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Strong out of saddle rider, but average high cadence seated climber

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Strong out of saddle rider, but average high cadence seated climber

Old 07-03-22, 02:04 PM
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jonathanf2
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Strong out of saddle rider, but average high cadence seated climber

Yesterday I did a group ride that encompassed quite a bit of road and dirt climbing on our gravel bikes. For the most part I could keep up with the top riders either coming in 1st or at least amongst the top 3 (not that it was competitive). Though when riding next to the other strong cyclists on sections that required us to stay seated, I could really feel my breathing struggle and lactic acid build up in my legs. When it got to the uphill road sections, the cyclists with high cadence were just stronger than me when seated, which required me to ride out of saddle at a much higher gear. Even though I passed them on the road sections reaching the top first with a good margin of distance between us, if I were to rely on my cadence, I don't think I could keep up.

My question, is my reliance on out of saddle climbing actually making me weaker on seated hill climbs? I feel like relying on OOS too much might be putting more toll on my legs and energy reserves, especially for longer rides, whereas if seated climbing would conserve more energy over a longer period of time. On a side note, I am in my 40s riding with riders in their 20s and early 30s, so I know my age and ability to recover plays a part, but I do want to try and maintain/improve my performance as long as possible!

Any advice on technique, training and even nutrition would be appreciated to improve my seated climbing? Thanks!

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Old 07-03-22, 04:32 PM
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OOS is more inefficient so yes you are losing energy relative to other riders if you stand too much. Lots of studies have been done on that, they all come to the same conclusion. It could just be that the other riders are overall stronger, not much you can do about that.. but, there could also be some things off with your in-saddle technique. Here are some things to chew on.
  • Is your saddle too high? If so it is hard to climb as efficiently.
  • How far angled down is your saddle nose? The recent trend is for the nose to be angled down more, and it greatly helps with seated hill climbing. Here is an article on the topic. My saddle now has the nose down 8.5 degrees as per my bike fitter.
  • It can help to focus on pedaling more evenly so you are not lurch-lurch-lurching up the hill which is less efficient.
  • Position on the saddle often is best in a different spot for those hills. For me I always want to slide back a bit on a big hill.
  • Plus other body position issues.. here is a good article I found recently.
I have been working on my seated climbing form recently and I find I am passing my friends when they stand up - I can just energizer bunny right by them since they are wasting energy.
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Old 07-03-22, 05:35 PM
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Some riders are just faster OOS, see Pantani for example. By "sections that required us to stay seated" do you mean on the flat or on loose gravel climbs?

You say that seated, lactate builds in your legs and your breathing gets too fast. Having both those things happen at the same time AND being faster OOS on the same terrain would be unusual. "Breathing gets too fast" usually means cadence is too high. "Lactate builds in your legs" usually means cadence is too low. OTOH, that latter might also mean better technique is needed as scottfsmith says. Gravel isn't the same as pavement in that there is more resistance to forward motion on the flat, which means that it's always more like climbing than hammering on the flat and smoother pedaling gets better results. Since you are as fast or faster OOS on climbs than seated riders, your aerobic capacity must be better and it must just be a matter of more appropriate seated technique.

Another thought is that of course you climb OOS at a lower cadence than is usual for you seated. You could try a lower cadence seated, combined with a more consistent application of force around the pedal circle. Not pulling up of course, but unweighting the up pedal, pushing forward at TDC, and pulling back at bottom and another 20°-30° after BDC. That should spread the effort out among more muscles while lowering oxygen cost at the same time.
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Old 07-03-22, 09:30 PM
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Getting used to and training to spin high cadence at easier gears promotes better efficiency. High cadence pedaling definitely requires seated pedaling. High cadence training promotes switching of muscle fibers into high endurance Type 1 slow twitch fibers. These muscle fibers are more fuel efficient and more resistant to fatigue. You'll be able to hold a faster pace with these muscle fibers for much longer. Great for increasing your average speed, improving fuel efficiency, and your ability to resist fatigue in long rides.

If you OOS a lot and generally have low cadence, you are likely to have less percentage of Type 1 muscle fibers and you'll definitely hurt if you try to spin at higher cadence. You'll require more fueling on long rides (translates to carrying more food or bottles, added weight). Additionally, you'll fatigue sooner in long rides.

Unfortunately, getting well used to high cadences requires many weeks of training at high cadence. Within that period, you're not only increasing your % of Type 1 muscle fibers but also adapting your neuromuscular connections and pedaling technique to higher cadences. It will hurt at first but pays off in the long run! Just don't forget to insert rest / recovery days in training.

Finally, you'd still need to stand from time to time even when you get trained for high cadence. You can't eliminating standing completely. It helps relieve the butt in long rides and stretch the legs. However, for me when pedaling OOS, I try to maintain the same cadence I do when sitting. Sometimes I don't even shift to a higher gear when I do. This going to be very important in the very long rides to avoid causing undue fatigue to your legs.

You may also need to train doing long seated climbs if you're not used to it. Finally, it wouldn't hurt to make sure your saddle is at the correct height. Not too low, or not too high (too high is a much bigger problem than too low).

Last edited by koala logs; 07-03-22 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 07-03-22, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Some riders are just faster OOS, see Pantani for example. By "sections that required us to stay seated" do you mean on the flat or on loose gravel climbs?

You say that seated, lactate builds in your legs and your breathing gets too fast. Having both those things happen at the same time AND being faster OOS on the same terrain would be unusual. "Breathing gets too fast" usually means cadence is too high. "Lactate builds in your legs" usually means cadence is too low. OTOH, that latter might also mean better technique is needed as scottfsmith says. Gravel isn't the same as pavement in that there is more resistance to forward motion on the flat, which means that it's always more like climbing than hammering on the flat and smoother pedaling gets better results. Since you are as fast or faster OOS on climbs than seated riders, your aerobic capacity must be better and it must just be a matter of more appropriate seated technique.

Another thought is that of course you climb OOS at a lower cadence than is usual for you seated. You could try a lower cadence seated, combined with a more consistent application of force around the pedal circle. Not pulling up of course, but unweighting the up pedal, pushing forward at TDC, and pulling back at bottom and another 20°-30° after BDC. That should spread the effort out among more muscles while lowering oxygen cost at the same time.
On one particular hill I've done on group rides, there are two ways going up. The first road to the top has less curves and a steep straight incline at the end where I can punch it up OOS. This is the hill I'm fastest on and I usually reach the top first. The second climb from the back road has multiple switchbacks which seem better suited when seated on the saddle since the road curves don't allow for adequate sprint climbs. This hill I usually get passed on, though I still manage to keep up with the front pack. Also the "gravel" in my area is more like dirt climbs, so traction forces a seated climb.

I definitely wonder if it's a technique issue for me? Though I do have a bad habit of always going all out on the group rides. I'll go for a ride tomorrow and see if changing my pedaling technique might help. I'll also adjust my saddle and see if that will help.

Last edited by jonathanf2; 07-03-22 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 07-03-22, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by koala logs View Post
Getting used to and training to spin high cadence at easier gears promotes better efficiency. High cadence pedaling definitely requires seated pedaling. High cadence training promotes switching of muscle fibers into high endurance Type 1 slow twitch fibers. These muscle fibers are more fuel efficient and more resistant to fatigue. You'll be able to hold a faster pace with these muscle fibers for much longer. Great for increasing your average speed, improving fuel efficiency, and your ability to resist fatigue in long rides.

If you OOS a lot and generally have low cadence, you are likely to have less percentage of Type 1 muscle fibers and you'll definitely hurt if you try to spin at higher cadence. You'll require more fueling on long rides (translates to carrying more food or bottles, added weight). Additionally, you'll fatigue sooner in long rides.

Unfortunately, getting well used to high cadences requires many weeks of training at high cadence. Within that period, you're not only increasing your % of Type 1 muscle fibers but also adapting your neuromuscular connections and pedaling technique to higher cadences. It will hurt at first but pays off in the long run! Just don't forget to insert rest / recovery days in training.

Finally, you'd still need to stand from time to time even when you get trained for high cadence. You can't eliminating standing completely. It helps relieve the butt in long rides and stretch the legs. However, for me when pedaling OOS, I try to maintain the same cadence I do when sitting. Sometimes I don't even shift to a higher gear when I do. This going to be very important in the very long rides to avoid causing undue fatigue to your legs.

You may also need to train doing long seated climbs if you're not used to it. Finally, it wouldn't hurt to make sure your saddle is at the correct height. Not too low, or not too high (too high is a much bigger problem than too low).
If it takes weeks to improve, I have all year to train! Yeah, I originally started training my OOS saddle riding because it was the only way to keep up with strong high cadence climbers. For example, when seated and climbing, I'll get passed up. Yet when I switch to my OOS I can usually catch up and pass before reaching the top, sometimes even passing just meters before they summit. Also I notice amongst the high cadence riders I ride with, they tend not to switch to OOS, maybe due to keeping their rhythm and pace? I also have a habit of staying in my big chainring and not switching to the small unless absolutely necessary. I'm wondering if this technique has given me both an advantage and disadvantage?
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Old 07-03-22, 10:03 PM
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Good stuff here - but - assessing the body that God gave you is number one. I was given a standing climber's body. I can climb decently seated but I'll do it better with longish cranks (175s for 34 inseam pants) at less than max RPMs. I raced long ago and could ride above my category if the race was hilly enough. I rode small freewheels and high low gears. Worked very well. Guys didn't like seeing me at the start of hilly races. I could have trained for years as a seated high RPM climber and gotten better than mediocre, yeah, but I thrived standing the higher gears, sitting to push them when the hill leveled out some.

Funny thing was I was fairly clueless about all of this when I was invited to spend the weekend with the Quebec Cycliste Club president (don't quote on the name; that was a lifetime ago). Night before the 60 mile club ride the pres sized up my body, told me I was a hillclimber and to put my bike in this gear for the big hill the next morning. (42-21. I was riding a triple and had much lower.) He was right. I beat the next rider by minutes.
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Old 07-03-22, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by jonathanf2 View Post
On one particular hill I've done on group rides, there are two ways going up. The first road to the top has less curves and a steep straight incline at the end where I can punch it up OOS. This is the hill I'm fastest on and I usually reach the top first. The second climb from the back road has multiple switchbacks which seem better suited when seated on the saddle since the road curves don't allow for adequate sprint climbs. This hill I usually get passed on, though I still manage to keep up with the front pack. Also the "gravel" in my area is more like dirt climbs

I definitely wonder if it's a technique issue for me? Though I do have a bad habit of always going all out on the group rides. I'll go for ride tomorrow and see if changing my pedaling technique might help. I'll also adjust my saddle and see if that will help.
While you understand that it takes time and training for a different pedaling technique to become more efficient for you, I think it is possible to see possibilities in short tests..
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Old 07-04-22, 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by jonathanf2 View Post
On one particular hill I've done on group rides, there are two ways going up. The first road to the top has less curves and a steep straight incline at the end where I can punch it up OOS. This is the hill I'm fastest on and I usually reach the top first. The second climb from the back road has multiple switchbacks which seem better suited when seated on the saddle since the road curves don't allow for adequate sprint climbs. This hill I usually get passed on, though I still manage to keep up with the front pack. Also the "gravel" in my area is more like dirt climbs, so traction forces a seated climb.

I definitely wonder if it's a technique issue for me? Though I do have a bad habit of always going all out on the group rides. I'll go for a ride tomorrow and see if changing my pedaling technique might help.
Highly gifted OOS climbing specialist (who is also good at TT) Alberto Contador would only do an all-out OOS around the last 15 minutes of an alpine climb stage. During that 15 minutes, he would only get back to the seat briefly a few times or never at all. During training, he'll be doing continuous OOS interval of up to 20 minutes without sitting down.

However, Alberto Contador would still spend most of the time climbing seated and spinning high cadence, at least on trainings. He mentioned spinning high rpm seated on long alpine climb stages for an hour or more to save energy and keep his legs fresh for the final 15 minute push pedaling OOS.

So even for OOS climbing specialists, seated climbing training remains critically important. Even Chris Froome who tends to climb almost entirely seated won big alpine stages even against climbers who pedal OOS more often. It doesn't hurt to try different possibilities.

I'll also adjust my saddle and see if that will help.
Seated climbing will favor a saddle position that is tilted slightly down and adjusted a bit forward. However, such position might be uncomfortable in the flats. Hill climb racers will sometime do it in more extreme degree especially for very steep courses.

Cutting down on body weight also helps so you can do more aggressive sitting positions without experiencing discomfort.
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Old 07-04-22, 09:28 AM
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Weeks to improve? It takes years. Don't be in such a hurry for results.
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Old 07-04-22, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Weeks to improve? It takes years. Don't be in such a hurry for results.
I read it takes years to see some gains with training if you're already close to your peak performance levels.

That only means I'm still far away from reaching peak performance that's why I'm seeing gains in much shorter period of time. And I'm still relatively young, like the OP, in my early forties. It could have been a factor too.
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Old 07-05-22, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by koala logs View Post
I read it takes years to see some gains with training if you're already close to your peak performance levels.

That only means I'm still far away from reaching peak performance that's why I'm seeing gains in much shorter period of time. And I'm still relatively young, like the OP, in my early forties. It could have been a factor too.
Yeah, this is why I like riding with younger and stronger riders. Sometimes they're faster than me, other times I can drop the hammer on them. Fitness-wise I'm always looking to improve. Prior to cycling, I was also into powerlifting, so I know the feeling of pushing my limits and the gratification you get when you accomplish your goals. Every time I get dropped, I get even more motivated to become stronger. My only regret is why I wasn't this motivated when I was in my 20s...oh yeah, I was too busy socializing on my free time and focused on my career! Lol
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Old 07-05-22, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by jonathanf2 View Post
If it takes weeks to improve, I have all year to train! Yeah, I originally started training my OOS saddle riding because it was the only way to keep up with strong high cadence climbers. For example, when seated and climbing, I'll get passed up. Yet when I switch to my OOS I can usually catch up and pass before reaching the top, sometimes even passing just meters before they summit. Also I notice amongst the high cadence riders I ride with, they tend not to switch to OOS, maybe due to keeping their rhythm and pace? I also have a habit of staying in my big chainring and not switching to the small unless absolutely necessary. I'm wondering if this technique has given me both an advantage and disadvantage?
Hi Jonathan
viewing and there have been some good ideas and considerations. Maybe I can add some other perspective. Humans, are a 'Bell curve', within some very narrow dimensions. We can't jump like a grasshopper nor run like a cheetah. But within our narrow spectrum, there is diversity.
same,same for cycling. We often pick other riders to admire and emulate, Pantani, Armstrong, Ganna, Gilbert, Contador.... But who's to say that our individual attributes are similar to any rider we compare ourselves to? And Body Type is not often a good indicator... Pantani is known for his long escapades climbing OOS, while Froome climbed with extremely high cadence, in the saddle.
SO what are we to do? Best is to define who you are and what your parameters are.
Riding in a group forces you often to get outside of your 'character' - so it's not a good way to 'define/test' what constitutes 'you'. We are all some combination of Biomechanics, body chemistry and mental processes. Taking 'mind' out of it for the moment, cycling is muscle power, endurance and processing energy for the ongoing act of providing power to the muscles.
Cadence helps us chunk out the work load into smaller requirements, but in a quick 'cycle'. Let's consider cadence (within cadence range which is not extreme high or low). Cadence increases require greater loads of oxygen and other nutrients to the cells, done by greater blood flow, increased load on the heart.
Slower cadence means less need for blood flow (to a degree), but the grouping of muscle fiber needs to contract stronger, engaging more fibers strongly, which creates possible energy deficits in the immediate cellular environments. So it's either 'power' thru muscle contraction or system wide load by greater load on the circulatory/heart.
We're all some combination of these 2 major areas. Some genetic limits and some 'current state of condition' limits.
That;s what you need to define, rather than reacting to the outside conditions of the group ride.
I suggest testing (as did carbonfiberboy). The two different uphill sections you describe. Go there, test yourself, when you're by yourself. Do each in the 2 styles of riding you mention, OOS and on saddle. But check your progress thru each entire test. Have a constant reading HRM and power meter. Compare those, especially the HR, in each method.
Compare the your avg Hr and the Highest HR readings to your Lactate/Anerobic Threshold (you have done the Lactate Threshold testing?).
Once you've done all the testing you'll have an idea how best to handle each section of the climbing based on YOUR known capabilities. Then you can also formulate some training to improve either climbing method on sections you feel could become better on.
I have one Q - on the sections you mention, in the group ride - Is the group riding over and thru the top and continuing riding on to whatever is next? Or is there a 'regrouping' at the top, having the lead riders waiting for others to reach the top? This, of course, affects how one rides any of the climbing sections...
Ride On
Yuri

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Old 07-05-22, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by jonathanf2 View Post
My only regret is why I wasn't this motivated when I was in my 20s...oh yeah, I was too busy socializing on my free time and focused on my career! Lol
You'll have a A LOT more regrets if you didn't do that! I failed to do it in my 20's and dearly paying for the consequences. You did right.

The only way to ride hard in your 20's is either you're incredibly lucky with a great job that gives you lots of free time or you made a career out of cycling. Having good friends is something you can't afford to miss. I know because I had none and it makes a huge difference in life, not just for the company, mental health but also with opportunities.
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Old 07-05-22, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
I have one Q - on the sections you mention, in the group ride - Is the group riding over and thru the top and continuing riding on to whatever is next? Or is there a 'regrouping' at the top, having the lead riders waiting for others to reach the top? This, of course, affects how one rides any of the climbing sections...
Ride On
Yuri
There's always a regrouping on the top with most the group rides I do. I have a bad "habit" of trying to be first or at least a part of the lead group. On straight, punchy uphills I can focus on my out of saddle and maintain my speed and rhythm. One thing I notice with strong spinners is that they tend to have bigger calves. In regards to my legs, I have much bigger quads and glutes which I think work well with my out of saddle. Riding with those who are very strong at spinning, makes me think I need to improve that aspect of my cycling even more. Also my road and gravel bikes are setup differently. My road bike has 175mm crank arms, 50/34t crankset and 11-32t cassette. My gravel bike has 165mm crank arms, 46/30t crankset, 11-36t cassette. I'm 173cm tall and I know 175mm crank arms are long for my height/inseam, but for those punch sprint climbs I can really go all out. I'd almost be tempted to try 180mm and see if I'd be faster.
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Old 07-05-22, 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by jonathanf2 View Post
There's always a regrouping on the top with most the group rides I do. I have a bad "habit" of trying to be first or at least a part of the lead group. On straight, punchy uphills I can focus on my out of saddle and maintain my speed and rhythm. One thing I notice with strong spinners is that they tend to have bigger calves. In regards to my legs, I have much bigger quads and glutes which I think work well with my out of saddle. Riding with those who are very strong at spinning, makes me think I need to improve that aspect of my cycling even more. Also my road and gravel bikes are setup differently. My road bike has 175mm crank arms, 50/34t crankset and 11-32t cassette. My gravel bike has 165mm crank arms, 46/30t crankset, 11-36t cassette. I'm 173cm tall and I know 175mm crank arms are long for my height/inseam, but for those punch sprint climbs I can really go all out. I'd almost be tempted to try 180mm and see if I'd be faster.
yeah, so if everyone knows it's a regroup, that changes everyone's tactic. It's now a mtn-top 'finish'. So you can bet the guys riding in-saddle are burning the legs also.
I wouldn;t attribute morphology too much. There are plenty of with both types of musculature.
If you want to continue to add further preference to OOS, then going 180 would certainly lean you more that way. But if you want to build more in-saddle capability, then going 180 could/would make that development more difficult. Much as I like getting out of the saddle and powering up, I know that in-saddle is way more efficient, but also hard on the heart rate.
Seems as though you're heading in opposite directions (by your comments), wanting to improve your in-saddle performance, and being excited to go all out on the OOS punchy climbing.
I don;t think anyone could effectively build both methods at the same time; except as a side benefit of overall fitness/strength improvements - but we're not talking about that.
Depending on what you finally settle in to doing/building; 'testing' would still be recommended. You need a performance and Biometric base line from which to measure and plan improvements.
What will be right for you is for you to decide. But doing the testing will clarify what you currently are. Just some weeks or month or 2 of in-saddle work is not gonna give a true image of what you are and what you can be as rider. 165 cranks are certainly a 'spinner's' tool. Not that you can't;'spin' 180 or 175, it's just more cardio load/work.
Ride On
Yuri
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Old 07-06-22, 12:16 AM
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Originally Posted by jonathanf2 View Post
One thing I notice with strong spinners is that they tend to have bigger calves. In regards to my legs, I have much bigger quads and glutes which I think work well with my out of saddle.
The glutes, hamstrings are mainly used for constant power OOS climbing, especially in long climbs. Big strong quads are great for OOS sprinting. Strong Pro climbers will tend to have skinny legs. Strong Pro sprinters will have bulkier and more muscular legs overall.

The size of the calves don't really tell if one is good for OOS or spinning. Alberto Contador and Chris Froome are the opposite end of the OOS vs climbing seated spinning technique and both of them have small calves. One thing they have in common is they are both very good climbers in TdF, one of the best.

For spinning high cadence, it doesn't matter which muscle group you favor. All you need to do is spend time training at high cadence.

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Old 07-06-22, 10:42 AM
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One can always self select to spin slower but one has to train to spin faster - my second cycling coach.

For me, leg speed is about practice and heart rate begins to close the spread between slower and faster cadence with training. So HR is not a great way for me to deduce any conclusions about anything other than at some point, I run out of heartbeats which means I have maxed out blood flow to muscles.

The calve muscles act like a second heart pumping blood back to the heart such that there is a relationship between heart rate and leg cadence and and therefore and optimized leg speed - current cycling coach.

The above seems to work for long duration constant power efforts such as time trials and longer duration hill climbs.

I am a current road racer and trackie. I was at the track last night in LA, Carson indoor track working out. The trend in track racing is bigger gears. So if you come to the track as a high cadence spinner, you are going to be directed to gear up. Why? It has proven to be faster. So watching really fast sprinters in LA, they legs seem much slower and the look slower due to slower leg speed but are going very fast.

Generally, power lifters turned trackies are ideal candidates for larger gears and adapt easily.

It is not surprising that you are good out of the saddle where you can engage more muscle fiber and make it feel like a lift. Having said that, those muscles are trainable to faster contractions if you apply yourself.

What seems to be missing is the climb time for the hills in the ride. Going up the GRM is completely different from a 2 minute power climb. What climbs are you talking about? If you are climbing the GMR standing and beating all the other riders, just declare victory! Do not change a thing.
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Old 07-06-22, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
One can always self select to spin slower but one has to train to spin faster - my second cycling coach.

For me, leg speed is about practice and heart rate begins to close the spread between slower and faster cadence with training. So HR is not a great way for me to deduce any conclusions about anything other than at some point, I run out of heartbeats which means I have maxed out blood flow to muscles.

The calve muscles act like a second heart pumping blood back to the heart such that there is a relationship between heart rate and leg cadence and and therefore and optimized leg speed - current cycling coach.

The above seems to work for long duration constant power efforts such as time trials and longer duration hill climbs.

I am a current road racer and trackie. I was at the track last night in LA, Carson indoor track working out. The trend in track racing is bigger gears. So if you come to the track as a high cadence spinner, you are going to be directed to gear up. Why? It has proven to be faster. So watching really fast sprinters in LA, they legs seem much slower and the look slower due to slower leg speed but are going very fast.

Generally, power lifters turned trackies are ideal candidates for larger gears and adapt easily.

It is not surprising that you are good out of the saddle where you can engage more muscle fiber and make it feel like a lift. Having said that, those muscles are trainable to faster contractions if you apply yourself.

What seems to be missing is the climb time for the hills in the ride. Going up the GRM is completely different from a 2 minute power climb. What climbs are you talking about? If you are climbing the GMR standing and beating all the other riders, just declare victory! Do not change a thing.
This thread has been awesome, so much good info on here!

Yeah, I was basically a recreational powerlifter turned road/gravel cyclist. I still go to the gym, but mainly just to maintain my physique+strength, as opposed to trying to max my PRs. Nowadays if I go too heavy, it does slow down my recovery a bit and it's harder on my joints when cycling. I also ride with some of the LA cycling groups and I'm always impressed at the smooth acceleration of track riders (awesome to draft on the flats); the attack sprints of dedicated roadies and the high cadence ability of hardcore gravel/MTB riders. Most my climbs are usually 15-30 minute climbs 1-2 hours sessions when solo (due to time constraints) and then I go down hill and repeat the process. I'm always trying to beat my Strava PRs as well. I'll usually ride in saddle until the last segment and then go out of saddle to attack the hill. Most my road riding will be climbing the Hollywood Sign, Griffith, Elysian and LA River Bike Path for the flats. For gravel I ride Verdugo Mountains, JPL and Angeles Crest Mtn. trails which definitely forces me to stay on saddle.

So what do you think? Instead of trying to emulate high cadence riders, maybe I should just stick to my out of saddle style and vary the cadence? I do feel like out of saddle is where I feel most natural. For example climbing the last leg of the Hollywood Sign, I try to do it OOS until I reach the top. My heart is about rip out of my chest, but man what a great feeling finishing without stopping!
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Old 07-06-22, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by jonathanf2 View Post
This thread has been awesome, so much good info on here!

Yeah, I was basically a recreational powerlifter turned road/gravel cyclist. I still go to the gym, but mainly just to maintain my physique+strength, as opposed to trying to max my PRs. Nowadays if I go too heavy, it does slow down my recovery a bit and it's harder on my joints when cycling. I also ride with some of the LA cycling groups and I'm always impressed at the smooth acceleration of track riders (awesome to draft on the flats); the attack sprints of dedicated roadies and the high cadence ability of hardcore gravel/MTB riders. Most my climbs are usually 15-30 minute climbs 1-2 hours sessions when solo (due to time constraints) and then I go down hill and repeat the process. I'm always trying to beat my Strava PRs as well. I'll usually ride in saddle until the last segment and then go out of saddle to attack the hill. Most my road riding will be climbing the Hollywood Sign, Griffith, Elysian and LA River Bike Path for the flats. For gravel I ride Verdugo Mountains, JPL and Angeles Crest Mtn. trails which definitely forces me to stay on saddle.

So what do you think? Instead of trying to emulate high cadence riders, maybe I should just stick to my out of saddle style and vary the cadence? I do feel like out of saddle is where I feel most natural. For example climbing the last leg of the Hollywood Sign, I try to do it OOS until I reach the top. My heart is about rip out of my chest, but man what a great feeling finishing without stopping!
Track sprinters also strive to have high cadence and many of them have power lifter body build. Quite muscular legs, perhaps, like yours. Some of them do low cadence sessions at high gear, high pedal resistance to improve acceleration. But their peak power comes at very high cadences, well above 140 rpm both OOS and seated!! So they also do A LOT of high cadence training at high power output.

But since your rides and climbs are relatively short, you may not even need to train spinning high cadence seated but the training would still help quite a bit to keep your legs fresh for the last segment OOS sprint.
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Old 07-07-22, 11:24 AM
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Here's a link (I hope) to the most interesting paper I've read in a long time, which examines at great length exactly what we've been talking about in this thread:
https://www.researchgate.net/publica...cycle_exercise

An interesting quote from near the end of the paper:
According to unpublished observations of our laboratory, in a group of professional cyclists, the differences in the torque–velocity relationship between stage race specialists and classic specialists was greater than between the classic specialists and a group of amateur road cyclists.
If you don't know what force-velocity and toque-velocity curves are, the paper explains it. Very applicable here.
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Old 07-07-22, 05:44 PM
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So today I did a 32 mile ride with a mix of flats and climbing. I actually tried staying out of saddle the majority of the time on the climbs, only sitting to give my legs a quick break. A few things I noticed. When climbing out of saddle I stayed mostly in low gear and climbing actually became easier. My heart rate stayed lower as well. I always used my OOS for high gear climbing, but I never thought to use OOS for low gear and for cadence control! The down side is that it's definitely more physically demanding, I had to shift my OOS positioning to utilize different leg muscles and also adjust my back and position over the bars. I think the fact that I was strength training prior to taking up cycling serious again, has made a difference. I also find riding my OOS style beneficial for sprinting as well, as I could easily clock up my speed while on the flats, but that's a topic for another post!

Thanks so far for all the info and insight!
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