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  1. #1
    Senior Member CanadianBiker32's Avatar
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    Not able to Push myself hard enough still but not at MX heartrate

    This is the situation. Been doing a few road and mtb events. Time Trials etc.
    For doing the time trials i feel i am still not pushing myself hard enough yet. but this is the situation. My muscles in my legs feel full when i am cranking a big gear. Like i am maxed out. But i am not breathing heavy. As when i cross the finish line. I am not out of breath at all. I am having a hard time trying to reach that mx Heart Rate zoon i want to acheive.
    However when i go for that, my legs feel like they cant go faster then i want them to do.
    Suggestions? any supplements or anything or any technique of training, that help me push into max HRT and get over this stage.
    thanks

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    I'm just a regular slow guy, I'm sure an experience racer can actually help, but for me, getting a powermeter and doing an honest all out 20 minute effort to get an idea of my ability let me know that I can push myself much harder than I was (especially for a time trial) let me know that I can push very hard (for me) and keep it up for the whole time. Heavy breathing/heart rate wasn't a good indicator for me of how much power I'm putting down because if you exhausted your breathing/hr stay up even though your not putting much power out.

    I think a powermeter helped me find a point where I can tell my legs to shut up and just keep pushing because I know I can do it, even if my muscles are saying I can't.

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    I'm not sure what the mx heartrate you're referring to is. You shouldn't be reaching your Max HR during a TT. It sounds like you may just need to increase your cadence. What was you average cadence during the TT?

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Yes ... what is the max HR you think you should be reaching? And why?

    And what is your cadence?

    While we're at it ... what does a typical riding week look like for you?

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    Senior Member CanadianBiker32's Avatar
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    Typical riding week. Yes I am always riding. on average . I am doing one Time Trial a week. from 10 to 20 km.
    I do at least one long road ride a week of about 100 to 140km in one duration
    as well a few shorter rides a week from 45 to 70km duration. With that can be mixed up with a a mountain bike race every 2 weeks. and a road race every 2 to 3 weeks. So quite busy in riding more ,less . I know i could still use more interval training etc. In other words i am not lacking riding, but could be better. I know genetics play a part in one being slow.

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    Senior Member CanadianBiker32's Avatar
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    I been pushing very hard gears in the TT's. And then i go to hardest gear as well. Should i gear down and go to more easier gear and spin more?

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    And cadence? What's your cadence?

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianBiker32 View Post
    I been pushing very hard gears in the TT's. And then i go to hardest gear as well. Should i gear down and go to more easier gear and spin more?
    Almost certainly, yes. If you gear down and spin, you will transfer some of the stress from your muscles to your cardiovascular system, so your legs should feel they are putting out less effort for a given power output, while your HR will be higher. If, as you say, your legs are exhausted but you're not out of breath, you are pushing too big a gear. Learn to spin. Practice by seeking to maintain your usual speed in one or two gears lower than you would usually use.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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    Senior Member CanadianBiker32's Avatar
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    Your probably right about going to a lower gear and spinning. More less a bad habit i have not been able to break in all these years when it comes to an event.
    Just feel my speed will go down when i go to lower gear and spin.
    Is it true that most of the big pros , keep cadence very high?

    As for cadence, i have no way to measure, no sensors, but i have to say it is a low cadence?

    When i am doing a Road race i keep the chain in the big ring whole time, unless its a big long time, ?

  10. #10
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianBiker32 View Post
    As for cadence, i have no way to measure, no sensors, but i have to say it is a low cadence?
    You don't have a watch and the ability to count?

    Cadence is how many times your foot (one foot, your choice) goes around in 1 minute. To simplify the counting process, you can count how many times your foot goes around in 15 seconds and multiply by 4.


    A new cyclist will often have a cadence under 70 rpm (revolutions per minute).

    A professional cyclist will often have a cadence over 100 rpm. Non-professional racers aim for cadences over 100 rpm.

    Long distance cyclists tend to have cadences somewhere between about 80 and 95. The slightly slower cadence is easier on the knees for centuries and longer rides.

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post

    Long distance cyclists tend to have cadences somewhere between about 80 and 95. The slightly slower cadence is easier on the knees for centuries and longer rides.
    I disagree with the latter statement. The pros race >160kms per day without knee issues resulting from high cadences, and in my view the reduction of force through each individual pedal stroke will reduce wear and tear on the knees, not increase it.

    There's no rule about this, some people favour a lower cadence, some a higher. But I don't think there is any dispute that the higher the cadence (up to the limits of what the cyclist can readily manage), the easier it is on the legs and the harder it is on the CV system. The higher cadences cost more in energy (hence the higher HR for a given power output) but generate less muscular fatigue. I would surmise that those doing long distances at a rather slower pace than pro racers will tend to default to a slightly slower cadence because:
    a. they aren't putting out as much power most of the time, so their muscles cope just fine with the force required;
    b. it represents the best compromise between power generation and energy conservation when spending a long time on the bike.

    OP as you start learning to spin your speed will probably drop, yes, but only temporarily until you build up the leg speed and get used to routinely riding at a higher cadence. Like I say, if for a given speed you are usually in (say) the 53/13, change down to the 53/15 and seek to maintain the same speed. You'll find that it takes a surprisingly short time for you to be able to do this, and as you keep at it your "natural" cadence will slowly rise.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianBiker32 View Post
    Your probably right about going to a lower gear and spinning. More less a bad habit i have not been able to break in all these years when it comes to an event.
    Just feel my speed will go down when i go to lower gear and spin.
    Is it true that most of the big pros , keep cadence very high?
    Yes, it sounds like you need to experiment a little and try some lower gearing in your interval sets. It becomes very clear for me when riding with a powermeter. If I notice my cadence dropping to 85 or so I can shift down a couple of gears and it feels easier to pedal and my power goes up without any apparent extra effort. It's difficult to notice this by just watching speed but what you could do is just time your intervals for a variety of gear ratios. If you are normally in your 53-13 try going to your 14 or 15 and see if your times change for a fixed distance.

    And as Machka mentions, just count your pedal strokes for a minute to measure your cadence.

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    Do you ever take any time off? One symptom of being tired is that your HR won't go up.

    How did you determine your max HR? If it's that 220 - age formula, that is not correct, you have to test it - or just pick the highest HR you ever saw, like right before you passed out or threw up from exertion. Never feel like that? You're not pushing hard enough.

    As others have said, try a lower gear/higher cadence for you TT. And get a computer with cadence, they aren't expensive.
    ...

  14. #14
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    First assess your max. You need to really tax yourself to get it. Warm up sufficiently and then go up a long, gradual incline. Start with a cadence of 90-95 seated and use a gear where this effort is moderately difficult to maintain. Do that for a couple minutes. Then shift to the next gear and keep the cadence the same. Do it for a couple minutes and shift again. Keep that process up until you can't maintain the cadence and you are struggling. Then shift one more time, stand up, and sprint all out for 15-20 seconds. That will be close to your max. Also it's good to max your HR monitor track max because its sometimes hard to see numbers on a monitor when you're at max.
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

  15. #15
    Senior Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    OP, make sure you are warmed up including some short sprints before your TT.
    You will need to have your muscle glycogen replenished (rested and fueled) and be hydrated before your TT.
    If you aren't breathing hard and your legs hurt, increase your cadence and lower your gear. If your HR is too high and your breathing is out of control, upshift or slow your cadence.
    Get a bike computer that records speed, elevation, cadence and HR for post-ride analysis. Powermeter if you can. Then you can validate results of how gearing and cadence affect your performance.

    My personal experience:
    I have my computers set for 187 HRmax after observing some spikes at the beginning of rides. Not sure if that is valid but it's similar to a max stress test I had years ago.
    During the hot summer months I will observe heart rates in the high 170's low 180's on many rides. I have averaged > 169 for over an hour.
    During the cooler months my HR is about 10 bpm lower. The hardest hills I barely reach 170 same speed as in the summer. My cardio system is not having to work so hard just to keep me from overheating.
    When comparing results of same route on two different days, remember that differences come into play. Wind, temperature, humidity, precipitation, solo vs drafted, traffic stops/hazards, training load all factor in.
    Calculated power can be way off. I get some great numbers when I'm coasting downhill in a tight aero tuck.

  16. #16
    Senior Member CanadianBiker32's Avatar
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    update. Havent had time to get HRT monitor or Cadence. However did another weekly TT just recently. Even though i did not improve my time. I keep my gears not as hard. I decided to spin harder this time, and have a higher cadence. It did seem to feel better though. Legs not as tired or feeling pushing. I just need to do more mental focus and maintain a high level of power and speed and be more constant. I am having problems on this. I posted another thread on this. i have to say the answers i get back are quite helpful

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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    I disagree with the latter statement. The pros race >160kms per day without knee issues resulting from high cadences, and in my view the reduction of force through each individual pedal stroke will reduce wear and tear on the knees, not increase it.

    There's no rule about this, some people favour a lower cadence, some a higher. But I don't think there is any dispute that the higher the cadence (up to the limits of what the cyclist can readily manage), the easier it is on the legs and the harder it is on the CV system. The higher cadences cost more in energy (hence the higher HR for a given power output) but generate less muscular fatigue. I would surmise that those doing long distances at a rather slower pace than pro racers will tend to default to a slightly slower cadence because:
    a. they aren't putting out as much power most of the time, so their muscles cope just fine with the force required;
    b. it represents the best compromise between power generation and energy conservation when spending a long time on the bike.

    OP as you start learning to spin your speed will probably drop, yes, but only temporarily until you build up the leg speed and get used to routinely riding at a higher cadence. Like I say, if for a given speed you are usually in (say) the 53/13, change down to the 53/15 and seek to maintain the same speed. You'll find that it takes a surprisingly short time for you to be able to do this, and as you keep at it your "natural" cadence will slowly rise.

    Very true what's said. I concur.

    I do believe, however, that most people on longer rides will settle in at an 80- 90 rpm spinning speed. That isn't considered slow in my opinion. It's average. But the faster the spin, the less stress on the knees. The pros learned this long ago, and as a result, have less knee issues than the average joe.

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  18. #18
    Senior Member CanadianBiker32's Avatar
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    Update to cadence. Just recently purchased a Garmin Cyclecomputer and using Cadence did a TT this week and road race of 70km recently both times i was average 80 to 90 rpm cadence. seems ok,
    should i learn to go with a higher cadence?
    as I am finding still slow on the hill climbs. need work there.

  19. #19
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Back to your OP: There's a relationship between power output and oxygen consumption. Some folks with very powerful, well-trained legs can put out a lot of power at a low cadence, but they're relatively rare. If you're not breathing hard, you need to shift down. On a long climb, if it gets so steep that even in my lowest gear my cadence drops off, so does my power output. I put out more power (higher VAM) on shallower climbs, say 10% or less, where I can get my cadence up into my normal 80-90 range. On the flat, I produce more power (go faster) up closer to 100.

    So if you're not breathing hard and your HR won't come up, gear down. May not be intuitive, but that's what you do. You're right to expect your HR and power to come up to something like your maximum in the last few 100 meters of a TT. It does take some specific training to teach your muscles to produce max power at a higher cadence.

  20. #20
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianBiker32 View Post
    Typical riding week. Yes I am always riding. on average . I am doing one Time Trial a week. from 10 to 20 km.
    I do at least one long road ride a week of about 100 to 140km in one duration
    as well a few shorter rides a week from 45 to 70km duration. With that can be mixed up with a a mountain bike race every 2 weeks. and a road race every 2 to 3 weeks. So quite busy in riding more ,less . I know i could still use more interval training etc. In other words i am not lacking riding, but could be better. I know genetics play a part in one being slow.
    To summarise each week ...
    -- 1 TT (10-20 km)
    -- 1 LD (100-140 km)
    -- Several "shorter" rides (40-70 km)

    (plus assorted races now and then)

    That schedule would be a really good one if your intention was to participate in Randonneuring or 24-hour TT events. Lots of long distance work with 1 short, fast ride each week to work on speed.

    Is that what you want to do? Is your goal to ride long distance events?

    If not ... if your goal is to ride fast Time Trials, I'd suggest starting by trading one of your "shorter" rides for an evening of intervals, and another of your "shorter" rides for an evening of hill repeats. Start focussing a bit more on strength and speed.

  21. #21
    Senior Member CanadianBiker32's Avatar
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    Well long term goal. I do two 100 mile mt bike events a year. But i am also doing weekly TTs with local club and would love to better my times for those as well. More less a little bit of everything in that aspect to focus on

  22. #22
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianBiker32 View Post
    Well long term goal. I do two 100 mile mt bike events a year. But i am also doing weekly TTs with local club and would love to better my times for those as well. More less a little bit of everything in that aspect to focus on
    From what I can see of your schedule, you're doing nothing to improve your time on TTs other than riding the TTs themselves.

    If you want to better your time for your TTs, then try doing intervals on one of your "shorter ride" days.

  23. #23
    Senior Member digibud's Avatar
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    do some research on HIIT training... high intensity interval training . You may need to spin at a faster cadence in an easier gear. In any time trial you should panting, wiped out, fully maxed out when you cross the line. If you're not, you didn't do it right because you should be giving it your all and if you're not breathing hard you have a lot more to give. Find a pedal resistance that will let you spin faster...and faster....and I'll bet $10 that if you are spinning at 120rpm you'll get breathing hard pretty quickly. Your number might be 90, or 140...but even with nearly no pedal pressure there is probably an rpm you can hit that will get you breathing hard.

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