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  1. #26
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    Thanks for sharing JKC - it's an interesting article. The topic seems to be one that has multiple view points in the coaching world. Not sure I would subscribe to the concept that people should ignore anecdotal evidence in training though.

    For me, starting standing intervals I couldn't survive more than 5 minutes to start (suffering all the way), and within a few weeks was able to get to 20 minutes and then further. Thats pretty strong evidence an adaptation is occurring, and for me it translated to improved climbing - a step change. Although certainly other changes for me might have influenced what I noticed too. The better isolation of quads doing this workout coupled with a new bike fit a couple months earlier that moved my saddle forward quite a bit could have come together to make this more appropriate for me.

    Here's another perspective and description of the adaptations from low cadence intervals and how they might fit in the context of a training plan that is more current than the 2008 article (although admittedly perhaps not more credible, just different perspective)

    The High-Force Climbing Workout You Should Be Doing Right Now - CTS
    Moderation is boring - do epic s##t

    Trek Domane
    Niner RLT9 (Gravel Bike)
    Trek Crockett

  2. #27
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    I think you are mostly right but are missing some key elements.

    First, most non-pros riding long steep (over 8%) climbs on road bikes are going to spend a lot of time riding at or below 60 RPM's.

    Second, I think there is strong empirical evidence that training on long steep 10% grades likely produces better preparation for riding 8% grades than does the same amount of time on 6% grades. Put another way, when training for riding where shifting to a lower gear/increasing cadence is not an option, train for significant periods of time in the high-output low-cadence range that will represent the most difficult 20% of the climbing you will be doing.

    Admittedly, this has little to do with the OP and is aimed more at the guy who is preparing for vacationing on the popular climbs in the Italian alps or Dolomites. My guess is that much of your view on training is oriented more toward crits than sustained serious climbing?
    Quote Originally Posted by pedalbiker View Post
    Suffice to say, I'm comparing your big gear intervals to pedaling around aimlessly.

    Standing big gear intervals are even more pointless unless you just really like doing something different. That really serves no form or function.

    I understand the point you think you're trying to make. I used to alternate seated/standing intervals for 3-4 mins as part of winter training. Along with the ubiquitous single leg drills and high cadence spin ups and all of the other stuff people used to do back before training became a bit more 21st century.

    The point I'm trying to make is it doesn't do anything because the systems that actually matter for endurance cycling can be more specifically targeted and better utilized doing riding one would actually do. Sure, doing some standing big gear interval is better than sitting on the couch, but the OP needs to get out and ride more (endurance) and sprinkle in some actual intensity. Stuff that actually has tangible results.

    That's the problem with personal experience. It's easy to focus on the one thing you did while missing that your ability to climb and ride long distances would have substantially improved anyway with more climbing and longer distance rides. As proven by everyone who's ever improved those things without ever doing a big gear interval.

    In fact, I'd assert the popularity of the compact has driven people to the opposite conclusion that you're presenting, mainly that being able to spin a higher cadence has improved their climbing substantially over standing, big gear interval-esque climbing.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwiftSolo View Post
    I think you are mostly right but are missing some key elements.

    First, most non-pros riding long steep (over 8%) climbs on road bikes are going to spend a lot of time riding at or below 60 RPM's.

    Second, I think there is strong empirical evidence that training on long steep 10% grades likely produces better preparation for riding 8% grades than does the same amount of time on 6% grades. Put another way, when training for riding where shifting to a lower gear/increasing cadence is not an option, train for significant periods of time in the high-output low-cadence range that will represent the most difficult 20% of the climbing you will be doing.

    Admittedly, this has little to do with the OP and is aimed more at the guy who is preparing for vacationing on the popular climbs in the Italian alps or Dolomites. My guess is that much of your view on training is oriented more toward crits than sustained serious climbing?
    My training contradicts your assumption that training for climbing at 60 rpm in hard gears is the best way to prepare for a mountain ascent. You're getting the legs stronger perhaps, but not toning up the cardio system to handle the much more sustained efforts encountered on the mountain.

    Your heart and lungs are going to be full on. Gotta train them! Forget the legs. They're already strong enough. Spinning at 90-95 rpm is the way to ramp up the cardio system. It will sustain those low cadence slug fests and save the legs over the long haul, as rider will recover quickly on the lesser grades at higher cadences.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Srode View Post
    For others interested in the topic - 1 of a number of articles you might find interesting -

    Pedal Slow To Ride Fast
    Triathletes train the legs by running, also. Naturally, they would find pedaling at running cadences the most efficient. Dedicated cyclists deliver power better around 90 rpm, a bit faster cadence than running.

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Srode View Post
    Thanks for sharing JKC - it's an interesting article. The topic seems to be one that has multiple view points in the coaching world. Not sure I would subscribe to the concept that people should ignore anecdotal evidence in training though.

    For me, starting standing intervals I couldn't survive more than 5 minutes to start (suffering all the way), and within a few weeks was able to get to 20 minutes and then further. Thats pretty strong evidence an adaptation is occurring, and for me it translated to improved climbing - a step change. Although certainly other changes for me might have influenced what I noticed too. The better isolation of quads doing this workout coupled with a new bike fit a couple months earlier that moved my saddle forward quite a bit could have come together to make this more appropriate for me.

    Here's another perspective and description of the adaptations from low cadence intervals and how they might fit in the context of a training plan that is more current than the 2008 article (although admittedly perhaps not more credible, just different perspective)

    The High-Force Climbing Workout You Should Be Doing Right Now - CTS
    CTS said this:

    Fatigue resistance, which can also be observed as an ability to maintain a given intensity longer, mostly comes from improving cardiovascular fitness. But when you increase muscle fiber recruitment you also spread the workload of producing power over more muscle fibers, which increases the time it takes for the whole muscle to fatigue. And with the added adaptation of some fast-twitch fibers behaving more like slow-twitch fibers, MuscleTension intervals effectively give an endurance cyclist (as opposed to a track sprinter) more muscle fibers to work with that are adapted to your particular sporting goal.

    Hopping up stadium benches, lifting weights, and doing standing intervals, surely strengthen the legs, but as far as muscle recruitment, wouldn't it be better to do these strength intervals sitting on the saddle? And, incorporate them in an "endurance" ride so the body will learn how to recover? That's how you're going to ride at an increased pace.

    So do low cadence strength intervals very purposefully following the crank around, stimulating all the muscle fibers in the legs, same as strength interval, without changing geometry of motion, the ways the muscles are contracting and expanding.

    I've found "spinning" easy gears automatically recruits more fibers. Once rapid firing becomes internalized, together with the use of more fibers, the muscles can deliver more power. It's great being able to crank out a big gear at low cadences when called for, just as smoothly as at 90 rpm in a moderate gear.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico View Post
    CTS said this:

    [I] doing standing intervals, surely strengthen the legs, but as far as muscle recruitment, wouldn't it be better to do these strength intervals sitting on the saddle? And, incorporate them in an "endurance" ride so the body will learn how to recover? That's how you're going to ride at an increased pace.

    So do low cadence strength intervals very purposefully following the crank around, stimulating all the muscle fibers in the legs, same as strength interval, without changing geometry of motion, the ways the muscles are contracting and expanding.
    Yes, I think low cadence sitting does a great job and I did those this year also and still do every few weeks.

    I would guess most of us faced with higher grades that push us into lower cadence on rides when already fatigued, try standing for short periods and that most riders have a very difficult time standing more than a few minutes climbing. For the OP, lots of climbing and the ability to rotate from standing to sitting when becoming fatigued and climbing standing for longer periods of time should be beneficial IMHO. And based on my experience doing standing intervals delivers amazingly quick results as measured by duration to fatigue at the same power output. That quick result is what I thought the OP was looking for.

    Absolutely building the aerobic engine with high intensity as well getting more miles on his legs on a road bike is a must to become a strong cyclist, my suggestion wasn't intended to be a replacement for that - just something with specificity to his situation to help quickly. Contador's training is a good example of specificity - his training includes 20 minute standing intervals to target his climbing style.
    Moderation is boring - do epic s##t

    Trek Domane
    Niner RLT9 (Gravel Bike)
    Trek Crockett

  7. #32
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    You probably live in a very hilly area, but I would definitely find some 30 mile flatish rides where you can get some moderately high but maintained speed going and feel good about yourself. Don't trash yourself on every ride on those hills, but mix it up. Keep a ride record of your mph for ft/mi to gauge your progress.

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