Pedal stroke: Power distribution musings

So I have just been playing about with the TACX training software for the Zone 2 rides while I am locked in. As I am running a NEO there is the power distribution widget on the heads up display. Now the thing is 180° out of whack for my stroke so upside down and back to front. Still usable though.

I naturally want to spin so by about this point in the year I am up to 100rpm as my normal cruising cadence. Since I haven’t been out on the bike in weeks I have no real idea where I am with that.
If we presume that the goal here is to get the perfect horizontal ‘peanut’ shape then a few things are occurring to me about my stroke:
…I can more or less get the horizontal peanut but only under certain circumstances:
…high load
…LOW revs <90 RPM
…Way back on the saddle (indicative of a fit issue?)

Even then there is a big difference in the shape of the ‘lobes’ on the peanut with my right leg favoring the 2 o’clock region and my left the 5 o’clock. I presume this is just a legacy of my other sport where the legs favor quads and hams differently. Definitely interesting to see. Trying to work on it is a bit of a blast when noodling along in zone 2.

I always have a bit if a waist on the peanut. Can’t seem to get that to open up a lot. More kick’n pull?

Really though apart from being an interesting distraction from sitting on the trainer for an easy couple of hours is there any real utility to pursuing this? I have read mixed messages out there.

And what gives on the low cadence thing? If high cadence is more efficient and I have been training my entire life to lift it why is the stroke efficiency so off at higher RPM for me? Am I just really a grinder who has forced an unnatural style on myself?

From a study on cadence:

“The maximal energy turnover rate was 1.7% higher at 100 than at 80 rpm ( P <0.05). This could not, however, compensate for the 3.4% lower efficiency at 100 rpm.”

and here is a link:

same here.

Optimal cadence has been shown to be individual. There is no universal agreement on 100rpm being the optimal cadence. In terms of averages the science I’ve seen says something like ~90rpm on flat/rolling, and lower on climbs. But those are averages, some will spin faster and some will spin slower. Do what is natural.

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and older study from 2001 of pro cyclists cadence in Tour de France and Giro d’Italia:

  • ~90 rpm on flat and TT stages
  • ~70 rpm on hilly and mountain stages

After the Armstrong era, I would assume the cadences have gone up. Pretty sure I’ve seen a website that tracks such info, but maybe it was just average speed.

This was an interesting read:

I would have assumed the opposite. Higher cadence loads the CV system which benefits the most from EPO.

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What I was thinking:

After During the Armstrong era…