Saturday, 20 June 2009

Increasing cadence from "grinding" to "spinning"

As a solo weekend warrior cyclist, I rely on blogs and books for my training tips. The consensus seems to be that an ideal cadence for a "weekend warrior" should be 92-95 pedal revolutions per minute. Growing up carrying weight on bicycles as a paperboy, then as a postie I was very much a grinder. When I first used a cadence meter, the Cateye Strada showed me pedaling with a cadence of a mere 72-75 revolutions per minute. Ever since, I have been trying to increase my cadence. Once a higher cadence rate is natural, try and match that with the few remaining remnants of strength from my past life. i.e. Before I graduated from University and into the desk and chair complete with self-contained air-conditioned box.

For surely,
Strength + Cadence = Power -->> more speed (yay)

In October last year, the information addicted boy that I am, I invested in a Garmin Edge 705 fitness GPS. Now I have all the data that I could hope to analyse :). Well, not quite - I don't have a power meter. But then these difficult economic times are not the time for a second mortgage to make such an investment. Now comparing cadence of recent ride data with my first few rides with the Garmin Edge 705:

Sample of average ride cadences:
  • November 2008:
    • 81/minute
    • 80/minute
    • 76/minute

  • May/June 2009:
    • 90/minute
    • 88/minute
    • 92/minute
    • 90/minute

No doubt there, that I am now in the "spinning" zone (85-120/minute). In theory, this is supposed to mean less muscle fatigue (yay) and improved blood flow =
faster recovery.
The unanswered questions remain:
  1. Will I actually be faster riding with a more orthodoxed cadence rate?
  2. Am I mixing any strength with my new found higher cadence rate, for surely:
    Cadence + Nothing = Cadence -->> not necessarily more speed (boo)

In Wellington right now, we are in the depths of a very Antarctic feeling winter. With no light before or after work, riding in the dark does not suit just comparing times with summer. Not to for get windy Wellingtons famous resistance training.

My desire for more speed also means I need to ride with people faster than me to ensure that I challenge myself to get quicker and quicker. To this end, I am going to stop training exclusively by myself and join the Onslow Tarbabies on the Sunday morning rides. Yes, riding group, means no more 10am, or afternoon starts. Yes, I hear you chuckling at the thought of wintery morning starts from me- but you're the same people that are in disbelief at my entire week and counting without coffee.

P.S. I have finally caught up on cycling event blogs for the past season :). I have backdated some of the posts to when they actually happened, rather than when they were posted :>.

P.P.S. Four years of tramping trips yet to be mapped and posted. This will take a while...

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