Still haven't solved the gearing/cadence puzzle

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Denny418, Jul 27, 2009.

  1. Denny418

    Denny418 New Member

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    When I started training seriously and entering time trials six years ago, I seemed to do my best when I was at about 95 rpm. As I got stronger and more experienced, my "natural" rpm went down to about 85. Last week I decided to do an experiment and did my intervals at about 75 rpm - and I was even faster than usual, and I've repeated that result a couple of times since. So it's not a fluke.

    75 seems like it's just too low a cadence, but I can't argue with the results. And it feels fine. Has anyone else found their cadence decreasing (or increasing) over the years?
     
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  2. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but I'm not sure it's related to aging as much as training history and simply being willing to swim against the current of popular belief.

    I still race mass start events with relatively light gears and high cadences but during TTs and weekly Threshold training sessions I'm sustaining higher power, covering more distance in the same time or decreasing time for TTs by slamming bigger gears. And yep, my cadence drops but my results are better and riding TTs like that hasn't hampered my ability to ride crits or track at higher cadences.

    Until this season I typically chose gears that kept me up in the 95-105 rpm range during flat TTs. My average cadence for my last TT a couple of weeks ago was 78 and it earned me a podium spot and an average power within a couple of watts of my best ever for that duration which I don't generally manage on the TT bike in the aero bars.

    I suspect it's a very individual thing but definitely worth playing with in training to see what yields the fastest time/highest sustained power. It takes some faith to plug along in big gears feeling like you're pedaling in tar but at least for me it seems to be working.

    -Dave
     
  3. Denny418

    Denny418 New Member

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    Thanks for you post, Dave, it's comforting to know that someone else has had a similar progression.

    My ultimate goal is to use a gear so big that - forget about pedaling slowly - I won't have to pedal at all.
     
  4. H46Driver

    H46Driver New Member

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    I have found that my self-selcted cadence is proportional to power output, at least on the flats. 40K TT - I run 95-105 rpm; at Ironman it was in the low 80s. Most of what I have read on the subject indicates that once a rider has trained to be able perform a wide range of cadences for a year or two, a self-selected cadence tends to be most efficient.

    I find this to be true for TTs, but for road racing it is a bit trickier since a "most efficient (or effective) cadence may not allow a rider to respond to surges in a timely manner.
     
  5. Piotr

    Piotr New Member

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    :) Don't lose hope. With infinite torque you can do it.
     
  6. Denny418

    Denny418 New Member

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    Well, Piotr, if I stay on my steroid regimen I don't think infinite torque will be much of a problem. What worries me, though, is that I'll also need an infinitely large chainwheel, and so I'll have to buy a bigger frame.
     
  7. grahamspringett

    grahamspringett New Member

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    Run a big chainring which turns a small sprocket halfway up the seat tube then on the other side of the spindle whack another huge ring driving a small sprocket on the back wheel. Do a Google pic search for John Howard or Fred Rompleberg (sp?) to see how big you can go. I believe Howard had to be towed to 50mph before he could even get the gear turning by himself.

    FWIW I find that when I'm tiring during long threshold intervals I change up and roll a bigger gear. Feels more manageable. I think a smaller gear stresses cardiovascular more and a big gear stresses legs more. I may be wrong but I think HR is lower on a big gear but it kills the legs more.
     
  8. Denny418

    Denny418 New Member

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    In fact, not for nutin', I once took a biking seminar with John Howard, and he gave us a slide show on his speed record endeavor. You may already know this, but he actually drafted behind a gigantic fairing on the back of a racecar. You can see a youtube clip of it here: [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Py94okBKDU0"]YouTube - John Howard Speed Record[/ame]
     
  9. bubsy

    bubsy New Member

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    Ditto,
    can start at low 90's and finish at mid 80's when doing L4 stuff,
    and start at high 80's and finish at low 80's with L5 work.
    Just feels natural to do this, just so long as l get the work done l'm happy,
    avg cadence has dropped alot in the last 2yrs with the use of a certain training aid.
     
  10. grahamspringett

    grahamspringett New Member

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    EPO? Pot Belge? Come on Bubsy, fess up!
     
  11. bubsy

    bubsy New Member

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    Uh Oh..... I've said too much already

    Would you believe a marsbar and can of "coke"
    it seemed to work really well for Sillyoldtwitt, LOL!!!
     
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