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Thread: Gearing

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    Gearing

    Hi
    New to the forum.

    Curious if anyone knows what gears that most riders in the TDF push when they are going up these
    grades in the Alps as well as how fast they are moving?

    Thanks

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    I think most of them are using a 42 tooth small chainring while climbing steeper stuff. For 1-5% grades they are probably still in the big chainring. Speeds are very dependent on the actual grade and conditions for the day but they are faster than most people think. My guess is that they are still maintaining 17-19 mph on a long 6% grade.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eabrdbike View Post
    Curious if anyone knows what gears that most riders in the TDF push when they are going up these
    grades in the Alps as well as how fast they are moving?
    Standard is 53/39, 11/23, but they may go to a 25 or even 26 for the most extreme climbs (that would only happen once, maybe twice a year). Similarly, sprinters might change to a 55 or 56 if they know the finish will be very fast (again, this is very rare).

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    Big Legs

    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
    Standard is 53/39, 11/23, but they may go to a 25 or even 26 for the most extreme climbs (that would only happen once, maybe twice a year). Similarly, sprinters might change to a 55 or 56 if they know the finish will be very fast (again, this is very rare).
    Makes you wonder just how you can develop that kind of leg strength and endurance. It blows me away every time I see it. I was watching the Giro D'ITalia yesterday - there was a pass at average 11% and max at 18% - that's pretty wild.

    The sprinters can generate enough watts with their legs on a sprint to power up the city of Denver on xmas. Sheesh!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by eabrdbike View Post
    Makes you wonder just how you can develop that kind of leg strength and endurance.
    Don't confuse leg strength and power. It takes very little force to ride up even the steepest grades. Pro cyclists have no greater leg strength than the age and weight matched general untrained population.

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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
    Don't confuse leg strength and power. It takes very little force to ride up even the steepest grades. Pro cyclists have no greater leg strength than the age and weight matched general untrained population.
    Most guys would be able to lift as much or more than these guys with their legs for up to about 30 reps on a weight machine. Where these guys shine is the ability to work at high wattages for long periods of time and having their body weight as low as possible. I mean the average guy cannot pedal at 400-600 watts for 35-60 minutes which is what these guys have to do in a TT.

    The only way to develop this kind of ability is to practice short high intensity efforts in big gears of 30-60 minutes. Alternating with long slow recovery days at relatively low speeds (relative to the riders conditioning level).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hezz View Post
    The only way to develop this kind of ability ...
    Now why would you say that?
    http://home.earthlink.net/~acoggan/setraining/
    http://www.cyclingpeakssoftware.com/power411/levels.asp

    It would seem the best way to develop that ability is to put in a lot of time riding at or slightly below that intensity level.

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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
    Now why would you say that?
    Based upon personal experience. However, I am not advocating the type of high intensity training as outlined in that article. It does not make any sense to me based on my present understanding of human performance. The gearing must be as high as you can do a 70-90 rpm cadence for at least twenty minutes and upping the effort as soon as you can increase it. So, as soon as you can do 85-90 rpm cadence in a certain gear you should move up to the higher gear. Your cadance will drop to around 70 rpm and you train in this gear until you can do 90 rpm. Then you go to the next gear. THis is not for the purpose so much as building strength but to build endurance at higher wattages. When you do this you are training at near the lactate threshold which is the most important thing. Also, it is not possible to train at maximum intensities for more than a minute or so. So the maximum effort intervals are a different thing altogether.

    To build maximum strength it is better to combine some strength cross training and in this instance the wattage needs to be high enough so that muscular failure (or close to it) comes in less than 20-30 repetitions. Or, to do several very short near maximum intensity intervals, like sprint for a minute and then ride at a fast resting pace for two or three minutes then repeat for several reps.

    The object is to ride at just below the lactate threshold for most of the time but to cycle above it for periods and then to come back down. You are doing the same thing with sprints, it's just the lactate threshold comes a lot sooner.

    The main point is this. You can ride 8 hours a day at 150-200 watts 6 days a week and you still will not be able to do a 35 minute TT at 400 watts if you don't train yourself up to those intensities.
    Last edited by Hezz; 05-26-08 at 03:50 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hezz View Post
    Based upon personal experience.
    Ah, the old n=1 controlled experiment. So you're recommending 20 minute intervals (nothing surprising there) then superimposing some restricted cadence. The question then becomes is the training more or less effective due to the cadence restriction?

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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
    Ah, the old n=1 controlled experiment. So you're recommending 20 minute intervals (nothing surprising there) then superimposing some restricted cadence. The question then becomes is the training more or less effective due to the cadence restriction?
    This is only a generalization. Optimum resting, cadence, effort intervals will vary to some degree from person to person. I believe my original statement was a bit over broad and it was mis interpreted.

    My feeling that the best training routine would be one that used a different approach every day. One day you do cruise intervals which are 5 minute or so efforts followed by 10-15 minute fast recovery riding for a couple of hours. Next day run and lift weights (legs and a few upper body). But don't do too many upper body exercises. 3-4 leg and 5-6 upper body exersices should be good. And do a short easy spin with little effort. Next day do long slow ride of 4-5 hours using only slow twitch muscles. Next day do a couple of 20-30 minute TT intervals after warming up. Next day do sprint intervals for an hour (1 minute sprint 2-4 minute fast recovery)and then cruise for an hour in the highest gear you can maintain. Then do another running and weight lifting day. Then take a day off. Next day go mountain biking up some really steep trails or do some steep hills on the road bike. In all work outs try to operate near lactate threshold except on the slow easy rides which are intentionally easy and of longer duration.
    Last edited by Hezz; 05-26-08 at 04:19 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hezz View Post
    I believe my original statement was a bit over broad and it was mis interpreted.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hezz View Post
    The only way to develop this kind of ability is to practice short high intensity efforts in big gears of 30-60 minutes.
    I think I get it. When I read "only" I thought it meant singly, unique, with no alternative when in fact you meant one of infinite possibilities. Clearly it was my mistake.

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    gearing / reps

    I really like the approach that you outline below... [/I]but if you are going up something so steep where you have run out of gears and can't get in the 70 range - what do you do and are you hurting yourself overall?

    Sometimes when I get on a long ride and then hit something that is 8-9% there is no way I can keep that spin going - and I just don't have anything easier on the chainring... so I am trying to figure out how to improve this power and endurance.

    My time is limited during the week because of work - so I have to do a lot of stuff in the gym later at night before bed.

    Thanks



    Based upon personal experience. However, I am not advocating the type of high intensity training as outlined in that article. It does not make any sense to me based on my present understanding of human performance. The gearing must be as high as you can do a 70-90 rpm cadence for at least twenty minutes and upping the effort as soon as you can increase it. So, as soon as you can do 85-90 rpm cadence in a certain gear you should move up to the higher gear. Your cadance will drop to around 70 rpm and you train in this gear until you can do 90 rpm. Then you go to the next gear. THis is not for the purpose so much as building strength but to build endurance at higher wattages. When you do this you are training at near the lactate threshold which is the most important thing. Also, it is not possible to train at maximum intensities for more than a minute or so. So the maximum effort intervals are a different thing altogether.

  13. #13
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    http://www.cyclingnews.com/photos/20...0027747_1_full

    Here he is in the smallest gear. Also in the pink!

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    To put it in perspective. Marco Pantani's climb up L'Alpe de Huez averaged 23kph, or about 14 mph. Up a 9 mile climb with an average grade of 8%.

    If you want to keep turning 90rpm at 14mph you need a 39/21. Given that there are sections on that climb for example that go 11-12%,and even he couldn't maintain 14mph, you'd need a 23 or even a 25 if you wanted keep spinning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eabrdbike View Post
    I really like the approach that you outline below... [/I]but if you are going up something so steep where you have run out of gears and can't get in the 70 range - what do you do and are you hurting yourself overall?

    [/I]
    I see where you are going with this statement and I have gotten myself into the same predicament when on steep mountain bike rides. Of course to complete the ride you have to do what ever this requires. You just have to grind it out at what ever cadence you can. Ok when this happens you are moving somewhat out of the ideal zone for training yourself for long fast endurance rides but it will turn to your advantage after you trash your legs like this if you do one thing.

    Take the next day or two off. Or take one day off completely and then the next day do some running and weight lift only the upper body. This way you keep your overall fitness very high but give maximum time for those leg muscle groups to rest from the leg thrashing trail ride or steep road ride. Any time that you feel you have trashed your legs you should take the next day off completely or do cross training the next day where you exercise different muscle groups in your legs. Which is why I recommend running as it seems to be one of the best compliments to cycling. In fact, if you do this properly you will find that hard hill ride has upped your power and fitness level for riding.
    Last edited by Hezz; 05-27-08 at 10:22 AM.

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