I have VERY inflexible achilles tendons stemming from two separate achilles tendon ruptures many years ago. Once recovered, I started running a fairly high volume and realized that my inflexibility was good for leg spring stiffness which is a good indicator or running performance.
However, compared to myself as a runner, I’m apparently a pretty mediocre cyclist, so I have a couple of questions about cycling biomechanics and pedalstroke efficiency in an effort to identify how to deal with my - uhmm - “unique” achilles tendons.
Could my inflexible achilles tendons be making my pedalstroke less efficient? Could this be reducing my power? Would it affect my power differently along the spectrum of NM up to FTP?
How important is achilles tendon flexibility and strength for cycling? I listened to an interesting interview with @Coach.Neal.H on the Fast Talk podcast and there seemed to be an implication that the ankle only contributes around 9% of power output (although this can often be higher in non-pros). Trevor (one of the hosts) described a study that found that low cadence work can simulate a higher hip contribution and @Coach.Neal.H described the triple extension of hip, knee, and ankle in cycling and that the ankle’s job is primarily to stabilize. Does a strong but inflexible achilles tendon help stabilize the transmission of power through the pedals or does it “misdirect” (for lack of a better word) the transmission of power to the pedals?
The podcast section of interest starts is about 2-3 minutes long starting at about 35m12s
PS: For what it’s worth, it just so happens that (1) I love low cadence work and (2) I haven’t seemed to be able to find the same success in cycling as I found in running.