Low Cadence, Choking, Equipment Choices and More – Ask a Cycling Coach 285

This episode has some of our deepest dives yet, but some of the most practical knowledge and advice for all disciplines – Amber and Chad delivered!

I am listening back to the episode now to take notes on ways to improve my mental game on race day. Tons of insight there!

YouTube Video:

Topics Covered in This Episode

  • Is low cadence more efficient?
  • How to avoid choking
  • The hosts’ favorite tires
  • Strength training during recovery weeks
  • What bottle cages are best?
  • How to pace a long time trial

Studies and Resources Referenced in This Episode

TrainerRoad Podcast Network

Submit your Question to the Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast

Subscribe to the Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast

Subscribe to the Successful Athletes Podcast

Submit your story to the Successful Athletes Podcast


I find that on a tri after the bike when jumping to the run you tend to go faster than what is sustainable, so even if you take off faster, it’s not sustainable and may harm you at the end of the run

1 Like

Chad always delivers and Amber rocked!!!


Thank you for the talk on Cadence and how it relates to traction in the XC world. I’ve been struggling with this, so hearing about significant a cadence difference between road and dirt was a big help to me. I’ve stayed at 85 rpm off road but my road cadence has increased along with the power output since starting TR. I was wondering if I needed to go back and do more single leg drills. Based on this, I’ll stick with the plan as-is.


Only part way through and already amazed at how well all did their research and opinions. THIS is GREAT stuff! Keep it up for those triathletes in the crowd who have experienced much of this in races. Good to see the research. You guys are so awesome…my favorite podcasts by far!


Hello guys, I love your podcast.
I have a question: could you give us a baseline on which things to do after a workout and in what order?
For example: You finish a workout. In the first 15 minutes, do some strength exercises (for example, planks, Y, Z). Then do some stretching exercises (e.g. X, Y, Z stretches). After that, replening your glycogen stores by eating something, etc.
It would be really helpful! Thanks in advance,


Another Superb podcast. Thanks guys :heart_eyes:

1 Like

I decided to take a drink every time Amber said “autonomic nervous system” I didnt make it to the end of the podcast! :crazy_face:


Fantastic episode, I really enjoyed that.
The whole segment about the ANS was fascinating!


My ears perked up on the low cadence discussion and wanted to check in here.

In events that have extended climbs with 10-15% gradients I need to spin at 65 RPMs to work at a sustainable SS power range. By the end of the climb my legs are TOAST for the rest of the event. My aerobic condition is fine and I can push power on flats and descents. But then the next rolling hills come and the lights go out in my legs. Rinse repeat. Fine on flats, toast on hills.

It made me think that if I can get my spin to 80 (though training to peak power/weight and easier gearing) I wouldn’t destroy my legs.

Does that idea hold water? Or do I need to train my legs more to push more watts at low RPM?

I haven’t listened yet, but my first year of cycling I did a bunch of climbs at 60-65rpm. The longest day saw 8 hours of climbing at low cadence, not saying that was ideal, but I was able to finish the 123 mile / 15,000’ event strong and woke up feeling just fine.

It definitely holds water from my experience. I spin at a higher cadence than my buddies when climbing for longer periods. This typically helps my legs last a little longer and useful for other parts of the ride. When I feel that my heart rate may be increasing more than I’d like I’ll drop the cadence a little and rely more on my legs for a few minutes before hitting an easier gear and ramping up the cadence again. I always like to think of it this way: higher cadence works the heart slightly more, lower cadence works the legs slightly more - switching to one gives the other a little break/rest when you need it.


I loved this podcast, two very different but fascinating deep dives.

1 Like

Just a thought, could the guy that panics at races be having a tough time because he’s doing punishing volume on not enough food?

Is there anyway to search through old epsiodes for topics?

TR break down a lot of the episodes into smaller chunks and post them on their YouTube channel.

I wrote 2 guides that may help.


And this is why you’re the forum king

1 Like

:rofl:, HA!

Definitely not a king, but happy when I can help someone find the info they need. :smiley: