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Ironman Champ Chrissie Wellington is all about pushing the big gear

Posted Nov 05 2009 10:00pm

Wellington Lance Armstrong is famously known for not only winning the Tour de France, but by doing it by "dancing" up the big climbs in a small gear.

In other words, unlike his long time rival Jan Ulrich, Armstrong prefers to push a small gear at a higher cadence vs. a big gear in a lower cadence.

Now you would think that what' s good enough for Armstrong is good enough for 3X Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington, but in a recent interview with Bicycling.com, Wellington says all that small gear stuff is just a bunch of nonsense.

" I love to push a big gear. It’s a misconception that you need to spin a smaller gear at a higher cadence on the bike. You don’t, " Wellington said. " Doing that actually raises your heart rate and makes you more tired, which doesn’t serve you very well in long distance racing. Cranking it down and pushing a bigger gear lets me lower my heart rate. It’s what feels natural to me and enables me to go the fastest I can go," she added. "

Wellington also revealed why she never wears an aero helmet when she races: Her head gets too hot.

And why she never goes on very long training rides:

" My longest rides are four and a half, maybe five hours. But more often I do double rides. So you still get the volume, but not at the exclusion of quality. For example, in the morning, I’ll do hill repeats where I’ll warm up and then do a climb anything from 1.5 to 4 kilometers and stick it in the 53/11, get on my aerobars and just grind it up and down for an hour to an hour and a quarter. Then I’ll swim and rest. And later in the day—after my legs are loaded up with lactic acid—I’ll do another two-hour ride with a time trial of 30 to 60 minutes thrown in," she said.

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