Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What is bigger? Your heart or your legs?

Do you spin a fast cadence or power a high gear? I think a lot of racers have issues and question what is right for them. I know I do. When I first got into racing I never rode my small chainring unless I was going up hill. When I moved from Hawaii to Virginia, I started riding with more experienced racers who rode to recover in their small ring. I still was a gear masher for the most part.

Over the last handful of years I changed. I started practicing my spin, especially during the off season. I felt it would help me respond better to attacks during races. So my cadence was comfortable at around 110 rpm for normal riding. Then came time trialing.

If you wanted to see how bad I was at time trialing, just look at the bottom of the results. I was the one at the end. I couldn't go fast. Then one day I played with my cadence on the TT bike. I did intervals and discovered I was fastest at a cadence around 90 to 95. The next TT was over 3 minutes faster by lowering my cadence.

Many of the really good time trialist push a big gear at a cadence of around 80. So that got me thinking. Would that be right for me? Does that work for everyone? I think the answer lies in your legs and your heart.

How powerful are your legs. Can you produce large forces and sustain the effort? How much leg strength do you work on during the off season? How can you tell if your leg strength is an issue?

Or is your cardiovascular system your strong point? How high is your VO2max? What is your heart rate at different watts?

Obviously if both of these are your strengths you are far better then me. But it is important to know your stength and ride accordingly.

My thoughts and ideas about this will be continued on my next post.
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