This morning was supposed to be a 60k effort at a set wattage based on my training zones which in turn are based on my Functional Threshold Power gained by doing a Wattbike FTP test yesterday. I thought it would be easy after all I’ve been riding to a set cadence and in my simple way of thinking I thought it would be similar, but after trying it, it really isn’t.
With cadence exercises all you have to do is basically spin your legs and we’ve all either done or seen someone spinning like hamster amphetamine and not really getting anywhere fast while spiking out their heart rate. I mainly do this on hills because I can’t climb for toffee but I’m confident I can change that.
My main issue is working out a pedalling technique that I can sustain which means I swap between a few different styles; there’s the straight up and down mainly quad powered basic pedal action that anyone that rides a bike has, it’s the first technique cyclist learn; then I have circles which I find help me pick up both cadence and power but even this isn’t as simple as it sounds.
The circle pedalling technique is supposed to feel like dragging your foot backwards as you might if you’ve stood in dog poop, what I’ve found is that I can either recruit my hams or I can recruit my calves depending on the angle of my foot through the stroke and I have the feeling the most efficient way to go about things would be to be able to have that muscle usage transition with the stroke instead of me having to think about it, yes again this is a learned behaviour and I’m sure I can achieve that.
The third technique is out of saddle which we all do which as with seated depending on how knackered I am I have two strokes, stomping on the pedals in a the basic “ please make it stop” or “ how long does this hill go on for” it’s generally the technique of last resort because if I don’t get up I’ll be running out of gears and eating my stem. Then I have something that could, in a certain light, be considered almost graceful and I’m proud of my standing circular technique although I doubt you’d ever confuse me with Contador.
All of these pedal strokes offer a different power return and apart from that child-like up and down I can’t maintain anything, so at the moment when I have to ride to a zone I have to be aware of what’s going on physically, it does focus things which will benefit me no end and I will get used to training this way.
If I’m missing something to help me improve that you think would help, please leave a comment.