I am a huge fan of TrainingPeaks and have the pleasure of contributing articles to their blog this year. My latest article, Four Cadence Training Workouts for Mountain Bike Racers, details the most efficient cadence for mountain biking and describes four structured workouts to train the ability.
Unlike road riding, there is no magical most-efficient cadence for mountain biking. On the trail, you need to be great at mashing a low cadence when you have run out of gears on long steep climbs. You also need to spin a high cadence for accelerations to pass riders, accelerate out of corners and into obstacles. Spinning a moderate to low cadence is critical to maintaining traction in loose dirt and rubble and to get through a rock garden without smashing your pedals. Often times, the corners, whoops and obstacles come at you so fast and are so tightly spaced there is no time for shifting. The most efficient way through them is to stay in one gear rapping up and down the cadence range.
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