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Cycling with Barb Morris!

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power cycling

The Cost of Cadence

Leading into ‘what’s strong with me’ day 4, is to describe what the cost of cadence/rpm is on your heart rate. My background is in the cardiac field and since the early days when polar heart rate (HR) monitors were introduced, since HR is a physiological manifestation of the body’s response to exercise; or load (power and volume) on the system, HR has been the means to measure that response.

Back to cadence and an exercise in what I mean by ‘cost’. Do this next time on the bike; warm up gradually over 5 minutes, starting at 85 rpms and up to 105 rpms maintaining a light gear and low tension. Note how your HR picks up as the cadence picks up, as the load is gradually picking up as well. Respiration goes up, your cardio/resp system is adjusting cardiac output, increasing it as a response to the need for O2 and fuel.

Now quickly increase your cadence to 120 rpms for 10 seconds; HR will increase quickly. Then HR will drop back down when cadence goes back down. Do this 3 times and the ‘cost’ to your system is the increased need for more HR in response.

Then do the same with load/tension, by increasing the gearing while reducing cadence so that power gradually increases – measured by Watts. At this point you’re warming up the skeletal muscle and you’ll find that the HR doesn’t respond the same way – it will eventually go up to a similar HR but the load and perceived exertion will be higher than it was with cadence.

An efficient rider will have a cadence (and load) that provides the most power over time with the least ‘cost’ to the system. Mashers (low cadence) are using more skeletal muscle, the fatigue factor will be higher even with a lower HR. Spinners (cadence over 105 rpms) will fatigue due to the cardiac system working too hard; both types will experience the ‘cost’ of high or low cadence.

Where is all of this leading? 2 things.

  1. Find your most efficient leg speed, one that you can maintain power without pushing up the HR.
  2. Practice different leg speeds during your repetitions to have your muscles become efficient at them, without driving the HR up.

That ability, is what’s strong with me.

Coach Be

  • more on how to increase power without increasing the ‘cost’ on day 5

Training technique and strength

November is almost here, Phase 1 of the 2021 cycling season has begun!

If you are putting in km now or plan to in the future, a return to your basic technique is mandatory to make sure that each pedal stroke is a stroke that leads you to fitness and not towards injury.

Have you paid attention lately to your body’s alignment; take a look at your saddle wear, your pedal wear, your shoulders and hips. The biomechanics of your pedal stroke, your hand positions, your knees and ankles. Are you performing daily flexibility positions to open up hips, lengthen hamstrings and quads, your spine; range of movement around all joints. And have you started on or are continuing strength exercises, not just for the bike, but for body balance after too much sitting, after doing physical labour or following an accident, and to prepare you for other winter sports.

If any of the 4 above components are lacking or over developed, your risk of INJURY is high. Injuries don’t just happen, they are the result of many poor biomechanical habits over time and although you may think it was one thing that created the injury and that fixing that area will prevent it happening again in the future, that isn’t the case.

Look at all 4 components and create a program to include them all – or get a coach to do it for you! Your cycling coach and/or a strength and conditioning coach.

We are planning to develop good cycling technique right now; suppleness as well as muscle tension to develop strength. Without the above 4 important factors, doing either leg speed or low cadence with load will add to the risk of injury.

Form, flexibility and stability while building up muscle strength will give you a body fit for cycling in the long term.

Contact Coach Barb to begin your Year of Fitness performance coached program.

Starts Wednesday Oct 2!

 Register here; http://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/ws?studioid=44339&stype=41&prodid=10273

It’s a very exciting time of the year, thinking of possibilities for your next adventures.  Become a master of your sport!

Watts on Wednesday will focus on your Power Profile;  from 1 minute to 60 minutes, building the engine, taking the process approach to VO2 training.


One of the things that struck me, watching the US rider Chloe Dygert win by over a minute (she trains on a Wattbike) was that her strength is high over the distance, and it made me think that we may be imposing limitations on ourselves by our thinking.  Are we being letting our age for example, define what we can do and how much it’s possible to improve? We will go into this program with the mindset of doing something we haven’t done before.  

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Time Trial World Champion Chloe Dygert finishes a WattBike session.

3 months starts Oct. 2, 6:00 – 6:15 pm $350

It’s not too early….. to think about next year!

Limited Wednesday wattbike seats for the October to December ‘Watt’s Up’, class
  • NEW, class is 1hr 15 min. for stamina and strength training. Your coach guides you through an organized, progressive program that is described and explained to you. What, why and when.

Fall schedule for indoor biking – 12 weeks Oct. 2 – Dec. 18th. Click on the link below to register;

http://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/ws?studioid=44339&stype=41&prodid=10273
Focus on strength – build your maximum wattage output for added power to the pedal!

Wattbike feedback provides your best pedal stroke, Coach Barb provides your best position feedback.

High intensity, interval training provides best stamina and speed.

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