More power than my bike can handle...kinda... Need some advice.

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by BigGuysCycle, May 25, 2011.

  1. BigGuysCycle

    BigGuysCycle New Member

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    I ride a 06 Masi Gran corsa (mostly factory specs.). I've been back at it after losing 80 pounds, riding 150+ miles/ week. I ride quite a bit, but don't have a lot of tech knowledge. My problem, that I hope someone can help with, is that even on long rides for me (40+ mi) I feel like when I'm in my hardest gears I'm pushing to the point where I'm just spinning. of course this is not an issue long term and in the climbs, but I feel like i need harder gears to get a little more resistance when i'm peddaling. What are your thoughts? equipment? something I'm doing wrong? Thanks for the feedback. I just want to get better.
     
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  2. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    If you're in top gear and spinning then you must be hitting about 30mph... In which case I'd just keep the bike, go racing and work your way from Cat 5 to cat 1. For more resistance and speed on climbs just shift into the next smallest sprocket. If it's still to easy then shift again.
     
  3. BigGuysCycle

    BigGuysCycle New Member

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    In the short term that is the case based on the cyclo comp. it is of course sustaining it that will always be a problem. I guess I need to learn to pace myself instead of hammering the whole time.
     
  4. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Unless you've changed your factory gearing to something really low the issue is a matter of getting used to spinning the cranks faster, not wishing for higher gears so that you can push harder at relatively low cadences.

    Off the shelf bikes from the shop are sold with gearing that's typically identical to what the fastest professional racers are running. It was only in the last decade or so that professional racers had access to the huge gearing like a 53x11 combo that is commonly available on stock bikes today. Guys like Merckx and Hinault and before them many generations of pro riders had no trouble hitting and holding speeds most of us can only manage on descents or with stiff tailwinds and they did that with much lower gearing than the typical road bike in your local shop. The issue isn't having bigger gears to stomp harder on, the issue is learning to use leg speed to power the gears you have.

    Many newer riders plug away at very low cadences and have to learn to spin the cranks a bit quicker but that's the key to riding faster for longer distances. It may not feel like a lot of resistance but if you wind them up and hold that effort long enough I guarantee you'll get a very good workout and at some point start downshifting to easier gears to avoid blowing up completely.

    Power is torque multiplied by the angular velocity of the cranks, bigger gearing (or hillier terrain, headwinds, etc.) raises the torque requirement at a given cadence to hold a certain power but higher cadence in the same gearing also results in higher power and in the end it's power not force (torque) itself that drives the bike forward and generates speed. So you can either try to gear up and push harder at low cadences or spin lighter gears faster but it's the power you sustain that will both determine how fast you move and how much work your body has to do to sustain the effort.

    Bottom line, work on riding quicker cadences in the gears you have and your fitness will improve and you'll go faster. Unless there's some very odd low gearing currently on your bike you're likely running the same gear ratios as the pros are riding this week in the Giro. You shouldn't need higher gears, just a different approach to using them.

    -Dave
     
  5. BigGuysCycle

    BigGuysCycle New Member

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    Thanks a lot Dave, I had a feeling that maybe the case, but a lot of that was new to me and i appreciate the knowledge. The whole endurance sport is new to me. I'm an ex 350lb strong man and power lifter. I have always been used to going hard for bursts. I've rode a lot of mtb in the past (pre gaining 150lbs) and always had the climbs to play a part, but I'm on mainly flat roads here in Oklahoma and my biggest resistance tend to come in the form of 30 mph head winds on a daily basis. I'll take the advice and love the background. I hope I did not come of cocky, I just struggle to know if what I'm feeling is what I should be feeling. due to my schedule I tend to ride alone, a lot. so I don't have a lot of people to bounce ideas off of. I'm down between 80 and 100 pounds so I'm no means a small rider at 240 - 260lbs. I'll just keep on pushing the cadence up and get used to it.
     
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