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i have a question regarding road vs tri position. i am new to the forward position - i am trying it in an effort to maintain a PC style position and be lower in front. but really the PC angle is moot because the tri-forward position itself is essentially doing the same thing in origin, i guess, what with preservation of hip angle and all that. i am sure the position i am in ( tri-forward) is a good one, i have studied the concepts and myself very carefully. it is on a road bike but the bike has a suitably low head tube, and i have set the front end correctly and all that - - there are some handling issues but i am reasonably certain i can differentiate handling from position in my evaluations thus far. let us, please, just say for the sake of argument that the position is good and is the point of discussion.
so far, i do not like it. actually i like it fine for flatland motoring, but over terrain changes and distance i find it limiting. particularly uphill. i am wondering - -is it just a matter of getting used to it ? or, is the position really better suited for flatter and shorter efforts. my only real goal is MOO, and MOO is very hilly with many fast terrain transitions a lot of turns and 112 miles long. the other day i went out and rode around similar terrain and i wished i was back in my slam position more often than not - mostly related to the terrain as it rolled and pitched up and down over short hills as it is wont to do here in wisconsin. i am fairly certain that on roads that were more evenly graded either up/down/flat i would enjoy the tri-forward position more.
as it happens i can switch back and forth between the two in a few minutes, and i am planning on doing just that in the coming months. maybe even between loops on the MOO course itself. :) but, in the meantime i would be very interested to hear any other views on the matter as anybody might care to share. thanx.
This strikes me as a good question. basically, will a forward position work for climbing? Well, according to a few people whose opinion I trust (Dan Rishworth of Endurosport, Dan Empfield of this website and Gerard Vroomen of Cervelo) it may be a matter of shifting your climbing technique slightly. I was surprised to learn from Dan Empfield (who is one of the innovators and prime advocates of "forward" angle positions) that he feels the best way to climb on a steep angle bike is to stay forward and aero. This is not becasue of aerodynamics (a non-issue at low climbing speeds) but becasue of the bio-mechanics of being forward relative to the bottom bracket (I prefer to say the bottom bracket is farther back...) you remain inthe aero position and "spin" up the climb. This actually does seem to work fairly well. Again, the problem (for me at least) was trying to climb with a try bike using climbing techniques I use to climb on a road bike. Different animal. Does that make any sense?
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it does make sense, tom. i recall that advice myself, and used it out on the road. i can see where it felt pretty good on sustained climbs. thing is, there are no sustained climbs anywhere in the state ! :) :) so far my question relates to climbing like that over lots of smaller, frequent, steeper grades such as you see on MOO. you hear a lot about the tri-forward position and "climbing", but again i would not call what we have in wisconsin or on MOO "climbing". it is more quickly rolling or undulating and this feels different to me than sustained climbing where i am certain mr. empfield's advise would work very well. on the road bike on this type terrain you kinda develope a rhythm of winging along ( on the mini-aero bars) and using momentum and at ttimes a bigger gear to drive over the tops of those little hills, roadie fashion. to maintain the spinning thing a fella seems to have to shift LOTS more. i reckon a real tri bike would help here, what with the bar end shifters and all. but, i am wondering if it is worth it - in other words if i can stay slam aero on the mini - bars and my body "wants" to be riding those little hills back and pushing over the bumps, is there all THAT much to be gained by foregoing that and learning to ride a new way which "MAY" really be better suited for a different style course ( for me at least). does that make sense ??
i guess i am wondering, do the alleged climbing deficiencies of the forward position become even more noticable over quickly transitioning terrain for anybody else, or just me ? maybe i should just go ride, eh ? :) thanx for any further insight, tom or others.
so, is there an 'optimum' climb length/grade for climbing on a steep angled bike? Seems like at the races with the big climbs [say Powerman Zofingen or IM France], you see more road bikes... I'm normally about 75-75degrees... haven't seen many steep bikes at Zofingen [which has killer climbs, but lots of flatland too].
Generally speaking, how would FIST prefer to set one up for one of those races?
I rode a tri/steep angle bike last year at IMMOO and believe the issue is not what bike to ride but what cassette to use. IMHO, when people talk about alleged climbing deficiencies of the forward position they mean riding a tri bike at lower cadence.
Bike at a cadence of 90-100rpm, making constant watts, feels the same, regardless if it's up hill, down hill or on the flats. Gear right and you can stay in this sweet spot. (Yep, those bar end shifters sure help.)
Sometimes you run out of gears and are faced with the choice of standing up or sitting and grinding it out @60-70RPM seated. Standing is the same, road or tri bike, so no deficiency here and I recommend it, your body will appreciate the break from being in one position.
Most of the alleged climbing deficiencies of the forward position come from trying to grind out low rpm's while seated. I agree, it's not where the atvanges of the tri bike lay. Gear right and you shouldn't have to do it often. Maybe you give up a little here, but I think it's worth it.
Remember, you still have 26.2 miles to run and here I believe the forward position helps you come off feeling better and with fresher (after 112 miles, that's a relative term) legs. This benefit used to be talked about alot but I haven't heard much about it lately and have no data to back up this opinion.
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