Spin or Grind?

After the last post, and after my ride on Monday, I was wondering how people attack the hills. Do you grind away in a big gear like Jan Ullrich? Or are your legs a blur like many of todays pros? Do you spend most of your time in the sadlle or are you like Contador and dance on the pedals like a salsa dancer?

For an aging and lard arsed rider like myself whos knees have just about run out of cartlidge, it is a case of spinning the legs and staying in the saddle for as long as possible. Gone are the days of going beserk in the big ring and grinding my way up a hill.

Here is a terrific piece of thinking from Cycling performance Tips.

Think about this. If you ride up the hill in two minutes at 60 rpm, you’ve divided the total work into 120 pieces (consider each revolution of your pedals as a unit of work). But if you spin at 90, there would be 180. As you’ve done the same elevation gain, but now broken it into smaller bits, there will be less work (and strain on the knees) with each revolution.

About to hit the hill in 2005.

This entry was posted in General Cycling Info and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Spin or Grind?

  1. Duke6amer says:

    Well I try to spin as much as possible but sometimes in the heat of battle you just leave it in the big dog & grind your A.R.S.E off to stay with the leaders.
    Oh grinding is also great training, we all know what a “strengthy” is don’t we???

    • dslamans says:

      No, what is a strengthy?

      • Duke6amer says:

        A strengthy or strength effort is done at low cadence & high resistance, so long gradual climbs in a big gear works best.

        They are used to develop leg strength which can help in the hills, headwinds and crosswinds or in situations when the muscles are required to sustain a high load for a long time.

  2. Scott says:

    As per Wade’s article – let’s suppose it takes you 2 minutes at 60rpm. Does that mean it’d take you 3 minutes at 90rpm or 4 minutes at 120rpm? Not necessarily, because it all depends on how much power you’re outputting. So strap on a pair……of Garmin Vectors (or any other power meter) start assessing this again.

    I think the real question is how big of a hole are you going to rip yourself to get up the hill? It’ll all come back to speed (as required) vs. effort/intensity invested. I think it’d be less effort for anyone/everyone to spin over, but it isn’t necessarily going to be as fast.

    For me, I’ll be spinning because I don’t have the strength required to wrestle up there at 60pm, then towards the top I’ll be out of the saddle to change my rhythm and click down probably 2 gears to mash it out before hyperventilating over the top!

  3. Lewy says:

    I do a bit of both. Some days I spin some I grind. If I am on the MTB I will even climb some hills with alternating legs to work on my pedalling technique.

    But mostly I struggle to get my fat arse to the top:)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *