Cadence increase during long intervals

I started cycling about a year ago having no clue really… about anything.
Read some books and found that cadence plays quite a big role regarding efficiency etc.
When I started my comfortable ‘quick’ cadence was around 75 RPM, currently it’s between 85 and 95 and that leads me to my question.
On long intervals like ‘sweet spot’ work around 10 minutes long my cadence usually starts at 85 gradually increasing during the interval and tops out at around 105 when fatigue has set in.
Is this my bodys way of telling me that 105 is a more efficient way of pedalling or whats going on here?
Or should I actively force my cadence to be lower at around perhaps 90 even though 100+ feels easier?

are you using erg mode?

I’m assuming so. You will hear people argue for all sides of this. slow cadence, fast cadence or it doesn’t matter. Some will say you have a natural cadence. I might say you have a cadence that you have practiced and optimized around. I will also say, I don’t think it matters. Do what is comfortable for you. If you are comfortable at 105, then that might suggest you have an opportunity to hone a faster cadence. you may have a predisposition to relying on aerobic capacity over muscular capacity, which may increase as your muscles get more tired. You might try working on both so you don’t become too dependent on one at the expense of the other.


This is a good article in my bookmark collection:

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To speculate, if you increase the cadence, you shift the burden from your muscles to your cardio-vascular system. So perhaps your muscles fatigue more quickly than your cardio-vascular system, and you instinctively increase your cadence?

I recommend you switch into resistance mode and choose your cadence consciously — try holding your cadence. Train at different cadences which are above and below your current self-selected cadence. Probably you will find this difficult at first, because holding power in erg mode “works” differently than in resistance mode: increasing cadence will increase power and not decrease the force needed rather than make it easier for your muscles.


I personally completely ignore my cadence. Whatever it is, it is. I was cruising along at 80 on a sweet spot yesterday. But I routinely see 100+ in races.

I race XC though, so my cadence is all over the place.

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I don’t think that’s good advice: during rides, yes, I mostly ignore cadence. What feels right not only depends on the day, but also on terrain and many other factors. But during training it pays off to practice being at the edges or slightly beyond your comfort zone.


I spend a lot of time in my base periods working in weird cadence zones. I’ll ride at 70-75 RPM, then do periods upwards of 105. Generally I settle in around 93-95rpm when riding, but I’ve done a sub-5 century pedaling at 103… bottom line: I agree that the point is to be comfortable at a wide range of cadences so you can respond to race or ride demands as they come up.

I have coached a couple of young novices who were mashing up climbs and weren’t climbing well to raise their cadence and select an easier gear. It made an immediate massive difference… but we are talking about pushing 90rpm vs 60rpm when climbing. It worked for them… really well.

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Other than the warm up, which starts to a low to mid cadence, I think I generally start of at a average to high cadence but after a few block it collapses. I can usually pull out of it with motivation but I prefer ‘resistance’ mode when I have that lack of focus. Last night work out is typical. If I am motivated though I have a high cadence throughout.

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Meh, just opinion. The rare occasion I am on the trainer I am focusing on hitting power targets, cadence doesn’t matter. If you are spending time doing easy work then that might be a good opportunity. But if you spend enough time outside, you get it naturally.

I don’t think so. If you want to get better at something, the best way is to specifically train for it. When I started road riding (I was a mountain biker most of my life), my self-selected cadence was extremely low. Because that is what worked best for me offroad. And I see that pattern with lots of people who don’t do structured training.

Indeed, doing cadence drills during Z2 workouts is great. Nevertheless, IMHO you should also vary your cadence during other workouts, although not to the same degree as during Z2 workouts.

Not really, at least not if you “just ride” without any structure, discipline or goal. And finding out what your “natural” cadence is in given conditions is very different from trying to expand the range of cadences you find comfortable.