SS adaptations in QA

A few weeks back I posted a this QA scatter plot.  I'd been riding the SS about 2-3 weeks at this point.

Here's the latest.  Both rides were on the 2:1.  The "Blakes" data is from a ~ 2500' climb with sustained grades well over 10% while the other ride was just rippin around faster singletrack with a grin.

See any differences?  The legs are changing.  Here's what I see in QA:

- the left "edge" of the data points in the first file is at a cadence of about 50 while it's upper 30's in the second.
- there are no cadence/force "holes" in the data.
- power is up despite no structured training.  Free power?  Yea baby!
- somewhat hidden in the second file...but there are several points popping up above the max AEPF/CPV line established by the standing start testing - this means max force at low cadence is increasing.

Note to Ed:  see how the points on that left edge start to go straight up?  That's where it's getting really tough to maintain that minimal cadence and I'll go as hard as I have to to maintain it.  To hold a given power, force has to rise rapidly at low cadences, and that's the physics part I was tallking about in the comments.  It's power that gets us up a hill,  not force.  Dangit.

I promise at some point there will be non-technical backway meanderings again...there would be today if I'd have had a camera yesterday!!!  Big rain event and mountain snowfall, flash floods rising 30 feet over bridges in slot canyons...just picture that in the most scenic spot on earth and you'd have the picture :)



Published Sunday, December 02, 2007 6:26 AM by Dave


# @ Monday, December 03, 2007 10:34 AM

Ah, but what about the 26" vs. 29" singlespeed power numbers? I couldn't resist. :)

dave byers

# @ Monday, December 03, 2007 10:41 AM

Well Dave those studies will be soon as that sweet Trauco Siren 29er SS arives :)


# @ Monday, December 03, 2007 2:09 PM

In other words just so I have it straight, per "Note to Ed":

1. You're always trying to maintain a minimal cadence no matter how steep or hard the climb gets? Drop no lower than 40? Wow!

2. Power can be generated by areas other than the legs, therefore the transfer of that power to the pedals becomes key, correct? I also think you learn HOW to generate that additional power better when you're forced to on a ss. That's where your core comes in, glad to see you working on your core in that schedule of yours.

3. So technically you could do this on a geared bike, right? Don't shift. Why is it easier to do this torture on a ss?

4. Do you stand and deliver to maintain a cadence or do you always stay seated?

I'm glad you added that cadence chart at the bottom, it helps.

I wonder where and when you'll plateau?



# @ Monday, December 03, 2007 2:45 PM

Ed - great comments.

1 - pretty much. That minimum comfort cadence is dropping though.

2 - this is where it gets tricky. Power is force times angular velocity, which can be thought of as pedal force times cadence. So certainly when the entire body is used to get force to the pedals it raises the power. But - and this is a big but - the power to the wheel is going to be limited by cadence at these low cadences.

Blow up the first chart, for example. No cadence scale but 40 is about .7 m/s on that x-axis scale. Note the force required to maintain a meager power of 180 watts - roughly 260 Newtons. That is the same pedal force required to hold 420 watts at a cadence of 95 - Lance's famed climbing tour in-form climbing power! The thing is that when forced to a cadence of 40, SSers need alot more than 180 watts so force requirements go skyward.

Looking at it yet another way - the iso-power lines are horizontal on the left (meaning large changes in power with small changes in force) and vertical on the left (meaning small changes in power for those same changes in force). In theory, at a cadence of about 20 I don't have the strength to go any harder than threshold power, and that just isn't enough in a lot of place to get over that hump.

These are the sort of things I think about ;) For me, performance optimization isn't going to be so much about "cleaning" every climb, but choosing the gear that gets the best overall speed given course conditions. If there is significant flattish terrain involved, that means there will be climbing on some steep stuff cause I'll go for that bigger gear.

That sound about right?

3. Cause you have to?? But that is a million dollar question. I'm getting all retro - haven't ridden with suspension or gears for a long time to be honest they both aren't that appealing right now. Oh gawd help me. Thank goodness I still like sus forks.

4. Standing for sure!!! My cycling strength (force - AEPF) is actually a weak spot. If I didn't stand in places I'd come to a halt. It's getting better fast tho.

Thanks for the great questions and helping me see straight on a few things...


# @ Monday, December 03, 2007 4:02 PM

This may be a dumb question but how do flat pedals effect power or your little charts?

see yah the end of the month!


# @ Monday, December 03, 2007 5:47 PM

Flat pedals, hmmm....

All they would do (I think) is drop the power a bit on the low cadence climbing. I find at times I am using shoulder/core/hip flexor together to pull up on the pedal which isn't possible unless clipped in. The best you could do with flat pedals is lift your food off the pedal.

Just shooting from the cuff there. It very well could be that riders on flat pedals learn to compensate for this by better application of power at the top and bottom of the pedal stroke...but I just don't know!


# @ Tuesday, December 04, 2007 11:42 AM


I think I understand, but I understand it more related to cars where Horsepower = torque X RPM X (constant)

As RPM (pedal cadence) comes to a grinding halt, torque (pedal cadence) has to skyrocket to maintain the same power. Is this right?

As far as SS vs geared motivation I see it like this:

With gears, you feel stress and reach for the next lower gear until you are out of gears (if you are me), then you grunt it out.

With SS, you know (subconsciously) if you let it fall below a certain cadence, you are going to suffer and possibly fail to pull it out of that hole, so you go for it with everything you have until you crest the hill and can rest, or fail trying and have to hike (NEVER!!). Thus the training benefit.


# @ Tuesday, December 04, 2007 12:13 PM

Enel - ironically, I have become more laid back about hiking since I went to a ss. When I was riding a geared bike I was bound and determined to clear everything, always. With my ss I just hop off and hike it and don't feel bad about it.

It is truly funny what ss'ing does to your head. On one level it makes you tougher and forces more anticipation, on another it softens the blow to the ego when you have to hike. I just know and accept that I will hike some stuff using a ss.

Weird :-)



# @ Tuesday, December 04, 2007 12:56 PM

I'm with you Ed. I'm more philosophical about when I have to walk. It also doesn't seem to bother me as much when I am not on and have to walk lots of stuff I have previously ridden. "That's just the way it is" If you can't you can't and just get over it and figure you needed a stretch anyway.

How in heck did Pandora know I like Tom Petty and Police from a U2 selection????

Edit above, ..."torque (pedal FORCE)"