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I''m new to this "organized training" idea, so please bear with me!
I had a hard ride yesterday and wanted to take it easy today. Usually I would just take a day off but decided today that I would do a short 30-45 minute easy ride at 50-60% of my Max HR. The only problem was I couldn't decide which would be more effective; I knew I could just go slower, but whether I should use high cadence in lower gear or low cadence in higher gear?
I started out with 85-90 cadence but in a low gear, and then switched to 75-80 cadence and a higher gear. My HR stayed about the same but the legs definitely noticed the difference. I'm not sure which is physiologically better for the "recovery" process.
 

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Stick with the higher cadence (85-90 rpm) range and the easier gearing. The higher gears that you were running with the lower cadences will put more stress on your muscles than you should have. What you want to do for recovery rides is keep a relatively high cadence, like what you were doing, so that you can get the blood moving freely through your body to promote recovery (i.e. bring nutrients to the areas that need them, clear out lactic acid, etc).
 
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