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  1. #1
    abandoning fly:yes/land:no's Avatar
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    S P R I N T I N G : questions

    okay, i ride almost always by myself, and find it difficult to judge sprinting by mph. usually after a 40 mile solo ride i can hit 32 mph on a flat. that just sounds pathetic to me, but based on some of my racing, i really don't think that i am that bad of a sprinter, at least for cat 5. i've read workouts that say you should use a downhill to get up to a fast speed and then accelerate to a max to simulate sprinting in a group. using this method i got up to 32 mph on the downhill and then hit 38 mph on the flat. does this seem weird to anyone else? i mean i guess the gearing could be limiting my sprint at the lower speeds (i certainly am not in the 12 when i accelerate from 22 mph on the flat whereas that is the only gear i am in on the downhill sprint) but i didn't think that i would be able to accelerate that much after the downhill. i guess i am asking for help with understanding my mediocre sprint mph on flats (32 mph) without hill or draft assistance. should i be worried that this number is so low? does it sound like i am just runing out of gear on the flat sprint? blahhrrrgghhhh? any assistance would be swell.

  2. #2
    Giving you the business. Cypress's Avatar
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    Build leg strength. Do intervals.
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    abandoning fly:yes/land:no's Avatar
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    dude, cypress, what is that animation? everytime i see one of your posts i laugh.

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    Giving you the business. Cypress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moderator
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  5. #5
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    1)32 mph with no leadout, and no motivation from someone to sprint with or after, is not that bad. Try sprinting in some group rides,or races and see what the number is.
    2) you're not running out of gear unless your top is like a 48x17, You can easily go over 45mph in a 53x12 before you spin out.

  6. #6
    abandoning fly:yes/land:no's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
    1)32 mph with no leadout, and no motivation from someone to sprint with or after, is not that bad. Try sprinting in some group rides,or races and see what the number is.
    2) you're not running out of gear unless your top is like a 48x17, You can easily go over 45mph in a 53x12 before you spin out.
    sorry to be soconfusing. i was saying on the flat, i might be running out of gear. since i am starting at a lower speed, i am spinning at perhaps my max cadence in the lower gear (53x17) i used to accelerate. (when i start in a bigger gear, it is harder to accelerate, and i am spent before i reach max speed.)

  7. #7
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    You are trying to sprint in HUGE gear, almost 120 inches! Most matched sprint track racers ride a gear between say 88-95 inches and they go very fast, well above 30 mph. The gear you start your sprint with is about 84 inches, you should be finishing with a 53X16 or a 15.

    Effective sprinting is about spinning, not big gears.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

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  8. #8
    dog = interval feltdude's Avatar
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    I'm on a Cat 1 race team, and our designated sprinter, so while I'm not world-class, I'll try to help.

    First, leg strength is important. Be it weights and intervals or just intervals, whichever tickles your fantasy.

    Second, as noted, the gear you're trying sprint in is huge.

    Your sprint should take you through more than one gear as you spin up to maximum velocity. Also, check your form. To generate more power, hold the drops and lean your body forward, and "pull" your pedal towards your foot as you are lowering your foot. If you can't feel you arms working, pull harder. But be careful that it is the bike moving and not your body, or you'll be wasting energy.
    2005 Fuji Professional custom with Ultegra 10 and FSA compact crank

  9. #9
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    It's all relative, really.
    You'll find out how relative it is when you go head-to-head with a couple of riders.

    Efficiency comes out of necessity.
    When you need more speed, you'll find ways to be more efficient.

  10. #10
    Banned. El Diablo Rojo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fly:yes/land:no
    dude, cypress, what is that animation? everytime i see one of your posts i laugh.
    Don't let him fool you Cypress is a DJ at an Iranian disco, that's really him.

  11. #11
    Giving you the business. Cypress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Diablo Rojo
    Don't let him fool you Cypress is a DJ at an Iranian disco, that's really him.
    Quiet you...

    Jou'll give blow to my cover!
    Quote Originally Posted by Moderator
    Dear Cypress,

    You have received an infraction at Bike Forums.

  12. #12
    Banned formula4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fly:yes/land:no
    dude, cypress, what is that animation? everytime i see one of your posts i laugh.
    Try this too.

    http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/supergreg.php

  13. #13
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    The hardest thing for me and sprinting is choosing the right gear to jump in. It's different every time. If I choose the wrong gear then I have to sit back down change gears and stand up again, I cannot manage to do this while standing and sprinting as I like to grab the drops rather then the hoods. Most of the time my sprints are finished sitting down and spinning out. Last night was a little different as I chose the right wheel and just as the guy died (a cat 2) I stood up with out changing gears and got around him. Most of the times I think that if I am going to stand I need to change to a harder gear but in this case it worked perfect I guess because I stuck my nose into the wind.

    I am definitelly not a smart sprinter But I think to become one you will need to ride in groups and have practice races and sprints. If your like me and you don't have the legs of a sprinter then you have to learn how to be smart. I can hit about 35mph on flats but thats on a good day. So imo 32mph is good but not sprinter good.

  14. #14
    Slow'n'Aero DrWJODonnell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfmckenna
    The hardest thing for me and sprinting is choosing the right gear to jump in. It's different every time. If I choose the wrong gear then I have to sit back down change gears and stand up again, I cannot manage to do this while standing and sprinting as I like to grab the drops rather then the hoods. Most of the time my sprints are finished sitting down and spinning out.

    I am definitelly not a smart sprinter
    Well, the spinning out part is great. Sit down get your nose down by the stem and you can really fly past people pushing so much wind. I do have to say though, likely the reason you are not considering yourself a good sprinter is due to the fact that you cant shift from the drops. This is either because you put your hands on the bar ends and not in the forward, power portion of the drops or because you are one of those people who put the brifters ridiculously high on the bar so they point forward and simply cannot be accessed from the drops.

    Work on shifting from the drops while standing. It is an easy skill to learn and if you are beating people without being able to do this, imagine how dominant you will be if you can shift from the drops.

  15. #15
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by feltdude
    I'm on a Cat 1 race team, and our designated sprinter, so while I'm not world-class, I'll try to help.

    First, leg strength is important. Be it weights and intervals or just intervals, whichever tickles your fantasy.

    Second, as noted, the gear you're trying sprint in is huge.

    Your sprint should take you through more than one gear as you spin up to maximum velocity. Also, check your form. To generate more power, hold the drops and lean your body forward, and "pull" your pedal towards your foot as you are lowering your foot. If you can't feel you arms working, pull harder. But be careful that it is the bike moving and not your body, or you'll be wasting energy.
    Good examples of sprinting form. Additionally, being out of the saddle for sprinting is NOT the same form as being out of the saddle for climbing. A lot of people stand straight up and block a lot of wind. You want to be bent over with your nose over the bars and almost touching. Then it's the pulling motion of your arms that keeps your upper body from being pushed up by the leg forces.

    Also gearing is very important, about 50% of the equation or even 60%. The gears lets you maximize whatever strength you have in the legs. Even if you're build like a linebacker and can leg-press 1000lbs, you'll still get beat by a scrawny 120lb climber if you pick the wrong gears. I typicaly go through 2-3 gears in a sprint. That's to get maximum acceleration speed in the beginning, then I shift up at around 130-135rpms or so and hold the last gear in the saddle spinning as fast as I can with my nose behind the bars.

    What happens is you only have 25-30 seconds at 100% effort. If you're in too big a gear, it may take you 20 seconds to go from 20-30mph and you only have little energy after that. In a lower gear, you can go from 20-30mph in only 15 seconds, you're pulling away from the guy in the taller gear. AND... you have an extra 5 seconds left before you completely run out of steam, so you'll hit a higher top-speed.

    Another thing is to not go all out from the beginning, but ramp up the effort to save most of your strength for the higher speeds. So from 20-25mph, I'll push 97%, then 98% from 25-30mph, then 100% from 30mph onwards. This also simulates real race conditions as well where you're drafting a lead-out for most of the sprint.

    Last thing is the neural-muscular connections and timing. There's a pattern of muscle contractions around the pedal-revolution and timing them is critical. Your brain needs the training of firing these muscles off in just the right sequence and if you don't have the practice, it doesn't work well. That's where spin-up exercises really help. Easiest is when cresting a hill, stay in the same gear and spin up as fast as you can and let gravity increase your speed, you just try to keep the legs moving faster and faster. Aim for 160-180rpms on the downhills over and over again. This programs the brain to fire off the nerves at high-speed in the right sequence. Stationary gym bikes are good for this too as they're stable and lets you really crank up the RPMs, although they only go up to 199rpms...

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
    Good examples of sprinting form. Additionally, being out of the saddle for sprinting is NOT the same form as being out of the saddle for climbing. A lot of people stand straight up and block a lot of wind. You want to be bent over with your nose over the bars and almost touching. Then it's the pulling motion of your arms that keeps your upper body from being pushed up by the leg forces.

    Also gearing is very important, about 50% of the equation or even 60%. The gears lets you maximize whatever strength you have in the legs. Even if you're build like a linebacker and can leg-press 1000lbs, you'll still get beat by a scrawny 120lb climber if you pick the wrong gears. I typicaly go through 2-3 gears in a sprint. That's to get maximum acceleration speed in the beginning, then I shift up at around 130-135rpms or so and hold the last gear in the saddle spinning as fast as I can with my nose behind the bars.

    What happens is you only have 25-30 seconds at 100% effort. If you're in too big a gear, it may take you 20 seconds to go from 20-30mph and you only have little energy after that. In a lower gear, you can go from 20-30mph in only 15 seconds, you're pulling away from the guy in the taller gear. AND... you have an extra 5 seconds left before you completely run out of steam, so you'll hit a higher top-speed.

    Another thing is to not go all out from the beginning, but ramp up the effort to save most of your strength for the higher speeds. So from 20-25mph, I'll push 97%, then 98% from 25-30mph, then 100% from 30mph onwards. This also simulates real race conditions as well where you're drafting a lead-out for most of the sprint.

    Last thing is the neural-muscular connections and timing. There's a pattern of muscle contractions around the pedal-revolution and timing them is critical. Your brain needs the training of firing these muscles off in just the right sequence and if you don't have the practice, it doesn't work well. That's where spin-up exercises really help. Easiest is when cresting a hill, stay in the same gear and spin up as fast as you can and let gravity increase your speed, you just try to keep the legs moving faster and faster. Aim for 160-180rpms on the downhills over and over again. This programs the brain to fire off the nerves at high-speed in the right sequence. Stationary gym bikes are good for this too as they're stable and lets you really crank up the RPMs, although they only go up to 199rpms...
    Good advice. Spinning is definitely the way to sprint. I used to do a drill where a small group of us would do sprints in a very small gear, say a 42X16. It wasn't necessarily the strongest rider that won, but the one with the smoothest, best spin. To be able to spin big gears, you have to spin small ones first.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

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  17. #17
    "Uh-uh. Respek Knuckles." hypersnazz's Avatar
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    Get on a BMX bike. Watch your sprinting and bike handling skills improve astronomically. Your max cadence will also increase.

  18. #18
    Blast from the Past Voodoo76's Avatar
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    Every time I come to this site Im amazed by how complicated you all make this.

  19. #19
    Senior Member zimbo's Avatar
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    This might be a dumb question, but how long do you stay standing up during the sprint? The entire time?

    --Steve

  20. #20
    Blast from the Past Voodoo76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zimbo
    This might be a dumb question, but how long do you stay standing up during the sprint? The entire time?

    --Steve
    Think it would depend on the length of the sprint. I would say 50 to 100M out of the saddle would be a long ways.

  21. #21
    Slow'n'Aero DrWJODonnell's Avatar
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    Depends on the length of the sprint, but it is not uncommon for me to be out of the saddle for 200-300 meters or so as long as I am accelerating. Many times I will will sit the last 50 meters or so to get out of the wind.

  22. #22
    dog = interval feltdude's Avatar
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    I don't sit until I'm pointing to the sky in celebration.
    2005 Fuji Professional custom with Ultegra 10 and FSA compact crank

  23. #23
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zimbo
    This might be a dumb question, but how long do you stay standing up during the sprint? The entire time?
    I wonder if there's an optimum sprinting-technique based upon body-style? I'm a muscle-bound mesomorph and I find I'm fastest in the saddle. I might crank out the 1st of 3-gears in a sprint out of the saddle, then I'm in the saddle for the final two gears. That's really only in sprint-practice that starts out at 25mph.

    In a race, pretty much all sprints start at 30mph+, so I'll only use two gears to go from 30-36, then 36-40mph+. I might be out of the saddle only for the 1st half of that 1st gear, then sit down for the 2nd half and for all of the next gear.

    I find I can spin-up faster and get to higher-RPMs in the saddle. Could also be because I've developed a smooth and fast cadence and applying power all the way around gives me more speed than really cranking it only through 120-degrees. Then again, I've snapped two handlebars and a stem in sprints, so I'm a little more careful now...

  24. #24
    Senior Member zimbo's Avatar
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    Man, sounds like I would need to do a whole lot of practicing if I wanted to learn to sprint (I don't race so haven't had to do so) because I'll bet I can't spin above 90 rpm while standing on the pedals. Then again, I'm thinking more of hill-climbing rather than sprinting (in which you're not really even standing, no?).

    And changing gears while going all out is another thing I'd really have to practice. It seems dangerous to try as a newbie. Don't you have to ease up just slightly while shifting--or do you shift at the point of least pressure on the pedals?

    --Steve

  25. #25
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrWJODonnell
    Well, the spinning out part is great. Sit down get your nose down by the stem and you can really fly past people pushing so much wind. I do have to say though, likely the reason you are not considering yourself a good sprinter is due to the fact that you cant shift from the drops. This is either because you put your hands on the bar ends and not in the forward, power portion of the drops or because you are one of those people who put the brifters ridiculously high on the bar so they point forward and simply cannot be accessed from the drops.

    Work on shifting from the drops while standing. It is an easy skill to learn and if you are beating people without being able to do this, imagine how dominant you will be if you can shift from the drops.
    I don't really like my bars. They are Deda bars with the ergo shape that is so popular these days. I like the old style rounded curves. At any rate the bars do have a flat like handle at the very end that I like to hold on to during sprints. There is no way I can reach my shift levers from there. They might be a little high but still they require a long reach hand to get to. I don't know if I have ever tried holding on to the flat power position on the bars but it seams awkward. I've tried sprinting on the hoods and while changing gears is easy I just feel like I cannot get any power into the bike and my face is in the wind.

    So am I to understand then that most of you sprinters actually change gears in a sprint from the drops?

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