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Old 08-05-08, 02:36 PM   #1
MONGO!
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Help maxing out my top speed

So in the last couple of races I've actually been in the field sprint, last night I topped out at 34mph, fast enough for 9th

This was sitting and spinning, tried standing and my legs felt like jelly.

Tips for increasing my sprint speed?
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Old 08-05-08, 02:46 PM   #2
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increase functional threshold power (ftp) or power at threshold, or whatever the kids are calling it these days. in other words, increase your fitness so that you're using less effort before the sprint, you'll legs will be fresh when you sprint instead of "cooked" like you describe.
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Old 08-05-08, 03:22 PM   #3
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What MD said will certainly help, but also practice sprinting. Best is to do this with a friend and either go head to head or practice lead outs.
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Old 08-05-08, 04:50 PM   #4
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Strangely enough I just posted about something like this.

dropped...

Congrats on your place. You must be very happy.

cdr
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Old 08-05-08, 05:17 PM   #5
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Thanks for the tips, guess some more WRI's are in my future.

I'm starting a spin interval class will run through the winter run by a local cat 3 guy that will definitely kick my ass.

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Congrats on your place. You must be very happy.
Thanks, I got 8th the week before in a bigger field so I was hoping for better this week but we were definitely faster this time and 34mph is a high for me.

Thanks for the links, I'm reading them now, good stuff!

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Old 08-05-08, 05:51 PM   #6
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I have another question, if I know I can't out sprint the other guys should I go early?
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Old 08-05-08, 06:10 PM   #7
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I have another question, if I know I can't out sprint the other guys should I go early?
I think going early will only help the others, but that's my point of view. It depends on how early you go, but if someone goes at 400 meters I salivate. If someone goes at 600 meters and no one chases... it could be problematic for someone like me. It's very hard to go early and make it stick, but when I didn't know I could sprint I'd go at the bell and see what happened. It's fun to try, but now that you've placed, you'll have some expectations

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Old 08-05-08, 07:06 PM   #8
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I have another question, if I know I can't out sprint the other guys should I go early?
learn what kind of sprint you have - long sustainable (e.g. boonen), short "jumpy" (e.g. bettini), or somewhere in between (e.g. friere). I'm the short jumpy type, in a field sprint situation, going early for me is a ticket to being swarmed. I need things to be fast and to be in position to jump for a good finish. I always try to recon and count pedal strokes to determine where I want to go from in a race if I end up in a sprint.
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Old 08-06-08, 03:00 AM   #9
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also remember each course has its own tactics that work best. sometimes you need to come out the final corner in first but other times there is still too much course left and you need to tuck in behind someone.
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Old 08-07-08, 01:08 PM   #10
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There's many kinds of sprints and you need to train them differently. You'll want to practice in a group of 3-4 guys and take turns doing lead-outs up to 35mph+ so that you can get a feel for starting your sprint at high-speeds. Sprinting by yourself from 25-35 is not the same workout and not the same kind of effort as sprinting from behind at lead-out at 35mph and trying to get up to 45mph+.

So practice:

1. spinning smoothly, do spin-up exercises on downhills and one-legged drills (do not confuse smoothness with high-RPMs, they are completely different things). Focus on smoothness first and the RPMs will be easy.

2. spin faster, once you can do one-legged exercises, you'll find spinning faster is easy. It's cause & effect and the effect of faster-RPMs is automatic once you're smooth. Most people sprint in too big a gear.

3. learn sprint-strategy. Again, this is where the group-training comes in handy. You'll want to learn to pick out the strong sprinters and follow them instead of those who get passed like lead-weights in sprints. Get stuck behind one of those and you can lose 5-10 positions before you can get around them. And learn to shift smoothly. I typically start my sprint by downshifting to get the revs up to 100RPMs. Gives me faster acceleration than if I started it at 80rpms. I'll spin up to 130rpms, shift and spin up to 130rpms again. At 130rpms, pushing on the pedals at maximum-strength, I'm generating 30% more power and going 5.5% faster than pushing just as hard in a higher-gear at 100rpms.


Also figure out what your weaknesses in sprints are. If you're completely winded and have to give up because you hit max-HR, then work on your aerobic system. If your muscles are locked up and sore and you can't even push one more pedal-stroke, then work on your anaerobic system. For most people, it's a combination of both as well as learning mental strategies and tactics.
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Old 08-07-08, 02:16 PM   #11
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There's many kinds of sprints and you need to train them differently. You'll want to practice in a group of 3-4 guys and take turns doing lead-outs up to 35mph+ so that you can get a feel for starting your sprint at high-speeds. Sprinting by yourself from 25-35 is not the same workout and not the same kind of effort as sprinting from behind at lead-out at 35mph and trying to get up to 45mph+.
So practice:

1. spinning smoothly, do spin-up exercises on downhills and one-legged drills (do not confuse smoothness with high-RPMs, they are completely different things). Focus on smoothness first and the RPMs will be easy.

2. spin faster, once you can do one-legged exercises, you'll find spinning faster is easy. It's cause & effect and the effect of faster-RPMs is automatic once you're smooth.
Most people sprint in too big a gear.

3. learn sprint-strategy. Again, this is where the group-training comes in handy. You'll want to learn to pick out the strong sprinters and follow them instead of those who get passed like lead-weights in sprints. Get stuck behind one of those and you can lose 5-10 positions before you can get around them. And learn to shift smoothly. I typically start my sprint by downshifting to get the revs up to 100RPMs. Gives me faster acceleration than if I started it at 80rpms. I'll spin up to 130rpms, shift and spin up to 130rpms again. At 130rpms, pushing on the pedals at maximum-strength, I'm generating 30% more power and going 5.5% faster than pushing just as hard in a higher-gear at 100rpms.


Also figure out what your weaknesses in sprints are. If you're completely winded and have to give up because you hit max-HR, then work on your aerobic system. If your muscles are locked up and sore and you can't even push one more pedal-stroke, then work on your anaerobic system. For most people, it's a combination of both as well as learning mental strategies and tactics.
+1

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Old 08-07-08, 02:30 PM   #12
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If you are worried about the sprint and can hold your speed, just go. If you get caught, you get caught...

As a very fast masters racer here in town says, "When in doubt, lead it out..."

If you want to increase your speed, you need power workouts in the winter. Hit the legs at the gym and do plyometrics. Explosive power is the key to upping the top end.
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Old 08-07-08, 03:33 PM   #13
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Great advice, thanks!
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Old 08-07-08, 06:45 PM   #14
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I have another question, if I know I can't out sprint the other guys should I go early?
Don't get bike sprinting confused with running sprints where you line up every one side-by-side and off you go with the 1st guy crossing the line after 400m wins. Bike sprints have a much larger component of mental strategy and tactics involved, I say at least 50%, others will say more or less than that. Heck, I've beaten Davis Phinney in a sprint once and it certainly wasn't because I was a "stronger" sprinter and I "outsprinted" him. I've also been beaten by scrawny-thin climber types that weigh barely 120lbs dripping wet.

So the biggest strategy in sprinting is being aware of "who you're following". Look at those top 8-9 guys you finished behind, do you recognize them? Have each one of them been in the prime sprints? Are ALL of the prime-winners in that group? Pay attention the type of jumps people have when they make breaks. After a while, you'll get to recognize who the strong sprinters are. Imagine where you'd be if you were to follow the guy that got 1st in those races? You'd have 2nd locked up for sure each and every time.

Another simple strategy is to always be following someone in a sprint. Never sprint side-by-side with someone, if you were behind them instead, you'll go at the exact same speed with 30-40% less effort. Only in the very last 60-75 yards would you pull out and go around them. And be sure to accelerate in the draft! Let up slightly so there's a 2-3ft gap between you and the guy ahead. Accelerate behind him, in the draft until the last 6-inches or so, then pull out to the side and go around him. Don't waste energy and speed by pulling sideways 3-4ft. Instead, pull up diagonally just barely enough to clear them.

Have fun!
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Old 08-07-08, 06:54 PM   #15
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Don't get bike sprinting confused with running sprints where you line up every one side-by-side and off you go with the 1st guy crossing the line after 400m wins. Bike sprints have a much larger component of mental strategy and tactics involved, I say at least 50%, others will say more or less than that. Heck, I've beaten Davis Phinney in a sprint once and it certainly wasn't because I was a "stronger" sprinter and I "outsprinted" him. I've also been beaten by scrawny-thin climber types that weigh barely 120lbs dripping wet.

So the biggest strategy in sprinting is being aware of "who you're following". Look at those top 8-9 guys you finished behind, do you recognize them? Have each one of them been in the prime sprints? Are ALL of the prime-winners in that group? Pay attention the type of jumps people have when they make breaks. After a while, you'll get to recognize who the strong sprinters are. Imagine where you'd be if you were to follow the guy that got 1st in those races? You'd have 2nd locked up for sure each and every time.

Another simple strategy is to always be following someone in a sprint. Never sprint side-by-side with someone, if you were behind them instead, you'll go at the exact same speed with 30-40% less effort. Only in the very last 60-75 yards would you pull out and go around them. And be sure to accelerate in the draft! Let up slightly so there's a 2-3ft gap between you and the guy ahead. Accelerate behind him, in the draft until the last 6-inches or so, then pull out to the side and go around him. Don't waste energy and speed by pulling sideways 3-4ft. Instead, pull up diagonally just barely enough to clear them.

Have fun!

If I had once beaten Davis Phinney in a sprint, I would have it under my name on my business card.
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