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Cadence Goals/Standards by Age

Old 03-09-18, 12:31 PM
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Cadence Goals/Standards by Age

I was doing leg speed on the rollers this morning and was thinking about cadence goals/standards/handicaps by age and came up with this formula:

225 - racing age = cadence for your age

For example my racing age is 59 so 225 - 59 = 166. I hit 170 rpm so for this workout it was 102%.
I came up with 225 because 200rpm seems like a reasonable number that a 25 year old that isn't a freak of nature should be able to hit with training. Also it seems to hold with Junior riders that I race against on restricted gears. They seem to have no problem hitting 160-170 on the track.

Thoughts? Competing formulas or maybe you've read something somewhere. This is for fun, nothing scientific, just something to think about in between efforts on the rollers.

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Old 03-09-18, 01:25 PM
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At ages 35-40, like many others, I could clock +220 RPM on rollers. Then I stopped worrying about the absolute max that I could hit. Now I try to get to 160-170 and that's enough for central nervous system stimulation. Even before the rise of big gears, no one would hit more than around 140-145 in a sprint. 150 was "spinning out". So, working at much higher than that probably didn't provide any benefits other than bragging rights.

I suspect that if I were properly motivated (read: a bet...or food), I could get close to 220 now.

Further, cadence is a function of crank length. For a given foot speed, the actual revolutions per minute vary with your crank length. So, for a given rpm on 170mm cranks, you will be faster on 165mm cranks and slower on 175mm cranks.

Also it seems to hold with Junior riders that I race against on restricted gears. They seem to have no problem hitting 160-170 on the track.
Are you sure about those numbers? 160RPM is really fast.
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Old 03-09-18, 03:12 PM
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You worked this all out while turning 170 rpm on the rollers? I think I need a red bull.
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Old 03-09-18, 05:23 PM
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60yrs old. 190 15s max on leg speed drill. 172,5mm crank, medium gear/power (too light isn't good for coordination).
There isn't a formula at all - lot of factors, more important than crank size I think seat height - too low is good for spinning, but very bad for force applying.
Carleton is right about forgetting max etc. Training objective is adapt, so 10% above real world max surges would be nice.
Keeping 160-170 for "long" stints is better than unreal 200 for 5sec.
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Old 03-09-18, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post

Are you sure about those numbers? 160RPM is really fast.
Yeah, right? that is pretty fast! I'll see him tomorrow at the Saturday Sprints at the OTC so I'll ask him just to be sure. The juniors at the OTC practice cadence drills 2-3 days/week cause with their gear restrictions leg speed is all they have. At least that's what they tell me they're spinning when they beat me and I ask them about it. I'll try to get some video and post it, it's pretty wild to watch.

It's a guess but its pretty good one. The kid was 16 so he's on a 86" max? He rode a 12.2 f200 and I calculated his average cadence of 156 so I'd guess he hit the 200 line around 160? Then he came around me in a sprint and I was in a 104 at 61kkph spinning 125. This time of year I'm nowhere near riding my biggest gears so he might of been on something smaller?
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Old 03-09-18, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by SJM205 View Post
You worked this all out while turning 170 rpm on the rollers? I think I need a red bull.
This is for fun, nothing scientific, just something to think about in between efforts on the rollers.

I did shoot a dbl espresso before the workout.
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Old 03-09-18, 07:34 PM
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Let's see - does it account for gender? Me = 66 y/o woman, spinning at 159 RPM? I. Don't. Think. So. (122-128 RPM, and I spin compared to some of my peers).
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Old 03-09-18, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
Even before the rise of big gears, no one would hit more than around 140-145 in a sprint. 150 was "spinning out". .
I gotta respectfully disagree. I lived those days. I survived three years of Friday Nights under the Lights at Hellyer (Hell Yeah). I rode sub 11's in a 90 inch gear and went 4-6 inches smaller to sprint in. I spun north of 150. The only person who rode big gears was Rory O'Reilly and I was in awe of his 103" kilo gear but I could still beat him in a sprint by hanging on his wheel and going ape into turn 4. The sprints were much shorter,hence the low gears for a nasty jump but occasionally some idiot would jump at the bell and you had to spin it up to run them down.

When I took up Sprinting again three years ago I had to relearn how to sprint in the new age. At 59 I appreciate the new style, slower cadences and less contact.
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Old 03-09-18, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by sarals View Post
Let's see - does it account for gender? Me = 66 y/o woman, spinning at 159 RPM? I. Don't. Think. So. (122-128 RPM, and I spin compared to some of my peers).
Like any average/median it doesn't apply to everyone. It. Doesn't. Apply. To. Me. Either. I can still spin way north of 166 on rollers. My example from today doesn't take into account that this is the third time on a bike since September and I'm racing tomorrow so I was just trying to open up my legs. But that's why I'm a sprinter, I have leg speed. With this focus on huge gears these days it seems that everyone has forgot that power is roughly force over time.

Leg speed is an important factor in sprinting and everyone that I know that is fast regardless of age and gender trains it. Every program for sprinting that I can find includes overspeed training. Do they spin at those cadences in racing? No but it's one of the factors in the power equation. It's the same with the other factors of power too you over train them also.
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Old 03-09-18, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Fast4 50 View Post
Like any average/median it doesn't apply to everyone. It. Doesn't. Apply. To. Me. Either. I can still spin way north of 166 on rollers. My example from today doesn't take into account that this is the third time on a bike since September and I'm racing tomorrow so I was just trying to open up my legs. But that's why I'm a sprinter, I have leg speed. With this focus on huge gears these days it seems that everyone has forgot that power is roughly force over time.

Leg speed is an important factor in sprinting and everyone that I know that is fast regardless of age and gender trains it. Every program for sprinting that I can find includes overspeed training. Do they spin at those cadences in racing? No but it's one of the factors in the power equation. It's the same with the other factors of power too you over train them also.
LOL!

Are you riding at Hellyer now a days?

My coach has stressed cadence since before I got on the track. My self-selected cadence when I started racing was pretty typical older roadie 70-80 RPM. He wanted to see 90 and up. We got there. When I decided to go to the track last season, he stressed "track spin", and my working cadence made it's way up to 122-128. I too can hit 160 RPM on the trainer, and that is why I am also a sprinter, I too have leg speed. BTW, that was a "DOH!" moment for me, my coach knew it all along.

So far this season, the training I've been doing has stressed building strength for bigger gears (and getting fat, but we won't go there....). However, as you said, leg speed is an important factor in sprinting (essential, I think), so there has been relentless work on keeping my cadence up as the gear inches go up. Let me tell you, that's a hard thing for an old lady to do!

Good discussion!
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Old 03-09-18, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Fast4 50 View Post
Yeah, right? that is pretty fast! I'll see him tomorrow at the Saturday Sprints at the OTC so I'll ask him just to be sure. The juniors at the OTC practice cadence drills 2-3 days/week cause with their gear restrictions leg speed is all they have. At least that's what they tell me they're spinning when they beat me and I ask them about it. I'll try to get some video and post it, it's pretty wild to watch.

It's a guess but its pretty good one. The kid was 16 so he's on a 86" max? He rode a 12.2 f200 and I calculated his average cadence of 156 so I'd guess he hit the 200 line around 160? Then he came around me in a sprint and I was in a 104 at 61kkph spinning 125. This time of year I'm nowhere near riding my biggest gears so he might of been on something smaller?
I just did the math.

gear: 48/15 = 86.4" or 6.72m or 3.20 ratio
rollout: 6.715m
distance: 200m
target time: 12.2"
avg cadence: 146RPM
avg speed: 36.6mph / 58.8kph / 16.3mps
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Old 03-09-18, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Fast4 50 View Post
I gotta respectfully disagree. I lived those days. I survived three years of Friday Nights under the Lights at Hellyer (Hell Yeah). I rode sub 11's in a 90 inch gear and went 4-6 inches smaller to sprint in. I spun north of 150. The only person who rode big gears was Rory O'Reilly and I was in awe of his 103" kilo gear but I could still beat him in a sprint by hanging on his wheel and going ape into turn 4. The sprints were much shorter,hence the low gears for a nasty jump but occasionally some idiot would jump at the bell and you had to spin it up to run them down.

When I took up Sprinting again three years ago I had to relearn how to sprint in the new age. At 59 I appreciate the new style, slower cadences and less contact.
Sorry. I was referring to the years right before the "big gear" trend took off. So, early 2000s or so. I should have been more clear.
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Old 03-09-18, 11:27 PM
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I'm not saying leg speed isn't important. It obviously is being that we cannot shift derailleur gears so in order to function, we have to gear the track bike low enough to get it moving and high enough to have the target max speed that we can achieve against air resistance. Leg speed are our "gears". If we watch some of the talented racers like David Espinoza, you'll see him "shift through gear ranges" as he gets faster and faster during a sprint. These shifts are likely him either switching muscle groups and/or pedaling techniques.

I don't think that extending our maximum cadence helps us apply any more torque at our normal cadence ranges. The goal of max cadence work is to teach our muscles the timing required to function at the highest cadences we'll see on the track. Like figure out which muscles to turn on and for how long per each pedal stroke. This is where fast-twitch muscles do their thing.

But, if I will never hit more than 165RPM when I'm on a velodrome (including full gas, flying warmup jumps on a 81" gear), what good does it do me to push my max cadence well over 170RPM into 200 or 220RPM? I simply would never call on my body to perform that way in any situation other than on the rollers.

Even if we do max cadence "blow outs" with all we got as a way to wake up our legs to be ready to perform. Let them be just that, blow outs. They probably shouldn't be monitored as indicators of progression or regression. As in, "My blow out last week was 200RPM. This week I got to 205RPM...I must be getting better." or vice-versa.
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Old 03-10-18, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Fast4 50 View Post
I was doing leg speed on the rollers this morning and was thinking about cadence goals/standards/handicaps by age and came up with this formula:

225 - racing age = cadence for your age

Thoughts? Competing formulas or maybe you've read something somewhere. This is for fun, nothing scientific, just something to think about in between efforts on the rollers.
I don't think leg speed numbers mean a lot outside of maybe Goldsprint races. I think being able to hit high rpm on rollers is more of a parlor trick. They are important to me when training to relax.

I'll trade these numbers for faster times on the track any day:

I'm 64 this year, was off the bike and a couch potato for over 35 years, and took up the sport again 14 months ago.

With 172.5 cranks. I work out on a old wind trainer and can do 230 for 5 seconds in a very low gear. A few weeks ago I recorded 194 @ a peak of 485 watts, and averaged 169 for 30 seconds at 355 watts. Those low-load numbers (230 for 5 seconds) aren't much different than they were when I was a kid. It only took a couple of weeks of drills to do that.

I think relaxation drills help me a lot, and that is why I do the drills. Again, those numbers are meaningless until I can translate them into speed on the track.

Relaxation work is something I picked up years ago as a college track and field sprinter. Here is an article on it:

The Skill of Relaxation

And if you find this interesting, this is an outstanding book on the subject:

Relax and Win

Rick

Last edited by rickbuddy_72; 03-10-18 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 03-11-18, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by sarals View Post
LOL!

Are you riding at Hellyer now a days?

My coach has stressed cadence since before I got on the track. My self-selected cadence when I started racing was pretty typical older roadie 70-80 RPM. He wanted to see 90 and up. We got there. When I decided to go to the track last season, he stressed "track spin", and my working cadence made it's way up to 122-128. I too can hit 160 RPM on the trainer, and that is why I am also a sprinter, I too have leg speed. BTW, that was a "DOH!" moment for me, my coach knew it all along.

So far this season, the training I've been doing has stressed building strength for bigger gears (and getting fat, but we won't go there....). However, as you said, leg speed is an important factor in sprinting (essential, I think), so there has been relentless work on keeping my cadence up as the gear inches go up. Let me tell you, that's a hard thing for an old lady to do!

Good discussion!
No, Hellyer is just a fond memory, I moved to Colorado in 1985. Give my regards to Peter Bohl, he was the best official by far in my years there. I keep threatening to buy a Sprinter Van and spend a summer visiting every track in the Nation. Maybe we can spar on the track one day.

When I posted this thread I wasn't suggesting that people spin higher cadences on the track, just rollers. It also seems that that my formula applies to you pretty well. I'm no physiologist but it makes sense that if you can spin at higher cadences you have better coordination and you can apply more force to the pedals in the sweet spot of power at 120-130.

Keeping your cadence up as the gears go up is the trick, isn't it? It's all about overcoming the Force-Velocity Curve:

https://www.scienceforsport.com/force-velocity-curve/
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Old 03-11-18, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Fast4 50 View Post
No, Hellyer is just a fond memory, I moved to Colorado in 1985. Give my regards to Peter Bohl, he was the best official by far in my years there. I keep threatening to buy a Sprinter Van and spend a summer visiting every track in the Nation. Maybe we can spar on the track one day.

When I posted this thread I wasn't suggesting that people spin higher cadences on the track, just rollers. It also seems that that my formula applies to you pretty well. I'm no physiologist but it makes sense that if you can spin at higher cadences you have better coordination and you can apply more force to the pedals in the sweet spot of power at 120-130.

Keeping your cadence up as the gears go up is the trick, isn't it? It's all about overcoming the Force-Velocity Curve:

https://www.scienceforsport.com/force-velocity-curve/
Oh, I will pass your regards on to Peter, he is one of my FAVORITE people!! He's not leading motorpacing any more, he's had some health issues, but he's out there every Tuesday among friends! He'll be glad to hear from you.

Gotcha on what you were suggesting. I had to do some cadence drills on the trainer/rollers this morning, and I wish I could do them that easily on the track! I certainly hope that I can keep my cadence in that sweet spot when I'm riding 90 plus inch gearing.

My training partner has a plan to ride every velodrome in North America, much like your idea! She is actually going to start on that adventure this summer when she drives to Nats at T-Town. It is a compelling notion, for sure!
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Old 03-11-18, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
I just did the math.

gear: 48/15 = 86.4" or 6.72m or 3.20 ratio
rollout: 6.715m
distance: 200m
target time: 12.2"
avg cadence: 146RPM
avg speed: 36.6mph / 58.8kph / 16.3mps
Originally Posted by carleton View Post
I'm not saying leg speed isn't important. It obviously is being that we cannot shift derailleur gears so in order to function, we have to gear the track bike low enough to get it moving and high enough to have the target max speed that we can achieve against air resistance. Leg speed are our "gears". If we watch some of the talented racers like David Espinoza, you'll see him "shift through gear ranges" as he gets faster and faster during a sprint. These shifts are likely him either switching muscle groups and/or pedaling techniques.

I don't think that extending our maximum cadence helps us apply any more torque at our normal cadence ranges. The goal of max cadence work is to teach our muscles the timing required to function at the highest cadences we'll see on the track. Like figure out which muscles to turn on and for how long per each pedal stroke. This is where fast-twitch muscles do their thing.

But, if I will never hit more than 165RPM when I'm on a velodrome (including full gas, flying warmup jumps on a 81" gear), what good does it do me to push my max cadence well over 170RPM into 200 or 220RPM? I simply would never call on my body to perform that way in any situation other than on the rollers.

Even if we do max cadence "blow outs" with all we got as a way to wake up our legs to be ready to perform. Let them be just that, blow outs. They probably shouldn't be monitored as indicators of progression or regression. As in, "My blow out last week was 200RPM. This week I got to 205RPM...I must be getting better." or vice-versa.
I find it ironic that everybody arguing that cadence doesn't matter is also talking about their high cadences. I also get that sprinters are a feisty bunch and like to argue on or off the bike. If you're a sprinter cadence matters. Please point me to a top shelf sprinter that doesn't have a cadence above 200rpm on the rollers. I'll buy you a 12pack when I do my road trip visiting all the Velodromes in the Nation. Why I train high cadence is because I think that it allows me to have the coordination to recruit more muscle fibers in the sweet spot of power.

Originally Posted by rickbuddy_72 View Post
I don't think leg speed numbers mean a lot outside of maybe Goldsprint races. I think being able to hit high rpm on rollers is more of a parlor trick. They are important to me when training to relax.

I'll trade these numbers for faster times on the track any day:

I'm 64 this year, was off the bike and a couch potato for over 35 years, and took up the sport again 14 months ago.

With 172.5 cranks. I work out on a old wind trainer and can do 230 for 5 seconds in a very low gear. A few weeks ago I recorded 194 @ a peak of 485 watts, and averaged 169 for 30 seconds at 355 watts. Those low-load numbers (230 for 5 seconds) aren't much different than they were when I was a kid. It only took a couple of weeks of drills to do that.

I think relaxation drills help me a lot, and that is why I do the drills. Again, those numbers are meaningless until I can translate them into speed on the track.

Relaxation work is something I picked up years ago as a college track and field sprinter. Here is an article on it:

The Skill of Relaxation

And if you find this interesting, this is an outstanding book on the subject:

Relax and Win

Rick
Like I said above you're arguing cadence doesn't matter but you spend time training a parlor trick? There is nothing relaxing to me about training high cadences. High cadence training is all about neuromuscular activation and as I understand it neuromuscular training is the most taxing training there is and takes the longest time to recover from.

That said relaxation is probably what we called suppleness on the track in the '80's. I'll check out your links, I've been looking for resources on suppleness and have had no luck finding any.

As fate would have it, Yesterdays sprints at the OTC were gear restricted! 90" maximum gear. I rode a 12.47, a time that was in the bottom quartile. My max cadence was 146. Joe Christensen did an experiment and rode a 200 in his race set up (high gears and disks) and rode a 10.4 then he rode a 10.
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Old 03-11-18, 09:19 PM
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Hey man. I'm not saying "cadence doesn't matter". There is a cadence range that is needed to do well in the sport.

I am saying that:

- Tracking Maximum Possible Cadence with Relation to Age as a Measure of Fitness or Progress won't achieve what you think it will. Like, say the Estimated Maximum Heart Rate (220 - Age). Or 1-Minute Heart Rate Recovery.
- While cadence work over 170-ish RPM is useful as a "blow out" or "rev up", noting the cadences you hit during the activity as a measure to be tracked isn't worth the effort. As long as you are over the cadences you expect to hit in a race, you are good. Be it 10RPM over or 100RPM over.

This is like saying that your car went 200MPH on the Dyno at the car shop, but you never go over 85MPH...ever. At that point, it's simply a neat number to bring up in conversation





...now the Torque and Power that is measured on a Dyno are significant. But, that's for a different conversation


I find it ironic that everybody arguing that cadence doesn't matter is also talking about their high cadences.
The only thing that my super-duper high cadence got me was some free energy drink powder during a Gold Sprints competition at a team holiday party. Bonus Pics:


You can see how thrilled I was:

Last edited by carleton; 03-11-18 at 09:38 PM.
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