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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Yes, I am a newbie to the sport...........I made the conversion from MTB just last year, and I haven't ridden a trial since.

So I am moving into a more focused and educated training phase of road riding and I just can't figure out what you should measure with cadence and what cadence tells you about your cycling goals. The cadence function is on my Cateye computer but I am still a bit confused about what to attain. Is there a website that explains this or a good recommendation on a book?

Thanks in advance for any and all advice!
 

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Every person has a diffrent ideal cadence...
new wisdom ie. the lance school of thought sez fast cadence = fast up hill
but jan is a gear masher... so really, finding what works best for you is best.
but use it as a measuring figure. jan can still spin very fast if he needs to he just perfers not.

I like mixing up my cadence just to give my legs somthing new.

you heart rate and power output are really the more important aspects to look at...

IMO
 

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Jan is only a relative gear masher, though, isn't he? Doesn't he still climb at 85-90, which is still a faster cadence than a lot of people climb? It isn't 120, but it's not 65, either.
 

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bill said:
Jan is only a relative gear masher, though, isn't he? Doesn't he still climb at 85-90, which is still a faster cadence than a lot of people climb? It isn't 120, but it's not 65, either.
quite right. Relative to the top GC and climbers. He is often at a high cadence but he seams to pick a big gear at times on the climb. I wonder if he is fighting his urge to mash but it even comes out on the steeps of the dolomites.

a strange related note. I swear, every time a commentator marvles at lances high spin he's got someone behind or ahead spinning a lot faster. But when they keep quiet his knees are really flying...
 

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the theory is that using your slow twitch muscles, which you use at lower torque levels (if you train yourself to use them at higher cadences) is more efficient than recruiting the fast-twitch fibers necessary for higher torques. Fast-twitch muscle fibers, while they can deliver lots of power, can do so only briefly, using up available glycogen. Slow twitch muscles rely on aerobic metabolism and can run for a lot longer, delivering lower power with each stroke but adding up to the same power.
Car engines provide a decent analogy. Cars with low torque curves typically can move you off the line quickly, with their engines delivering lots of torque, but they tend to use more gas than little four-banger cars with high revolution capabilities. The little four-banger might have to get up to 4,000 rpms to deliver the same amount of power, but it does so more efficiently than the big displacement gas guzzler at 2,000 rpms.
That's the theory. I think it's reliable enough.
Optimal cadences are considered to be in the 9-100 range, but, as something I read recently argued persuasively, this is so only if you train to recruit your aerobic, slow twitch fibers at that cadence. Otherwise you're struggling along and actually using your fast-twitch fibers anyway.
 

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Different people have different "optimal" cadences, but it's been found that most road racers spin 90-100 rpm on the flats, and about 75-85 on the climbs, with some notable exceptions. All recent world hour records have been set at, I believe, between 103 and 108 cadence. Sprinters spin 120 and up for their max speed efforts.
 

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man,when I'm riding up hills, I almost never hit 90. I'm usually high 70s low 80s. Sometimes I try the higher cadences, but it wears me out. Should I just stick with it anyway until my body adapts?

I was talking to a friend also who specifically uses ultra low cadences on some climbs, which he says is supposed to help your overall power and sprints. Has anyone heard this?
 

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Very low-cadence uphill work is like weightlifting on the bike; good training technique to increase force production. That's what Friel, my coach, etc., say. Not a racing / overall riding technique. Watch your knees.

If you find higher cadences wear you out, but that cadence is okay on the flat, is it because of the cadence ITSELF, or because in order to turn that cadence with the gearing you have, you need to put out more power than you can sustain? To test, shift into a REALLY low gear -- one that's too easy for the climb -- and try it again. If you can't do this, you probably don't have enough gears to climb comfortably at high cadence, at the power you have, with the gearing you have.
 

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It might help to post some basics. Cadence is pedal speed expressed in pedal revolutions per minute. If you look at this very simplified formula for bicycle power output

Power = Force x Speed

you’ll see that the power you crank out is made from two components: force and speed. Force is the downward push on the pedal. Speed is pedal speed, or cadence. You can see how you can produce the exact same amount of power with either larger pedal forces at lower pedal speeds, or smaller pedal forces at higher pedal speeds.

Most coaches and riders today believe that racing-speed power made with smaller pedal forces at higher pedal speeds can be sustained for much longer time than power made with larger pedal forces at lower pedal speeds.

As others have said, the best ratio of pedal force to pedal speed is not a constant. It depends on many factors. The rider's muscle size, fitness, and position on the bike position are some. The race length, terrain, and weather are others. There are more.
 
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