January 20, 2022

Monster Mash 2021


We will announce the date of the Monster Mash 2021 later in the year.  It usually takes place in October. Registration will open 3 months before the event on BikeReg.com.  There will be a 3hr and 6hr race with awards at the beautiful Pine Log State Forest .More details soon.

Tour de Ranch 2021

24th Annual Tour de Ranch in May


Join us for our 24th Annual Tour de Ranch on May 1, 2021


tour de ranch granfondo 2014

Are you ready for the 2021 Tour de Ranch?

Hammer Down Multisport is proud to present the 24th Annual Tour de Ranch, thru the rolling hills of beautiful Northwest Florida. The Tour de Ranch is an excellent early season road and dirt ride for all abilities. If you like quiet rolling county roads with a few climbs to stretch out your legs and put the hammer down this ride is for you! The Road Metric  and Dirt metric have two rest stops and the Dirt 30 mile ride will have one rest stop, at the half-way point. Rest stops will be fully stocked with plenty of fresh fruit, snacks, water and sports drink. SAG support for Dirt Metric and Road Metric will be provided.

Ride hard and come back hungry because after a fun filled day of riding, participants will enjoy  delicious food and drinks!!


Event schedule and times

Dirt metric and Dirt 30 miler will start at 8am. Road metric at 8:15 am.

Please arrive by no later than 7:00am for bib pick-up. Walk-up registration will start at 6:30 am.


Diegos on Thomas Drive 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Tour de Ranch Start
Vernon Elementary School – Start and Registration Location
3665 Roche Avenue
Vernon, Florida
Registration Closing Date

Day of Ride Registration

 6:30 am to 7:30 am

Riders Meeting

7:45 am

Ride Starts

Dirt Metric 67 miles      8:00 am

Dirt 30 miles                     8:00 a.m.

Road Metric 62 miles     8:15 am

Tour de Ranch Maps and Course Descriptions
Road Metric 62 Miles  https://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/1404794596?fbclid=IwAR0eXd9XcwMAT6vl7hixYO3BzVOQisIi8zo2iG5-V2sLWNewQOLT1a8kOek
Dirt 30 miler https://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/2433538270
Dirt Metric 67  Miles  https://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/1404796222?fbclid=IwAR2-muX6aZ2btyFZyit8OfqrdbewJbGHtCTwq0WXKZAmHpGrbzy0Gy-vKks

For more information please call Jeff Wirrick at 850-814-6783 or email hammerdownmultisport@gmail.com

A big thanks to our sponsors!  Without them, Hammer Down couldn’t host this event.

TdR 2019 Sponsor Update.png





Techniques to Improve Road Bike Handling Skills

Alan Canfield Talks Bike Skills and the Four-P’s of Cycling

Techniques to Improve Road Bike Handling  Skills
Alan Canfield
Copyright 2012

Four-Ps of Cycling Position, Pedal, Precision, PracticeDuring the fall and winter seasons, many cyclists taper their road bike training to a maintenance level, while focusing on cross-training, rest, recovery, or simply enjoying the holidays with family and friends.   These lower-intensity rides provide a good opportunity to incorporate drills focused on improving road bike handling skills. Improving our ability to hold a steady line, pedal efficiently, and maintain smooth bicycle control improves our confidence, comfort, and safety during fast group rides and races.

Following is a general overview of the primary techniques I recommend to help improve road bike handling skills.  I developed a mental queue, the Four-P’s, to aide in organizing and recalling the techniques.

The Four-P’s are:

  • Position
  • Pedal
  • Precision
  • Practice

The Four-P’s are depicted in the image above. The  principles  progress  from  the  rider, to the pedals, to the bars, to the roadway.


A comfortable, stable, and balanced position on the bicycle is required to maintain good control and handling.  If you haven’t had a professional fit from a reputable bike shop or fitter, it is highly recommended.  Even if you have been riding for ten or more years, another set of eyes and measurements can be extremely beneficial in fine-tuning your bike fit.

At a minimum, the areas where you touch the bicycle should be addressed.   These include the saddle, handlebars, and pedals.  Following are general guidelines for initial road bike fit and positioning:

Saddle Height

Measured from the pedals, saddle height should initially be set to approximately 1.09 times your true inseam.  Adjust from there based on flexibility and heel rise.

Saddle Fore/Aft and Tilt

Saddle position on the rails should initially be set to a neutral knee-over-pedal. Saddle tilt should initially be level.  Adjust from level, based on comfort and flexibility.

Stem Length

Stem length should be such that when riding in the drops, the handlebars should line up over the hub of the front wheel.

Handlebar  Height

Handlebar height should be set to 1-3 inches below the saddle height, depending on your flexibility and comfort.  Start with a higher position and adjust lower for efficiency and improved weight distribution.


The cleats on your shoes should be set to position the ball of the foot over the pedal axle.  Moving the ball of the foot forward of the pedal axle (by moving the cleat rearward on the shoe) can provide more comfort for long rides.

The goal here is to use the offseason to reassess your bike fit, and adjust if necessary. Don’t be afraid to experiment with small changes to determine the effect on comfort, control, and performance.  If you are not familiar with the guidelines and parameters for establishing these positions, please consult a bike shop or one of the numerous references available on road bike fit.


The second principle is to focus on developing and refining an efficient pedal stroke. Power is most effectively applied in approximately 150 degrees of rotation from top dead center.  If you are pedaling at 90 rpm’s, this equates to about 0.3 seconds to apply power during each revolution.  Several techniques can be practiced to maximize the efficient use of each pedal stroke:

Smooth  Circles

Focus on turning with your entire leg, not just mashing down on the pedals. Concentrate on using the muscles in your upper legs and buttocks.  With proper extension and rotation, the hamstrings will also be engaged during the power phase.  Excessive heel rise may also overstress the calves, leading to fatigue and cramping.

Heel Sweeps

Exaggerate dropping your heels through the bottom of the pedal stroke to increase effective leg extension and develop maximum power from the leg muscles.  Think of leading with your heels over the top of the pedal stroke to set up the heel drop.


Similar to Heel Sweeps, Lifts are simply focusing on pulling with your feet on the upstroke.  This is effective during climbing but can also be done while seated.  When you exaggerate the upstroke and then return to normal pedaling you can feel the difference it makes.  The difference may not be significant in performance, but it provides an

improved perception of where your feet are, and how the pedaling motion should feel.

Knee Sweeps

Lightly brush the top tube with the inside of each knee during several pedal strokes.  This provides feedback to remind you of the inward knee angle, and to remind you to return to a straight knee angle.  This mini-drill helps counteract the tendency to bow out our knees when we tire, which could result in knee injury.

Repeat the above mini-drills during your rides.  Not only will they help develop an efficient and open pedal stroke, but they will help stretch out and engage new muscles. They can also break up the monotony of long solo rides.


The third principle includes the development of precise control of the bicycle, an understanding of the effect of our inputs on the bike, and an increased awareness of the environment:

Small Motions

The key to the Precision principle is to concentrate on making smooth and small motions.  At 20 mph, a 2 deg steering angle will move your bike 12 inches right or left in a fraction of a second.  We need to avoid these erratic motions, which can lead to over- steering, over-correcting, and potentially an accident.  In addition to small motions side- to-side, we need to maintain a steady pace in a group.

Look Ahead

If you see an obstacle in the road, don’t fixate and stare at it.  You will likely run directly into it. Rather, focus on the path around the obstacle, while keeping view in your peripheral vision.  Looking ahead also entails maintaining situational awareness of the environment, including the roadway, curb, cyclists, pedestrians, automobiles, and other obstacles in your path.


If you are tense on the bicycle, you will over-react to bumps and dips in the road. You may also fatigue faster when you are tense and over-grip the bars.  Think of the bars as a place to rest your hands.  The bike will practically steer itself if you have good position and balance, and maintain precise control.


The final principle is Practice, where we bring it all together and apply the principles to drills to develop and reinforce improved bike handling skills.  Please practice these drills on safe roads and solo rides so you don’t endanger yourself and other cyclists.

Ride the White Line

On a road with sufficient shoulder and minimal traffic, practice riding the white line on the right side of the roadway.  Focus on maintaining a stable and stationary torso, with smooth and efficient pedal strokes.  Work up from 1 minute sessions to 1 mile or more. This drill is similar to the straight and smooth riding required for stationary rollers.


Again on a solo ride on a safe road with minimal traffic, practice riding with one leg.  Slow down to a comfortable pace of 10-12 mph in an easy gear.  Unclip one leg and hold it away from the rotating pedal.  Focus on maintaining momentum and a steady pace by pedaling the one leg evenly through the pedal stroke.  Start with 30 second intervals and work up to 3 minutes or more.  Repeat for each side, maintaining a smooth pedal stroke and holding a straight line.  This is also a good drill for the stationary trainer.


Riding at a comfortable pace with hands on the hoods, remove one hand and rest

it on your hip.  It may be easiest to begin by removing the hand you generally drink with. Start with 20 second drills and work up to 2 minutes or more, per side.  Repeat each side from the tops of the bars, and from the drops.  This drill is improved by riding on the white line for visual feedback of your stability.  As you improve, incorporate this drill into your daily rides by simply alternating the drinking hand.


Riding hands-free carries obvious risks, and may even violate your local or state statutes.  Please exercise this drill safely.  I recommend beginning slowly in your neighborhood until balance and control is developed.  Riding solo at a comfortable pace on a safe road, shift up two harder gears.  The added force required will make it easier to steer the bike with your hips.  Sit upright and relax your grip to only finger-tip pressure. Move your hands to the tops of the bars.  Keep pedaling and remove your hands from the bars while steering with your hips.  Use your core for stability, sit upright, and keep your head up and eyes forward.  Use only small inputs from your hips, pressure on the pedals, or leaning to steer the bike.  When you are ready to regain active control of the bike, place your hands slowly and lightly back on the tops of the bars.


Practicing the techniques and drills presented here can help you develop improved road bike handling skills for the following season, and make winter training rides less tedious. This overview only presents a few of the techniques and drills available.   For more details,  please  see  Watch  Your  Line:  Techniques  to  Improve  Road  Cycling  Skills, available at Amazon.com, iTunes, and Roadbikerider.com.

About the Author

Alan Canfield is a mechanical engineer, licensed professional engineer, and certified USA Cycling coach residing in Panama City, Florida.  Canfield specializes in bike fit video analysis for road, mountain, and time trial.  He can be reached on Facebook at http://facebook.com/velocanman and via email at velocanman@yahoo.com.

8 Tips to Help Triathletes Prepare For a Better Open-Water Swim

Off to The Races – Are you prepared for an open-water swim?

IronMan 2010 Open Water Swim

Train in the open water

If you have access to open bodies of water, practice as much as possible before your race. This will help you swim smarter and build confidence before your race. Perform some of your open water swims by running into the water and sprinting all out for about 1 minute. Then try to settle into your normal race pace for about 5 minutes or so. Repeat several times.

Practice sighting

A good way to sight the buoy is to lift your head up and look ahead right before your turn to the side to breath. A good way to do it in an ocean swim is to sight as you rise up on a swell. You have to balance sighting often enough so you can swim straight, but not so much you get tired and impact your rhythm. A good rule of thumb is to practice sighting during pool swimming, starting with every 8-10 stokes and building up to 20. Also, remember to lift your head just high enough to see, so your hips won’t drop as much, creating drag.

Protect your face

To help eliminate the fear of getting kicked in the face, I recommend that swimmers swim the catch-up drill. Catch-up is a stroke drill where one arm is always extended in front until the other hand pulls through a complete stroke. At the start of the swim leg of a triathlon, or during a mass swim start, having a arm out in front helps protect you from getting kicked, and once the swimmers scatter a bit, you can return to swimming your regular stroke

Try to draft

If you can find a swimmer that swim’s your pace or even a little faster, it’s a good idea to draft so you can save your energy for the bike and run. Drafting can help you save precious energy but it can also hurt if you are struck behind a slow pack of swimmers, or you swim blindly behind someone who is swimming off course.

Learn how to ditch the wetsuit (quickly)

Practice getting your wetsuit off quickly many times before your triathlon. You can rub vaseline or lube on your legs and feet to help peel your wetsuit off fast. This also makes it more difficult for other swimmers to grip your ankles during the swim. Usually, once one foot is out, you can step on your wetsuit to help the other foot come out more quickly.

Practice sprinting then settling into your race pace a few weeks before your event

A few weeks out from your race, perform the following race-specific workout to get you used to swimming out of a congested swim start. After a complete warm-up, sprint 50 yards then swim an evenly paced, maximum effort time trial at your race pace. This will help you practice surging at the beginning of the race and then recovering while settling into your race pace

Review the course

Prior to the race, notice where the buoys are and look for various landmarks (buildings, balloons at the swim start, etc.) that you can become familiar with to help keep you on course during the swim.

Plan your point of entry

Plan where you should line up at the swim start based on your skills and experience as an open water swimmer. Most swimmers prefer to line up in the center of the buoy line so they have the shortest swim, but this is also the most crowded area and possibly the roughest swimming environment. Unless you are a fast swimmer and you can surge ahead, you are better off lining up on the ends so you will be able to start your swim in a less congested area. This will minimize the chance you will get knocked around and you won’t add that much distance.

If you are a fast swimmer, be warmed up and prepare to go out hard. This will help eliminate contact with other swimmers and get you into less congested waters with a group that swims as fast or a little faster than you can.

By Karen Meadows
USAT Triathlon Coach
Personal Trainer