Re: Big Gear Training
Originally Posted by Joseph Tsui
I am training on my Giant TCR 1 (with a SHIMANO R600 34/50T crankset and a SHIMANO 105CS5600 12-27T cassette). I could barely get to 17 mph with the largest gear ratio, and when I do I put a lot of stress on my quadricepts and lactic acid kicks in very quickly. What can I do about it? Do I need specific strength training? or should I keep riding on the largest gear?
I'm not sure I even understand your question. Are you saying that on certain terrain or conditions (hills, flats, headwinds, etc.) you struggle to exceed 17 mph in your highest (50x12) or lowest (34x27) gears?
If you can walk up a flight of stairs then you have enough strength to ride and even race a bike. It only takes an average of about 50 pounds per pedal stroke to race at pro speeds, the trick is doing it 90-110 times per minute for hours on end. If you can walk up stairs and weigh much more than 50 pounds then you can easily lift this weight with each step, the point is that unless you have some serious medical issues your pure strength isn't holding you back on the bike.
It sounds to me like you're hoping to go fast by simply dumping the bike into the biggest gears whether or not it's appropriate for the terrain and conditions. That would be like starting up a hill with your manual transmission car shifted into fifth gear. Unless you have a very big engine with a lot of excess torque the car would likely stall. Same thing on the bike, you've got all those gears so you can use the most appropriate one for a given condition and it's quite possible you can't turn over your 50x12 at more than the 50 rpm it takes to break 17 mph on a given terrain.
Just keep riding, use gears appropriate for the conditions and the fitness will come. Maybe I misread your question, but from what you wrote it seems the key is more mileage using appropriate gearing that allows you to hold a bit higher cadence (typically in the 70-100 rpm range) and give it time. If you lug down too much in a high gear then shift down to an easier gear, weight lifting in the gym won't solve that problem.