Sprinting - Which gears?
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  1. #1
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    Sprinting - Which gears?

    If I'm riding 53/14 cruising @ 19 mph and want to sprint out of the saddle, do I mash the pedals at the same 53/14 or do I go for another gear selection?

    Btw, my setup is 53/39 and 11-23.

    Please help.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    You will achieve faster acceleration by rapidly spinning a somewhat lower gear. As you reach maximum effective cadence, click up to one gear tougher and continue accelerating. Repeat till the finish line.
    * not actually a Rock Star

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    Quote Originally Posted by Creakyknees View Post
    You will achieve faster acceleration by rapidly spinning a somewhat lower gear. As you reach maximum effective cadence, click up to one gear tougher and continue accelerating. Repeat till the finish line.
    Thanks man! I was thinking the same thing but wasn't quite sure. Would you say going from 53/14 to perhaps 53/17 be the ideal drop in gears when sprinting? Or 39/14?

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    Just make sure your cadence when your sprint starts is in the 90s or higher.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by kbiker3111 View Post
    Just make sure your cadence when your sprint starts is in the 90s or higher.
    Agree, and this means that he should actually be in a 53 x 19 when starting his sprint at 19 mph. For his information, 53 x 14 at 90 rpm = 26 mph.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kbiker3111 View Post
    Just make sure your cadence when your sprint starts is in the 90s or higher.
    Quote Originally Posted by wim View Post
    Agree, and this means that he should actually be in a 53 x 19 when starting his sprint at 19 mph. For his information, 53 x 14 at 90 rpm = 26 mph.
    Wait, so... I should be at 53/19 then go higher to 53/14? Also, I don't think my cadence is that high in the 90s. I think it's more like in the 75-80 range.

  7. #7
    wim
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keoki View Post
    Wait, so... I should be at 53/19 then go higher to 53/14? Also, I don't think my cadence is that high in the 90s. I think it's more like in the 75-80 range.
    That's basically right. But there are different types of sprints: if you want a high rate of acceleration to create a gap between you and your competitor, you need to be in lower gear like a 53 x 19 if you're traveling at 19 mph. Once you've created the gap, you shift to higher gears to wind out your sprint.

    But if you're following someone to the finish line with the speed increasing more slowly, you don't need to be in a lower gear. Stay in the draft while pushing a relatively large gear, then go around him just before the finish line on pure grunt alone.

    Your 75-80 cadence a bit low, but don't worry about it. But you wrote about cruising in a 53 x 14 at 19 mph, which means a cadence of 68. That's very low by most standards, and certainly too low to get a jump on someone or react to someone else's jump.

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    Consider: how fast are your feet moving when you run a 100 yard dash? What's your cadence in that situation?
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    I think your cadence is a bit low in general.

    I normally cruise at 95 - 100 rpm. Sprinting, I'm at 115 - 130 rpm.
    Climbing, I try to keep it around 75 - 80 rmp.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creakyknees View Post
    Consider: how fast are your feet moving when you run a 100 yard dash? What's your cadence in that situation?
    I'm not sure, but all I know is that I'm not a runner.

    Quote Originally Posted by wim View Post
    That's basically right. But there are different types of sprints: if you want a high rate of acceleration to create a gap between you and your competitor, you need to be in lower gear like a 53 x 19 if you're traveling at 19 mph. Once you've created the gap, you shift to higher gears to wind out your sprint.

    But if you're following someone to the finish line with the speed increasing more slowly, you don't need to be in a lower gear. Stay in the draft while pushing a relatively large gear, then go around him just before the finish line on pure grunt alone.

    Your 75-80 cadence a bit low, but don't worry about it. But you wrote about cruising in a 53 x 14 at 19 mph, which means a cadence of 68. That's very low by most standards, and certainly too low to get a jump on someone or react to someone else's jump.
    My co-worker told me that my cadence is very low and that I'm a pedal masher, not a high spinner. I am going to take your advice and try to work on increasing my cadence.

    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    I think your cadence is a bit low in general.

    I normally cruise at 95 - 100 rpm. Sprinting, I'm at 115 - 130 rpm.
    Climbing, I try to keep it around 75 - 80 rmp.
    What are your gears set at?

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    There is a similar conversation here:
    http://forums.roadbikereview.com/rac...ng-281195.html

    I gave up on it though. Some guy kept trying to troll up the thread.

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    Damn, I got dropped yesterday trying to sprint. With your advice, I was riding 53/19 going slightly downhill then decided to hit high gear to 53/14 for the sprint. I was on the drops, heart pumping, out of the saddle, legs burning and mashing the pedals for approximately 20 secs then BAMMM! I hear...ON YOUR LEFT! and got passed by some dude on a TT bike. =( WTF????? ARGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!

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    Was this a race?

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    Technically no, not a race, but everyone knew we were racing each other after 5 miles into it.

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    Some people are just faster

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    Was the guy on the TT bike in on it too or did he just show up at the end?

    Were you racing towards a signpost or line?

    And like the guy above said, getting better at sprinting doesn't mean you'll win every sprint.

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    Nice thread, nice info. My question now answered. Thanks.

  18. #18
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    Sprinting is all about
    1) burst of power
    2) pain tolerance resulting from muscle burnage and heart pumpin

    I like to practice sprinting by doing shorts 10-15 second intervals using the highest gear I possibly can while still allowing me to maintain a minimum of 100 rpm. This is my base. Then from here, I work my way up to

    1) upping my rpm to 130 (while keeping the same gear ratio)
    2) upping my time to 40 seconds, that I can tolerate the pain.
    Usually by now my heart is in the high 170s to mid 180s. Make sure you are in good health.
    Work your way so your heart can develop along with your muscles (skeletal muscles can develop faster than heart muscles. I can push my heart to 190 but I'm not going to risk cardiac arrest since I'm not doing this for a living. Just a fun thing.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Local Hero View Post
    Was the guy on the TT bike in on it too or did he just show up at the end?

    Were you racing towards a signpost or line?

    And like the guy above said, getting better at sprinting doesn't mean you'll win every sprint.
    Yes, the TT guy was in the group ride with me.

    I was sprinting on a very long (had to have been at least 125 yards long) straight path towards a stop sign, before making a right turn.

    To get passed while sprinting is embarrassing. I will not let this happen again!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    Sprinting is all about
    1) burst of power
    2) pain tolerance resulting from muscle burnage and heart pumpin

    I like to practice sprinting by doing shorts 10-15 second intervals using the highest gear I possibly can while still allowing me to maintain a minimum of 100 rpm. This is my base. Then from here, I work my way up to

    1) upping my rpm to 130 (while keeping the same gear ratio)
    2) upping my time to 40 seconds, that I can tolerate the pain.
    Usually by now my heart is in the high 170s to mid 180s. Make sure you are in good health.
    Work your way so your heart can develop along with your muscles (skeletal muscles can develop faster than heart muscles. I can push my heart to 190 but I'm not going to risk cardiac arrest since I'm not doing this for a living. Just a fun thing.
    So....what is your gear ratio?

  21. #21
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    Good thread! Thanks!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keoki View Post
    So....what is your gear ratio?
    I'm usually in 53/14 when I'm peaking out at over 130 rpm. Then once I hit max speed (usually around 37-39 mph), I up shift into 13t cog to wind out a bit while I try to catch a breather for a few seconds, then downshift back to the 14t cog and give it one final push.

    At my relatively light weight of 130 lbs and weak power (compared to the big boys), I almost never touch the the 11t or 12t cogs unless there's a slight downhill. What I lack in torque I make up for it in high rpm. But in general, sprinting is not a forte of a lightweight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wim View Post
    Agree, and this means that he should actually be in a 53 x 19 when starting his sprint at 19 mph. For his information, 53 x 14 at 90 rpm = 26 mph.
    Im curious, with 52-11 say at 100rpm, how fast can you get?

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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    Sprinting is all about
    1) burst of power
    2) pain tolerance resulting from muscle burnage and heart pumpin
    3) Tactics (timing, positioning)

    There is a lot of skill involved in being a successful sprinter. Yeah, you have to have the engine for it, but you also need to know how far you can sprint, how far your competition can sprint, where you are in the pack, where everybody else is, etc.

    Generally, you don't want to be the first person to begin a sprint - you want somebody else to begin, you stay in their draft, then sprint around at some point. Or, if you think you have a longer/stronger sprint, you want to go relatively early BUT fast enough to make a gap (but, this rarely works, unless you catch the competition sleeping).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bhothak View Post
    Im curious, with 52-11 say at 100rpm, how fast can you get?
    36.9 mph

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