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Big Gear Training

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
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?
Thx.
post #2 of 13
Thread Starter 

Re: Big Gear Training

I just started out cycling 2 weeks ago, I have a reasonable level of fitness.
post #3 of 13

Re: Big Gear Training

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph Tsui View Post
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?
Thx.
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.

Good luck,
-Dave
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

Re: Big Gear Training

I struggle to exceed 17 mph on flats in my highest gear (50x12). I walk up a lot of stairs everyday in school. A pro can get up to 50 km/h for an hour or around 30 mph in a high gear. Of course I am no pro, but do I need specific strength training so I can pedal faster in a high gear ratio?
post #5 of 13

Re: Big Gear Training

that's the biggest and most common mistake people make. You pump your hardest gear thinking you are in the gym doing squats. Most of your training should be done on easier gears for a good amount of kilometers. Then include some hill climbing, some intervals or even sprints. Eventually you will develop your cycling legs and you will be able to move that 50x12 for some good 45 kph on the flats
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

Re: Big Gear Training

wow I have read so many training guides and I have never heard about that! Thanks a lot!
post #7 of 13

Re: Big Gear Training

Joseph - use your gears so your cadence is always somewhere around 90 RPM (except maybe on a tough hill because you'll have to slow it down else you'll blow up). Your body is most efficient around there, although some like a bit higher and some like a bit lower.

You will only get fast by riding fast. If you do bicycle specific training you will get fast sooner than if you just ride. But it isn't easy and it doesn't happen all of a sudden.

Just get out and ride and have fun and stop worrying about speed. It will come.......in time.
post #8 of 13

Re: Big Gear Training

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph Tsui View Post
...but do I need specific strength training so I can pedal faster in a high gear ratio?
No
post #9 of 13

Re: Big Gear Training

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph Tsui View Post
do I need specific strength training so I can pedal faster in a high gear ratio?
No. You need to ride your bike more.
post #10 of 13

Re: Big Gear Training

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph Tsui View Post
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?
Thx.
The advice already given here is probably no different from that given during the Coppi era, "ride your bike , ride your bike, ride your bike". Since then how many experts have searched for a more effective way to power the pedals? The truth is, there are two completely different basic pedalling techniques, the natural styles which are ideal for low/mod gear use in road races where high gears are rarely used, and then there is a special unnatural high gear TT technique which eliminates the straining of muscles and risk of knee or lower back injury when high gears are used. In all of the natural styles your quads almost alone have to supply all pedal power and necessary resistance in the restricted tangential 2-4 o'c area. When you use the special high gear technique, not only is all of this workload distributed equally between the glutes, quads and arms but in addition the most effective tangential area is doubled. Until experts realize this, you will have to "ride your bike".
G. Obree's latest handlebars are perfect for this special high gear TT technique, all he needs now is the simple high gear pedalling knack to accompany them. Will he discover it?
post #11 of 13

Re: Big Gear Training

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph Tsui View Post
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?
New bike ...

New rider ...

There is ALWAYS the possibility that the bike shop did not set up your bike properly ...

Something as trivial as one of the brake pads rubbing against a rim could be the problem.

While too much tire pressure isn't as helpful as some people may think, too little could be a problem, too.

There are OTHER mechanical factors on the bike which could be limiting your ability to ride faster ... or, as most have presumed, it could be the way you are riding.

BTW. It is also possible that your bike's computer was not properly calibrated and that you are actually going faster than the indicated speed!?!
post #12 of 13

Re: Big Gear Training

+10 on riding your bike more! Providing there's no mechanical issue like brake pad rub causing friction. I know I can and DO hit 50+kmhr in my bigger gets like 52x13 or 14. I can hit 50 even in my small chainring which is a 42. But my legs are spinning like mad almost.

Good advice to spin. Higher cadence. 80rpm and up. Speed will eventually come.

Can't see any reason why a reasonably fit person can't hit 20mph on a flat. Do check your computer to see that it's calibrated properly. I'd say lots of seasoned riders here can cruise at speeds like 20mph. Let alone sprint much faster.
post #13 of 13

Re: Big Gear Training

Check that your brake pads aren't rubbing
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