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I just got back from a nice slow 120km morning ride and was paying close attention to my pedal stroke and in particular the ankling technique I was talking about yesterday. I thought that since the topic is still fresh I may as well add a couple points to it.
The ankling technique may feel quite awkward and uncomfortable on the calf muscle (and possibly the ankle) when consciously trying it for the first time. I suggest that you isolate your legs when practicing this technique and only do one leg at a time. The technique may come easier for one leg than the other.
The other thing I’d suggest is by starting off practicing at a slow cadence such as 60RPM. The faster you turn your legs, the more difficult it is to pedal with everything in mind.
One reader asked:
How much force should one exert in actively pulling up? Or, does the “scrape your shoe sole” method just involve pivoting the ankle and letting nature do the rest? Because when I try to “pull,” my brain forgets to push down and my calves burn
My answer to this is only about 20% of how hard you can pull (or scrape the bottom of your shoe). It’s only a subtle exertion to keep the pedal going around through that dead spot. If anyone disagrees with this feel free to interject. This is the way I do it and I could very well be wrong.
I’ve been looking all morning for a video on youtube that I remember seeing of Stuart O’Grady riding along demonstrating ankling to perfection. If anyone can find this or anyting like it please send it in.