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Old 08-15-06, 05:47 AM   #1
psuaero
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Talking about sprint speeds?

All this talk of sprints in the "Race 2 Replace" thread has me curious...

What is a good amateur sprint speed at the end of a race? I've clocked in at 32.5mph on flat ground solo with no wind and I thought "damn, I suck... no way I'm going to try the crits yet". Is 32.5mph really that bad? I figure I could probably squeak another 1-1.5mph out if I had some insentive or adrenalin pumping in a race situation but by myself about 32mph is all I'm good for.
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Old 08-15-06, 06:34 AM   #2
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Apples and oranges.

The speed you can reach on a training sprint isn't a true indication of what you'd reach in a real race.

A lot of variables to consider, but IMO the biggest difference is motivation.
People will point to the effects of drafting, and I'll agree that those are dramatic, but it's all about what you WANT.

Race speeds in general are usually higher than people realize.

If you could accurately record your next race, I'd bet my house that your sprint speed is a bit higher.
Unfortunately, you can't accurately record your sprint speed, so my house isn't going anywhere.
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Old 08-15-06, 08:09 AM   #3
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That's about me, plus or minus a mph. And while I'm far from a great sprinter at 47 years old, I definitely go substantially faster than that in a field sprint in races or group training rides. 10-20 or more people hammering, and the motivation of competition is probably worth close to 5mph.

One thing you have to consider doing it yourself, you only have about 10-15 seconds of top explosive power. Riding by yourself, you're using a lot of that to get up to 30 or so. If you're sitting in the draft getting towed to 30, you still have some burst to accelrate from there.
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Old 08-15-06, 08:27 AM   #4
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^^^ +2

Your best indication of sprint speed to to draft off a moto or car at 30 MPH or so then sprint from there... other factors include overall muscle fatigue at the end of a race, multicular endurance, raw power, etc... it is really hard to tell unless you were there. I used to be able to sprint to 33 aprox MPH solo, in a race I saw 36 MPH... when I raced. Of course after a 45 minute + crit for example, you might not have the leg strength to sprint at 36 MPH...

BTW what does a pro/1/2 really sprint at?
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Old 08-15-06, 08:54 AM   #5
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Being the guy who always gets stuck in the leadout in my local training races, I should take credit for increasing the maximum sprint speeds of my fellow racers.
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Old 08-15-06, 09:06 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by my58vw
BTW what does a pro/1/2 really sprint at?
Depends on the rider and the course. One of my teammates is a cat2 and we trade off taking townline sprints when we train. I marshalled a crit on sunday, and it looked like the leaders in the pro/1/2 race were going wayyyy above 40 when they crossed the line...but it was a very slightly downhill finish and there was a leadout.
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Old 08-15-06, 09:38 AM   #7
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32.5 is the best I've done solo, flat road, no wind.
But on the same road I was pacing behind a guy on a high powered electric bike doing 30 and I was able to get up to 38.
I'm definitely not one of the fastest sprinters when I race, but have done well in sprints when I time it just right.
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Old 08-15-06, 05:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by my58vw

BTW what does a pro/1/2 really sprint at?

no leadout, solo, flat road, someone like cippo, about 42-45mph on a good day

with leadout and flat road on a good day almost 50mph

contrast with someone like Armstrong who's lucky to hit 34mph or so
************************
here's a stat that will blow some people's minds, the flying mile record is like 37 mph and change

me personally, best Ive ever seen in last 2 years is about 39mph, but last week I did 6 back to back efforts solo that put me at 38mph on a track bike, but all I do all day at work is sprint, 5 years ago I couldnt even hit 30mph
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Old 08-15-06, 05:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
One thing you have to consider doing it yourself, you only have about 10-15 seconds of top explosive power.........
more than that, and for some people quite a bit more

some people like me for example dont accelerate super fast or have a huge jump but instead have a long long windup with a decent top end, others get to their top ends very quickly, and alot of that depends on what your HR is before you do the sprint and how close you are to LT to begin with

it can take me about oh I dunno, about 2 blocks to get wound out, thats about 1/3rd of a mile, thats on a single geared bike running a 52/16
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Old 08-15-06, 05:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psuaero
All this talk of sprints in the "Race 2 Replace" thread has me curious...
Wait, you mean not everything on BikeForums is true?!

But seriously, 33mph is nothing to be embarrased about. It's still pretty dang fast for a bicycle. We'd all like to go faster. Just keep working at it.
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Old 08-15-06, 07:51 PM   #11
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I'm a Cat 5 and top out around 38-41 mph on a relatively flat finish and a bit faster on downhills. Having said that I never the lead out as I can't time trial and would blow up without a draft.

Knowing this, those around me tend to crank up the pace in an attempt to drop me before the line (TT'ing along at 28-30) or repeatedly attack. If I can hang via wheel sucking I can win, if not 32 would be more than fast enough to beat me. I guess what I'm trying to say is 32 won't prevent you from winning races, it just means you'll need to use different tactics.
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Old 08-16-06, 10:58 AM   #12
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At my local cat 5 crit, my max speed reading on my computer says 57.6 KM per hour. That is my best flat ground sprint speed fully motivated no draft. I need 60 Km / hour to win me thinks.

Last edited by hiromian; 08-16-06 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 08-16-06, 11:28 AM   #13
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Your max speed might have come on a downhill section, or an accelleration out of a corner. You have no way of knowing.

Sure, it would be handy to know that you CAN go 36mph on your own. That would provide you with confidence in a sprint.
HOWEVER, read this scenario (which I've seen too many times to keep track):
A guy trains for races and regularly sprints at 35mph.
Great. That's pretty fast.
But in a big race with a lot of riders, he happens to look down at his computer and sees 42mph.
He's not used to going that fast, so he wigs out. He backs off.
Had he not looked, he wouldn't have ever known.

In conclusion: in a race situation, it's not about numbers. It's about the leading edge of your front wheel, and the leading edge of the rider next to you.
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Old 08-16-06, 11:38 AM   #14
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Olympic caliber trackies sprint on the road at ~44-45mph, just as a reference point.
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Old 08-16-06, 11:40 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EventServices
But in a big race with a lot of riders, he happens to look down at his computer and sees 42mph. He's not used to going that fast, so he wigs out. He backs off. Had he not looked, he wouldn't have ever known.
+1

I hate looking at my computer during races. My legs tell my brain that they're not supposed to be working that hard and my brain starts to agree.

The scary part is that there is a guy at the front who is driving the group at that speed. I hate that guy. I want to be that guy.
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Old 08-17-06, 09:48 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by EventServices
....But in a big race with a lot of riders, he happens to look down at his computer and sees 42mph.
He's not used to going that fast, so he wigs out. He backs off.
Had he not looked, he wouldn't have ever known.
How true. It's like those cartoons where the character runs off the cliff and stands suspended in mid-air. It's not until he looks down and realizes there's nothing holding him up, that he plummets to the ground.

Been there. Done that.

Bob
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Old 08-17-06, 07:26 PM   #17
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You guys are "real men." I do all of my analysis at home. I never know what I did at a race other than perhaps average power and time (at the end when I look at my watch). I always check my sprint speeds at home from the safety of my computer desk. I can't imagine trying to figure my speed during a sprint.
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Old 08-18-06, 12:48 AM   #18
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You guys are "real men." I do all of my analysis at home. I never know what I did at a race other than perhaps average power and time (at the end when I look at my watch). I always check my sprint speeds at home from the safety of my computer desk. I can't imagine trying to figure my speed during a sprint.
Is this only for crits/rr's? Do you look at your data when you are TT'ing, to keep on a steady pace?
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Old 08-19-06, 12:37 PM   #19
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During a sprint I never look at my data. Just before a sprint I will make sure my cadence is up at 120 or higher so that I can get a good 140+ cadence after I have shifted a few times.

During my TTs I keep an eye on my HR and keep it at or above LT at all times. Sometimes I view the time or distance so that I can ramp up my pacing for the last two to three miles. Next season I might try power pacing, but for now I know that when my legs are screaming and my HR is where it is supposed to be, the power follows.
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Old 08-20-06, 01:11 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cromulent
The scary part is that there is a guy at the front who is driving the group at that speed. I hate that guy. I want to be that guy.

methinks that guy hates you too
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Old 08-20-06, 07:02 AM   #21
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I can hit about 34-35 mph riding solo... but when drafting and accelerating out of a draft, I've hit 37 mph... I would consider myself to be a pretty good "amateur" sprinter, in comparison with the people I ride with. Our club rides are chalk full of Cat 2 and 3 racers... I'm a Cat 4. In hindsite, I suck at climbing long steep climbs..heh
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