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Old 09-13-10, 10:27 PM   #1
SpongeDad
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Cross Cadence and training

I don't have a computer on my cross bike, so I have no idea what cadence I ride at. But, there are comments here and there that cross races tend to have cadences lower than crits or road races.

With that bit of lore in mind, does it make any sense to do intervals at lower cadences than you might naturally choose. For example, on the road my cadence is in the 95-100rpm zone, and this is where I tend to do my trainer intervals. But if cross races tend to be ridden at higher tension/lower cadence, wouldn't it be better to adjust my interval workouts accordingly?

This is making sense to me, but I was wondering if there's something I'm missing.
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Old 09-14-10, 07:58 AM   #2
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i tend to train in the same conditions as i race (i.e. I don't ride on the road to train for 'cross).
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Old 09-14-10, 08:29 AM   #3
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Unfortunately, gotta do most of my midweek riding indoors.
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Old 09-14-10, 08:41 AM   #4
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I think it's important to be able to produce power over a range of cadences. When you ride outdoors, the terrain dictates these changes; indoors, you need to simulate them with gears.
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Old 09-14-10, 08:52 AM   #5
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I have never really thought about it but I definately have a lower cadence during cross races.
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Old 09-14-10, 08:56 AM   #6
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I've been doing a mix of both high cadence and low cadence on the rollers and it's paying off. I have more power out of the corners.

I've also been doing sprints on the MUP once every couple weeks. I pick a gear in the middle of the cassette and on the big ring and, from a rolling start (say 14 mph), I run as hard as possible until I spin out the gear.
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Old 09-14-10, 11:29 AM   #7
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In switching my body from crits and road racing over to cross I have done some cadence specific intervals. All year I worked on making the engine a well oiled fuel injected turbo, now I need a high performance diesel engine for cross racing. Last week I did 3 x 10 minute intervals on the road using a 53/12 to 14 gear and keeping the cadence between 55 to 65. It took a lot of effort to get into Z4 and hold it there for the intervals. My legs were sore for a few days afterwards indicating the isolation of muscles needed for the low cadence with power. This week I'll be doing 2 sets of 5 x 1 minute sprint intervals on grass after a simulated race start and will work on keeping the cadence around 75 - 85 and riding as smooth and powerful as possible while smoothing out the bumps while riding as relaxed as possible.
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Old 09-15-10, 06:24 AM   #8
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I find that my cadence range just varies more in cross. I still hit over 100rpm's on flats. Having said that it is still important to be able to accelerate when you are stuck in a big gear in a bad spot. But you should still be shifting. I had the chance to do our weekly cross practice with some pro's and on a perfectly level course that required no braking they were shifting way more than I was. They were always in the optimal gearing and that clearly helped keep them going faster.

so yes to being able to ride low RPM's but try to shift more to avoid it.
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Old 09-15-10, 08:14 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crocodilefundy View Post
so yes to being able to ride low RPM's but try to shift more to avoid it.
Lower cadence is better when traction is worse. There is a qualitative difference in pedaling on different surfaces.
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