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Pez article on pros, climbing, cadence and power

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Pez article on pros, climbing, cadence and power

Old 12-08-09, 07:50 AM
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bdcheung
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Pez article on pros, climbing, cadence and power

http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fullstory&id=7781

I was reallly surprised to see that the pros climb at ~70rpm.
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Old 12-08-09, 08:01 AM
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I'm not surprised
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Old 12-08-09, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by bdcheung View Post
http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fullstory&id=7781

I was reallly surprised to see that the pros climb at ~70rpm.
why?
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Old 12-08-09, 08:07 AM
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Spin to win?
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Old 12-08-09, 08:12 AM
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it is probably dictated by their cassette , the pace and the hill, not necessarily by their choice.

300 watts @ 8% with a 39x23 is around 70rpm.

If they run a 25t, they maybe can't descend fast enough?

Last edited by pjcampbell; 12-08-09 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 12-08-09, 08:17 AM
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Anyone ever try and go up an 8-9% grade at 100+ rpms? For 30-60 minutes? Get back to me on that.
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Old 12-08-09, 08:19 AM
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I'm definitely in the 70ish club.

I don't have LA's inhuman lactate threshold (and I doubt many pros do either) so I'd rather keep myself from blowing up TYVM.
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Old 12-08-09, 08:28 AM
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100+ would have surprised me as well.

I've done 7-8% for about an hour at 80-90rpm, with much lower gearing than I would expect ProTour riders to use, and it was completely manageable.

Which is why I was surprised to see how low their cadences are.
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Old 12-08-09, 08:33 AM
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I don't even know what I do. I just try to stay in a comfortable pace when climbing.
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Old 12-08-09, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
Anyone ever try and go up an 8-9% grade at 100+ rpms? For 30-60 minutes? Get back to me on that.
thank you.
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Old 12-08-09, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by bdcheung View Post
100+ would have surprised me as well.

I've done 7-8% for about an hour at 80-90rpm, with much lower gearing than I would expect ProTour riders to use, and it was completely manageable.

Which is why I was surprised to see how low their cadences are.
someone call up johan!
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Old 12-08-09, 09:18 AM
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The guys they tested were all mid-pack climbers.
Nobody in there is climbing at the speeds the front runners do.
It's all about steady efforts to the top then finding a group to chase with.
70 rpms sounds just about right.
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Old 12-08-09, 09:28 AM
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fascinating
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Old 12-08-09, 09:28 AM
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I spent an entire season (once) focusing on being the best climber I could. I dropped a ton of weight, did lots of altitude stuff and have a supplement regime that was solely designed to boost hemocrit. I worked on spinning, spinning and spinning.

I succeeded in reaching all of my goals in the end. I spun my way up long climbs with pitches above 10%. I flew over those silly little 1k bobbles. I was the best climber I was ever going to be.

I lost all my power on the flats, had no ability to chase and still got dropped by guys who could actually climb.
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Old 12-08-09, 10:16 AM
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there is a huge difference between 70 and 100.

I do 95 rpm @ ~300 watts for 52 minutes up Whiteface.

Last edited by pjcampbell; 12-08-09 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 12-08-09, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
Anyone ever try and go up an 8-9% grade at 100+ rpms? For 30-60 minutes? Get back to me on that.
I'd be hyperventilating after 2-3, maybe 5 min if I'm lucky.
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Old 12-08-09, 10:32 AM
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If you want to know how the bigger (for the Tour) guys in the bus negotiate a climb...

"Ten pros (mean 30 years, 178 cm, 69 kg) participated in the study. None were among the GC contenders (final GC ranged 40-150th, placing generally 40-120th for most stages)."

These guys aren't racing up the mountain, they are just surviving, or have done their work and are blown. Classifying someone who finishes 30+ minutes down on a mountain stage as a "climber" is a stretch BTW, and the +/- factors are huge. And we've got more than a few guys here who could beat those power numbers on the same climb, these guys aren't riding anywhere close to FTP.

Take a look at the guys that are actually racing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_87DLjfEaAw

Having watched many of the best climbers few of them are riding at 70 RPM up the mountains in the current era.

The biggest irritant about these studies for me is not the poor methodology, but that some tool is going to take this and tell you to pedal at 73 RPM (+/- 9 RPM) because "that's what the pros do". Then use it to dismiss the fact that higher cadence works for some people.

No different BTW, than people who think everyone should pedal 100 RPM because Lance does.

Other than just collecting data points, there's not much of value here.

Edit:
Originally Posted by YMCA View Post
The guys they tested were all mid-pack climbers.
Nobody in there is climbing at the speeds the front runners do.
It's all about steady efforts to the top then finding a group to chase with.
70 rpms sounds just about right.
Exactly.

Last edited by Racer Ex; 12-08-09 at 10:36 AM.
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Old 12-08-09, 10:58 AM
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I put the metronome on Mayo and LA. It was around 85rpm generally.

I also went back to look at my race file from Bear Mtn. Averaged 83 rpm over the ten minute climb. Lots of 70something though.

Last edited by Grumpy McTrumpy; 12-08-09 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 12-08-09, 11:10 AM
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I was about to post pretty much the exact same thing Ex did, then read his post and decided to save my finger strength for some other thread.

The reason the various studies have not been able to nail down the most efficient cadence is because there is no such thing when discussing cyclists as a group.
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Old 12-08-09, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by pjcampbell View Post
there is a huge difference between 70 and 100.

I do 95 rpm @ ~300 watts for 52 minutes up Whiteface.
You do?
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Old 12-08-09, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
These guys aren't racing up the mountain, they are just surviving, or have done their work and are blown. Classifying someone who finishes 30+ minutes down on a mountain stage as a "climber" is a stretch BTW
In all fairness they did attempt to remove/sort the "blown or quit" ride files.

The 108 data files were further divided based on performance. The 47 files that finished within 9% of the stage winner’s time were classed as “climber” files, and the remaining 61 that exceeded 9% were classed as “helper” files. This was the authors’ way of broadly categorizing those that still “tried” for a decent finish versus those that had turned the motor off a bit or were in the gruppetto.


Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post

The biggest irritant about these studies for me is not the poor methodology, but that some tool is going to take this and tell you to pedal at 73 RPM (+/-6 RPM) because "that's what the pros do". Then use it to dismiss the fact that higher cadence works for some people.
It works really well for the special few. Given 73+/-6rpm there is a ~2.5 % chance that your optimal climbing cadence is greater than 85rpm and ~0.5% chance it is greater than 91rpm. Of course <0.5% of racers win so do you really want to be normal?

The “climbers” had a higher power output and cadences

the tendency of higher power outputs generally being achieved with higher cadences support the general idea of higher cadences being “better.”


I like tools.

Last edited by Enthalpic; 12-08-09 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 12-08-09, 12:55 PM
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/\/\/\ Higher cadences work for me and I am far from special. Unless you mean that pure climbers are special then yes you are correct...this is not to suggest that I'm a pure climber or again that I am special..except possibly in the Olympic sense.
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Old 12-08-09, 01:36 PM
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My poorly made point was that you don't train to become normal, you train to become abnormal. So when you see stats about what the “normals” are doing, find hints about what it takes to be abnormal.
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Old 12-08-09, 02:03 PM
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Haha. I wouldn't say that any of the people studied are "normal" compared to 99.9% of people here in the areas of power, conditioning, efficient pedaling, VO2 max, etc.
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Old 12-08-09, 02:06 PM
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In all seriousness. Climbing is one of the few things that I do well on a bike (going down hill fast is the other). The majority of the guys that I see going up hill fast are turning a higher cadence, myself included. For most of us mortal riders I'd put 80+ in the higher cadence realm, 73+ would still be a good smooth fast cadence for a trained amateur cyclist on any longer climb.
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