I find cadences feel different depending on 1) how I’m feeling, 2) why and how I’m doing them, 3) what trainer I’m using.
Cadences over 90rpm are hard for me to hold for any extended period of time.
For recovery rides, holding 90+ rpm feels too taxing. When I was using my dumb trainer I usually did all my recovery rides between 80-85rpm, but usually closer to 80. However, because of ERG mode, while on my smart trainer I ride them closer to 85-90rpm.
For extended FTP efforts I usually ride around 85rpm because I can’t stay at 90rpm+ for that long. And on my dumb trainer I rode all my hard efforts around 85-90rpm. Any less and it was using too much muscle. And trying to keep up 95rpm+ was impossible for any extended period of time, too.
And a lot of it is a difference between ERG mode and Level mode. When I’m in level mode I have to match the gear up and will often end up switching between a couple gears as I get tired. However, in ERG mode I can ignore the gears and just ride however I feel the most comfortable. Which is nice because Lord knows that in Level mode, the most comfortable zone is always directly between two adjacent gears.
So, when I did HM last week on Tuesday, as I got high up the ramps I was right around 98rpm and as soon as I got tired and slipped down below 90rpms, I was done within about 5 seconds. When I did FF on Saturday, when I did the 5min effort I ended up riding around 98rpm, again. But when I did the FTP effort in FF and the constrained effort in HM I was down lower closer to 85-90rpm - and whenever I tried to get up to 95rpm my legs didn’t like it at all.
An interesting observation of my own from my FF on Saturday was that I felt most comfortable doing the 5min effort in the drops. I rarely if ever spend time in the drops unless I’m sprinting. I’m almost always riding on the hoods because that’s where I get the best grip on my shifters. And in my HM just 4 days before I was always on the hoods. But for some reason, I just could not get comfortable in any other position during FF. On the tops I was too far behind my pedals. On the hoods I was stretched out too far. In the aero bars I was too constricted and couldn’t breathe deeply enough. So for the first minute or two I must’ve looked funny bouncing back and forth between them all trying to find a good position before I finally ended up on the drops and stayed there. And then I hit a new high MAP score that was 9w higher than during HM just 4 days earlier - which by itself was already 7w higher than my previous MAP score.
So, ANYWAY, I think what I’m saying is that my cadence varies widely and I’m STILL working out what feels comfortable. Some days I’m tired and I can barely get my legs up to 80rpm. Today I did Power Station at 55% during my recovery week. During parts of the workout the low rpms felt awful while at other parts of the workout the low rpms were a relief. And then when I’m supposed to spin my legs out at 90-95 rpms, it was too fast and I usually ended up between 80-85rpm which still tends to be my go-to recovery cadence.
Overall, tho, SUF has definitely helped me learn how to work better at high cadences which has helped increase my power. I used to do all my FTP efforts around 75-80rpms. Now, I’m more comfortable holding FTP at around 80-85rpms. And then like I mentioned before, my MAP cadence has definitely gone up as I was previously doing those efforts around 85rpm, too, while now I seem to be doing those closer to 95-98rpm.
And back to the original topic, I’m glad I haven’t had lower back pain from G.O.A.T. because I do have lower back issues from a previously herniated disc. Fingers crossed it hasn’t yet been an issue for me while doing SUF.