Maintaining form continuosly

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by SniperX, Apr 19, 2003.

  1. SniperX

    SniperX New Member

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    I was just wondering how do the pros maintain their excellent form on stage races which are held day after day? have been riding for a few days and realised tha my timing is goin down together with my avg heart rate as well by over 10 beats... any way to maintain form?
     
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  2. GearGrinder

    GearGrinder New Member

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    Most of them ride in the peleton and conserve energy for most of the tour apart from key stages where they exel. The peleton is Uge so the drafting effect is Big.

    Also Practice Practic Practice. Please exlude Jacky Durand from that practice (drafting in the pack) though. Dont think he knows what a peloton is:rolleyes:
     
  3. J-MAT

    J-MAT New Member

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    The pros suffer from the same problems as every other bike rider. They just do everything faster and longer so they appear superhuman. Ask any pro after the first week of the Tour, and they will say they are getting tired.

    I read an interview with Sean Yates in 1999, and it really sums up the difference between pros and amateurs:

    Yates: "The biggest difference is power over the long distances, especially in the latter parts of races. You only get that by competing over a long period of time and adapting to those situations...You only have to look at the world RR Champs, the amateurs are going up the climbs on the small ring, and the pros are doing another 100 kms and they're going up on the big ring. That's the power and stamina that comes from riding at a high level."

    The interviewer then stated:

    "Q: I noticed in 1982 that after 125 miles the pros hadn't gone any faster than the amateurs. Then the next three hours were ridden at 28 mph."

    Yates: "It took me five years to even finish Paris-Roubaix, three or four years just to finish a classic. You've got to have the constitution to support the workload over the three-week period, and it takes a long, long time."
     
  4. SniperX

    SniperX New Member

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    hmm i find that i take a very long time to warm up and sometimes after 80km i start to find new found energy again... any explanations for this ?
     
  5. maarten

    maarten New Member

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    Riding in bunches is easy.
    As long as the bunch stays together riding long straight roads in a pack at 50km/u doesn't make you suffer.
    It's only when you get crosswinds that you may suffer.
    So in flat stages only a few riders use a lot of energy(wacko's like durand and poor lad's who have to chase them down for there better placed teammates) but most of these guys loose deliberately 15 min a stage to conserve energy by not racing along the last k's.

    Do not forget that in the Giro for example many stages the first ours are on a pace that even recreational riders can escape. In mountain stages the first mountains are done in bunch form with Cipo Zanini or other big blokes in the front who make sure the pace isn't that hard and the last mountain only a selected number of riders go flat out.

    In short then cycle a lot of time in the easy zone(save energy), they train a lot and they get looked after very wel.
     
  6. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    As others have said the pros do fatigue during stage races and training just like the rest of us do!

    During continuous days training it's perfectly normal for your HR to decrease at a given workload -- this is normal, furthermore, it doesn't actually matter as long as you can produce the same power output. HR isn't actually that important, it's power that's the most important variable. As an aside, i find that if i do back to back days of very hard training (e.g., 40-km TT), my HR on the second day can be ~ 10+ b/min lower than the first day -- however, my power output is the same.

    If the time taken to ride a set course is taking longer (and thus your speed is decreasing) then this might or might not be due to a lower power output. The weather and changes in e.g., barometric pressure can adversely affect your speed.

    To aid in your recovery, you should make sure that you are training at the optimal level, eating correctly and ensuring that you are eating immediately post exercise (if you are training on consecutive days e.g., 1 - 1.5 g carb per kg body mass) and drinking plenty of non alcohol/caffeine fluids and eating and drinking optimally during training.

    However, bear in mind that if you train hard on a daily basis you will fatigue.

    Ric
     
  7. SniperX

    SniperX New Member

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    ricstern: so if the avg speeed is the same but the avg hr drops it means that the individual is getting fitter? i dun have a power meter so i cant gauge my power outputs..
     
  8. GearGrinder

    GearGrinder New Member

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    Hey rick how does the whats a good balance of k's to do per week?. on Coach Carls site he encourages qulity over quantiy and says he beat guys who did 1000ks a week and he did only 400.Im a bit confused on what to do lots and lots of ks or lots less at high effort? The most iv done is 600k and find i get quite fatiged at the end of the week then.
     
  9. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    ric stern: so if the avg speeed is the same but the avg hr drops it means that the individual is getting fitter? i dun have a power meter so i cant gauge my power outputs..

    I don't think it means anything. Speed can vary because of environmental conditions. For instance, i did a few TTs a few years back on the same course, once a week. One time i did a good ride (went faster than the other occasions) but my power was down on normal -- i.e., it was just a 'fast night'.

    It's impossible to say with any certainty that your fitness has increased without a power meter.

    Ric
     
  10. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    Hey ric how does the whats a good balance of k's to do per week?. on Coach Carls site he encourages qulity over quantiy and says he beat guys who did 1000ks a week and he did only 400.Im a bit confused on what to do lots and lots of ks or lots less at high effort? The most iv done is 600k and find i get quite fatiged at the end of the week then.


    I'm not sure anyone does 1000's of km's per week, so i assume that's some hyperbole. 400km is a still a lot each week, if you're not a full time cyclist.

    I wouldn't even bother logging km/miles per week or year, it's pretty irrelevant to training -- what's more important is the actual time you do each week, e.g., 10, 12 hrs per week.

    Both quality and quantity are important. however, what you decide to do, will be dictated by the time you have available (no point saying you should do 30 hrs a week, if you have to work and have a partner etc), your fitness level, your goals, and the time of year, etc.

    You need to do both! However, at certain times of the year you maybe do more quantity (i.e., winter - base training), whereas in summer you do more quality. How it all fits together is dependent on many factors.

    I've coached elite riders who've done it only 8 to 10 hrs a week (due to e.g., family commitments) and recreational riders on 15+ hrs a week. If you are very time limited then you'll have to work out more intensely.

    A coach or sport scientist will be able to help you pull all this together, but it's beyond the scope of answering on the forum, for a proper answer (too long/detailed).

    Myself, Maarten and 2Lap (i think) should be able to help.
     
  11. SniperX

    SniperX New Member

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    so i guess a power meter is a must have to analyse fitness? cant fitness level be analysed using HR speed or cadence?
     
  12. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    so i guess a power meter is a must have to analyse fitness? cant fitness level be analysed using HR speed or cadence?

    As fitness is usually defined as e.g., Vo2 max, power output at LT, or some such similar aspect, then it's not possible to estimate fitness with HR, speed or power.

    For instance at a given power output HR can decrease because you're fitter or because you are fatigued. For e.g., at 300 W your HR might be 170 b/min, six months later when you're fitter it might be 160 b/min. However, if you ride a TT one day at 300 W and your HRavg is 160 b/min, the next day it might be 150 b/min at 300 W simply due to fatigue.

    Speed is too variable due to topographical and environmental conditions to mean anything.

    Cadence is also pretty much immaterial.

    You could always be tested at a sport science lab to get an idea of your fitness as long as they either an SRM, Power Tap, Velodyne, Lode, or Monark ergometers or power meters.

    However, it should also be possible for you to tell (by feel) if you are fitter -- it's just that you can't accurately quantify how fit you are.

    Ric
     
  13. SniperX

    SniperX New Member

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    yeah its very confusing when it means either ure getting fitter or ure fatigued
     
  14. VeloFlash

    VeloFlash New Member

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    I was reading somewhere recently that riders locked into the middle of a large and tight peloton (riders to the left, riders to the right, riders in front, riders behind) a la tdF use only 28% of the effort compared to the front men/women doing the turns.

    That is obviously the place to be if you want to recover/preserve yourself. Unless some donkey up the front drops their bidon!
     
  15. J-MAT

    J-MAT New Member

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    It is important to understand that cycling performance is based on the weak link theory. If you do not train the individual links, they tend to show up at the worst possible time, like an important race that you got up early on a Saturday morning to enter.

    The problem with cycling is that it is the most complex sport on a physiological level to train for. A successful road rider needs the leg strength of a powerlifter, the aerobic power of a marathon runner, the anaerobic power of a 400 meter track sprinter, the endurance of a ultra-marathon (50+ miles) runner, and the tactical mind of a brilliant general. You also need legspeed, bike handling, etc. Most other sports fall into either pure strength (NFL football), pure endurance (marathons), or pure skill (bowling, billiards). Obviously, some things overlap or don't apply, but you get the idea.

    Power, threshold, heart rate, watts, meters, and the like are great for physiologists, but most riders don't really care about that stuff, they just want to get fast and win races. As a coach myself, this has been my experience with most riders. If you have a burning desire to find the answers, you will probably find yourself consumed with cycling and physiology books and the science courses available at the local university. If you don't, you ask for help from someone else. Most riders fall into the latter category.

    Now for my point. Without getting technical, here is a way for the average rider to find out how well they are doing without expensive equipment or testing. Find a hill that takes 5-15 minutes to climb. Ride up as fast as possible. Record your time, and make a note of gearing, cadence, heart rate, and bodyweight. Train. A few weeks or so later, go back to the same climb and go for it again. View the climb as a time trial; always do it fresh, and with maximum effort. How did you do??? Any faster??? If you are faster, your training, and most importatant, your recovery are working. Hills are most accurate because the low speeds (14 mph or so) are not really effected as much by wind compared with flat courses and higher speed. Flat courses do have their place though.

    You probably have a flat or moderately flat course you have ridden on for years. With the same course and the same typical winds, what is your average speed for the course? Over the months or years if you see your average speed increase, you are getting fitter.

    Some people would say this is garbage, average speed doesn't mean anything. Really??? Let's take a basically flat, 40 mile out-and-back training course with light winds. A lower category amateur will typically average somewhere between 16.5-17.5 mph or so. Strong intermediate amateurs might be holding 18-19 mph. Elite or pro riders might hold 21-23 mph or more for the distance. The point is that there are clear differences in the sustainable power output between the amateur categories, and amateur versus pro. Your average speed says a lot about your sustainable power output. Also in the 1999 Sean Yates interview (previous post), he said it was hard for him to hold 22-23 mph on training rides. At that time he was knocking out 50 minute 25's (30 mph average). It is important to note that average speed is meaningless when doing sprints, intervals,etc., as the very low recovery speeds skew the average.

    When using the average speed method, be sure to warm up for 20 minutes at least, then clear your computer's mileage and average speed, and go for it. Don't stop (unless necessary), or do sprints or intervals. Ride at the highest pace you can to finish the distance. Any distance will work, 20-80+ miles is most common for this method. The shorter the course, the higher your average speed should be. View the ride as a long-distance time trial. With short climbs, traffic, stop lights, etc., you will find you need to spend a lot of time over your desired average speed to maintain it.

    Your cadence also tells a lot about your fitness. High cadences (for the road) of 95-105 rpm stress the aerobic system more than lower cadences of 75-85 rpm. Lower cadence tranfers the burden of power output to the leg muscles, rather than the heart and lungs. That is one reason why you very often see beginers with lesser developed hearts mashing bigger gears while experienced riders spin at higher cadence. If you held 18 mph for 40 miles at 90-100 rpm your aerobic conditioning would be higher than if you held 18 mph at 80 rpm for the same distance. There is a direct relationship between power output and cadence. High power = high cadence.

    GearGrinder: I am quite familiar with Carl Cantrell's coaching philosophy. He has had many successes. He trained the "links" of the performance chain where his competition spent too much time on one aspect of training. The result is that he was properly prepared for what the competition threw in his face. His opponents were not.

    He talks about being able to hold 35 mph for his top speed, while his competition could not. Holding 26 mph all day is worthless if you can't sprint 35 mph and someone else can. You will lose and the other guy will win, period. Yet, many people only focus on being able to ride 26 mph, neglecting the other "links" (in this case, speed)in the chain. Many top time trialers would not have the endurance to finish a tough 140 mile road race, yet would have no problem averaging 30+ mph for 25 miles. In this case, endurance, not speed is the weak link.

    It is important to figure out what you want out of cycling. In order to accomplish these goals, you must first identify and properly train the individual "links" that make up the particular "performance chain" as it pertains to those goals.

    Your goals can be accomplished with or without expensive technology. The most important factor is time spent training hard and the recovery that follows.

    Good Luck!!!
     
  16. SniperX

    SniperX New Member

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    hmmm.. speaking bout sprinting top speeds... how does one actually go a bout increasing it? what kind of training is needed to increase the top speed of a sprint?
     
  17. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    J-Mat wrote, i replied starting with a ">":
    The problem with cycling is that it is the most complex sport on a physiological level to train for. A successful road rider needs the leg strength of a powerlifter,

    >this is completely untrue. Elite trained endurance cyclists are no stronger than age and gender matched healthy controls. in fact there's good physiological reasons to believe that strength decreases as you gain (aerobic) fitness, due a decrease in i.e., contractile proteins, which are replaced by aerobic machinery (i.e., increased mitochondrial density, increased capillarisation, etc)

    Most other sports fall into either pure strength (NFL football),

    >whilst admitedly i don't know much about NFL football, it's highly likely that it isn't pure strength, because presumably it has a large aerobic component, because the event last for a long period of time (I'm guessing at somewhere near an hour???).

    Power, threshold, heart rate, watts, meters, and the like are great for physiologists, but most riders don't really care about that stuff, they just want to get fast and win races.

    >most cyclists i know, either those that i coach, those who i meet at races, or those who i meet out training are generally highly interested in both HR and power output. Sure, the objective is to win more or do better (etc), but it's very hard to see how you are doing without some good checks.

    Now for my point. Without getting technical, here is a way for the average rider to find out how well they are doing without expensive equipment or testing. Find a hill that takes 5-15 minutes to climb. Ride up as fast as possible. Record your time, and make a note of gearing, cadence, heart rate, and bodyweight. Train. A few weeks or so later, go back to the same climb and go for it again. View the climb as a time trial; always do it fresh, and with maximum effort. How did you do??? Any faster??? If you are faster, your training, and most importatant, your recovery are working. Hills are most accurate because the low speeds (14 mph or so) are not really effected as much by wind compared with flat courses and higher speed. Flat courses do have their place though.

    >if by average rider mean you mean most racing cyclists -- then i would disagree. Velocity can be affected by so many variables that the accuracy and reliability of test-retest scores isn't going to be high enough to find out whether your fitness has changed. Even on my local mountain pass, which keeps me to an average of about 15 km/hr (i.e., air drag is low) my power can alter markedly depending on weather conditions that can be hard to measure (or even know that they've changed) without the correct scientific weather instrumentation.

    A lower category amateur will typically average somewhere between 16.5-17.5 mph or so. Strong intermediate amateurs might be holding 18-19 mph. Elite or pro riders might hold 21-23 mph or more for the distance. The point is that there are clear differences in the sustainable power output between the amateur categories, and amateur versus pro.

    >of course there is differences in the sustainable or maximum aerobic power between categories and between riders within the category, the difference in power explains more than 95% of the difference between riders

    Your cadence also tells a lot about your fitness. High cadences (for the road) of 95-105 rpm stress the aerobic system more than lower cadences of 75-85 rpm. Lower cadence tranfers the burden of power output to the leg muscles, rather than the heart and lungs. That is one reason why you very often see beginers with lesser developed hearts mashing bigger gears while experienced riders spin at higher cadence. If you held 18 mph for 40 miles at 90-100 rpm your aerobic conditioning would be higher than if you held 18 mph at 80 rpm for the same distance. There is a direct relationship between power output and cadence. High power = high cadence.

    >assuming that if you tested and restested under exactly the same conditions (unlikely!) and you did one session at high cadence and the other at low cadence, with the same velocity and power output there would be no difference in your aerobic condition, because you've ridden at the same aerobic power level. High power does not necessarily equal high cadence. Furthermore, research has shown that elite riders mash/stomp more than less elite riders (see e.g., Coyle et al 92).

    Your goals can be accomplished with or without expensive technology. The most important factor is time spent training hard and the recovery that follows.

    > indeed, they can. however, it does make the job harder as you don't know how your body is responding or whether it was something else.

    Ric
     
  18. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    SniperX wrote: hmmm.. speaking bout sprinting top speeds... how does one actually go a bout increasing it? what kind of training is needed to increase the top speed of a sprint?

    To increase peak power output, you need to practice some sprint type efforts. These can be done from a flying start (e.g., ~ 30 km/hr) in a moderate gear (e.g., 53 x 17) out of the saddle for 10-secs giving an all-out effort. Or try bringing your bike to (almost) stationary, in a very low gear (e.g., 42 x 19) and staying seated stamp down on the pedals for ~ 10-secs. These need to be repeated maybe up to 10 times, with a *long* period of recovery inbetween each effort (~ 20-mins).

    Ric
     
  19. J-MAT

    J-MAT New Member

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    Wow Ric, thanks for the flames!!!

    Hey opinions are like external anal sphincters- everybody has one!!!

    Fortunately, I can back my words up with facts, can you Ric???

    Seriously, I think you are a little out of touch on a lot of things.

    First of all when I mentioned the other sports, I mentioned that they can overlap or not apply. I was just trying to talk about much different training is necessary to be a good all-round rider.

    By the way NFL football is American football, the "real" football, with players weighing 200-300 lbs and about 5% bodyfat. They could pick you up and throw you 20 feet for fun. I suppose you could say they are "strong."

    If you really have an exercise physiology background, you should know that sports are ususally broken down into the macro categories of strength, power, or endurance.

    Sports are also categorized by the energy system they use such as the ATP-PC (strength), lactic acid (power), or aerobic (endurance).

    Activities lasting 10-15 seconds are considered "strength" activities. This is how long a play in NFL football lasts or a set of heavy benches in the gym.

    Activities lasting 30 seconds to 1 or 2 minutes are considered "power" activities. Like 400 track sprinting or establishing the initial gap in a breakaway.

    Anything over 2-3 minutes is considered "aerobic." I think we all know what this means.

    Ric can you tell me of another sport that needs such excellent development of all three energy systems???

    As far as leg strength goes, you are completely wrong and so out of touch, I can't believe you make the statements you do.

    I said what I said about being powerlifter to mean you need leg strength, not that you should squat 600 pounds. Weights are not the way to go in general for road riders, but most track riders do lift massive amounts of weights.

    Cycling-specific leg strength IS a necessity.

    Fast riders turn bigger gears. Bigger gears require more pedal force. That means the legs must exert more force. Strength is the amount of force that can be applied. It is part of the overall power output equation. Power is the application of force over time. See the relationship???

    High power output can only be developed on a foundation of strength. This is basic knowledge.

    Cycling-specific strength is so important, you will never bloom as a rider until you understand it and train for it. Although I could list several credible references regarding the need for leg strength, I find it fitting to use one of your fellow countrymen (and one of my all-time favorite riders) Sean Yates.

    This is from the ABCC (Association of British Cycling Coaches) Annual Coaches Conference, 1999.
    He talks about his brother making a cycling comeback after 10 years off the bike. He did uphill strength (tension) intervals in the big ring.

    Yates on his brother: "He did an hour every other day in plimsolls on 53x17 seated, uphill and down, and in one month he got down to a 52-minute 25...but to do a 52 on the right day you don't have to be fit, you just have to have a bit of strength and know how to turn the gear."

    By the way, Yates also said in the same interview that he actually did squats with free weights, getting up to 150 kg. Ric, can the average "age and gender matched healthy controls" you mumble about squat 150 kg for 3 sets of 20, 3 sets of 30, 3 sets of 40 and 3 sets of 50 like Sean did???

    I think I would call that leg strength.

    Ric have you ever heard of a chap named Graeme Obree??? I believe he set the Professional Hour Record a few years back. Here is what he says about leg strength in the January 17th, 1994 issue of Velo News:

    "I used a mountain bike for strength training...sitting in the saddle and grinding a huge gear round on the climbs. If I was on a 1-in-10 (10 percent) slope, I'd be on a 48x15, down to about 30 revs a minute. It's almost like weight training-but weight training that is specifically directed to the exact muscles you will be using...I've tried all sorts of regimes and had lots of failures...My muscle building work is done on the bike. It all comes back to specificity."

    Ric, perhaps you have had the good fortune to coach an Hour Record holder, but when it comes to strength, don't you think the bloke knows what he's talking about???

    It is true that marathoners have weaker legs than sedentary people (most find it hard to believe).
    You should know from your studies the reason "pure" endurance athletes have lower than normal leg strength is because, they only focus on running. No sprints (strength), uphill attacks (strength), etc. Just no to low resistance, steady state aerobics. I know some riders like this. Their legs are weak!!!

    Don't make the mistake that cycling is a "pure" endurance sport. IT IS A POWER SPORT!!! THE STRONGER YOU ARE, THE MORE POWER YOU CAN GENERATE!!!

    When I talk to most riders they may throw around a term or two, but most just don't have the background with exercise physiology. People just don't know what 4 millimoles of lactate or mitochondria are. It's not a reflection on a riders intelligence, and to ride you don't need it, but to really understand it and talk about it in a fluid converstation requires a lot of clinical reading. Most of the riders I have met from races, training rides, etc. would rather spend their time doing something else.

    I've had my nose buried in the books for 13 years, far beyond what most people would consider healthy or normal. Some people think I'm nuts to re-read the same book for the 100th time, but I do it. I'm always looking for the truth no matter what. That is part of academic honesty and scientific credibility.

    I've been fortunate enough to know and ride with some fantastic riders (national champion, professional)here in the U.S. I can tell you for a fact, all top riders have "test climbs" or some other type of course to validate their fitness.
    It is not uncommon for pros who travel to have test climbs all over the world, with personal records annotated on all climbs. They know instantly if their form is good by looking at the time. Sure weather will play a role, but get real. A few seconds here or there doesn't mean much at all. You will know what the weather typically is over time. I'm sure you know in your head right now how fast you can go in certain areas most of the time. That is what I'm talking about!!!

    As far as the categories go and average speed, I tried to show the huge gaps in fitness riders need to have at the highest levels, since many people are talking about it here. Gives you something to shoot for doesn't it???

    High power does equal high cadence Ric. 200 meter track sprinters put out more power than any other rider. Marty Nothstein has been measured at over 2200 watts and 50 mph. Typical cadences for this event are 160 rpm, a bit faster than the Coyle study you mention. Pursuiters crank out 400-500 watts at 100-110 rpm. As the power comes down, so does the cadence. Maximum power output for experienced (road) riders is around 100 rpm. When you are starting your warm up at 80 watts in the small ring what is your cadence??? I'll bet it's around 60-80 rpm!!!

    High cadence is the BYPRODUCT of having power, not the other way around. Mashing is generally considered to be cadences under 80 rpm. Show me one pro can crank out 450 watts at 75 rpm for an hour.

    To get power at low cadence requires you to load your legs up with so much force, the effort can't just be sustained. It's the same thing as lifting 400 lbs once versus 40 lbs 10 times. The same work was done, but lasted longer with more reps and a lighter weight. That's what cadence is.

    That's why Indurain could do 49 minute 52k TT's in the tours - He was always flying at 95-105 rpm. Even in the old days as a pup, his cadence on climbs was around 90 rpm. How come he wasn't "stomping" if it were more efficient???

    Do I even have to mention Lance Armstrong. At Alpe D'Huez in 2001, Lance produced an estimated 475-500 watts at around 100 rpm in a 39x23 (7 watts/kg). Perhaps Coyle would like to do another study in light of this observation.

    Well, that's about it for now I guess. Dude, there aren't enough hours in the day for you to put one over on me.

    But I like it when you try!!!
     
  20. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    hey J-Mat,

    i'm off out coaching now, so won't be back for about 4+ hrs. but i do know what i'm talking about and yes, i can back it up with facts. I've got a 1st class hons degree in sports science, and am doing a PhD looking at a specific area of endurance cycling performance.

    While i'm out, why not check my article at cyclingnews.com on the fitness section about strength: the great debate. Then go and have a look at some texts on Hill's Force - Velocity curve.

    Also, pop over to analyticcycling.com and plug in some values in to the power given speed, section -- it works out the average forces for you averaged over a rev.

    Also, go and check McArdle, Katch and Katch for basic scientific definitions in exercise physiology. You'll find the correct meaning of strength there.

    Cheers
    Ric
     
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