Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Riverside, California
Bikes: Trek 2100 Road Bike, Full DA10, Cervelo P2K TT bike, Full DA10, Giant Boulder Steel Commuter
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Your first statement is totally correct, you can have the same HR at low cadence and at high cadence in different gears. This is why I like to train with wattage and HR because I can see that I am putting out the same wattage in either situation.
In my personal training I notice that when I really mash the gears it takes a little more muscular endurance to push the higher gear and more aerobic work to spin the higher gear. It takes my HR sometime to end up adjusting to the difference (the typical HR delay). My HR goes up faster with spinning fast then pushing but over time the limits of the two come out around my LT...
It does matter which RPM range you train on, but you want to mix it all up. If you are doing strength intervals (hill repeats, etc), then a lower RPM pounding is going to be better than spinning at a higher RPM. If you are working aerobically then higher cadence seems to work better. My problem with low cadence work is that I tend to end up spinning up if not on a hill which justs makes me push my HR up more. You also need to watch for knee pain when mashing gears. In many situations tough (such as sprinting) you will use both, mashing out of the saddle and then sitting at high RPM.
Just your average club rider... :)