How do you correlate Cadence and Speed?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by spanj007, Feb 5, 2011.

  1. spanj007

    spanj007 New Member

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    New to the forum and I have a question about cadence and speed.

    When riding a flat course I try to goose my speed by shifting to a smaller cog, which for me usually means a slower cadence. When I shift to middle gears, cadence goes up as I try to maintain speed. I am trying to improve my AVS. Is maintaining a higher cadence more important for overall improvement?
     
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  2. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    Yes and no. Maintaining a high cadence and using your gearing to regulate your speed is more efficient than varying your cadence to regulate your speed. Just like your car's engine, your body is more efficient operating at a certain rpm or cadence. As you increse your cars speed, the transmission will shift when the engine begins to leave the range of its most efficient operation. Just like your car, you should shift to a higher gear when your cadence increases to a certain point. Most competitive riders train with a cadence of 90 - 100 rpm. Touring riders tend to run around 80 - 90 rpm. So maintaining a high cadence is not as important as maintaining a constant cadence and using your gearing for going faster or slower. You can train for your cadence by riding in a lower gear and keeping your cadence steady. After awhile you will feel uncomfortable pedalling at any speed other than what you have practiced. This is a good exercise that you can do on an indoor trainer if that is where most of your cycling is now taking place like mine is (Ohio=full of snow).

    To impove your average speed, you need to do interval training. Find a nice long stretch of relatively flat road with little of no traffic. Ride at the highest speed that you can stand for a mile and then ease up and ride at a lower speed for a mile to recover, and then speed back up for another mile and repeat these intervals. I usually ride three intervals two or three times a week, but this is just to maintain my current level of fitness as a recreational cyclist. For competition, you should ride more intervals in each session and work to reduce the amount of recovery time that you need between each fast segment. Before you ride intervals, you really need to see a doctor and have him OK it because done right, intervals are extremely high intensity exercise.
     
  3. tonyzackery

    tonyzackery Well-Known Member

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    At a given speed and all other things being equal:

    1. higher cadence = lower pedal torque = more cardiovascular stress (aka higher heart rate) = less muscle fatigue = less utilization of glycogen for fuel
    2. lower cadence = higher pedal torque = less cardiovascular stress (aka lower heart rate) = more muscle fatigue = greater utilization of glycogen for fuel

    On the flat, the above is not as significant (but still has significance) as riding hills where you're pushing your weight.

    "Best", for you, cadence is self-selected, but you should strive to ride at varying cadences.
     
  4. spanj007

    spanj007 New Member

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    Thanks for your input very helpful.
     
  5. frankiemuniz01

    frankiemuniz01 New Member

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    The group is separating which makes it insanely more difficult to draft. coming thought the final turn, I stood up and laid in the acceleration, sprinting. One guy next to me was doing the same, and he was just a hair faster than I, but he couldn't hold it for the duration and I edged out in front. I passed two other riders who had were not sprinting. It doesn't really mean anything since I am no where near the top 20 among this 105 riders present. Yeah, there was quite the turnout for the first race of the season. End result, I am happy with my performance today. And as I said earlier, I still have all my skin.
     
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