elbows being at a sharp angle and being able to generate power with a closed hip angle. I find that rolling forward on the seat while pulling myself towards the rivet definitely helps.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:22 pm 
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Pros do not always ride the ideal setup. Unfortunately studies show that you make big gains in flexibility when you begin an optimal stretching routine, but that halts fairly fast. Your anatomy is somewhat your anatomy and there are several pros that ride non-pro positions better than those who do. Its better to win on something wonky then to ride shitty because you want to look cool.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:02 pm 
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@wassertreter, that is an interesting issue. When seated on a steep climb, do you not tend to slide backward on your saddle to recruit the larger muscle groups? The same principle applies here. It may feel odd at first, but nothing beats grinding-out long miles at higher watts than sliding the saddle back on the rails.

Personally, I would try to get a nice, powerful saddle position first, then work on making it aerodynamic. There is no substitute for watts.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 12:04 am 
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Geoff, no, I end up sitting on the saddle's nose, just like Contador at 20 seconds, and then again 35s into the video. Probably this is from flexing the abdominals and the torso in general when going for it? While just pedalling along I feel all nice and powerful in a more centred position on the saddle.

Anyway it's about time I got back to torso strength and flexibility exercise.

KWalker wrote:
Its better to win on something wonky then to ride shitty because you want to look cool.

This is not about looks at all, riding low already saves perceivable watts at 30kph, and way more at higher speeds.

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Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 12:04 am 


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 2:41 am 
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I watched the video again and Contadore is definitely sliding forward on the saddle during hammer times. He appears to maintain that forward position most of the time. I think the major muscle groups recruited are very close given a 1 - 2cm forward / aft movement. My guess is that his more open hip angle from sliding forward just generates more power. It overshadows any gain in muscle engagement from sliding back (assuming there is any).


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