Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling - Cadence
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09-18-06, 03:42 PM
I know that for racing and fast club riding most experts are suggesting a cadence of 90+ rpm. What kind of cadence do you long distance fans prefer? I was shocked to have got a cadence moniter and find that I am only going along at 70-75 rpm, and 85 seems way fast to me. I am debating if I need to spend the winter in upping my cadence or more just strength and endurance training?
09-18-06, 04:44 PM
Through a wide variety of riding over the years (and an even wider degree of fitness levels), I have always found myself most comfortable and most efficient in the low 90's. Everyone is different, but it seems like 80% of the bell curve would fall in the low-80's to low 100's range (just a guess). So without knowing anything else about you or your situation, I would say that it isn't a bad idea to experiment with a higher cadence. Whenever I'm down in that 70-75 range, I feel VERY inefficient -- all anaerobic thigh work, and very little aerobic work.
09-18-06, 06:34 PM
I'm no expert but I've found I'm most comfortable between about 87 - 93 give or take a little bit. I have a hard time comfortably maintaining 95+. I think as the cadence drops you start to feel it.
09-18-06, 06:55 PM
Here's another voice for just playing around with it and ultimately going with works and feels the best for you.
My low gear is 39x23 and that's comfortable to me even in absurdly hilly terrain -- playing with an online cadence computer, I'm usually doing 60rpm on sustained climbs, and as low as 35rpm(!) on the stuff that requires standing to get up it. On the other hand, I'll comfortably run 39x13 up to about 24mph before getting into the big ring -- that's 98rpm. Guess I'm all over the map.
The guys I've crewed for all had fairly high cadences. Jim Kern spins for hours, and is probably 90+ most of the time. I've been working on my spinning and finding myself with a 90+ cadence most of the time now, where I used to mash. Going to a recumbent makes you learn how to spin as you can't stand for the climbs, and running too big of a gear will fatigue you quickly. I've found running 39/27 on 8% grades not too hard to do, but instead of standing, I drop it to the granny and spin, which will help me recover. 26/27 low with 650c wheels, 6'2" 213lbs today.
For long distance, higher cadence is better - you will use more cardio and tire out your legs less.
I think it's useful to be able to ride at 100-105 if you'd like.
I find that my cadence drops to around 70 when I am knackered (that's a technical term) but is around 90 when I reasonably fresh and 100+ when I'm trying to keep up on the fixed.
09-19-06, 11:06 AM
Interesting information. I focus on longer distances and find that when things are really good I save my legs and spin about 85-95 but, as stated by others , when I am done for, I also, seem to grind slower and slower. In fact, I recover on long rides by focusing on slower speeds with higher spin rates and my whole attitude lifts.
09-19-06, 10:29 PM
This year I spent a lot of time working on the 95-105rpm range. Even on longer distances, and it appears that - based on looking back at the majority of the season - I ride faster for longer at those ranges than I do for lower than that.
That being said, lately I'm finding I'm back down to around 95 a lot for longer miles, slower. I've had a lot of very hard workouts and a lot more recovery days in between. I did speed work today and I'm rarely below 100 for that.
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