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What is your cadence?

Old 04-06-24, 05:12 PM
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What is your cadence?

I am getting ready for sprint triathlon: 600y open water swim, 10miles flat ride, and 5k run. I have spent most of my time on improving my running, and finally I feel confident about running 5k or even 10k. These days I am back to cycling and swimming. I have checked info on the Internet and it is suggested that for triathlon one should keep cadence high (90-110), and that should save your legs for the run. I have measured my cadence and it looks like I can do 90 tops for now, but not more than that.

I am curious about cadence/RPM that cyclist in 50+ group maintain, prefer or target, I am 60+.
Do you know what your cadence is? Are you using cadence in your training? Has your cadence changed with age?

For now, I measure my cadence by synchronizing my RPM with Metronome app beats/clicks sound.

Last edited by rowerek; 04-06-24 at 05:15 PM.
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Old 04-06-24, 05:54 PM
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When Iím on an exercise or spinning bike in the gym, my cadence runs in the low 80ís, higher when Iím getting on it a bit, but thatís a pretty controlled environment. I donít measure it when Iím out riding.
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Old 04-06-24, 06:32 PM
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I only look at my cadence when I'm Zwifting since I don't join any races or competitive rides when on the road. All depends on the type of ride and the terrain but I like to keep it above 80 and when I'm in a Zwift race, more around 90. Can sustain this for up to an hour maybe?

On a ride through the streets of a built-up urban area? Can't say how it would be possible to sustain anything near that high as I approach stop sign and streetlight after streetlight every 10 meters.
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Old 04-06-24, 06:47 PM
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never rock solid at one value but i just looked at the last 4 rides i did and all were 90 RPM +-0.5. i don't pay any attention though, just a natural feel.
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Old 04-06-24, 07:11 PM
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IMO, just stick with whatever cadence you feel comfortable with. Any leg fatigue is probably going to be minimized at your self-selected cadence.
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Old 04-06-24, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Sierra_rider
IMO, just stick with whatever cadence you feel comfortable with. Any leg fatigue is probably going to be minimized at your self-selected cadence.
What are you doing over here in the 50+ Forum? Interloper!!! With your racing and power numbers, always thought you were in the 30s or 40s.

Anywho, I am not a competitor but over the last three years have moved my cadence from the low 70s to the low 80s and now about 90-91. Was always about hammering around 72 RPM, but the Ďspin to winí mantra took over and found that it conserves energy without sacrificing power/speed. For me, 90 works, but it took me a while to get there - felt really unnatural at first.
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Old 04-06-24, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
What are you doing over here in the 50+ Forum? Interloper!!! With your racing and power numbers, always thought you were in the 30s or 40s.

Anywho, I am not a competitor but over the last three years have moved my cadence from the low 70s to the low 80s and now about 90-91. Was always about hammering around 72 RPM, but the Ďspin to winí mantra took over and found that it conserves energy without sacrificing power/speed. For me, 90 works, but it took me a while to get there - felt really unnatural at first.
I just saw it pop up on the "new posts" search and decided to respond, but yeah, still in my 30s. Regardless of age, the research suggests that we generally pick the best cadence. The caveat to that might be people on the extreme. I'd say the low 70s are very low for cadence numbers. My own personal observation is that my cadence has a rough correspondence to my power numbers. I don't know how relevant it is for others, but my cadence generally increases as my power increases...exception being steep climbs.
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Old 04-06-24, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Sierra_rider
I just saw it pop up on the "new posts" search and decided to respond, but yeah, still in my 30s. Regardless of age, the research suggests that we generally pick the best cadence. The caveat to that might be people on the extreme. I'd say the low 70s are very low for cadence numbers. My own personal observation is that my cadence has a rough correspondence to my power numbers. I don't know how relevant it is for others, but my cadence generally increases as my power increases...exception being steep climbs.
Quite right that one size does not fit all. It may be fitting that in my 30s I pushed taller gears/less cadence because I it seems like I had never ending strength with the exception of 100+ milers. In my 50s, I found that I loss a bit of that strength and kept moving the cadence up. Looking at todayís relaxed 30 miler my cadence was 86 Ave. On yesterdayís FTP the average was 98. During the actual test, it was probably about 105+, so it all still depends.

OP YMMV. Donít force yourself into something that feels unnatural when you are racing. That is probably the last place to experiment. If you feel yourself really pushing, you might want to try gearing down to a faster cadence. Instead, when you are training for the next one, try moving your cadence up and if that feels good, stick with it for awhile and then try bumping it up again incrementally. You will know what feels right.
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Old 04-06-24, 11:18 PM
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85-95 on flat terrain. 75-80 on climbs.
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Old 04-07-24, 07:33 AM
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I have seen newish riders pedal at very high cadences because they read that some expert or pro said to do it. Not only does it look rediculous, but they always seem to get tired early.

Ride enough and you'll find the proper cadence, for you. Some folks are mashers, others are spinners. Half way between blown knees and heart attack is the proper number.
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Old 04-07-24, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by rowerek
I am curious about cadence/RPM that cyclist in 50+ group maintain, prefer or target, I am 60+.
Am 60+, myself. Old injuries. Have never been a "performance" cyclist, instead mostly A-to-B journeys incl commuting. My own cadence is typically in the 70-80rpm range ... 80 and a bit, when the legs are feeling fine, and a touch below when not. Going uphill, I can drop below 70 if it's a bit too steep, but the bike's got pretty low gearing and higher cadence normally gets me through.

I suppose that, back in the day, I used to zip around with cadence approaching the mid-90s or so, but often less. (Wasn't on a bike, then, that had decent gearing for 'spinning' and maintaining higher cadence.) On that bike, trudging up the tougher hills was often a long, slow slog at disgustingly low cadence. Should have altered the cassette and rings, but never did.

https://www.gear-calculator.com/?GR=...N=MPH&DV=teeth
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Old 04-07-24, 08:14 AM
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You won't ever be fast if you don't get comfortable riding at a high cadence. 60 rpm in the 52 front and 11 rear will only give you about 22 mph. And stomping on that gear combo isn't easy for very long when on level terrain no matter how strong your legs are.

Where as one can get about that in the more normal for cruising gear of 52 front and 15 rear at just a tad over 80 rpm. And for times one can keep up 80 rpm in the 11 rear such as on a false flat the speed will be at about 30 mph.

High cadence can also let you climb hills with less leg muscle and not be so worn out at the top. It feels good when you can stay with the group going up a slope and then at the crest of the hill when everyone is give out muscling their low cadence, to shift to a the next higher gear and pull away from everyone to go down the other side alone.

When I first stated getting serious about increasing my normal cadence from 60 to 80 plus RPM, I thought that I needed to simply ride more and increase it over time and many rides. However that wasn't working out well 3 years later I'd only increased my average cadence a few RPM.

Based on some stuff I'd been reading, I decided to just ride ridiculously easy gears that allowed me to keep 80 RPM or better for the entire ride when training. Those first rides were long and at slower speeds. But as I got use to keeping the higher cadence, my legs got stronger at that higher cadence. Throughout the year as I accumulated more rides and miles, I was able to use higher gear ratios which gave me the speed back that I'd lost. Before the end of that year I was faster both in average speed and cadence for the regular routes I was riding. And the difference was more than the seasonal difference I had in previous years when I was just trying to strengthen my legs at lower cadences.

Last edited by Iride01; 04-07-24 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 04-07-24, 01:50 PM
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Maybe that is a useful definition of "old" When your age is greater than your cadence.
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Old 04-07-24, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Pratt
Maybe that is a useful definition of "old" When your age is greater than your cadence.
All the more reason to "keep spinning."
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Old 04-07-24, 05:34 PM
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If the pedaling gets too tough, drop a gear. That's my cadence.
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Old 04-08-24, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by rowerek
I have checked info on the Internet and it is suggested that for triathlon one should keep cadence high (90-110).
So letís say averaging around 100 rpm. Thatís a very high average for most and I wouldnít read too much into it. 80-90 rpm would be a more typical cadence on a flat TT. Elite racers might well aim higher, but a sustained 100 rpm for me would be far too high. I can see the logic in reducing muscle fatigue, but at over 100 rpm my HR would be very high even at relatively low power.
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Old 04-08-24, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Sierra_rider
My own personal observation is that my cadence has a rough correspondence to my power numbers. I don't know how relevant it is for others, but my cadence generally increases as my power increases...exception being steep climbs.
Same here. On the flat I tend to naturally ride at 80-85 rpm at FTP. If I raise power toward VO2 max I often find myself spinning 95-100 rpm and a full on sprint would be around 120 rpm. But none of these figures are set in stone for me. I often vary my cadence to give either my cardio or muscles a break.
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Old 04-08-24, 07:58 AM
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Use cadence to suit the work you are doing in the moment. This article summarizes the typical situations pretty well.

https://cinchcycling.cc/blogs/news/t...ycling-cadence

Quick summary:

ĒI. High cadence and high power to accelerate in an attack, close a gap, or raise the speed up.
II. High cadence and low power to keep legs stimulated when speed (fast downhill) or scenario (high-speed peloton).
III. Low cadence and high power to control effort on difficult terrains like steep hills or rough roads.
IV. Low cadence and low power to maintain the speed that you have built following an acceleration by you or another rider, a change in terrain giving you speed, or a change in conditions like a tailwind.Ē


Otto

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Old 04-08-24, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by rowerek
I have checked info on the Internet and it is suggested that for triathlon one should keep cadence high (90-110), and that should save your legs for the run.
Caution, on any comparison to some general remarks "on the internet."

Hard to know whether such remarks were based on serious studies and tests. Hard to know whether such recommendations were made for people just like you (age, fitness, strength, length/quality of training).

If nothing else, I'd suggest generating RPM that you know is effective for you, tolerable by you, in those conditions and for that duration. Only way to know it is to train and to know that a given level of effort and technique "matches" your conditioning, training.

Myself, for example, I once did performance distance running. Tried a variety of training techniques to boost my foot speed (cadence) and my ability to "power" through tougher sections of a route (ie, a hill, passing another competitor, etc). Took two or three years of incorporating such training before I found it translated to actual results. Could eventually run at a pace dependent on route conditions and how I felt that day to capably handle a given situation, generally tied to my air intake, generally only for relatively shorter periods of time, and within my specific body's ability to moderately recover during that race for the next push. Took time to figure out where, when and how hard I could push such things as foot speed or bursts of strength, given that I was only so far along a route at the time of such a push. Point being, you'll also likely need to determine whether at your age, fitness and training levels, such a specific performance/technique is workable. What others "on the internet" might suggest for some other groups or individuals might or might not be workable for you specifically.

The nice thing about your upcoming "shorty" triathlon is that the cycling portion is rather short. Even if a given personally-untested and -untried technique or method doesn't quite work best for you, it's only ten miles and its ill effects (if any) will likely largely wear off for the subsequent 5K run.

Good luck on the upcoming events. I dearly miss all of the running racing I used to do (10K to 20-milers, mostly), and the training that went with it. No can do, these days, sadly.
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Old 04-08-24, 08:49 AM
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Cadence, like bike fit inflation pressure, is optimized for 28 year old professionals with 1% body fat. Not for MAMIL's riding with their mates.

CLEARLY, like most things biological, there is a range of what works. Probably 70-110. Oh yea....that is for a flat course on a warm, windless day, while drafting, after proper warmup, but not fatigued, being well-rested but fit and nourished, but not too much and hydrated, but not too much. And, fully caffeinated (but not too much).

One more thing....is that with a waxed chain or wet lube?
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Old 04-08-24, 09:31 AM
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I ride by feel - 84-87+/-.

If I spin too fast at a high power level, I blow up aerobically. When it comes to putting down power for longer durations, 10-20 min efforts, I find myself settling in at 80+/-. Short VO2 type efforts I find myself at 95-100 - and doing that is going to blow you up anyhow.
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Old 04-08-24, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by rowerek
I am curious about cadence/RPM that cyclist in 50+ group maintain, prefer or target, I am 60+.
Do you know what your cadence is? Are you using cadence in your training? Has your cadence changed with age?
You know, there's a connection between cadence, pedal force, and power. When you increase your power, *both* cadence and pedal force tend to increase (though not equally): your cadence doesn't remain static and your pedal force doesn't explain all of the increase. Likewise, when your (or, in truth, when my) power decreases, *both* cadence and pedal force tend to contract.

I've been using a power meter since the last millenium, so I have pretty good records of my power, cadence, and pedal force. Alas, I'm making less power now than I used to. Both my cadence and pedal force are also less.

Cadence, in isolation, is a red herring. Concentrate on power. If you don't have a power meter, concentrate on your RPE and HR.
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Old 04-08-24, 09:39 AM
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I look at cadence like IQ points. More rpm won't automatically make you faster, but it's a good thing to have and you can get more of it through exercise.
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Old 04-08-24, 09:58 AM
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High cadence is a skill. Some are naturally more skilled, some develop fast pedaling with practice. Some do both.

Just because you have the skill, however, doesn't mean that you should apply it willy-nilly. Your cadence is just another tool in your toolbox.

If we all did what felt comfortable, we would all still be crawling around on all fours like little babies. Sometimes you need to push yourself a bit to improve.
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Old 04-09-24, 03:47 PM
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Most of the time I aim for 80-90 rpm. Cadence naturally drops on a climb; if I get below about 70 rpm my knees start complaining.

Of course, that may be more relevant for some spring chickens in another 20-30 years.
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