Single Gear Training

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

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Enda Marron
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by Enda Marron

This is my first time on the training forum although I am a long term member
Quick question/point
I have hit some great form this year - lost 12kg, good Winter, following a formal programme etc and winning
My question/point!
I have recently started Single Gear training ie keeping the bike in 53/19 and riding 60-70kM on rolling roads - I feel very tired after these rides
Is this a good form of training, how can I improve on it, how can I progress
I do have a single speed [fixed wheel Bianchi Pista] should I use this if so what would best gear set up be?

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by HillRPete

It depends on the cadence you're riding. I used to do a bit of single gear / low cadence / "strength endurance" riding, and made some progress with it, but ditched it for natural cadence (relatively hard) 3x15 and 2x20 rides this year, after Tapeworm (and maybe and others) pointed out that it was an outdated workout. My shape now is better than ever. (My quads didn't go up to their previous size after a winter of running, however, if that's a concern, :mrgreen: )

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by Juanmoretime

Maybe fixed gears might be a better term. I ride my fixed gear several times a week. My workouts tend to be just as fast as my road bike workouts using a 47/16 on it. I'm going to start using it for more group rides and just put a 13 tooth on the other side of the hub so I don't get dropped on the return trip.

I assume there is some training benefit but even if not its a lot of fun to do.

Enda Marron
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by Enda Marron

An update
I am on a 16 week programme (following a full Winter programme and a Spring programme)
All Single Gear sessions followed the same route although I extended it as the programme progressed
I started the Single Gear sessions at 53/19 for 35kM at week#4, and kept it going until week#9 when I upped the gear to 53/18 and the distance to 55kM, I kept this going until tonight; week#11, when I upped the gear to 53/17 and maintained the distance at 55kM.
This was very tough I did not spin out on the flats and I was able to keep turning on the descents
I think that this progression has been very beneficial, next year I hope to buy a power meter which will consign this session to the archive?? Maybe not as I find another major benefit of this session - especially when I extended it to 55kM - that I learned to ride for extended times/distances at just below my lactate threshold
The power-meter & HRM & cadence meter might just help me improve a good session

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by dangerousTor

I don't think just going for bigger and bigger gears really makes any sense to me. If you want to get stronger on the bike then find a hill and ride up it at 50rpm in a big gear for a couple of mins.

But basically, you're doing long tempo rides with a lot of muscular endurance work. This is pretty effective training, but since you're on SS, make sure the gear isn't too big that you're grinding the hills (and breaking your knees) or too small so you're ripping your muscles spinning like mad downhill. Just be sure that you really recover to get the benefit from these rides, because they sound quite hard and quite muscularly damaging.

Enda Marron
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Location: Belfast

by Enda Marron

Thanks K Walker - I'm not actually using the ss but feel that I should be
I think you make a good point about not over grinding (uphill) and not over spinning (downhill)
Prior to moving onto 53/17 I would have been over-spinning and was far from grinding (never mind over-grinding) hence the move up a gear
My plan is to remain in 53/17 until I start to over-spin downhill and then it will be time to move on to 53/16
In the absence of a powermeter (which is on the "to buy" list for 2014) I think that this "going on feel" system along with a HRM is the best way to monitor the Single Gear sessions.
I feel that they are of great benefit
Just to clarify my weekly programme (which is progressive and on a 3 week on : 1 week off ratio, at an increment of 7% per week) is ...
Monday: Recovery Ride
Tuesday: Warm-up plus @30min TT (I'm usually in top 3 or win!)
Wednesday: Recovery Ride
Thursday: Single Gear Session (currently 50kM @ 53/17)
Friday: Turbo Intervals (based on VO2max) [3 progressive sessions]
Saturday: OFF or Recovery Ride
Sunday: Club Ride (fast/hilly) or Sportive (aim to be in fastest group)

I feel that in the absence of the Power Meter that this is a pretty good way to make progress
Any thoughts?

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by Svetty

Not sure if you are asking for advice or simply seeking approval/validation for what you are doing/intend to do......

Enda Marron
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Location: Belfast

by Enda Marron


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by Slagter

what is your average speed on your 55 km trips when you'r not doing intervals?

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