More on Cadence

posted Feb 18, 2010, 11:07 AM by Donald Vescio   [ updated Sep 12, 2011, 8:10 AM ]
A review of the literature on the hour record suggests that successful attempts on this record usually are based on an average cadence of 105-110 RPM.  Whether this historical average translates into a solid recommendation for most riders, though, is open for conversation; it would be useful if it were possible to do a systematic physiological analysis of athlete variables of those who set an hour record.  

There are outlier performers on either end of the cadence scale and to say that a 100-110 cadence = fast times based on the performance of two (albeit) talented athletes doesn't make an argument. Ullrich and Gonchar were two accomplished TT riders who had much slower cadences than Armstrong and Cancellera (and Lance's fast cadence didn't hold good stead 2009's TDF TTs, either).

I would argue that for a given rider there will be an optimal cadence range; I'd also argue that a rider's optimal cadence range in part depends on the event in which he/she is participating. A fast cadence is not a prerequisite for riding fast, though it is a strategy that works well for many, many riders. It's important to do a proper program of testing to determine what cadence range is appropriate for a specific rider.