Sunday, May 13, 2007

mid foot

I opted out of racing this weekend so I could do some work on my bike position. I have been thinking about this change for a while but after the poor sensations I had a 5 mile pass I decided to give it a try. It all started years ago when I was treating a guy who had ruptured his Achilles tendon and had it surgically repaired. He was a cyclist and the first active thing he was able to to do was ride a bike with his heel on the pedal. I have also seen a few cyclists with Achilles tendonitis/tendonosis which baffles me. The propulsive muscles for cycling are the big 3- quads, glutes, and hams so why is the calf musculature failing. The foot is a long lever that is solely controlled by the small calf muscle with a very small lever arm, thus the calf is constantly firing to keep the foot in a rigid position and it fails, and if it does not than it is at least sapping energy that could be used for propulsion. Why do cyclists mount cleats over the metetarsal heads? Tradition? I don't know and either do the experts or researchers. While researching this topic I have come across quit a bit of data supporting a change in cleat position from the metatarsal heads to the tarsal metatarsal joint (TMT). I am not going to go into the biomechanics of it here but you can read about it or I am happy to share what I know. Done right it should decrease the peak torque needed to generate a certain output.
Cyclingnews, Steve Hogg, Joe Friel, and Gotz Heine of Biomac have spoke allot about this change and the biomechanics make sense to me but I wonder why no else is trying this?
So I took the plunge and modified some old shimano road shoes to accommodate midfoot cleat position. It is weird at first and took a little while to sort out how much I need to lower my seat but I think I am getting it dialed in. I only have a few rides on the MTB with this set up and have yet to race but I think I am convinced this is superior to ball of foot cleat position. At first I though technical riding and the DH would suffer but so far I have found the opposite, the TMT joint is very stable and requires much less muscle contraction to maintain balance when not pedaling. Anyway, I am rambling now but am very excited to see where this change takes me.
My plan is to race it this weekend at soldier hollow, the bad part is I leave for Long Beach (home of snoop) tomorrow for a bionics certification a will not be on the bike all week. The time off the bike will be good but I wish I had more time on this set up.
Eva and little Richard enjoying lunch
happy mothers day


Blogger flahute said...

Could you post links to the research you found? Or email me at stevens at veloworks dot com.

12:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Say hello to the LBC for me.
Moving yer cleats way back seems weird to me, but there does seem to be some validity to what yer saying.

7:49 AM

Blogger gregclimbs said...

some of us have been playing with it...

there are trade offs (and they might effect mtb-ing). mostly
top end power suffers as the lower leg muscles can contribute a large percentage of peak power (vs the contribution to threshold power).

I have the tools to test this if you are interested...


8:31 AM

Blogger Dave Harris said...

Cool project. I've been wanting to do the same but can't do it on all my bikes - some are tight enough that shoe/tire overlap would become an issue.

9:15 AM

Blogger Bart G said...

I agree the lower leg muscles can contribute alot to peak power but at what cost? A MTB race is the ultimate test of efficency- a 2-3 hr TT. How do you test it? torque anylsis with power meter?

I still need more time on it but from the MTBing I have done it seems the sustainable highend power is improved, although the very peak (sprint) maybe a little deminished.


9:23 AM

Blogger Bart G said...

tire overlap is an issue on the road bike but should not have any pose any functional problems, the MTB is not a problem.

9:25 AM

Blogger primetime formerly known as slyfox said...

Think base ball and think about choking up on the bat to get a base hit. Yes you can get the bat around and make contact w/ the ball, perhaps. But don't expect a "home run".

11:58 AM

Blogger WN Precision LLC said...

Hi Bart,

Tom here of Wobble-naught & Myo-facts sEMG/Dartfish. Just got off the phone w/ Matt about working w/ the new team.

Lennard Zinn had me contact the inventor the idea by phone a few years back. Lennard went to see him in Sui and used his shoes, etc... He got this idea by watching people in India riding their bikes.

Perhaps the lack of cleats caused the barefoot person to use the mid-foot. Too much weight on the ball of the foot would "OUCH"! Perhaps they didn't understand "kinetic energy", and used raw instinct, who knows?

I know this, if I was not attached w/ a cleat, having a carbon hollow channel lightweight shoe, Efficient pedaling,stable & low profile platform, quick engagement cleat w/ a wide platform for stability, perhaps I would focus there!

But w/ a wide platform cleat/carbon shoe we can work more tangential around the botom bracket, just by thinking of the arch in space, using a bio-feedback like Sole, plus using the Dartfish to check things. Then you can mix it up for "home runs vs base hits".

I have used this arch cleat adjustment for people who have had major reconstruction of their feet, having "club foot".

As a PT, you know "club foot" is acongenital deoformity of the foot, sometimes resulting from intrauterine constriction and characterized by unilateral or bilateral deviation of the metatarsal bones of the forefoot.

Most are equinovarus, but a few are calcaneovalgus, or calcaneovarus.

You also know, we are not into the treatment (TX), rather our focus is to acheieve the best function for the pedal stroke, given the deformities (the front-end alignment of the tires on a car)!
Toe in, Toe out, Yaw! Ha!

Every rider needs their own rhythm, your own recuperation time between intese efforts. And we know, that just camping out on the saddle in a passive action is not like going hard.

Learn pedaling technique is what is making a difference for the many trends we are seeing! What is it you want to do?

We think intelligence too strive for efficency and having a precise idea of what to work on makes the difference. More muscles(clubs)in your golf bag for more shots options.

No question, when the pedal is at the end of the crank, it needs to be perpendicular to the center of the bottom bracket allowing your legs to beat like your heart! Then the rider can focus on the stroke w/ more "kinetic energy" you will go down the surface of the earth.

The top of the stroke allows the quads to stretch and snap into each stroke. The higher the leg goes the more potential energy from the stretch of the quads(Only if you think about it)!

This is not the same kind of effort as mtb, we are fighting wind on flats-small % grades)vs fighting gravity. So "kinetic energy" can maintain the speed.

A rider say going 45 kph carries more kinetic energy, continues rolling for some time, on the other hand a (stamping motion) like climbing grades (mtb), and the lack of speed/ works your muscles harder.

The muscles don't work the same way in the two cases. Because of this, the rider needs to learn how to pedal on both the flats and climbing.

The Wobble-naught fit has you in a zone to do both! Physical science is truely complicated regarding the pedal stroke. So it is w/ a pro golfer and they have to somethimes put the driver away to gain control of where the ball is going!

Newton's Third Law states that if object A exerts a forc on object B, then B must exert a force on A equal in magnitude but opposite in direction.

This law is often misunderstood! The question here, is why does any motion occur at all?

You perhaps know, that results show that whether you run uphill, downhill, or level, the gaqstrocnemius uses more glycogen than the vastus lateralis or the soleus. This suggests that the ankle extensor muscles, which are worked more during distance running, are more likely to become depleted during distance runs than the thigh muscles, isolating the site of fatigue to the lower leg muscles.

The effects on performance in endurnce improve when the muscle glycogen supply is elevated at the start of a given activity. We all know that hypoglycemia limit peformance in longer activities.
Fatigue in shorter events more likely results from accumulation of metabolic by-products, such as lactate and H+, w/in the muscles.

So, to sum it up we have used our Wobble-naught CAD to dial people w/ club feet, and they can ride due to the fact that the lower muscles attach at mid foot.

Both the meidal and lateral malleolus serve as a pulley for platar flexion and the retinaculum allows one to focus on the best "bio-feedback" during the dorsi flexion.

You also know there are 26 muscles in the foot, and if you can learn to use them all, train them all, you stand a better chance to increase your % wattage, and if we build a triangle and its relationship of sides and angle i.e. right triangle, we then can use the entire body as a tennis player to transfer through the sit bones!

It is not the feet, rather the saddle and the handlebars that support the the dynamic arch of the trunk and arms, allowing you to adapt to the physical demands for harmony & balance, regulation of tension according to changing situations.

It seems very powerful to make perfect contact w/ the ball, by chocking up on the bat, to move a base hit, but it is not going to allow you to hit a "Home run".

Our constraints, that characterize each person's game, can even use the mid-arch as a constraints, for foot length if they make the choice just to hit base hits?

Not unlike a bike and the size of its triangle. A triangle that is too large is not good, nor is the triangle that is too small.

I guess the best truth here, is what is it you want to do?

We feel that by learning, how to focus on the pedal stroke from the arch, as it moves in a tangential manner is needed on certain playgrounds and then having a lever when needed provides more options.

The apparent simplicity of the movements is not, and always needs to be worked on! No free ride, just learn if you want to choke up on the bat (slide up on the nose)to get a base hit or home runs that require a longer tool.

Who knows which one will win the game?

As you know, we can't claim anything, we can only show trends, but we can take the arch measurement and plug it into the CAD and nail it for the best leg extension/flexion.

Hope all is well!

12:06 PM

Blogger StupidBike said...

ahhh, my brain just melted a little.

1:39 PM

Blogger Bart G said...

I don't want to hit a home run, just millons of efficent base hits

12:00 PM

Blogger climber said...

better have a backup pair of shoes in pit on saturday in case the new position doesnt work out.

5:53 AM

Blogger Piotrek said...

Coggan and others at Google Wattage group don't seem to be too impressed.

4:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill Harris here. I've got a bad case of achilles tendonitis. I was doing some research, started reading up on the mid-foot position, read all the way through your blog before I even realized it was you. Hope all is well. I'm off to the garage to slam my cleats back. I'll be in SLC sometime this summer. Maybe we can meet at the RMR and I'll give you a good thrashing?

8:21 PM


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