Good bike ride yesterday. Working on chi mechanics and trying out the oval chain wheel on a bigger climb. Matched last September’s time for the climb despite this just being the very beginning of the cycling season. Normally I’m a useless lump of lard at this point. Interestingly I felt really good at the top of this relentless climb where I’m normally tired – the combination of the chi and oval modifications no doubt.

Cycling Posture
One relatively recent running development was the ability to separate the pelvic tilt from the normal lumbar lordosis. Using chi coordination in cycling it is quite easy to separate the two things even with the significant hip flexion of the seated position on the bike. When climbing you can sit relatively upright as air resistance is not generally a big issue (unless there is a strong headwind). Keeping the lower back straight – with the slight hollow (natural lordosis) appears to allow the core muscles to continue to function best and give access to rotation around the spine. The pelvis can be independently pulled up to “crunch” the lower abdomen and ensure that the lordosis doesn’t degenerate into a weak “sway back” posture. It’s really interesting separating the two and feeling the power from the core muscles when it is right. The hard part is bringing your attention back onto it when it drifts. There is more work needed to develop the mental strength than the physical strength and coordination.

Foot Muscles
I’ve already started having issues with my feet – the left one on the outside near the middle (5th metatarsal joint) and the right one on the inside between the ankle and the arch – clearly linked to the plantar fascia. Also the inside of the right knee – below the joint was showing signs of tendinitis.
None of these are aggravated by the 10 mile runs on tarmac with minimalist shoes – so it’s clear that it’s all coming from the cycling. Skiing all winter produced no pains either. It dawned on me that all of those problems might be coming from a tendency to relax the muscles in the feet. When running “barefoot” the foot muscles are brought into action by reflex through impact. In cycling the pressure is gradual and you are seated so there is a tendency to let the feet just go floppy and do their own thing. I tried to extend the foot actively through the pressure cycle – trying to load the tendons and retrieve the energy back through a high cadence just as in running. The feeling is that the muscles and tendons are working in the feet as opposed to them just flexing under pressure and wastefully soaking up energy that just dissipates. The result was that there was no aggravation of any of the current conditions. The knee problem vanished and both the foot problems seem to have improved.
Watching most beginner cyclists I see a lot of wasted energy at the feet and ankles with a great deal of flexing of both and generally a saddle height that is too low to accommodate this style. 

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