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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 01-28-08, 07:16 PM   #1
thaetviking
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Ways to stop being a masher

I have a tough time stopping my mashing. I end up with my toes going numb sometimes. I was wondering if anyone here has solved this problem with themselves and could give me advice on how to stop this behavior.
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Old 01-28-08, 07:47 PM   #2
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I use a cadence monitor and and each mile remind myself to "make circles". Over the last three month, my average cadence has increased from high 60's to low 80's.
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Old 01-28-08, 07:54 PM   #3
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I've gotten lazy and turned into a masher. Sometimes it's OK to mash, but on a tough hill you want to be able to switch back and forth between both.

But you can build up your cadence by dropping a gear or two and focusing on rapidly spinning circles--pushing and pulling at the same time.

Try riding up a hill that you can't but spin up.

Of course mtn biking up some loose gravel will teach you to sit and spin.
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Old 01-28-08, 07:56 PM   #4
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Build a single speed bike and gear it very low.
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Old 01-28-08, 07:57 PM   #5
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I use a cadence monitor and and each mile remind myself to "make circles". Over the last three month, my average cadence has increased from high 60's to low 80's.
Personally, I consider it essential equipment until you learn not to mash (most of the time).
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Old 01-28-08, 08:25 PM   #6
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I have a tough time stopping my mashing. I end up with my toes going numb sometimes. I was wondering if anyone here has solved this problem with themselves and could give me advice on how to stop this behavior.
Ride on a fixed gear with the ratio set to force you to spin. When I began serious riding, I put in over a year
on the fixie before buying a road bike.
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Old 01-28-08, 09:42 PM   #7
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fixies are great, but not always a viable option for a new cyclist, if you can get one give it a shot, it has helped me significantly.

Cadence monitors help as well.

Look at your gearing, is it appropriate for the terrain and your ability?

Also check out clipless pedals or a good set of toe-clips, I found that higher cadences became much more comfortable after that.
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Old 01-28-08, 09:46 PM   #8
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I would buy a computer with the cadence built in. Learn to get your cadence up and save your knees the frustration. It is simple, and all you have to do is change your pedal strokes and pedal more often but easier. Shift the gears to make it work the way you need it to.

If your feet are going numb, either your shoes are too tight, or if you are not clipless, your cage might be too tight, but I doubt it. Move your toes around inside of your shoe while riding and that will help with the numbness.
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Old 01-28-08, 10:06 PM   #9
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ride fast in the lower gears until it feels natural. If you start to bounce in the saddle, you're spinning too fast, A good rule of thumb is 1 1/2 rotations a second or a bit faster for a 90-100 cadence.

Crazy Train from Ozzy Osbourne is about 100 BPM, if that helps you with cadence.
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Old 01-28-08, 10:11 PM   #10
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I used to mash and found it almost physically impossible to spin at 100 rpm. It rained for a long period one year (strange for SoCal). I think I was planning on doing a century as I was really worried about getting in the saddle time. I bought a trainer and read some of the workouts. One was a high rpm interval workout.

Each interval was doing a minute over 100 rpm concentrating on spining without bouncing. A few other workouts as well. When I returned to the road, my cadence was much higher and my speed had increased. I'd sit in a paceline doing 21 and notice I was the only guy in the small chainring (39t).

Now I have a triple and a double. My cadence is lower (80-85)with the triple as the middle ring is a 42. But my cadence really kicks up (95) when I ride the double as the ring is a 39. I really notice the high cadence really helps riding into the wind.
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Old 01-29-08, 04:37 AM   #11
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Crazy Train from Ozzy Osbourne is about 100 BPM, if that helps you with cadence.
Great. Now I have that song stuck in my head and I'll by going off the crazy train in a couple of days.

cadence>mental stability
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Old 01-29-08, 07:25 AM   #12
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Cadence, cadence, cadence, get your cadence up and you won't be able to mash.
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Old 01-29-08, 08:40 AM   #13
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I have a tough time stopping my mashing. I end up with my toes going numb sometimes. I was wondering if anyone here has solved this problem with themselves and could give me advice on how to stop this behavior.
Use a lower gear, or a lower range of gears. honestly the ideal is that you stick near 90RPM. this means if you hsve a bike computer, put it in timer mode, now count for 6 seconds, every time your right foot hits top dead centre. If your count is below 8, then drop down a gear, but stay at the same road speed. If your count is above 11, then shift up a gear, as your spinning faster then you really should, spinning too fast, causes the opposite problem, burnout. . After a week or two, you will find that your "cruising" in certain gears, now you know where you want to cruise.
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Old 01-29-08, 09:20 AM   #14
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I switched from a 172.5mm to a 170mm for a year.

The shorter crank lessens the leverage and promotes spinning.
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Old 01-29-08, 09:28 AM   #15
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I am working on this now as well. My natural cadence is around 65, but I am trying to increase it.

+1 on the cadence monitor. I got one w/ my bike computer for XMAS and it has been quite enlightening. I have started using a gear or two lower than normal and my cadence is now up over 70 in only five or six rides. My overall speed hasn't changed a lot, but I am still working through the process. Most of my rides are fairly flat so we will see how things develop.

Good luck and keep after it.
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Old 01-29-08, 09:40 AM   #16
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ride fast in the lower gears until it feels natural. If you start to bounce in the saddle, you're spinning too fast, A good rule of thumb is 1 1/2 rotations a second or a bit faster for a 90-100 cadence.

Crazy Train from Ozzy Osbourne is about 100 BPM, if that helps you with cadence.
Now I have to redo my play list on my iPod

The fixie is not going to happen. I own a mountain bike and I am currently building a rode bike. I did get a fixie workout last week when it was below O F and I could not shift either derailleur.

I am trying to decide on which cadence monitor to get. I last had a Polar and after going through three of them in three years I will never buy something from them again. I am currently looking at getting a Blackburn Delphi 5.0 I was looking at one at my LBS and it seemed pretty decent.

Last summer I had my cadence up to 80-90 for most of the ride and some short sustained burst over 90 for a while.

I guess I should have said that I use Crank Brother's clipless pedals. Sorry about omitting that.

Thanks for the advice everyone!
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Old 01-29-08, 11:11 AM   #17
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Just force yourself to use lower gears. It will come natural after a while.

I kind of got a friend into riding about a year ago. He commented once while rode that he was perplexed by my riding style. I rode slower than him, with a faster cadence. He said I was slower, but steady....it seemed like I never let up. He would ride harder and faster, but have to stop and rest/coast for a while. Then at the end of a ride he would be pretty tired and I'd be mostly fine.

I tried explaining why lower gears was better than mashing and even pointed out his pains to create some validity, but he never did quite "get it". He couldn't understand why his "faster" riding wasn't better. Now he doesn't ride anymore....probably got tired of how tired and achy it made him.
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Old 01-29-08, 11:38 AM   #18
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Get a computer with a cadence counter (Astrale has made me happy, and they are cheap...)

Do cadence intervals (x seconds at base speed, x seconds at base +5 rpm, x seconds at base +10 rpm etc.).

Once you hit a point where you are bobbing/bouncing in the saddle, rest for a bit and start all over again. You'll get used to it pretty quickly...
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Old 01-29-08, 11:40 AM   #19
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What is the formal definition of "mashing"? As a newbie, I hear this quite a lot. I do most of my riding so far with a cadence of 90-95, if I can't keep that cadence, then I shift down until I can. Is that mashing? Thanks.
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Old 01-29-08, 11:59 AM   #20
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This might seem like dumb advice, but the best way to stop mashing is to stop mashing. If you find your legs grinding away at a slow cadence on flats and mild inclines, downshift to a lower gear. Concentrate on maintaining a high, steady cadence rather than a steady speed. If you're thighs & knees are bothering you, you are in too high a gear.
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Old 01-29-08, 12:08 PM   #21
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What is the formal definition of "mashing"? As a newbie, I hear this quite a lot. I do most of my riding so far with a cadence of 90-95, if I can't keep that cadence, then I shift down until I can. Is that mashing? Thanks.
No...that sound exactly correct.

Mashing is using higher gears and a slower cadence. You go fast, with slower (but requires more power from the legs) pedal cadence. They call it mashing because you are "mashing" with a lot of power instead of spinning more easily. Mashers often end up more tired and/or have knee problems after riding because of the overexertion.
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Old 01-29-08, 12:17 PM   #22
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The fixie is not going to happen. I own a mountain bike and I am currently building a rode bike. I did get a fixie workout last week when it was below O F and I could not shift either derailleur.
Just for clarification that would be a single speed not a fixed gear. With a fixie you have no free-wheel so you cannot stop and coast thus there cannot be hesitation at top and bottom of pedal strokes because since the wheel is spinning so are the cranks.

Another thing that simulates this can be spin class bikes. Many of them use a very large flywheel fixed to the cranks so if you turn the resistance all the way down they will behave somewhat like a fixed gear. So that would be an option as well.
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Old 01-29-08, 12:52 PM   #23
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What is the formal definition of "mashing"? As a newbie, I hear this quite a lot. I do most of my riding so far with a cadence of 90-95, if I can't keep that cadence, then I shift down until I can. Is that mashing? Thanks.
I always thought mashing was when you used the down stroke of the pedal to create your power instead of the up stroke. When I took a spin class the guy would say it should feel like your feet are barely touching the pedals.
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Old 02-02-08, 02:09 AM   #24
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I switched from a 172.5mm to a 170mm for a year.

The shorter crank lessens the leverage and promotes spinning.
The difference between those two is miniscule. Go get a ruler and measure out 2.5mm. Think that makes a difference? That's 25 sheets of paper. That's a 1.5% change. It's in-freaking-significant. If I put you on two bikes where you couldn't see the cranks you couldn't tell the difference between them. I guarantee it.

Sorry for the rant. I'm on a mission to drum out this idiotic myth that people need to spend a few hundred dollars to get a new crank.
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Old 02-02-08, 11:22 AM   #25
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Tere are two definitions, depending on context.
  1. Yours
  2. powering in to high a gear at too low of a cadence

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I always thought mashing was when you used the down stroke of the pedal to create your power instead of the up stroke. When I took a spin class the guy would say it should feel like your feet are barely touching the pedals.
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