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Beyong the hype - Cadence(9 posts)

Beyong the hype - Cadenceted39
Jul 27, 2003 12:16 PM
For five years LA has been an annual, unabashed advertisement of the merits of high cadence cycling. This year Hamilton -as acknowledged in his diary and with his 36 tooth inner ring - followed suit. Beyond Hamilton's perserverance, I think this cadence move helped him have the best performance amongst the leaders (when normalized by his injury and associated health hits - not the least of which was poor sleep).
Did any of the coverages give any info/insight into the rider's gearing/cadence usage? Yes, even if reduces the deified-coverage (Lance is God, Eddie was a Cannibal, etc.) that makes cycling narratation sound like a comic book (I don't have cable, but that is the gist of CBS's coverage).
The cadence issue was made real and relevent to me 18 years ago (I'm a year-round roadie), when I found a technical paper laying out the merits of a high cadence style. The bottom line suggested was to raise cadence with your power output - if only to avoid weight-lifting along with the associated muscle fatigue. I checked it out via long flat constant speed (equals constant power) rides trying different gearing (equals cadences). This style showed some improvement in the short run and big improvement in day-in-day-out riding. In any case it made its case (check it for yourself) - I've ridden this way since. Until LA, I was amazed to see the TDF guys drop cadence on climbs (one of my learned climbing mantras is "Hold cadence, not gears"). If LA had used different bike hardware, every rider and their dogs would have switched over. As is, apparently very few bother to consider the cadence issue.
re: Beyong the hype - CadenceJimP
Jul 27, 2003 2:03 PM
The race coverage mentioned Hamilton's choice of gearing. He was using the "normal" 53/39 on the front for the first stage but switched to a lower front set of rings to be able to raise his cadence and not have to get out of the saddle for the climbs. There have been other threads discussing the gearing issue which have pointed out that a 39 / 21 combination allows the pro riders to have a fairly high cadence even while climbing. There was some mention of some of the riders using a 39 / 25 for a couple of the mountain stages this year.
I too have read the articles about cadence and now that I have had knee surgery (not caused by cycling) I can not push big rings without risking pain. I used to train in the winters on a wind trainer at 100-105 rpm so that when the racing season would start, I could spin easily. I still ride in the 85-95 rpm range and can hold 100-105 rpm for several miles while in an aero tuck.
re: Beyong the hype - Cadenceted39
Jul 27, 2003 4:10 PM
Jim, thanks for note and info. I believe Hamilton's move to a higher cadence (and 36 tooth ring) was something he had planned/worked on previously. I saw the comments in his journal entry around the Alp stages time. It did resonate well with his TDF circumstances. The comment on TDF cadences is based on watching (admittedly CBS coverage on a 5 inch black and white) the guy's legs. Clearly most of them drop to 70-80 rpm in the mountains (whilest sitting) and this concurs with what I've read in racing journals. The problem is that their power output is like double normal while climbing and with a reduced cadence they're drifting into the weight-lifting zone (big leg forces). I think a lot of these guys would ride better (and more comfortably) by exchanging some of their gear-pride for cadence-pride.
re: Beyong the hype - CadenceJon Billheimer
Jul 27, 2003 5:15 PM
The relationship of cadence to sustainable power output is nothing new. There was a post here some months ago that listed all the world hour records going back about 50 years, including av. spd., gearing, and cadence. Turns out average cadence for all participants was about 105 rpm.
re: Beyong the hype - Cadenceted39
Jul 28, 2003 10:36 AM
Jon, thank you for info. The TDF riders (and coaches) would do well to read up on this info and then re-read prior to mountain stages (Ullrich should re-read prior to TT's too). The average cadence in climbing sections drops way below the 105 cited (which is why LA stands out visually). Invariably, when the TV commentator cites someone as having "blown up", their shown ugh'ing along at 60 or so RPM. The selection of gear ranges shows most of these guys have little interest in maintaining a high cadence, which I would suggest is very significant to long hard, steep, climbs. In talking with a local racer who uses a cadence monitor he acknowledged dropping to 70 on long climbs. The underlying issue was not surprisingly what was an acceptable largest rear cog to use. Peer pressure can be dumb all over the place.
What I want to know is..............firstrax
Jul 27, 2003 7:28 PM
where the hell did they get a 36 tooth chain ring in a 130mm bolt pattern?
Custom request from Riis to FSA, based on MTB bolt pattern. (nm)Swat Dawg
Jul 27, 2003 7:54 PM
Custom request from Riis to FSA, based on MTB bolt pattern. (nm)biggearlover
Jul 28, 2003 7:13 AM
Just happened to read the june issue of la Bicicletta (; it has an article about a Moser Karbon bike, equipped with what is called a FSA Carbon Pro Compact crankset, with 50 and 34 (!) teeth chainrings. If my italian serves me right, the article doesn't speak about BCD. It does say however that it is an alternative to triple chainsets.

Not special order by Riis I would say.
The cranks exist on FSA's site, must find rings though. nmSpunout
Jul 28, 2003 3:57 AM