Cadence for hard intervals?

Hi Lee.
I finished your Pump up the Base program (and loved it) and I’m now moving on to Prepare to Pin It. I do have a couple of RPM related questions:

Sprint Workouts: You mention the 5 seconds being “full gas” but you then recommend sets maxing out a 100 RPMs. I can definitely mix it up but I’m wondering how hard it should be shooting for ultimately.

Red workouts: Similarly, what RPM should I focus on to in the intervals to reach the desired power? In PUTB, you were very prescriptive on this which really helped. Since this affects my gear selection, I could use some guidance here as well.

Thanks for everything!! Not only is this helping me on the trail, but I’ve slimmed down which is great everyday!



Thanks for writing — and for your support.

Sprints: Start at about 60-80 rpm then drill it as fast as you can. Studies show peak power is generally around 120 rpm, but teach yourself to go even higher. When I’m paying attention, I can hit about 220 rpm. Not only do these sprints build max power, but they also teach your legs to move faster. The higher your max cadence, the smoother and more efficient you’ll be at at lower ccadences.

Red intervals: I suggest mixing this up, but you’ll probably be best at the high end: 90+ rpm. Don’t be surprised if you start an interval at 120 rpm and barely finish it at 80 rpm! Red intervals are by far the hardest part of this program, but they make a huge difference in capacity and overall toughness.

I’m deep into my busy season, and I must say the PUTB and P2PI training plans have treated me right. I can put in long, back-to-back days with various rippers, and I’m not a total schmuck (unless I’m riding with 7X XTERRA world champion Conrad Stoltz, who makes everyone look weak!).

At one point when we were shooting this video, my heart rate was about 150, and his was … 88. Yep, he’s a whole different animal.

Have fun,


Know more. Have more fun!

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