Sure, there are a lot of subtle things to do to get into a top-notch time trial position on a bike. But what should you focus on if you don’t have unlimited money and time?
You know…how do you get the most bang for your buck?
In the video below, Lance talks about three positioning fundamentals to be aware of . I’ll summarize a few points for you.
1). Get your head out of the way. It goes without saying that your body can be as ‘small’ as possible, but if your coconut is sticking up, catching the wind, you’ve got problems.
Should I get into time trialing again, I’m going to do some ‘blind’ riding. There’s really no need to have my head up like an ostrich, searching the road for loose change, discarded bear cans with high redemption value, or even the finish line.
I think I’ll just glance up now and then to make sure I’m not headed for a double-parked delivery van. Then I’ll get my pumpkin down out of the wind. And here’s a positive side effect…my neck won’t be screaming for relief.
One problem with this whole ‘glance up’ routine when wearing a ‘long tail’ aero helmet is that the tail of the helmet will be up in the stratosphere when I drop my head. I suppose the new short-tailed aero helmets don’t pose the same degree of difficulty.
I just read a blog post that labeled my ‘only glance up now and then’ to be extremely dangerous. Probably true, so don’t try it.
You know the old saying, ‘Don’t do as I say, don’t do as I do!’
2). Narrow your shoulders. Narrowing the shoulders is accomplished by reducing the space between the elbow pads on the aerobars.
I have very manly, wide shoulders. I’m proud of them, and believe they make me more important than men who are cursed with narrow shoulders.
Blessed with such shoulder width, I’ve felt the discomfort of having the elbow pads too closely spaced in my effort to get as aero as possible. The discomfort was so significant that at times I didn’t think highly of my physique, instead reducing myself to sniveling and whimpering.
I widened the space between my elbow pads and was able to inhale again, after which I once again appreciated myself.
3). Flatten your back. Lance will tell you (with stylish graphics) about drawing a line between the center of the hip and the center of the shoulders (of course, mine are quite wide). The more horizontal the line is, the more aero the position.
But, if your ability to produce watts is compromised by too flat of positioning, you’ll have to compromise and ‘sit up’ a bit.
Lance references his teammate Levi several times in this video. He’s careful to not speak poorly of Levi’s body type, but you can read between the lines and rightfully infer that Levi probably doesn’t have very wide shoulders.
As for me, I’ll take my wide shoulders any day.
If you’d like some insight into why the bent over position of time trialing hurts your low back, read all about it at Askfitnesscoach.com .
- The Case Against “The Case Against Lance Armstrong” [Lance Armstrong] (deadspin.com)
- Lance Armstrong to compete in Worlds triathlon (espn.go.com)
- Is Lance Armstrong a success? (psychologytoday.com)
- Lance Armstrong confronts Tyler Hamilton over doping claims (telegraph.co.uk)