So in an effort to put my money where my mouth is here's a riding tip -
* ride consciously. There are some folks out there who look "right" on the bike and pedal so beautifully and you can see them from a mile away. Some seem to think that by doing huge mileage that they will develop that same smooth and powerful stroke. The mileage is certainly important but IMO the real important thing is to ride consciously. In most cases the folks that have that perfect stroke have developed it not solely by riding a lot but by riding with the technique in mind as often as possible. They are conscious of what they are doing and are actively making choices all the time as to how to pedal. If it sounds like a lot of work you are right. It's hard to ride and think at the same time especially if you are in a group. So my tip is to ride alone and ride with technique in mind. Feel what the pedal stroke is like, the timing of it. Is it smooth and round feeling or are there obvious spikes in it? Ride slowly with light pressure on the pedals and concentrate in technique. Do not try to go fast. There will be plenty of time to do that later. For now just focus on the technique itself. Make mental notes as to what feels "right" and what doesn't. If you ride slowly without the mental pressure to go fast you will be much more open to make changes to your stroke. We all have those slow recovery rides during the week. Don't just sit on the bike and mindlessly turn the pedals but ride consciously.
As you start to change your spin then you can add power to it. If you start to add power and your spin goes to shit back off and get the spin right and start the process over adding speed and power over time. You can't rush it.
The important thing in my mind is that one needs to not just spin the pedals and "try harder" but one needs to make changes to be better. Doing things the old way is, in effect, practicing bad habits. No one need to do this. The fast guys out there are often not the strongest. What they have is a combination of strength, technique and efficiency that allows them to go faster with less effort.
Ride consciously and actively.
Over and out.