I am 67, been riding since December 2017. I mostly train indoors, but have gone on multi-day long rides like BRAG. I have steadily improved on the road and on the trainer to the point where I am considering racing (senior).
I see folks talking about cadence, and a figure of 90. Well, being 6’2", I seem to have settled on a cadence of 80. When outside of the 75-85 range, I usually shift. 90 is not real comfortable for me, but I am wondering if I should shift my training to increase the cadence?
I have just set up a computer and ordered a new 43" monitor for the new Wahoo Kickr Core I am about to order.
Oh, and I have found through the past 18 months that I improve if I train every other day. In fact, some of my PRs have occurred after 2 days off.
Increasing your functional cadence range and average cadence range are worthwhile and doesn’t have to be difficult.
There are great tips in many of the TR workouts.
- spend 1-3 minutes at 3-5 rpm faster than your normal cadence.
- take a 1-3 minute break at your normal cadence.
- repeat this anytime you want.
- focus on keeping a smooth spin and don’t bounce.
- If you lose form at any time, return to your normal cadence and recover.
- you can do faster cadence increases, but do that only after really nailing the smaller steps first.
Absolutely worth it. At 50, what tends to cause me issues is high torque. My knees start to suffer. Higher cadence will allow you to put out the power at less torque.
Absolutely agree with Chad here. I am 60 and through TR workouts my “natural” cadence has risen to 93-95 (from 89-91), and now I have no problem spinning 100-105 for multiple minutes. Low force cadence work, consistently done, should produce results. Workouts like Pettit and Baxter give you time and drills to train toward a higher cadence.
I’m 62 and from what I’ve read I was a typical triathlete, with low cadence, 70-72. Using TR, I have steadily increased to 88-90. I certainly feel the reduction in stress on my knees.
I’m in my late 50’s and I don’t entirely agree with the ‘higher is better’ cadence mantra, so I would urge caution. After reading forums like this one and looking at what top riders do, I decided that my natural cadence was way too low and spent the next two seasons gradually increasing my TT cadence from the low 80’s to around 90rpm.
Great? Not really, because the increased cadence didn’t lead to any significantly better times. A revelation came when discussing this with various seasoned TT vets who advised me to just ride at my naturally selected cadence and not worry what people in their 20’s or the pros were doing. For me this really worked, and my times have consistently improved since I’ve just let my body select the cadence it prefers, which is around 83 in flat-ish TTs and a few rpm higher for general road cycling on rolling roads.
Whilst I am happy to accept that a high (90+) cadence is probably the most efficient method for elite cyclists, who spend many hours practicing the technique, I am not convinced that this is the best advice for older/average riders putting in far fewer hours in the saddle. There may be age-related physiological differences, or it may be that the average rider simply doesn’t have the training time available to achieve a bio-mechanically efficient, high-cadence pedalling technique.
So by all means try raising your cadence, but if it doesn’t feel right for you, then don’t get hung up on it.
Oh, I forgot to mention, because it may be significant. I bought my Cannondale from a fellow my height, but with much longer inseam. My inseam is 33.75". But the Cannondale has 175mm crank arms. I guess those are to the maximum length available. That might be one reason I have lower (natural?) cadence.
I have a ‘freakishly’ long torso. Had a devil of a time making this 60cm bike comfortable. Subsequently, the bike calculator with 8 measurements (I think) says I need a 56-57cm bike. FWIW I was a high school sprinter with powerful legs when I was younger.