Sunday, January 08, 2006

Low-cadence cycling

As I've mentioned earlier in my blog, power testing on my computrainer showed me that I produced about 15 to 20 watts more at 60 rpm than at 70 to 90 rpm. My power at 100 rpm was about 15 watts lower then the 70 to 90 range. I've always ridden at about 90, so that was a surprise to me.

I've been trying to train myself to ride at a lower cadence lately on my computrainer rides. Today was the first nice weekend day in a while, so I went out and did a 25-mile ride with my wife at about 17.5 mph. My heartrate was quite a bit below the predicted level based on my heartrate vs. speed graph that I kept from last fall's rides. It could be an anomoly, but I'm looking forward to plotting some more rides to see how they look.

I'm also looking forward to using a lower cadence on some longer rides to see how big the muscular endurance factor kicks in. It might turn out that the lower cadence is much more efficient for me on 20-40 mile rides but might not work for 80-100 mile rides due to the muscular fatigue that sets in. The lower cadence makes the ride seem 'calmer' and more fluid than the higher cadence. Even though those are subjective psychological effects, they might be helpful on difficult rides.