The flat back position is perhaps the greatest lie ever told in sport, provided you ignore any of the racing we’ve seen in the last decade or two.
It is possible, I suppose, that when we talk about a flat back, what we really mean is that on an elementary level, all curves are really just a series of straight segments connected at an angle; while a rider’s back may look arched, it really is flat in an existential sense.
Because no one really rides with a flat back. Even riders who famously rode with a flat back, like Greg LeMond, actually rode with only the upper portion of their backs flat. In fact, the only rider I can think of who was as happy as a Texan in an Amgen factory while riding with a truly flat back was The Gypsy himself. It bears mentioning, however, that a search through the Velominati Archives shows only intermittent evidence of him riding with a truly flat back.
If you’ve ever tried to get your back completely flat, you’ll have noticed that it feels awful. Your shoulders tense up, your hips roll forward. It certainly doesn’t do your bits any favors. As you try to accelerate, your shoulders and hips tense up even more in an effort to keep the back as flat as possible.
There is a very simple explanation for this: The V abhors a straight line; it requires smooth curves in order to flow freely from the various V-Receptacles spread throughout your body and into the guns where it is processed and converted into Monumental Devastation.
As you pursue the V-Locus, keep the following points in mind:
- The key to a Magnificent Stroke is to find a tension-neutral position on the bike.
- Let your hips find their natural position. It will likely be somewhat vertical, causing your lower back to arch.
- Tension is the enemy. Relax your shoulders, elbows, hips, and neck. Even relax your fingers if you find them trying to strangle the bars.
- Like a Jedi uses the Force, let the power of The V flow from your arms through your lower back and hips, and down into the cannons.
- The harder you are hammering and the closer you are to achieving nuclear V-ission, the more important it becomes to keep your back and shoulders relaxed; you are wasting precious energy on staying tense. Use that energy to fire the the guns instead.
And yes, Cycling is hell for your posture. If that’s what you’re after, take up yoga.