I was on a ride yesterday with a group I had never ridden with. There were a couple of really strong riders, but for the most part just average riders. I was really tired from lots of exercise during the week, and not being in shape to begin with. So to make a long story short, I fell behind. One of the regular riders came back and told me to go to a higher gear that I was working too hard. My RPMs were up, but I wasn't breathing hard at all. Its just I showed up with legs that were shot. this is the second time I've been told to ride in a higher gear. I thought the object was to ride at 90 RPMs. Thoughts?
Maybe you should have asked the person who told you to go to a higher (bigger?) gear.
Since I wasn't there, I'm guessing that you were in a gear that was too low based on your information that you were at 90rpm but not breathing hard. If you had geared up and reduced the rpm, but pushed the gear a little harder, you might have been able to keep up. Keep in mind I'm talking about subtle gear changes, not so that you would cause injury.
Well, I guess I didn't trust his advice. He asked me how long I had been riding and I said a long time. Actually since 2003 or so. I will say in all of that time I haven't gotten any faster, but improved my endurance. I can go on very long rides, but I am usually bring up the rear. I'm nearly 59, so I don't know if I can improve at this point. I was trying to conserve my legs which were wasted from running and spin classes. Another problem, I seem to recover very slowly, but want to increase my mileage. Bottom line is I thought one was supposed to keep the cadence up? I rode yesterday by myself and I can still feel that my legs are sore, but really don't want to wait for the soreness to go away and miss time on the bike. I won't ride today, but will ake a spin class tomorrow evening.
Well, arrange to ride with them again but rest your legs the day before. And try gearing up just a bit and decreasing the rpm's just a little bit. 90 rpm seems a little fast to me. I generally ride in upper 70's to lower 80's depending on lots of variables. Pick out someone you think you can hang with and try to match their gear selection and cadence. You have a bike and it's summer time, why are you taking spinning classes? Also add some recovery rides the day following a hard ride. Your legs are still sore? Are you doing enough stretching? Skip the spinning and take a yoga or pilates class. Nothing wrong with being in the back of the pack, especially at 59.
Push yourself with the group ride. You get better by riding with better riders. It would seem you have hit a plateau, time to mix things up. So no spinning class, group ride instead for the next 5 weeks, then check back in.
1. you are never too old to get better
2. investigate proper recovery ( I use Emergen-C + Endurox and elevate/message legs )
3. with the proper recovery you can go hard multiple days in a row
4. if you want to get faster, do as suggested and push it during group rides
5. getting faster on group rides will make the longer endurance rides easier & faster too
6. perhaps you are spinning, but how much power are you appling? We are all different, I have a friend
that may push 60rpms, I prefer 90+ ( I have little legs)
7. take everything you read and hear with a grain of salt
The advice you got about cranking out a bigger gear to keep up is flat out incorrect. Keeping a consistent cadence of between 85-120 is proven to provide better efficiency. Spinning out at a faster cadence requires you to use less power overall for the same amount of speed, and keeping a high cadence will keep you safer in a group. Churning out a huge gear will make it hard to keep a consistent speed, and that can be a problem in a group ride. Just to put a gold star on my advice, Lance increased his cadence from 80-90 to an average of 115 early in his career to accieve higher efficiency. Keep up the high cadence man, its just all around better for your body...it also helps move lactic acid, keeping you fresher.
Since the OP never gave us an update, I guess we will never know how it turned out. If you were addressing my advice, no it's not flat out wrong. He was running high RPM, but not breathing hard, he was not keeping up with the group, and someone in the group suggested he gear up. I suggested the same thing, and I did preface it with small gear changes, not mashing in the biggest gear he had. Finally 120 PRM for for 59 year old causal rider? You are going to give the guy a heart attack, that is an all out sprint for anyone normal. The OP is not Lance, I'm not Lance, you aren't Lance, even Lance isn't Lance anymore. So whatever cadence Lance used to ride at is not really material. I do understand your point that increasing the RPM's (if they are too slow) is a better choice than pushing a gear that is too hard.
Oma, sorry to see that you felt attacked by my response. I in no way was trying to insult you. In fact, I was not even responding to what you were saying...I was upset that someone during a ride gave him general advice that was, at the very least, not specific enough to help him. Please understand what I was trying to suggest, even if I did a horrible job of it. There have been numerous studies on this subject and the underlying agreement is that in general a cadence between ~80-115 is most EFFICIENT. The amount of energy spent during cycling at a cadence in that range is less than if you are going at a lower cadence. In general, what you will find, is that a lower cadence pushes the muscular system harder than the cardio vascular system; spinning at a higher cadence uses the cardio system more. A person can use there cardio system at a high rate longer and more efficiently than they can using there TII muscles with a lower O2 consumption. There is a bit of training needed to achieve a high cadence, you will have a higher level of cardio strength with that kind of training. That being said...there are some people with unusual muscle compositions that may push them into being more efficient with a lower cadence...but in general, the majority of people can be more efficient by pushing their cadence up into the aforementioned range.