Sunday, August 19, 2007

Climbing secrets revealed

I've been climbing real well lately, especially on steeper hills. It's seemed like an all of a sudden type of thing which usually isn't explainable by striclty fitness improvements.

I realized that I'd messed with my saddle/seatpost the other day trying to get a creak out. I ended up putting the clamp system back together wrong and it never really got tight. My saddle had ended up moving farther back on the rails. See this picture

That cylinder piece was placed backwards allowing it to move forward, but also didn't secure the clamping as well which allowed the saddle to move back on the rails. Those red dots were from before taking the thing apart and should line up with the bracket. The net effct was that the setback was farther back.

This is really interesting, because typically when I've installed the saddle with too much setback the result has been very poor climbing with the exact opposite effect has what has been happening recently. The typical effect of high saddle setback with me has been a mashing type of pedal stroke w/o any sort of good spin. However my recent climbing sucess has come from having a great pedal stroke and sustainable cadence.

My only theory is that I've been trying to bend at the hips more to weight the front wheel and use a smoother pedal stroke as opposed to pulling back with the bars so much (the row-row-row your bike technique). When you bend at the hips your but naturally has to go farther back. So I'm, wondering if the farther back setback is now putting me in a better position when combine with bending more at the hips.

It could also be just having a good day. Who knows. But at least I'm, aware of it now.

I took the saddle apart and put it together properly. Though I've bent the heck out of that cylinder piece. The perils of weight weenieing. Stick with a Thomson if you're concerned about crap like this. I should have.

I used the following contraption to measure the setup again and also transfer the same setback to my hardtail.

In a nutshell, I drilled a hole at the center line of this angle iron big enough for a crank bolt. Take off the crankarm and install this into the BB using a crank bolt. Tape a level vertical onto the angle arm. This allows you to place it in a vertical position.

Then using a t-square I can measure from the edge of the angle iron to the tip of the saddle. Since I know the measurement from the edge to the centerline of the angle iron, I can calculat the distance from the tip of the saddle to the centerline of the BB. This method seems a lot more accurate than the plumb bomb method as the string always seems to catch on the frame and not give a repeatable result.

Also there were some climbing tips posted at Pez cyling news. They seemt to apply more to road riding but there is some good stuff there.


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