No, we're not talking Supply-Demand Economics, we're talking CYCLING economy. Cycling economy, as defined by Joe Friel, is how much effort you use when pedaling at a given power output. The goal is to make quick movements (speed) with little wasted energy. By improving economy, you can go faster using the same effort. This ability is what Joe calls "speed skills" and what I have my athletes working on early in the base training season.
The goal with speed skills is for the body to learn to pedal comfortably at the higher cadences than you are doing now. This high leg turover (hi-cadence) IS trainable. (If you don't believe me, go ask a guy by the name of Lance) Such training starts with hi-cadence speed skill drills. You'll find out real quick how "economic" your pedal stroke is when doing high speed skill drills that I normally prescribe in the base/foundation period. If you start bouncing at 110 rpm and your Heart Rate starts going through the roof at relatively low pedal forces, then you know you're not very economic.
As I said, high leg turnover IS trainable..but you don't train it with a few speed skills workouts in the off-season. It takes a long time..and a comittment to training to achieve better economy. I don't want to get into a debate about whether you should be using your self-selected cadence when riding. Naturally, some riders are just going to be "mashers" (low cadence) riders. That's fine. But, I'll bet if you take that masher and improve his economy, or "self-selected" cadence from even 85 to 90 rpm, you'll make him a faster cyclist that will be able to maintain his/her speed longer. (Look at what it did for Lance's racing..he went from an average of 90+ to 100+ rpm) And, that's what it's all about in any cycling race...going FASTER LONGER!
Power ON! Coach Rob