Today I rode my 35k route with the goal of keeping my cadence at 90rpm.
Things I noticed straight away:
- Uphill (even gradually uphill) I tend to settle in at 75-80rpm and push too high a gear.
- Everywhere else (downhill & flats) I'm naturally gravitating to 90rpm. A few exceptions where I chose to downshift today when I normally wouldn't have, but pretty close.
So today's word of the day: DOWNSHIFT!
And it made a big difference straight away.
Normal average speed: 30km/h on a really good day, pushing hard
Today's average speed: 31km/h on a rainy day, pushing not so hard
My normal average for the first half (mostly uphill) is around 25km/h, today it was over 27km/h... clearly that's where I saw the biggest benefit straight away. I think I was slightly faster downhill and on the flats as well. Today's effort normally would have given me about a 29km/h average, so I was able to find an extra 2km/h. Over an hour of riding, that's about 4 minutes, over 7 hours it's almost half an hour!
I think the key here is that I've been pushing wrong. Instead of upshifting, I should be trying to spin faster. Using lower gears is not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of intelligence and maturity! :)
I'll keep training at 90rpm and get more used to it, I think there's still more speed to be found just from this one change to my riding style.