Riding to your Cadence

One of the easiest ways to ride smarter and smoother, is to ride TO your cadence. What does this mean? An ideal cadence for road cyclists is anything OVER 85 rpms. And ideal cadence for triathletes is anything OVER 88 rpms. Some riders find they like a slightly slower (i.e. closer to that 85 or 88 number) and a slightly harder gearing in any given moment. These are often riders who have a bit more muscle mass, though this is not a "set in stone" thing. And some riders find they naturally gravitate towards a higher cadence, spinning consistently at 95-98+ rpms for most of their road riding. It takes a LOT of riding to find out what an individual's preferred cadence is, and also what their ideal cadence is for the event or race at-hand. There are many, many ways to analyze this kind of thing, when someone really wants to hone in on this. (This is the kind of thing that Peaks Coaching Group and its coaches does an excellent job of analyzing, using a myriad of data points and charts, etc, for those cyclists who really want to be specific about this.) But for the sake of simplicity here, it is important to say that ANYONE can pay attention to their "NATURAL cadence", and then start to become intentional about their GOAL cadence. Once you have gotten an idea of what your ideal cadence is, the KEY TASK is to use this cadence to help you dictate your gearing choices in any given moment of time. What this means: 1) When you are out on a training ride (or race/event), you will have a particular EFFORT you are riding for. This may be an effort that you sustain for several intervals, or it may be a consistent effort for an entire training ride or event/race. 2) Make a CONSISTENT CADENCE be your #1 goal during the ride/efforts. 3) SHIFT, SHIFT, SHIFT! Keep changing your gears continuously, as often as needed, to KEEP YOUR CADENCE STEADY and consistent, while maintaining the EFFORT you are riding for. 4) Don't underestimate the necessity of using your SMALL RING (up front, by your pedals!) to help combat headwinds, even a headwind as "small" as 5-7mph, or "invisible inclines" as slight at 2-3% grade that last for awhile. The key thing, is that you are riding at a particular EFFORT level, while MAINTAINING a very steady cadence......and then shifting between any and all available gears to make this happen seamlessly and fluidly. Computrainer classes are a GREAT time to work on this. Coach Tyler and myself will be coaching a number of CT classes this season, and cadence can/will be a focus in a number of these classes. Learning to ride TO a cadence is like learning how to speak the language of your bike. It takes practice, it takes patience, it takes intention, and it takes MORE PRACTICE! =) But the first step, is knowing this is even a THING to be focusing on! Happy Pedaling, and hope to see many of you in our Computrainer classes where we can work on this!