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Old 02-01-07, 11:45 AM   #1
hotbike
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Speed-Too Fast?

I have to admit that when I was younger I rode my bicycle as fast as I could.
Do any of you out there do the same? Have you slowed down with age?
On a group ride, did you ever turn a tour into a race?

I never had a cycling coach. I'm 40+ years old now. A while back I bought an electric bicycle, which is governed so the motor cuts out at 20MPH. I have to liken an electric bicycle to a tandem, the motor is the stoker and coach.

I haven't been riding the ebike lately, I'm back to just pedals, but it has left an impression on me. I have learned to pace myself. Instead of trying to accelerate, I stay at a steady speed and cadence. My legs no longer burn after a ride, I don't get cramps.

What makes you go at maximum speed? Is it [teenage]drivers honking and cursing? Is it the 30 MPH sign, which looks so attainable when you're going 25? Are the [teenage] drivers going to stop cursing if you go 5 MPH faster? (25 to 30)

Agree or Disagree- It takes a cycist a mile and a half to accelerate to 30 MPH. Snap acceleration will burn your legs out.
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Old 02-01-07, 11:53 AM   #2
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About the time I realized I am not indestructable or immortal, I found going slower had more appeal. Besides, I love to sight-see while riding. Going slower means I get to see more and enjoy more. I find a speed between 14 to 20 MPH is very enjoyable. With hills, it is a very good workout too.
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Old 02-01-07, 11:58 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotbike
I have to admit that when I was younger I rode my bicycle as fast as I could.
Do any of you out there do the same? Have you slowed down with age?
On a group ride, did you ever turn a tour into a race?

I never had a cycling coach. I'm 40+ years old now. A while back I bought an electric bicycle, which is governed so the motor cuts out at 20MPH. I have to liken an electric bicycle to a tandem, the motor is the stoker and coach.

I haven't been riding the ebike lately, I'm back to just pedals, but it has left an impression on me. I have learned to pace myself. Instead of trying to accelerate, I stay at a steady speed and cadence. My legs no longer burn after a ride, I don't get cramps.

What makes you go at maximum speed? Is it [teenage]drivers honking and cursing? Is it the 30 MPH sign, which looks so attainable when you're going 25? Are the [teenage] drivers going to stop cursing if you go 5 MPH faster? (25 to 30)

Agree or Disagree- It takes a cycist a mile and a half to accelerate to 30 MPH. Snap acceleration will burn your legs out.

I have slowed down with age. There was a time when I would give skinny tire cyclists a good run for the money even while I rode my fat tire bike. I would ride that bike to bike shop weekend rides and ride right with the skinny tire riders. (much to their dissappointment)

Not today. Age and time off the bike have taken their toll.

Today I sprint only when the legs say it is OK. I can reach and hold about 25MPH regularly on my commute on the flats... but I can only do it for a few miles before I burn out. Longer rides leave me wrung out. 20 years ago an 80 mile ride was a "nice ride." Today 20 miles is a "nice ride."

I used to be able to spin up to about 140-150rpm and really sprint. (I did a lot of roller workouts back then) Today, 85-90 is typical, but the fast spin is limited to about 120rpm for very short periods.

Part of that is due to drugs I take to control the heart rate.

Getting older sucks.

Just ask Forester if he still rides like he did when he "Effectively Cycled."
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Old 02-01-07, 12:03 PM   #4
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Someday, I'll slow down and realize not every ride is a race.

Someday, but not today.
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Old 02-01-07, 12:06 PM   #5
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A lot of it is physical, a lot of it is maturity. Sure, I like to go fast, but it's not always appropriate. Advocacy rides, charity rides, fun rides with friends who aren't as fast... these are great times to go slower and enjoy yourself. When I was 20, I was too busy riding at the front trying to be the fastest.

Now I'm more likely to try to set personal records when I'm riding by myself, and enjoy the group rides for what they are. And I don't ride with the hammerheads because it's just not that much fun anymore. I'll leave those rides to those that need to prove something.

Az
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Old 02-01-07, 12:36 PM   #6
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It depends on the ride...mostly, I live for speed, and can't imagine going slow intentionally.

My morning commutes tend to be "brisk" but not "all out" rides (though I will sprint yellow lights).

My evening commutes vary - right now I'm focused on low cadence-high force workouts (with speeds around 18-20 mph), but as we get closer to spring they'll include more interval sessions.

My Saturday club rides are for hammerin', and trying to keep up with the young guns and big dogs.

My Sunday rides with my girlfriend are for enjoying the scenery (though I do try to get in some good workouts on each hill).
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Old 02-01-07, 12:44 PM   #7
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When traffic conditions allow, the only thing that slows me down are my legs and my heart.

Yes, group rides often turn into races.

I'm in my mid 40s and I'm not planning on slowing down for at least another 10 or 15 years...
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Old 02-01-07, 12:55 PM   #8
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Will turn fifty this spring. Still hang with the front group on long hard training rides. Enter CAT 1-3 races for training (though I draft most of the races). Really you can stay fit and fast for a long, long time. Sure I come home tired a sore. But, it's a good tired and sore. I know I did something. Some food and a nap and I am good-to-go.

But... I don't try to ride as fast as I can all the time.

On the tandem, climbing is slow and my stoker determines how hard we will go. Average pace is about 5 MPH slower than me on my own.

Utility riding to the store or on errands I purposely go slow so as to not break a sweat in street cloths.
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Old 02-01-07, 01:01 PM   #9
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That maximum speed thing stopped when I was about four. Since then, I've been pacing myself. I've won a lot more races that way.
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Old 02-01-07, 01:07 PM   #10
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Depends on the day, sometimes I'm like an active dog....I chase cars and trucks, and sometimes I'm like an ol' Blue Tick...not in a hurry nohow, so I might as well enjoy the lazy day!
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Old 02-01-07, 01:08 PM   #11
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While my speed capacity is certainly less because of physical reasons, I've also slowed down because of "maturity." I do not go bombing down hills over 30 mph or ride over 20 in urban traffic even when I'm up to it, because I've reached a point where I just have zero interest in any unnecessary road rash or worse.

I don't drive as fast as I used to either although my cars today are faster and handle better than then ones I owned 20 years ago. The thrill no longer seems worth risking the consequences.
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Old 02-01-07, 01:16 PM   #12
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No, not really. I keep getting faster. Incrementally, to be sure, but I'm definitely faster at 39 than I was at 32.
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Old 02-01-07, 01:48 PM   #13
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1. None shall pass!
2. Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead!
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Old 02-01-07, 01:48 PM   #14
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I just did a four mile ride, between posting my original message and now. Thanks for the replies.

Well, we're all different. galen_52657 says: "Will turn fifty this spring. Still hang with the front group on long hard training rides. Enter CAT 1-3 races for training (though I draft most of the races)..."

That's better than I'm doing, and I won't turn fifty for another eight years. Then again I don't ride a road bike or ride with groups.

I think I was burning myself out when I was in my twenties by doing too many sprints. I experimented with fairings , I was an IHPVA member, I built an upright streamliner which would frequently go 47 miles per hour, but no faster, no matter how hard I tried. I asked for volunteers to do sprints to test my aerodynamic fairings. One girl took the bike for a test ride and registered 55 MPH on the recording speedometer, but that was when I was in Florida. I realize I spent hundreds of hours building fiberglass/Kevlar fairings when I could've been riding.
I wanted to document my top-speed in case of any argument with a motorist accusing me of going too slow to use the lane. One time that worked, I was going 47 in a 30 zone, a teenage driver came up behind me, and a Police car was coming the other way. We both stopped and the Police car stopped. I showed the Officer my speedometer ; "47 mph" it said. The teenage boy said I was going too slow, but the Officer believed my speedometer and what he saw, so the 17 year old got a ticket for going 17 over...no more liscence.

(OT- I just now got a free sample of something in the mail, a Gillette razor with FIVE blades! Jeez, if the Post Office ever enforced regulations against shipping dangerous items.I'm afraid to use it. )
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Old 02-01-07, 01:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotbike
Agree or Disagree- It takes a cycist a mile and a half to accelerate to 30 MPH. Snap acceleration will burn your legs out.
Disagree...if I *can* get to 30 mph, it takes less than 100 meters.

And while "snap acceleration" may cause lactic acid build-up in your legs, it will also make them stronger over time (it's called the "training effect" ).
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Old 02-01-07, 01:54 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AGGRO
1. None shall pass!
2. Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead!
3. Never give up...never surrender!

4. To Infinity, and Beyond!
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Old 02-01-07, 01:55 PM   #17
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I can reach 30 MPH in about 100 meters. It is a lot easier than a lot of the hills I climb. As was said, it is about conditioning and training.
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Old 02-01-07, 02:17 PM   #18
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I ride fast and drive slow because I need more exercise and less spent on gas. That being said, coming home from a nearby town requires a 1000ft climb over 6 miles, so I tend to go pretty slow. On the way there, I barely have to pedal....
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Old 02-01-07, 02:25 PM   #19
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I go as fast as I can some of the time,
almost as fast as I can most of the time,
and slow occasionally.

But I wish I was faster.
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Old 02-01-07, 02:25 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
I'm in my mid 40s and I'm not planning on slowing down for at least another 10 or 15 years...
It's not something you plan, it happens all by itself.
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Old 02-01-07, 02:25 PM   #21
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3. Never give up...never surrender!

4. To Infinity, and Beyond!
5: "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

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Old 02-01-07, 02:27 PM   #22
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Growing up, a bicycle was transportation, not a sport. I rode at whatever seemed comfortable, generally the same effort level as that of a fast walk unless there was a steep hill. Nowdays, I think I ride faster or at a higher effort level than I did when I was 13. This may be because I tend to be on a tighter time schedule now. On the other hand, I don't want to get sweaty, as that would mean having to change clothing and clean up, which would have the effect of increasing my total journey time. The only riding I ever do is commuting and errands, so no group rides or tours.

Maximum speed is reached under two circumstances. One is sprinting to make a difficult left merge. The other is coasting down a steep hill. Teenage drivers have never cursed me.

I don't have a cyclocomputer and typically ride 10-15 mph. Consequently, 30 mph is a downhill speed. There are certainly some hills where I must be getting to that speed in a short distance. I do snap acceleration all the time when the light turns green, and it hasn't caused any problems.

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Old 02-01-07, 02:28 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Filiberto_Duran
Since then, I've been pacing myself. I've won a lot more races that way.
On a long, difficult ride pacing is very important. I don't know how many times I've been passed climbing a mountain or early on a long ride only to pass those same people miles later. And without me speeding up.

Az
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Old 02-01-07, 02:31 PM   #24
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I can't seem to stop myself from attemting to find the terminal velocity on every downhill I ride. I've tasted the pavement at speed (40+ on a downhill, behind still has scars), but it hasn't stopped me from bombing. There is just something that gets the chemicals in my brain flowing when I'm at full song. I'm addicted.
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Old 02-01-07, 02:32 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Az B
A lot of it is physical, a lot of it is maturity. Sure, I like to go fast, but it's not always appropriate. Advocacy rides, charity rides, fun rides with friends who aren't as fast... these are great times to go slower and enjoy yourself. When I was 20, I was too busy riding at the front trying to be the fastest.

Now I'm more likely to try to set personal records when I'm riding by myself, and enjoy the group rides for what they are. And I don't ride with the hammerheads because it's just not that much fun anymore. I'll leave those rides to those that need to prove something.
For solo rides, I normally like to challenge myself, but I consider conditions, distance, and upcoming rides (i.e. how much pain is it OK to be in tomorrow or in a couple days) when choosing my pace. I am not as strong as I was when I was 25 nor can I sprint as fast, but I'm actually faster than I was then on distance rides and I'm a significantly better climber.

With groups, I like to maintain a more sociable pace. I cut the wind for slower riders and keep an eye on them to make sure they're not working too hard or riding at a pace they can't maintain.
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