Cadence slowly creeping up during workouts

I really suck at pedal smoothness and I know I need to improve but I can’t help but feel as if my cadence slowly has to increase during an interval just to put down the same prescribed power.

Is this normal because of natural momentum or should I be able to smooth this out and maintain a consistent cadence/power during intervals.

One thing I’ve noticed is that during the first few intervals I’ll be on 53x14 but then find my cadence creeping past 100 rpm so I’ll up the gear to 53x13 just to get back down to 90-95 rpms. Repeat this cycle until eventually I’m on the highest gear.

I’m using powermatch and ERG mode. I’m using Assioma duos and my trainer is the Wahoo Kickr Snap. I make sure my rear tire is at the same pressure and calibrate the assiomas and the kickr before every workout.

Here’s my latest workout for reference. Disregard the last interval as I had a little left in the end (is this bad to do, btw?).

That looks pretty normal to me. I do the same thing when I’m doing longer intervals that are outside my comfort zone.
A higher cadence tends to raise my HR and breathing, but reduces the strain on my legs and knees.
You can definitely train yourself to maintain a steady cadence. Practice makes perfect in that regard. And it’s an extra skill when you need it.

Personally, I’d try getting out of those high gears on the trainer. You’d be surprised how much you have to smooth out your pedal stroke when the flywheel isn’t filling in the gaps.

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Agreed, pretty normal to have shifts in cadence. Some drop as fatigue grows, others increase as they try to combat fatigue and “stay on top” of the gear.

I suggest stopping the shifting as it is a crutch fix to an issue that is more about your own control. Ignore power and focus purely on the cadence. Keep an eye on it over the interval, and intentionally adjust up or down to maintain whatever cadence range you consider appropriate for your needs.

ERG is all about your input, with keeping a steady and controlled cadence at the top of the priority list.

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With ERG mode my cadence usually ramps up to 105-110rpm or higher until I start burning out. Then ERG quickly kicks in harder and my cadence becomes stupidly low (circa 50rpm). I am relatively new to ERG and just started again on TR so I’ll persevere for a bit. My instinct just now is telling me to toggle ERG on/off (IIRC its ‘T’) when I reach a more stable cadence and not spin out as early. Pre TR use I switched ERG off all together unless it was a virtual ride/ race, controlled resistance manually and got what I considered good results :-/

As a rule, I will say that the most important aspect to ERG is cadence, and recognizing that YOU are in control of that cadence. If it increases or decreases, it’s because you are doing so. Your changes may be in response to fatigue, inattention and natural tendencies, or other factors.

But you are always in control:

  • Want a faster cadence?

    • You need to increase your pedaling speed (overpower the current trainer resistance, which shows as a power increase) for a few seconds, get to your desired cadence, stabilize, and allow the trainer to reduce (via the controlling app) the resistance unit setting in accordance with your cadence change.
  • Want a slower cadence?

    • You need to decrease your pedaling speed (underpower the current trainer resistance, which shows as a power decrease) for a few seconds, get to your desired cadence, stabilize and allow the trainer to increase (via the controlling app) the resistance unit setting in accordance with your cadence change.
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This makes sense to me. Thanks for the explanation.

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Yep. I do the same thing, too. So, it sounds normal based on previous responses. I mess up sometimes when I am fiddling around with my music and lose focus. I slow down a bit to allow the speed to drop and get back to my normal cadence. Also, I find when I focus on planting my butt (sitbone) to the seat I have more control.

I want to try resistant mode one day. Anyone here ever use that mode?

Sure, Resistance works ok too. It’s actually the mode that some ERG users swap to in workouts with short and high sprint type efforts. It is quicker to handle those with Res and shifting than waiting for ERG to adjust in some cases.

Others, like Nate, even run Resistance more often with many other workouts because they like shifting and controlling power more directly than ERG mode.

This makes me want to really try resistance mode now.

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Keep in mind that Resistance mode is based on a percentage that relates to the max resistance (power) available from the trainer.

  • If you have a trainer with a 2000w max, 50% Resistance setting is going to give around 1000w resistance. This is dependent on your selected gearing and cadence, so it’s not an absolute value.

  • Usually, a good range of Resistance is 20-40% for many riders, trainers and gearing options. But be willing to adjust the percentage to allow the proper use of your gearing (high and low) to hit your power targets.

Thanks for the information. I found out the Snap has a 1500w max rating.

This seemingly innocent statement is actually hiding an evil catch-22 probably invented by a giggling Satan.

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:laughing:

Seriously though, it works.

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Yes, the spiral of death… such a lovely thing. :smiling_imp:

Does anyone know if TR w/ power match in erg mode is adaptive?

What I’ve noticed is that in VO2 workouts, if in the first couple of intervals I might start the interval with a lower cadence and then increase throughout the interval, maybe 100 - 110. Then in interval 4 I am starting to feel some fatigue and my cadence doesn’t change, I find the power drifts down throughout the interval (in erg mode.). An interval or two later of just keeping steady cadence things are all right and power is on target throughout the interval.

When that happens I have to remind myself to just pay attention to keeping my cadence steady and not worry about anything else. ERG and power match will work their magic to keep me on target. If you’re shifting you are short circuiting the changes that erg mode and power match would be making to keep you on target, I think.

Thankyou for this. I am slowly learning not to hate erg mode. For some time I felt out of control, getting faster and faster cadence, getting to the end of my gears, and pedaling at 130 revs. The erg mode seemed to be in control, which I hate. I bought a new traner ,cyclops hammer 2, and its great. I was doing a hard workout today and found if I slowed my pedalling it seemed to allow me to drop the cadence. You live and learn. I also just go onto resistance mode if Im hating it too much

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There is certainly a learning curve to ERG mode. I jumped in 5 years ago and it was interesting and frustrating at the same time. Some was the limitation of the trainer (CycleOps Powerbeam Pro, wheel-on) that was slower to react to wattage and cadence changes.

Unintentionally, those limits taught me just how important that my own cadence control was the largest factor in the equation. As a result, I made cadence my primary focus and learned to ignore power. That one tip is the key I continue to stress, even when I got to better trainers. Smooth and steady cadence still makes the experience better with more responsive equipment.

With your H2, you have one of the best ones available (I love mine) and can take advantage of the best that ERG can provide. Happy training :smiley:

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Update:

I tried this out on today’s workout and WOW, what a difference! I was able to stay in the same gear throughout the entire workout and felt as if I had really good control throughout. By focusing on cadence, I could sense the slight resistance changes as the trainer worked to catch up to my efforts. Not once did I feel like my legs start to spin out from under me as before.

The result, I was easily able to keep my cadence between 88-92 for most of the ride while also responding well to the prescribed cadence changes.

The best thing was when I did glance over to my power, I was surprised to see it right on point most of the time! Definitely much more than when I focused on power over cadence.

This is a game changer for me. Thanks @mcneese.chad!

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Congrats! That is so awesome to see your results and improvement.

Thanks for the feedback and wish you the best on your future training with your new skills. :smiley:

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