Is my training philosophy accurate?



cs5150

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Jul 23, 2005
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I push a large gear all the time (53 x 15). I can hold an average cadence of 72-75 RPM's on flat roads.
My way of thinking is that if I continually push this gear I will eventually be able to spin at higher cadences which would raise may average speed.

I'm basing this approach by watching the pros who appear to be pushing a very large gear at high cadences.

Will this type of training raise my average speed or am I way off base.
 

strader

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Jun 28, 2007
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No, pick a gear and cadence that allows you to generate the most power. Pros can push a big gear at high cadence because they generate more power (power = torque * rpm). The rest of us, on average, push a smaller gear at lower cadence because we generate less power.
 

Mish

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Feb 28, 2004
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cs5150 said:
I push a large gear all the time (53 x 15). I can hold an average cadence of 72-75 RPM's on flat roads.
My way of thinking is that if I continually push this gear I will eventually be able to spin at higher cadences which would raise may average speed.

I'm basing this approach by watching the pros who appear to be pushing a very large gear at high cadences.

Will this type of training raise my average speed or am I way off base.

Careful on those knees
 

BullGod

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Apr 6, 2006
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Mish said:
Careful on those knees
The reason the pros push a seeimingly large gear at high cadences is because they are riding a lot faster than you. If you are sitting in the draft in the middle of a peloton that is going 55 km/h it's easy to ride on the 15 and make 90 rpm. The power output would probably be similar to riding at 38 km/h on the 18.

90 rpm is considered the most efficient cadence, and many top riders actually exceed that. I myself ride at 100+, but then I can because Holland and Belgium are fairly flat.

If you train constantly on a big gear you will only get good at riding slowly in a big gear (you would need to be pro tour standard to ride on the 15 all day at an efficient cadence) and you will ruin your knees. If you ever start racing you will also find that riding a big gear means you cannot respond quickly to the constant accelorations in the pack, meaning you will have to close gaps, get more wind and you will get dropped very quickly.

It's actually totally possible to ride top level races at high speed on the 17 - 19. I ride Elite crits on the 17, clicking up to 19 at times out of sharp corners, with cadence around 100. I sprint on the 15 dude!

My advice is to do much of your training at a higher rpm, and save the high power stuff for your intervals. Even then, keep the revs high - works your cardio better, less stress on the legs - raises V02 max, whilst allowing for faster recovery, and also trains you for the accelorations you will need whilst racing.

If you want to know how a pro trains you'd be surprised. Lots and lots of hours riding an easy gear (on the inner ring) at high cadence, sprints (often also on the inner ring) and racing to build form and clock up "intensity" miles. None of them are grinding along in 53 x 14, except when the speed is right up in a race, or if they are time trialling - and then those guys are strong enough to push those gears at higher cadence for a decent duration.

I strongly advise against continuing with your current training.
 

Ade Merckx

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Jan 26, 2007
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cs5150 said:
I push a large gear all the time (53 x 15). I can hold an average cadence of 72-75 RPM's on flat roads.
My way of thinking is that if I continually push this gear I will eventually be able to spin at higher cadences which would raise may average speed.
The pros have superior metabolic and aerobic fitness so they can comfortably push 53/15 at rpms of 90+ almost indefinitley. Economically speaking you've chosen a good gear - perhaps you're one of the lucky ones who won't suffer knee pain using high gears. You will be fine I'm sure on solo rides but stymied in a road race, crit or even competitive group ride.
 

BullGod

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Apr 6, 2006
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Ade Merckx said:
The pros have superior metabolic and aerobic fitness so they can comfortably push 53/15 at rpms of 90+ almost indefinitley. Economically speaking you've chosen a good gear - perhaps you're one of the lucky ones who won't suffer knee pain using high gears. You will be fine I'm sure on solo rides but stymied in a road race, crit or even competitive group ride.
Ade, I disagree. Economically speaking it's not a good gear. The 15 is for fast group riding (I mean fast - 50km/h) or downhill. For solitary training it is a mad gear to ride in, unless you are doing sprints, and even then....I know the Rabobank guys do their sprint drills from standing start on the 17/19 - so riding on the 15 would be a no-no.

I'm not sure so many pros could / would ride on the 15 all day, unless they were riding in a high speed peloton on the flat with favourable wind.

The gear that racers spend most of their racing time on is the 17. On saturday I was riding at close to 60 km/h on the 15 at a comfortable enough cadence. Most of the guys in the race were also on the 15 except the guys at the front, who were maybe really pushing it to string the bunch out.

If you watch the pros in the pack most of them are on 17 and spinning a high cadence. 15 is for attacking ;-)
 

Packeteer

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Nov 16, 2007
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cs5150 said:
My way of thinking is that if I continually push this gear I will eventually be able to spin at higher cadences which would raise may average speed.
You get good at what you do. If you train pushing a big gear you will get good at pushing a big gear. Of course there is cross over fitness but you need to train what you are actually going to be doing. Its just like how most sprint workouts are done on a bike not on a leg press machine. You need to get good on the bick at the cadence your going to race at.
 

Ade Merckx

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Jan 26, 2007
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BullGod said:
Ade, I disagree. Economically speaking it's not a good gear.

Er not for me or you. But the OP spends much of his flat riding there and it feel right. Generally we self select our gears and adjust dependent on terrain or event. How can you determine what feels right economically speaking for someone else. If the OP suddenly started pushing lower gears at 100rpms I'm sure he'd be riding less economically (for himself)

You spin comfortably between 100-110rpms right?. For me that would not be economical especially travelling at 32kph which I'd average on a 2-3 hour flattish ride.

The 15 is for fast group riding (I mean fast - 50km/h) or downhill. Says who? For solitary training it is a mad gear to ride in, unless you are doing sprints, and even then....I know the Rabobank guys do their sprint drills from standing start on the 17/19 - so riding on the 15 would be a no-no. mmm Perhaps he doesn't race, did you consider that?

I'm not sure so many pros could / would ride on the 15 all day, unless they were riding in a high speed peloton on the flat with favourable wind.

If i can ride for a few hours in 53/17 on a windless flat loop I'm sure the pros could do it one gear higher. Whether they would choose to do that is a different matter
I kinda got the quote thing wrong there :confused: