New Member
May 9, 2002
I've been tested and my coach and I know that I put out more wattage with a slower cadence. He is determined that I reach full potential as a crit racer so jumping bigger gears works out fine. But, I have been concentrating on trying to up my cadence at least to 90-95 rpms. I do long climbs where I force myself to spin in the 39 x 25 and we have a 12 mile run here with a decline of 1000 feet that I spin down. In races though, I still can only keep the pace in larger gears and a slow cadence (esp. TT's) I feel physically weaker when I am spinning.

Any additional tips would be appreciated...My knees are only going to last so long otherwise. My coach isn't too concerned about my slow spin (if you can call it that) but I would like to improve it as much as possible and surprise him at my next AT test!

So why would you want to spin faster?
  • Faster accelerations
  • More efficient
  • Delayed fatigue
When you pedal faster your muscles contract at a faster rate and when this happens they are able to produce less force during the contraction!  (Check out 'force*velocity curve' in a net search).  The greatest force is produced when your muscles are isometricly contracting (i.e. joint positions remain the same).  This would help to explain why you feel less powerful! You pedal faster and produce less force.

The training for sprinting in big gears and small gears is different.  You have been training to push hard on the pedals during a sprint, now you need to think about accelerating your legs in the sprint (and NOT pressing hard).  This is a technique that needs to be learned and practiced.  Spinning requires well developed coordination, so you will need to concentrate on your legs a lot more than normal when learning to pedal quickly.

During a sprint in low gears you will need to take your legs from 100 rpm to as high as 250 rpm.  To train this you need to do accelerations in both low gears and race gears, on down hills, with the wind and off peoples' wheels.  You need to acheive these high cadences.  Think explosive!

High cadences during TT's are a different matter, you need to have a good position and then train at cadences 5 rpm's higher than you want to race at.  Most of your training will need to be done at higher cadences, if you dont do it when you train you wont do it when you race. That includes intervals and power type rides, not just rolling down a hill or riding on a gentle club run.

Spinning will help you as a crit rider as you will be able to get out of corners faster and acheive higher speeds on the straights faster.

So think about training for very high average cadences, ability to change cadences quickly and high maximum cadences.