Get Low to Go Fast

Get Low to Go Fast

The proper body position can help you ride faster and longer.

Most people cannot ride comfortably with their hands in the handlebar drops for more than a minute. It’s a good idea to get acquainted with the drops. The lower body position reduces the amount of drag, so you save more energy and can ride faster and longer.

(side note: there is no point in getting aero wheels if you plan to sit straight up catching wind like a kite).

Not only are you more efficient in the drops, you have more traction in wet or gravelly conditions and tight corners.

Check Bike Fit.

To ride effectively in the drops you need to roll your hips forward, keeping the hip angle open. If you are getting into the drops by bending at the waist or arching your back, your hip angle is closing, which means you will produce less power.

Be Flexible.

If bike fit isn’t the problem, the culprit is probably your range of motion. Reaching the drops by straightening your arms may make you less aerodynamic. To cut drag, you need to lower your head and shoulders, which requires greater hip and lower-back flexibility. Check out these stretching exercises…

Practice in Position.

To develop more power in the drops, practice. Try this – twice per week, do three to four 6 minute intervals with your hands in the drops.  Start at moderate intensity and after a few weeks increase the intensity to just below ‘race pace’. Or use the drops whenever you ride on the bike trainer.

Adapted by Bicycling Magazine article “Get Low, Go Fast by Chris Carmichael.

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