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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 10-28-10, 03:15 PM   #1
bbeasley 
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So much to learn......how to pace?

I'm realizing I don't actually know how to ride a bike. Things were so much easier as a kid.

The short story is I pedal/coast/pedal .

Since nothing is actually my fault I blame it on my bike. It seems I'm either accelerating or coasting, I'm unable to hold a pace. It goes like this:

Start pedaling
Think about cadence as I tend to be on the low side
Pedal faster
Bike accelerates (this darn bike is fast)
Need higher gear to keep up with bike . At this point I either shift up or coast
If I shifted I think about cadence
Pedal faster
Now I'm tired so I coast and the cycle starts over

Geez, I could never ride in a group like this.

How do you guys handle this?
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Old 10-28-10, 03:34 PM   #2
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Do you have a cadence sensor?

I typically work on one thing at a time. If it is cadence, I have a range (100-110) I am going to try and hold for a certain time (5 minutes). Or HR. Between 155-170 for 10 minutes. Biggest mistake- don't start too hard, no matter which measurement you are using.

Another idea- if your rides are relatively flat, pick one gear and do the entire ride in that gear. Maybe you're shifting too much.
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Old 10-28-10, 03:49 PM   #3
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if your mileage counter in your signature is correct, you just need to ride more. quite honestly its really about making a conscious effort to keep pedaling and don't be so quick to keep on shifting.
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Old 10-28-10, 03:58 PM   #4
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Unless you have knee problems that need a high cadence ( which is almost the same as saying low resistance ), forget cadence entirely. For now. Find a pace you're comfortable with, and hold it. Like our favorite coffee man says, don't be so quick to shift, because that can lead to the bike making demands on you. For now, just concentrate on keeping the bike going. Tomorrow, you'll push the bike a little further, and again the next day. In a few weeks, you'll be up to 70 miles a week, and holding a comfortable pace. You'll find yourself getting stronger, and a lot of other things will start falling into place.
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Old 10-28-10, 04:00 PM   #5
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Another Slow cadence rider here.
Just ride as much as you can find time for.
Have fun with your rides.
Take a day off to rest when you need it.
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Old 10-28-10, 04:09 PM   #6
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MrClyde,

I just ordered a cateye with cadence. Not on bike yet. It's all flat here and I'm pedaling in the 65 - 75 range.

Cappuccino911,

The mileage is correct I'm 7 weeks into this and averaging about 80 miles per week for the last 2 or 3.
**********************************************************************

Once I have a cadence monitor, should I:

1. Pick a range with the intent of either pedaling in that range or coasting.
2. Start at a lower range and move up over time.
3. Never look at the "Clyde 20" thread again......just kidding

Am I correct in thinking that I should focus on cadence (as long as HR is okay) and let the speed come as a function of fitness and cadence? If so what range should I start at?
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Old 10-28-10, 04:30 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by bbeasley View Post
The short story is I pedal/coast/pedal .
You want to be pedaling constantly unless you're stopping, grabbing a water bottle from between your legs, or stretching.

You want to be applying pressure when pedaling unless you're easing off to shift (the derailleurs will shift more smoothly when you don't have the chain under load, especially the front derailleur that works on the high tension side of the chain).

When you're going someplace in a hurry:

When your legs are going to wear out before you're breathing too hard or (knowing from experience) the fatigue pedaling at that force will slow down the end of your ride use an easier gear (bigger cog).

When the pressure on your legs is low and they can't spin any faster or your lungs are definitely going to give out first use a harder gear (smaller cog).

Before you get to your last cog shift rings (bigger for harder and smaller for easier).

Simple.

You'll have a comfortable cadence range. Some people spin faster, some mash slower. Increasing your comfort zone will allow you to go farther at a given power output with less fatigue in your leg muscles and respond quicker to pace changes since it takes less torque to accelerate and you'll be farther from needing the maximum force you can mash with.

What's reasonable depends on your power output. If I toodle down to the corner shop with my wife averaging 6 MPH I'm not going to suffer any fatigue pedaling at 40 RPM and it'd be silly to spin faster. If I'm well over my maximum one hour effort 100 RPM at 23-25 MPH feels better than 90. In between it's usually 80-90.

Assuming you're riding to get faster and go farther, pace is best determined off power or heart rate as an approximation. There's some effort you can maintain indefinitely, for an hour, 20 minutes, 5 minutes, etc. When you're fresh you can start off a lot harder than that without noticing until the second half of your ride is slower than it should be. When you're not you may still be able to put forth the same effort but it feels a lot harder. The instrumentation will tell you to ease off or HTFU.

If you want to get faster over time or loose weight at a higher rate you also need to ride intervals at paces harder than you can sustain for longer time periods to stress your body and force adaptations.
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Old 10-28-10, 04:50 PM   #8
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Drew,

I appreciate that detailed answer! I'll start using my HRM and cadence with the goal of keep pedaling. I've gotten to hung up on just speed and picked up bad habits.

My goal is a bit further ( I can do 50 miles no problem) but much faster. My best speed over 20 flat miles is only 15.1 MPH.
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Old 10-28-10, 05:01 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by bbeasley View Post
Once I have a cadence monitor, should I:

1. Pick a range with the intent of either pedaling in that range or coasting.
2. Start at a lower range and move up over time.
3. Never look at the "Clyde 20" thread again......just kidding

Am I correct in thinking that I should focus on cadence (as long as HR is okay) and let the speed come as a function of fitness and cadence? If so what range should I start at?
I think you should do #2. You want to focus on pedaling at whatever cadence is comfortable for you. Ultimately it's best for a lot of folks to spin at 90 to 95 rpm, but that isn't for everyone. Also, it's not making the work go away; it's shifting the burden from your legs to your heart and lungs. Sounds like you're in good shape already ( doing 50 mile rides ), and as this continues to improve, it'll be easier to spin more quickly, if you choose to.

Now, if you'd really like to get your cadence up, you can focus more specifically on that. But don't just take the advice I'm about to type out simply because someone put it on the internet. Get yourself to the top of a gentle hill, shift into your easiest ( "granny" ) gear, get into the drops if you have 'em, and spin the pedals as quickly as you're able to going down the hill. There's almost no resistance, so it sounds like it should be easy ... but it's not. If I really spin as quickly as I can, I feel like I might black out - then I get tired, and have to stop. I spin at 180+ rpm doing this, probably faster, but I stop being able to read the computer at that point. Of course, my heart rate shoots immediately to its max, and I can't do this for very long ( more than half a minute? ).

Personally, I recommend riding a lot, pushing yourself for speed, and not worrying too much about cadence unless you have a reason to. My reason was that I'm competitive, and want to be able to "spin" up hills instead of only being able to "mash" or even get out of the saddle. Other people have to spin thanks to bad knees, and usually have gearing that helps to keep a high cadence going up hills.
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Old 10-28-10, 05:03 PM   #10
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Paying more attention to cadence will increase your speed and distance. I have seen a 3mph average increase since I started trying to keep my cadence above 90. I also notice less fatigue over time because keeping my cadence higher tends to keep me in easier gears to maintain my cadence. I ran an 8 mile trail the other day just keeping my cadence above 90 and finished it with an 18.5 mph average. Last time I went out that trail I thought I was hitting it pretty hard with a 14 mph average (before cadence). I made it back with a 17 mph average but had wind in face.
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Old 10-29-10, 03:58 AM   #11
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Being able to comfortably ride at a high cadence takes some people many years of developing that muscle memory.. Even if your current cadence is in the 60-80 rpm range, that is fine, it takes time to feel comfortable riding at a higher tempo..

You need to try to ride comfortably, not fast - slow - fast - slow.. The issue of cadence became more of a focal point when Lance started riding at a much higher tempo and winning 7 TDF's. You and I are not Lance, he has a base of 25 years of cardio to support that high tempo and speed..

Give it time and your comfort level will improve and you will notice with each ride it will get a little easier..
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Old 10-29-10, 04:57 AM   #12
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your 7 weeks in, good to be aware of this but your definately still in that stage of just needing to ride more. you will be pleasantly surprised at just how fast you are able to go when spinning at a higher cadence. I know what you mean about wanting to go fast all the time, I'm the same way but once you get good with your cadence you'll be going fast and keeping your HR pretty low.
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Old 10-29-10, 05:27 AM   #13
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Pedal at a cadence that feels fast but comfortable for you. Don't worry too much about the number, get the feeling.
Keep a constant but relatively light pressure on the pedals.
I like to be in a gear where I feel I could accelerate a little without shifting.
Focus on light pressure/fast cadence keeps you from being in too hard a gear.
Focusing on still being able to accelerate keeps you from being in too easy a gear.

Don't stop pedaling, keep that steady pace

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Old 10-29-10, 06:13 AM   #14
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What I think you need to do is work on enjoying your rides more rather than trying to drag cadence and speed into it. Things were easier as a kid because we didn't care if our tires matched, what cadence we were riding at, or worrying about exercise. In other words slow down, think less and ride more.

Once you have your cardio base built up and you're no longer "bursting" to keep up with your bike you can focus on tempo.
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Old 10-29-10, 07:11 AM   #15
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What I think you need to do is work on enjoying your rides more rather than trying to drag cadence and speed into it. Things were easier as a kid because we didn't care if our tires matched, what cadence we were riding at, or worrying about exercise. In other words slow down, think less and ride more.

Once you have your cardio base built up and you're no longer "bursting" to keep up with your bike you can focus on tempo.
To the OP, as Bau once told me, "just ride bikes."
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Old 10-29-10, 07:22 AM   #16
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Things were easier as a kid because we didn't care if our tires matched, what cadence we were riding at, or worrying about exercise.
Sometimes I miss the days when you would just throw a leg over your bike and take off around the neighborhood, without worrying about shoes, shorts, helmet, gloves, computers, water bottles and energy bars, spare tubes and pumps and all the other attendant stuff. Nothing but the unalloyed joy of self-propelled speed and wind in your hair.
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Old 10-29-10, 08:46 AM   #17
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Sometimes I miss the days when you would just throw a leg over your bike and take off around the neighborhood, without worrying about shoes, shorts, helmet, gloves, computers, water bottles and energy bars, spare tubes and pumps and all the other attendant stuff. Nothing but the unalloyed joy of self-propelled speed and wind in your hair.
You still can, the only thing stopping you is you.
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Old 10-29-10, 08:51 AM   #18
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Good advice here. I would second the point about ride always applying pressure on the pedals. Don't coast unless it is downhill, or stopping, drinking, etc. If you find you need to coast to "catch your breath", you were riding too hard. A lot of going longer distances is all about pacing and not burning yourself out right away. And believe it or not, your fitness is increasing even if you're not putting out 110% effort all the time.
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