Saturday, May 22, 2010

HTFUP! Training: Birch Puke Fest

Trail head ~11 am Sunday.


  1. dave i don't understand your gear choices, that is just plain to big. there is so way thats faster than riding a gear thats ridable.

  2. Luc there is a purpose. I am pretty sure that Coach D has no intention of "racing" that gear. If he does then he needs to train on it so he can. It is a training exercise. I recall several of my own training rides that due to a equipment malfunction, required me to push/grunt a bigger gear than I ever thought I could. Well I did and was/am faster for it. There is a limit to how fast you can spin your legs before your heartrate can not go any higher. Bigger gears equals more muscle which equals more speed. You then should be able to spin a bigger gear in the end which is the goal for racing. The guy who can go the fastest for the longest wins, if you grunt or spin who the **** cares. I am toying with the idea of 1 gear as well and would definately lean towards the bigger gear as 2 to 1 is so slow on the flats its painful unless you want o spin at like 180 rpms.

  3. The Vikings ideas are nice, and he is well intentioned. He is a good man, but sadly, he is also dead wrong. Four years ago, on my best days I raced 38/16 but more often 38/17. Three years ago I raced 40/17 in wet races, and 38/16 on my best days but was having more good days. Two years ago, I raced all races on 38/17. Last year was only 40/17 as all races were wet. 38/16 is now my standard gear and 40/16 is what I am working up to. GB was the first race I have ever used 40/17. I used the same gear at Brandon. The theory is to train to push a bigger gear and go faster. Using a smaller gear so you can ride everything is nonsense. This is a race, not a ‘how can ride the most’ contest. Fastest rider wins.

    We now have 2x9 and 1x10 because riders are stronger. Get stronger and push bigger gears. It is all a balancing act. Sometimes you tip one way (too big), and sometimes the other (too small). You are never in the ‘right gear’ when you have one. I leave that to the multi-gear people.

    As to the other point… I rarely train on the gear I push during the race. I usually train on a smaller gear (e.g., 36/18 or 36/16), but will to ‘test’ ride to determine if I can actually push the gear. A ‘good’ gear will depend on any number of factors including preference and ability. However, you should be running some hills, mashing potatoes and spinning like a humming bird during the race.

    The most important factor in our races is ‘flats’, and not the hills. The road section of the Back 40 is a tough one to gear for. The bigger your gear when you hit the road section the better off you will be.

    I am not sure why you do not understand Luc, and I do not know who it is “just too big” for, but I will let my results speak for themselves and let you decide if your comment holds any water.

    Spin or mash. It does not matter. It is all about the ride.

  4. I just read the rest of what the Viking had to say :) High cadence fatigues your nervous system (just as k Dylan). You can probably keep up to a larger gear for a short period, but there is a cost. Cramping is common when you are too far above or too far below your natural/trained cadence. There are many studies looking at efficiency and the range is generally toted at 90-110 rpm. Also, consider that if the race came down to a sprint, the super gear will fly (i.e., super fly) past any 2:1 ss. A bigger gear does not equal more muscle. A bigger gear is just bigger, and if you cannot turn it over at the same or a greater rpm then you will go slower. It is about efficiency and speed. Greg, Tomek and Luc and really spin but at what cost. Too big a gear sucks as well. A good single speeder is strong and aggressive. A great single speeder can spin with a huge gear, mash for hours, hold a very high cadence when required and attacks every element of the course for the entire race. The Viking is right. Fastest wins. Period. Chose your weapons well.

  5. i was not trying to contradict what you do at all Dave. I totally get it. The goal is to always be able to spin your natural cadence in the biggest gear possible. That is where you would be most comfortable and therefore faster. I have recently converted my commuter to ss and it really feels different in a good way. FOrces you to get stronger when you face hills, wind and stuff because all you have is one. I am transitioning to 1 x 9 on my MTB as I rarely get out of the big ring now anyway so why lug the extra pound of junk. It's funny how as I have been riding longer I feel the need for less and less crap on my bike. Oh yeah that gear is ridiculous. I was out and about doing 40/20 on my 29er and that shit would be stupid hard at BIrch. It sure takes a commitment and your results do speak for themselves.

  6. didn't some guy win like 7 TdF with a really fast cadence (NOT mashing).

  7. yes. LA did. However, I remember reading about his training for that cadence and it was a combo of high cadence and really low cadence, big gear mashing.

    My own experience with this was there was a training ride I did at GB a couple of years back and the wet sand got on my chain and I had horrible chinsuck issues in the middle ring. SO I stayed in the big for 3 hours. 44-34 was my smallest gear. I had a great ride that day. More importantly was the follow up ride 3 days later at BIrch. I absolutly flew up the climbs like I never had before out there. Gears that I had never seen before going up climbs in like 32/18 at like 90 rpms seated. Up til that point I was mostly using 32/30 or 34 at like 100rpms. I even did a few in the big ring which I had never even considered until then.

    I also don;t think that Lance ever realy spinned more than a 120. 2-1 gearing for SS means on the flats you are going to need to spin a ton to maintain 40km which we easily attain on the flats here in Manitoba.

    You get that 29er together yet Kevin? Welcome to the darkside!!

    Besides what the hell do I know anyway, I have won like 6 races total in my racing career and all of them WNS races.

  8. I imagine that being force by chain suck to move to the big ring may have given you an appreciation for the bigger things in life, but there is no training effect from one ride or in 3-days. 6 months maybe. Our muscles only do one thing and that is contract, so it is all about the load they must move. Higher loads = more mechanical, and easier loads = more aerobic. This is an endurance sport.

    When people were making noise about LA spinning, they were trying to explain why he was so dominant. They were referring to the lactate production at different cadences, or efficiency. Efficiency is usually though of a 02 consumption. Lower consumption = more efficient. According to the commentators, LA was spinning much faster then the other competitors, and this was their explanation for his climbing abilities. A simplistic explanation to feed the masses. Any ex. physiologist will just roll their eyes and pat you on the back if you made this claim. Biomechanically mashing tends to be a little more efficient for TTs, and spinning for longer efforts (90 – 110). Mountain bikers tend to have lower overall rpms then road, with track and bmx having the highest. The key is to find/train a cadence, which is most efficient for you given your talents, bike, terrain, sport, fitness level etc. Ether way you have to be able to pump it out at 40-50 rpm, or 120 rpm when you single speed. B2B is the perfect example of a hellish ss course. The opening road section is a nightmare of spinning, followed by wallowing in sand, then repeat until you are dead. If you want to place in this race you have to push a very large gear for the road section or get dropped. Interestingly, I have typically used a gear with is too small, rather then my typical overkill gear for B2B.

    The last point to consider is RPE and cadence. There is an interesting phenomenon with cycling. At the same watts but different gears (i.e., rpm) you have a different RPE. We have all experienced this. Mashing out 300 watts in 50/14 feels like crap, and hammering out 300 watts in 44/16 might feel good, but spinning out 300 watts at 200 rpm with 38/18 would burn you out. In all cases you are pushing 300 watts but the RPE is very different. Psychologically it is harder to push a bigger gear then a smaller one, but small gears don’t feel like we are working.

    Chose your poison well.