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Just looking for some advice on pace/cadence

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Just looking for some advice on pace/cadence

Old 01-28-10, 12:30 AM
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Just looking for some advice on pace/cadence

So, I've spent the past 45 minutes trying to search for an answer to my question, to no avail. I'm not a troll, please don't flame me. I legitimately want to tailor my training and get a bit of advice on what I can do to make it better.

I want to be in a decent racing shape by the time summer comes to give it a shot. I've never even ridden with another person before much less in a pack so I need to get used to the whole group thing before hand, but that's a different story.

I would like to know what a really solid cadence and pace is for an hour long ride.

This morning I went to spin class and beat myself up pretty good, but I know the weather is supposed to suck here for the next few days so I needed to ride today too. I did this ride: https://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...26463686730827 in 64 minutes. I tried to keep my cadence above 80 RPM for the ride. As far as I know, I succeeded.

I don't have a cadence monitor, but I keep tabs on it by counting pedal rotations and time on my bike computer, and I ride pretty consistently. (I know it's a lame way of keeping myself on track, but it works fine for now)

There was a pretty stiff wind blowing from the South today. For the first three miles it was at my back giving me a top speed of 31.1 which I was able to maintain (more or less) for about 1 mile. However, once I turned it became a nasty cross wind instead of that delightful tailwind.

If you look at the mapmyride link and look at the elevation, the ride was pretty flat. So, am I doing what I should be to get into shape? Should I try and push my pace? Cadence? Distance? Increasing distance is going to be difficult until the days get longer. I'm in the military and work pretty long hours.
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Old 01-28-10, 12:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Jacbowron

I don't have a cadence monitor, but I keep tabs on it by counting pedal rotations and time on my bike computer, and I ride pretty consistently. (I know it's a lame way of keeping myself on track, but it works fine for now)
That's not lame. It's a perfectly fine way of measuring cadence if you don't otherwise have the gear to do it.
+80 RPM is also fine. You've already done some research. Keep at it (the research and the riding). Maybe look into clydesdale cadence vs. regular cadence, spinning vs. mashing, etc. Different cadences work for different riding styles and different body types.
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Old 01-28-10, 02:09 AM
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So you did about 20 miles in about an hour, not bad at all. If you want to get faster though you'll have to ride faster, look into interval training, ie riding at a certain exhertion / heart rate for a set time, recovering and doing it again. When done right they hurt like heck, but you'll most likely end up faster.

For me a cadence of 80 is pretty low, I'm more of a 90+ guy, but as said by plasticmaam12, everybody's different.
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Old 01-28-10, 02:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Jacbowron
So, I've spent the past 45 minutes trying to search for an answer to my question, to no avail. I'm not a troll, please don't flame me. I legitimately want to tailor my training and get a bit of advice on what I can do to make it better.

I want to be in a decent racing shape by the time summer comes to give it a shot. I've never even ridden with another person before much less in a pack so I need to get used to the whole group thing before hand, but that's a different story.

I would like to know what a really solid cadence and pace is for an hour long ride.

This morning I went to spin class and beat myself up pretty good, but I know the weather is supposed to suck here for the next few days so I needed to ride today too. I did this ride: https://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...26463686730827 in 64 minutes. I tried to keep my cadence above 80 RPM for the ride. As far as I know, I succeeded.

I don't have a cadence monitor, but I keep tabs on it by counting pedal rotations and time on my bike computer, and I ride pretty consistently. (I know it's a lame way of keeping myself on track, but it works fine for now)

There was a pretty stiff wind blowing from the South today. For the first three miles it was at my back giving me a top speed of 31.1 which I was able to maintain (more or less) for about 1 mile. However, once I turned it became a nasty cross wind instead of that delightful tailwind.

If you look at the mapmyride link and look at the elevation, the ride was pretty flat. So, am I doing what I should be to get into shape? Should I try and push my pace? Cadence? Distance? Increasing distance is going to be difficult until the days get longer. I'm in the military and work pretty long hours.
Well, that sort of *is* the story. There is more to racing than showing up with the ability to spin the right cadence. This is sort of like shooting freethrows to prepare to play (for the first time) in the rec basketball league. There's a lot more going on.

Try to find a local group ride. Ask around the bike shops or maybe there is a website that folks in your area frequent. There are different rides for different levels of riders. Some are super slow, some are blazing fast and there are rides in-between. There you will learn basic pack skills and you will get a real feel about where your relative fitness level lay.
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Old 01-28-10, 08:24 AM
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sheldon browns gear calculator has an option where you can show speed at at 90 rpm cadence I printed that out and taped it to my stem. That how I kept track before I got gizmos also help with learning how to shift.
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Old 01-28-10, 08:49 AM
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If you're new, just ride as much as you can. Try to find a group ride and get some experience there, if only once a week until the weather improves. Meanwhile, read this book. It will tell you everything you need to know. When you're done reading that, start applying some of those concepts.
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Old 01-28-10, 08:59 AM
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You can improve your fitness without all of the gizmos, they just make it easier to keep track of your progress but your body is always a good indicator of how hard you're pushing yourself. Since you're just starting out 80rpm isn't bad, as you get in better shape you'll notice you can spin faster and at higher gears. Intervals are a good way to start building riding fitness, and don't forget to add recovery rides so you're not always pushing yourself without giving your body time to rest. Find a group because as others have pointed out there's a lot to racing other than just your ability to ride fast and riding with a group will be a great way to hone your skills as well as getting tips on technique from more experienced riders.

Good luck!
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Old 01-28-10, 09:45 AM
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How long have you been riding?
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Old 01-28-10, 01:55 PM
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That's not lame. It's a perfectly fine way of measuring cadence if you don't otherwise have the gear to do it. +80 RPM is also fine. You've already done some research. Keep at it (the research and the riding). Maybe look into clydesdale cadence vs. regular cadence, spinning vs. mashing, etc. Different cadences work for different riding styles and different body types.
I should have posted my body type in the original to help give you guys a bit more info. Sorry for not including that. I'm 24 years old, 6'2" and weigh 160 soaking wet, so I don't think that I count as a Clydesdale (unless I'm misinterpreting what that means). I've always been a pretty strong athlete when it comes to activities like distance running. Sprinting on the other hand, not so much.

I time myself for 15 seconds and usually come up with 22-24 RPM, with a goal to never drop below 20. Any slower and I feel like I'm burning out my legs, any faster and I can't keep it up without feeling like I'm bouncing too much.

I will certainly look more into riding styles. I really thought that there was one "best" way, but I guess I hadn't thought that out very well. Thanks for your advice.
If you want to get faster though you'll have to ride faster, look into interval training, ie riding at a certain exertion / heart rate for a set time, recovering and doing it again.
I don't have a HR monitor so I have to use the exertion method. What kind of exertion should I be looking for during this interval? Should I try and pedal to failure, muscle cramps, etc? With an exertion based interval how long should I keep up that level of exertion before I rest? I know that is personal preference/based on fitness level, but can you give me a ballpark estimate?

Thanks for your advice.
Well, that sort of *is* the story. There is more to racing than showing up with the ability to spin the right cadence.
Your point is well taken, trust me. I know how dangerous I would be without knowing group dynamics, but I want to keep this thread on fitness, speed, and cadence. I do appreciate the advice and have been seeking out groups in South Dakota, but the Western side of the state is lacking in that regard.
sheldon browns gear calculator has an option where you can show speed at at 90 rpm cadence I printed that out and taped it to my stem. That how I kept track before I got gizmos also help with learning how to shift.
This is a fantastic idea. After reading your post I finally understand what those charts are for. I'm going to start doing this forthwith. Thank you.
If you're new, just ride as much as you can. Try to find a group ride and get some experience there, if only once a week until the weather improves. Meanwhile, read this book. It will tell you everything you need to know. When you're done reading that, start applying some of those concepts
Thanks for the advice. The weather here in Texas is nothing compared to my home in South Dakota, so as soon as it stops with the freezing rain and the roads are cleared I'll start riding again. That book looks awesome, it is now in my shopping cart at amazon. I'll wait until payday though. Until cycling starts paying me my money has to go toward bills and savings first and foremost.
Don't forget to add recovery rides so you're not always pushing yourself without giving your body time to rest. Find a group because as others have pointed out there's a lot to racing other than just your ability to ride fast and riding with a group will be a great way to hone your skills as well as getting tips on technique from more experienced riders.
Thank you for all the great advice. What is considered a good "recovery ride?" Since you brought up the same ideas as a few posters in front of you would you be able to look over my next round of questions and add any advice? Thanks.
How long have you been riding?
I've been riding a bike since I was three. I got my first real road bike in June of 2009 though and have been building up my strength and endurance with no real contact with other cyclists since then. Since June I've ridden a bit over 500 miles, with about 300-350 of those coming in the past 2 months. It took me a long time to get comfortable being on a bike that long, and a couple of upgrades from my stock bike to make it more comfortable.


thanks for the advice everyone, I'll do some research and listen to any extra advice you have.
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Old 01-28-10, 03:13 PM
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