just another gosling
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004
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Or even say, a 37 cadence. This winter I tried doing all my normal rides staying in my 42X17 (68") for 3 months. After a few weeks, I could get up everything up to 12% as long as the 10+ grades weren't too long. It seemed to me as though it made me stronger. Unfortunately I then had a work-forced month layoff, so I wasn't able to translate those gains into real speed. So not a good trial of the method. I'll try it again next winter.
While I was doing this, I stayed out of the gym. Enough strength work. I tried going to the gym after a couple of months and found I could squat my heavy weight, even after a two month layoff, but the muscles not used in cycling were really sore the next day.
It definitely gave me more endurance out of the saddle. Climbing in a big gear, pedal seated until you can't anymore, then stand until you can't anymore. Repeat until top of climb. Stay in that gear on the flat for "recovery" at 100-140 cadence. On a 10%+ climb, my cadence would drop below 40 after a while. YMMV. My stronger buds used even bigger gears, up to 85". That made it quite sporting on the flat.