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Should You Ride Harder Up A Climb? | Ask GTN Anything About Cycling


(whistling) (metallic spinning) – Hello and welcome back to
another Ask GTN, but this time, we are talking all things bike. – We are and we have had some
great questions in from you, which Mark and I are going
to dive right into now. – Yes and this first one
here from J.Bur19 says, “How do I shift gears
properly on the bike? “I know it sounds silly, but I come from “a swimming background where
there’s no technical stuff “involved and I’m not sure
how to get it quite right. “Do I shift before or during the hill? “And do I do the first, do
I first do the chain set “and then the cassette
or both at the same time? “You can see that I’m lost.” Well, firstly, I do think that
if you think that swimming isn’t very technical, well,
you’re very lucky because I’m sure there’s a lot of
viewers out there who will disagree with you. But back to your question and
you’re certainly not silly because I’ve witnessed a
lot of people changing gears at the bad or incorrect time. – [Fraser] Yeah, I mean, you
really first things first have to differentiate between
our chain links in the front, a cassette in the back
and decide in your head what you’re going to go for first. – Yeah, so I think on a really steep hill, you want to drop into
that small chainring first and then work through the gears, you definitely don’t want
to be doing both at once, because not only will you get
a massive jump in the gears, there is also the risk of
actually jamming the gears and having a bit of a mechanical, so you actually want to be
really gentle with gears. Any movement that you make,
so you’re not going through the whole cassette range
at one time, you’re just going through one, two,
maybe even three at a time and just doing it nice and gently. And also, when you’re not
putting too much pressure through the chain, so isn’t it really
interesting topic we’ve discussed before about
when you’re going up hills, what you do when you want to change gear. – Yeah and Mark makes that
point really clear and I’ve been there, done that is grabbing
gears really quickly when you see a hill because
you panic, don’t you? And you think, “goodness,
I’ve got to go up that hill. “I’m not in the right gear; I
need to be in an easier gear.” And hit your shifter to try
and grab all those gears too quickly and that’s when
you can get the problems with chain either falling
off the back of the cassette, getting stuck between the
cassette and the spokes, or equally dropping the
chain in the front when the, when it falls off the from
the big to the small chain. – Yeah, so also, when
you are going up a hill, I normally suggest
actually sitting down when you are going to change
gears because what happens is when you’re standing
up, out of the saddle, you’re putting a lot
of pressure and strain through that chain, which
then is going to make it harder to move through the cassette. So sit down, take a little
bit of pressure off, change through gears quickly, and then pop that pressure back on. For the next question, we
have from Paul Cartridge says, “Is there any science behind
the benefits of keeping cool “with a fan on the turbo
trainer, thus allowing you “to put out more watts versus
not using a fan to train “in effectively hotter conditions?
I only race in the UK.” So interesting question. – Yeah, I mean, I suppose I
would always want to use a fan to answer that question really quickly. I understand having the turbo
set up in the house to try and feel like you’re working
harder because you might be racing, but well he’s
actually not, he’s only racing UK so the chances of it
being really warm in the UK are actually pretty slim. That being said, what happens
when we’re in the indoor turbo, I guess, it’s about
extra stress, isn’t it, on the body. Yeah, and sometimes it’s good to just make that stretch just a little
bit more bearable and that’s where the fan’s good, I think. – Well, definitely, I
mean, let’s take it back a step here because the reason
that we sweat or perspire is to kind of dissipate
heat from the body. Our body’s doing that on
purpose, but if we are riding outside, the wind is almost
evaporating that sweat away, so that’s adding to that cooling effect. If we allow that sweat just to sit on us, we are going to boil and
what we see is when we start to get hot and overheat,
we have a lower output and less power coming out on the bike. So, if you are training in
those conditions all the time on a turbo, you’re probably
not going to be getting that much from your session. You might adapt, to an
extent, but probably not overall for longterm. – You get really good at
doing a hot turbo indoors. (laughing) – Yeah, definitely, maybe
not for your race performance and if you are racing in
the UK, as Fraser said, just scrap it. Train hard, put a fan on and do it well. Now this next question’s
actually in reference to one of our recent videos on
whether we should ride harder into headwinds or easier and
this is what we had to say in that video. – We could go into some
complicated sides right now, but we’re going to stick
to the facts that have been successfully tried and
tested already by the pros. It was actually Graeme
Obree, the former one-hour record-holder, who previously stated that, “It’s not the person who
goes the fastest that wins, “it’s the person who slows
down the least that wins.” – In other words, it’s really
important as tri-athletes to maintain or keep our
average speed up throughout our ride, rather than
peaking for some sections, then stalling for others. And if you think about it, when we are riding into headwinds, obviously, we are going
slower and that alone takes up a large proportion of our
overall time on the bike, so if we can increase just by a fraction, our speed on that part of
the ride when we’re going into the headwinds, we’re
actually increasing our pace for a large proportion of the race. – And off the back of that,
we have Murat Guc asking us, “Does this principle
apply to climbing as well? “And I mean by that, is it
better to work harder whilst “climbing and take it easier
whilst ruling on the flats?” – Yeah, really good question,
actually and in a way, yes, because if you are riding
with a power metre, you’ll probably notice a
natural increase in your power, even if you are trying to
maintain the same effort level. So my theory behind this
and a few other clever folk out there have said the same, well though there was
a bit of debate as to whether this is true, but it’s to do with our pedal stroke and how
much pressure we’re applying through the whole pedal stroke. So you remember riding on the flat, we often pressure through the down-stroke and not so much on the up-stroke, whereas when we’re on the climb, we put pressure through
the whole pedal stroke. Otherwise, we’ll pretty much
just fall off our bike and come to a grinding halt. So that accounts for
something like a 20-to-30-watt increase, just generally
speaking for some people. But should we ride harder on the climbs? Now, I tend to just ride
harder; that’s my go-to. What do you do? – Yeah, well, we attack them, don’t we? I think that’s just human
nature, see a hill, go harder. – And that’s actually a really
good point, I mean, there’s that psychological side to
see a hill and like, attack and that’s exciting and you
get an adrenaline from that, well, most people do,
whether it’s fear or. – But it also depends on
how long that climb is. – That’s a very good point
and also sort of the race that you’re doing, too. Is it a Olympic-distance
race, in which you could go balls to the wall and really
hard or could you, is it an Ironman race, where
you need to maybe conserve the effort a little bit more? – Yeah and I think there’s also, I like to think of it’s about,
especially when you’re talking about shorter, sprint and
Olympic distances, it’s almost about con, or maintaining
or conserving the momentum you’ve built up and if those
climbs are short, punchy ones, which we get a lot of here
in the UK, you can afford almost to override that power
cap that you might will have put on a hill beforehand
because, well, it’s worth it in the long run of the race. – Yeah and that cap idea is
a really good, sort of way of saying it, I mean, I
normally say something like a 10% cap, if you’re maybe
doing like a half Ironman, Ironman because you
want to conserve energy. If you’re doing a shorter race,
where you can afford to get a little bit harder, put
sort of like a 10-20 or maybe 10-15% cap on that intensity on the climb. But very good question. Now this next one here from Steven Reeves. “Can you guys do a video on
how to choose a size for a “TT or triathlon bike? “I read online that
people typically size down “when going from a road to TT, “but that could be old
school information.” Now, I’ve gotta say, I
used to give that advice and used to do very similar,
I used to ride a 58 centimetre road bike and then ride
a 50, well the equivalent of a 56 centimetre TT bike. I now actually ride a
56 centimetre road bike, but that’s irrelevant now. What did you used to do? – I’m just wondering if we’re
showing our age here and that we’re just quite old. (laughing) Yeah, I mean when I came
into the sport, definitely it was the same, it was
smaller bike is better because that might be lighter or
you can be a little bit more aero, perhaps and I definitely
think that there’s been a change in thinking now and um. – It was also the brands,
as well, as a whole, the geometry’s kind of
adjusted for TT bikes. It was, TT bikes used to be,
well kind of just an add on to their range and their sizes
geometries weren’t really thought about. They’re all adjusted now and
actually, you are mostly buying TT bikes in a small, medium
and large, so it’s completely different and what I
would say with TT bikes is that their position is so important. It’s actually best to try
and see the bike beforehand, whether that’s going to a
bike shop, check the bike out, get fitted up, take measurements
and actually find the size that fits you and, if
possible, sit on that bike beforehand. – Yeah that is a really
good point, but it is often a tricky thing to do
because it’s hard to go and see two bikes in different sizes
in one place, but if you can, I think it would be an ideal
way, I mean I always rode a medium frame on pretty much
the same type of bike and I do wish maybe I’d even be able to
sit on a large and just have a try and see what that felt
like because to be honest, I never did and never had
that comparison to make. – Yeah, I would actually just
add to that, I always used to go for a slightly smaller
frame and actually now, I wish I’d known, actually,
I should have been extending out a bit further, which I
probably couldn’t have done on those smaller bikes. Yeah, so very important. Okay, well, next question
from Jasper W said, “When cycling here in the
north of the Netherlands, “I never use my smaller
chainring up front. “Would it be crazy to just
have one chainring up front “and save weight at the
extra ring and front rail?” – I mean, I would firstly say
lucky you that you don’t need a small chainring because I
wish where I’ve spent most of my time training, I didn’t need one. – Yeah, well, to answer your
question, no not at all. I mean, people are going to
really disagree with me here, we’ve had some haters for
the single chainring idea, but if you are, if the course
does allow, then definitely single chainring, if you can,
but you just need to make sure that the gearing is
correct for that course. And we’ve actually see loads
of the top cyclists, time trial specialists and even many of
the top pros go for the single chainring option, but what
you do need to make sure that you do is that you get
a narrow-wide chainring, so there’s that basically
longer teeth on the chainring, which stops the chain from
then just falling off as you’re going through the gears. Another thing to maybe take
into consideration is that gearing and we have seen
some pretty crazy gears as of late, so a lot of the pros at Kona, the male pros in particular, are riding over 55-tooth chainrings? – [Fraser] Yeah, they’re getting,
what I think are enormous sizes, to be honest, because
I am a little bit old-school and think a 53-chainring’s quite a lot. (laughing) But yeah, I mean. – [Mark] It’s very good going, mate. – Thanks, but yeah, I
think it is definitely becoming more popular. I mean, I do actually
remember a race last year, being passed by a guy, Jordan
Rapp, riding on a 1×11, a single chainring and, it
just seemed strange, but definitely gonna happen more. – Yeah, well we saw Joe
Skipper, Kona on a 60-tooth. 60-tooth. It’s pretty big. But this is all to do with
chain-line efficiency, which Matt Bottrill explains here. A 60-tooth chainring, to a
lot of our viewers, will sound absolutely nuts, but what
is the idea behind that? – Again, it’s all about
chain-line efficiency, so if we can say, you know,
if we not, if we’ve not got these massive cross-overs,
then we’re gonna ultimately save, save drag. So it might be a couple of
watts that we’re going to save by having the correct tooth chain line. – And our next question
from Der Man, who asks us, “Are there any TT handlebars
that take MTB brakes?” – You know I think that
the answer to that is no. – No, never seen it. – Yeah, never seen it. I’m not sure why you’d want it, but. – It’s a niche-market. – I would like to see it. You can however get hydraulic
brakes for TT bikes. I’ve actually got a set
on my Cervelo P5x, got the SRAM Aero HRD hydraulic brakes,
which are very powerful, so if you’re looking for
that side of the technology for mountain biking, there is that. – [Fraser] Works well. – Yeah, now I’ve got a big
question coming up now. From Fuji Wuji, Wuji, FujiWuji, “I don’t understand the
idea behind allowing bars “only as long as your brake levers. “Is there some advantage
that the longer ones offer “that short ones don’t and
if so, why would the race “organisers bother and make
their, insist that triathletes “only use short ones.” It goes on and on. But basically we’re talking
about these shorter triath-legal bars that you see in IT racing. – So I mean, it’s the rules, for IT racing and short-course racing. There is no plane that can
extend past the edge of our brake hoods, that would be
a good way to describe it, so you see if you’re ever to
watch the athletes, you know, getting themselves ready to
go through transition, they’ll be a referee making sure,
they’ll have a block of wood, that’ll get put towards the
front of the bike and just literally see whether those
handlebar extensions go past your brakes and if they do. – We won’t share the tricks
to cheating that one. – No, another video. – Yeah, that’s another video. But anyway, I think the idea,
I say I think, I’m pretty sure I know the idea behind
keeping them shorter, is for safety, really. You, if by having the longer
bars, your hands are quite far away from the brake lever,
so if you do suddenly need to grab those brakes,
because you now are in a pack and draught legal racing,
that’s a long way to go. Whereas from the shorter
bars, they’re just there. It’s a small bit, but. – But it’s also, I mean, you’re
absolutely right, but it’s also the fact that that’s
a little bit of a weapon, the longer it gets. So if you do crash, or multiple
bikes come down, then you just don’t want an extra thing protruding. – Yeah and then I guess
you could also talk about the race dynamics, as well,
is that it would probably completely change the
race dynamics if everyone had these long TT bars on,
so they’re time-trialing through what should have
been a draft-legal race. The draft-legal bit is the fun
part of draft-legal racing, so let’s keep that there and
don’t turn it into time-trials. – Our next question from Austin Blair is, “I thought pedals self-loosened?” – Yeah, well this has quite
a good one to finish on and it is in reference to
a video made quite a while back about how to instal
and remove your pedals. – [Fraser] Yeah and I guess
what we’re driving at here is it’s easy to think when we’re
pedalling and the forward direction that we’re moving
the cranks and the pedals, that in theory, the spindles can. – [Mark] Loosen. – Yeah, faithfully come out of our cranks, but that well, what do you think? – Wow, actually it is due to
an effect called precision that actually means that they
don’t self-loosen, in fact they actually self-tighten or
maybe they don’t self-tighten, they just don’t loosen
because what is happening is although, like you say, we’re
pedalling in that direction, they could loosen, the
bearings within them, within a spindle area are
actually going the opposite direction, so we don’t
get that loosening effect. – So, really, I mean I have
seen pedals come off bikes, I mean, it can happen, but that’s. – See, I have not. – That’s either because
they’ve sheared and there’s a proper problem or you’ve
just not put them on properly in the first place. – Yeah, I mean, if you think
about it, like at the beginning of a training camp, maybe
don’t put your pedals on that tight and you think, “Ah, I’ll
get these off really easily.” By the end of the training
camp, after a week or two, they’re always tighter. – You always need to get help, don’t you? (laughing) – So yeah, I mean I wonder what
would happen if you actually cycled backwards, maybe they
would eventually come off. – That’s too confusing. (laughing) – So anyway, that was great
fun, we love going through all your questions there and
please do keep sending them in, whether it’s swim, bike or run,
we love reading through them and answering them for you. Now, if you like this video,
hit that thumbs up button and if you’d like to see more
videos from GTN, you can click on the globe and subscribe. – And for a video about
riding into a headwind, you can click here. – And if you’d like to see
our triathlon versus TT bike, with Matt Bottrill, then
just click down there.

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