030 LEGS AND PEDALING FREQUENCY

LEG TEMPO – PEDALING FREQUENCY – CADENCE

The world hour cycling record only can be attacked successfully when the rider is able to sustain a cadence between 100 to 108 per minute for one hour. Giuseppe Olmo broke  the magic “barrier”  of 45 km in one hour in 1935, with a gear of 7.32 meters and a leg tempo of 102 per minute.

Is it true that at that time cycling was mainly a sport of suppleness and at the present time cycling has turned mainly into a power sport?

In 1994 Tony Rominger broke  the “barrier” of 55 km. He reached a distance of 55.291 km on the velodrome of Bordeaux. His gear was 9.02 meters with a cadence of 102 revolutions per minute.

Also all the other successful world hour record attempts had the common characteristic of a high cadence of over 100 revolutions per minute.

The current cycling generation still ride on suppleness but the difference with 60 years back is that they are able to sustain the high leg pace with a much greater gear due to their larger and more powerful motor.

Especially Lance Armstrong was the prime example of a rider who performed at high cadences, both during time trials and during the mountain stages.

The conclusion is clear, the current top cyclists have a  big motor and that is the reason they are able to maintain a high cadence. You have to understand that only by specific training, these properties can be developed.

ADDITIONAL NOTES ON A HIGH LEG PACE

Higher leg pace that top riders can spin for a long time is an expression of an effective functional   neuromuscular system. That means, the muscle function and the nerve function are well-attuned to each other by a specific training. By workouts in the gray and green zone of the lactate curve, the easy endurance training (EET) and the intensive endurance training (IET). This is workouts in the aerobic zone or the green zone of the heart rate.

Training with a high cadence, with a leg speed of 100 rpm, must be trained specifically.

Cyclists who are used to train with a large gear and thus a slow leg pace need the time  to get used to a high cadence. The appropriate intensity of these workouts is in the green zone. It is best to start with blocks of 20 minutes, with a cadence of 100 rpm and the intensity of the green zone, interspersed with recovery periods of five minutes in which they ride slower with a smaller gear with a lower cadence, and the intensity of the gray zone. Gradually the blocks are made gradually longer and in the end the recovery periods  disappear completely.

In the chapter 052 CADENCE TRAINING you can find more information.

THE INFLUENCE OF LEG PACE LEG ON THE LEVEL OF THE HEART RATE

Conclusion seems clear. A higher leg tempo, at the same load (300 Watts), comes together with a much higher pulse rate. So cadence workouts are not only training the race distance and the leg speed but also a training of the heart – lung system. The higher heart rate is an expression of a heavier load on the heart, and hence a big motor training.

Lance Armstrong, high cadence specialist.