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New Science of Climbing

Old 05-13-18, 01:17 PM
  #26  
Terex
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
So interesting how BF denizens aren't interested in new information or other ways of looking at or doing things. Everyone already knows and is perfect at everything. Ever since I joined here, 11 years ago, I've been preaching pedal technique but am always shouted down by the "it's-been-proven-you're-faster-if-you-just-hammer-the-downstroke" crowd. The linked article agrees precisely with the viewpoint on pedal stroke I developed 20 years ago just from my personal testing.

Interesting to me is that for the past few weeks as I train up for climbing season, I've been doing low cadence (Muscle Tension in CTS-speak) on one day, then FastPedal (115+) on another day. That's worked well for me. Looks like I should alternate those intervals during the same workout. That's an interesting idea.

I'm always working on getting smoother. It's not easy to put down smooth power in those wide cadence ranges. In tribute to the stompers, I do stomp on 'em for short periods when it a do or die situation. Definitely more power, but unsustainable in a long ride context.
Totally agree with all. In addition to yoga and pilates courses to build my core strength and breathing technique, I spent many hours on a Keiser spin bike in front of a mirror, churning out massive wattage seated while trying to keep my upper body perfectly still. For a few years at my peak, every new person I rode with accused my of having a motor someplace on my bike after they'ed see me ride up steep hills with little apparent effort. It takes a LOT of effort over time to look smooth.

I always tried to mix up my efforts within rides and from ride to ride, and mix up very hilly rides with very flat rides. Trying out new things is always good.
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Old 05-13-18, 02:06 PM
  #27  
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Rule number 5!

Velominati ? The Rules
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Old 05-13-18, 05:59 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Low weight, spin to win, stay seated...

None of this is new.
I made this comment earlier but re-read the article, this time slower and more deliberately.

I've gotta say that the part about there being two different types of climbers - steady tempo vs those who need to vary - is extremely interesting and could be quite valuable information. I was not aware of this.


-Tim-
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Old 05-13-18, 09:07 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post

But then again, I don't think cycling is purely about climbing, which is a philosophy a lot of people do seem to have. I find that moving solo at 23-25mph on the flats is a whole lot more enjoyable than grunting up a grade at 8mph, even though the amount of work is about the same.

Iím with you on that. I live in a crazy hilly area so I am by default a decent climber. For me, the best part of the ride is in the drops and cranking 22+.
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Old 05-14-18, 01:22 AM
  #30  
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Due to the weather, this season in CT has been pretty bad. But, even with a lack of miles in my legs and at age 72 I'm climbing better. Why? I came to the season 8 lbs lighter than last year. Once in shape it's all about weight/power for the recreational rider IMO.
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Old 05-14-18, 07:11 AM
  #31  
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What are the long term effects of climbing? Or should I say, a preoccupation of a desire to climb better? As opposed to less climbing.

Is it correct to say that high cadence is intentionally getting your heart to become more active than when cadence is lower while riding on flats?

In the long term, can the heart's abilities become shortened with intentional high cadence.

Then there's the knee joint or other joint issues. Does climbing in excess whatever that may mean, cause the joints to wear faster than not climbing?
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Old 05-14-18, 07:28 AM
  #32  
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On climbing and cadence, one thing that impacts it is where you immediately slow down in between the powered portions of the stroke. I resisted that at first thinking it wouldn't make much difference in the total power, but it's pretty convincing that you have higher peaks and lower valleys in the stroke when climbing, and that's harder. To me, it follows that a higher cadence will lessen that effect, so it's more than just raising our heart rate and lessening peak strain of mashing.
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Old 05-14-18, 08:15 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
On climbing and cadence, one thing that impacts it is where you immediately slow down in between the powered portions of the stroke. I resisted that at first thinking it wouldn't make much difference in the total power, but it's pretty convincing that you have higher peaks and lower valleys in the stroke when climbing, and that's harder. To me, it follows that a higher cadence will lessen that effect, so it's more than just raising our heart rate and lessening peak strain of mashing.
I think the lower inertial load of low speed climbing or riding a trainer definitely feels different and effects to some extent how much power one puts out but I've seem multiple studies where they were unable to measure a difference. That said I think the benefit of higher cadence is simply to minimize fatigue on the legs. Most people are undergeared on hills and end up riding at a lower cadence than normal resulting in more rapid fatigue in their legs. On the flats most riders cadence goes up with increasing power, however on steeper hills most riders don't have gears low enough to spin at 90+ RPM.
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Old 05-14-18, 08:44 AM
  #34  
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Keep in mind that the article referenced is from VeloNews, a publication by and for the bike racing community.
If one never has never put in the dedicated seat time and effort in a structured "Old Science" training and racing program great care should be taken in attempting to emulate the "New Science" workloads of current young pros like "Seppís favorite over-under workout".

That being said getting down to a healthy low weight, working on an effective high cadence pedaling style with grunt on demand and just going out to ride the hills w/ mindful purpose can only go so wrong for the >50 crowd whether working to get up and over the local terrain with pace or getting on the podium in a hill climb TT.

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Old 05-14-18, 01:51 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
I think the lower inertial load of low speed climbing or riding a trainer definitely feels different and effects to some extent how much power one puts out but I've seem multiple studies where they were unable to measure a difference. That said I think the benefit of higher cadence is simply to minimize fatigue on the legs. Most people are undergeared on hills and end up riding at a lower cadence than normal resulting in more rapid fatigue in their legs. On the flats most riders cadence goes up with increasing power, however on steeper hills most riders don't have gears low enough to spin at 90+ RPM.
Could be, and that's long been how I viewed it, but people argue vehemently about the fast loss in momentum going uphill and it does feel that way, so I've changed to think that there is something to it. Intuitively I think of the curve of the speed graph through the pedal stroke power cycle, particularly the dead portion, and I think mashing is more like a saw-tooth than a sinusoidal, smoother high-cadence stroke. In analogy to electric power, if I recall correctly, the average power of the sinusoidal is root-mean-square, about .7 of the amplitude, but with a sawtooth is lower than that. So I think you may have to produce more power for the speed after all. I'd like to work that out mathematically sometime, or better yet see someone's model of it.
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Old 05-14-18, 06:06 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Garfield Cat View Post
What are the long term effects of climbing? Or should I say, a preoccupation of a desire to climb better? As opposed to less climbing......
One benefit of getting better at climbing hills is the reduced anxiety when someone says "let's go ride the hills west of St. Louis" (or any other hilly place). Plus.. you get to enjoy the scenery instead of just worrying about your heart or knees exploding!



this photo just helps show the variation of terrain. The area is full of narrow winding wooded roads with lots of hills! Very scenic and challenging, especially on a hot Missouri day. I think of it as being like a roller coaster for bikes, though. Just gotta watch out for the deer! You don't want to hit them (or have them hit you) when flying downhill at 30 or 40 mph.




Steve in Peoria (but previously lived in St. Louis)
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Old 05-15-18, 04:59 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
I think the lower inertial load of low speed climbing or riding a trainer definitely feels different and effects to some extent how much power one puts out but I've seem multiple studies where they were unable to measure a difference. That said I think the benefit of higher cadence is simply to minimize fatigue on the legs. Most people are undergeared on hills and end up riding at a lower cadence than normal resulting in more rapid fatigue in their legs. On the flats most riders cadence goes up with increasing power, however on steeper hills most riders don't have gears low enough to spin at 90+ RPM.
Yes, gearing is an important consideration if the cyclist wants to remain seated and keep the cadence in a comfortable range. Most of my bikes are geared as close to a 1:1 ratio between the small chainring and the largest cog on the cassette. For example, two of my bikes have a 34 small chainring with a 32 large cog. My gravel bike has a 33 chainring and a 36 large cog. For many years I installed a 26 small chainring on a triple crankset and paired that with a 27 large cog. However, it's gotten easier to a achieve a 1:1 (approximately) with an 11-speed Shimano drivetrain if a long arm derailleur is used.
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Old 05-15-18, 08:10 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
Yes, gearing is an important consideration if the cyclist wants to remain seated and keep the cadence in a comfortable range. Most of my bikes are geared as close to a 1:1 ratio between the small chainring and the largest cog on the cassette. For example, two of my bikes have a 34 small chainring with a 32 large cog. My gravel bike has a 33 chainring and a 36 large cog. For many years I installed a 26 small chainring on a triple crankset and paired that with a 27 large cog. However, it's gotten easier to a achieve a 1:1 (approximately) with an 11-speed Shimano drivetrain if a long arm derailleur is used.
As I've said for years - you need to ride more.
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