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Q) re spinning versus grinding(7 posts)

Q) re spinning versus grindingwolfereeno
Jul 2, 2002 5:45 AM
I'm a novice/intermediate rider and don't race. My typical ride is 12-30 miles done pretty much as fast as I can. (I live in NY city and ride the central park loop mostly)

I'm a lot more comfortable grinding in harder gears and typically maintain a cadence around 60 or less. I notice that I keep up with people who are often spinning a lot faster. I'm 39 and want to protect my knees as well as become stronger & faster. When I try to spin at cadences greater than 80 I get really tired fast. Any suggestions for ways to increase my spinning ability? Is it even important to do so?

Learn to spinKerry Irons
Jul 2, 2002 6:15 PM
Spinning is a skill needed for cycling, both to improve your riding and save your knees. You'll be able to respond better to speed changes, and last longer when spinning than mashing. Did you come into this world knowing how to spin? Nope. Can you/should you learn how to spin? Yes. Practice by spinning faster for a couple of minutes, and then shifing to a higher gear, back and forth. Work on it, it will come and be worth the effort.
Why spin?McAndrus
Jul 3, 2002 7:10 AM
Faster cadences rely more on cardio fitness and blood sugar than do slower cadences. Slower cadences draw more energy from the leg muscles than do faster cadences.

Or to put it another way, when you spin you're drawing relatively more energy from the heart, lungs, and blood and less from the leg muscles. One reason very fit cyclists (like pros) can ride so long is that most of them try to spin. As long as they can keep eating and keep their blood sugar up, they draw more energy from the food and less from the body.

Now, spinning vs grinding does not equal effort or power. For instance, you say you get tired fast when your cadence goes over 80 rpm. I suspect you're not shifting to a lower gear, you're just pushing the hard gear faster. From my own test, leg cadence has very little effect on the heart rate but energy expended has a very great effect on the heart rate.

All other things being equal, learn to spin. You'll be able to ride longer, faster, and feel better when you're done.
Good info above.No_sprint
Jul 3, 2002 7:56 AM
You can really feel the difference between the two when you're on the Spin bike.
Good info above.wolfereeno
Jul 3, 2002 11:54 AM
Thanks all!

Lap timesavitar
Jul 6, 2002 7:22 AM
I am 40, and have been doing Central Park laps 3-4 times per week .. I am curious what are your lap times? I am usually around 20 minutes, but have been as low as 18:30. Today 1:00.29 for 3 laps... I think the wind really slowed me down though....
Lap timeswolfereeno
Jul 10, 2002 7:38 AM
I only recently started keeping close track of my lap times now that I have a better computer. I'm 39 and take between 20 and 23 minutes to ride the loop. I almost always include a sprint up the little hill near 79'st. I don't think I could do three consecutive laps 20' each but now I'll try!

Thanks & see you out there.
-Bill (on a ruby weave kestrel)