Slower Cadence = Faster Rides?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by rclouviere, Nov 24, 2014.

  1. rclouviere

    rclouviere New Member

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    I just started riding in bigger gears and, as a result, slowing my cadence to around 80 rpm. For years I've been riding at around 100 rpm, because that's what I always heard was optimal. However, in my first ride doing the slower cadence, I rode much faster and didn't tire as easily. Is this in my head, or is there something to riding in bigger gears with slower cadences?

    Thanks, Rick
     
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  2. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    It all depends on the individual. Jan vs Lance. Jan was more of a big ring guy and Armstrong was a high cadence spinner. We know the history and the outcome but it comes down to your style.
    I can tell you this has been discussed in several thread over the years.
     
  3. jpr95

    jpr95 Active Member

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    It all depends on how you train. When I was a youngster, I rode the bigger rings at 60 RPM. But that was also 40-50 pounds ago.

    I've found that my optimal is around 85-90 RPM now, but I'll also do some training at lower RPM so that when I hit a steep hill (like 20%+) I can mash it out if I need to. Those who only ride at 100 RPM may not have the leg strength to do that and end up walking the hill.

    Bottom line is that whatever your optimal cadence, a lower cadence than that will fill your legs with lactic acid, and a higher cadence than that will take your heart and lungs to their threshold. But you can train to shift that optimal cadence either direction.
     
  4. rclouviere

    rclouviere New Member

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    I agree 100%. I've been riding at a cadence of about 100 since I started cycling. I've always been a pretty good climber.

    The last 2 weeks I've gone to a bigger gear and kept the cadence around 75 to 80, and have found that I can keep up with cyclists that were dropping me. I don't get as winded as quickly.

    I've going to keep trying this for awhile and see what the outcome is.

    Also, I'm trying to climb in at least one gear higher than I've been in. I assume this would also help my climbing?
     
  5. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    It is all in your head. Each person has an optimal cadence. It is different for each person and can change depending on training. Do what feels good.

    I used to ride at 80-90rpms. It was a nice tempo. But if I was chasing someone, I would increase my cadence to 110-120. Same gear.

    Currently. On my trainer I tend to ride at 100rpm. I like the resistance at that level. On the road I tend to average 75-80 while pedaling. For most of the time the resistance is a bit low, but when I do 1-3 mile intervals the resistance is about right.
     
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  6. Stuballs

    Stuballs New Member

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    I like to do some low cadence training 60-70 cadence once a week when not racing. Heart rate 85-90% long periods 30 - 60 mins. I put it into the strength building category. I find it does slow the legs, so I do higher cadence rides when taking it easy. I understand how you feel, when my legs are tired, high cadence is uncomfortable. However when my legs feel fresh I can spin 100 cadence at high intensity comfortably. Its all about mixing it up.
     
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