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Old 08-01-12, 06:35 PM   #1
nickthaquick1
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Bike doesn't hold speed as well

Hi all,

I have been noticing a slight decrease in performance over the past week or so and am wondering if there is something mechanical to blame rather than me going soft.

The facts I have are built up with the data my garmin collects... It seems that over the same ride on various days my average speeds are decreasing, while my heart rate is remaining the same. I was thinking at first the difference could be to changes in wind patters slightly, but I've ruled that out as I have completed the same 18 mile loop over different days, with similar weather conditions (generally calm, no rain)

I noticed that my normal rolling speeds went from roughly 16.5-18 depending on the road are now 14.4-16 mph, and hills have been noticeably harder to climb.

In terms of training I ride between 100 -230 miles a week, none commuting. When I ride it's usually as fast as I can go. I have approx 3k miles in this year and have been seeing slight improvements each week/ month of training, so to go backwards at this point in the season is especially frustrating.

I ride shimano rs20 wheels. The front recently broke a spoke and has been on back order, so I'm using a Xero lite wheel for the front off my old bike. Upon first switching this wheel I noticed an improvement in speeds, not decrease, which was odd. The back wheel has also become slightly untrue. It dosnt seem to be to the point that breakes are rubbing but when you spin the wheel you can see a SLIGHT wabble. Would this effect speeds leading to ,my problem?

I also have not taken my bike in for a tune since I bought it last July, or approx 4k miles later.


If anyone could give me advice, I'd greatly appreciate it as I'm NO mechanic.
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Old 08-01-12, 06:49 PM   #2
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Do you pump up your tires before each ride?
What size are the tires and how much pressure are you using?
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Old 08-01-12, 06:51 PM   #3
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Before you fret about the bike at all, give yourself a rest day or two to recover, then see if your times come back down. I find I'm off by the end. Or if I do a hard ride Sunday, I could be off early in the week. You need to give bodies a chance to recover, otherwise, a hard daily training routine just makes you tired.

If your times don't bonce back, check tire pressure, but consider that other than you being overtrained, there's nothing on the bike that can account for that much difference without being fairly obvious.

BTW- there are also external factors, like temperature, and also internal ones like nutrition and hydration, that can give you an off day anytime.
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Old 08-01-12, 07:52 PM   #4
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there's nothing on the bike that can account for that much difference without being fairly obvious.
Yeah, if it's not a dragging brake, it'd have to serious carnage of some sort; you wouldn't be able to miss it.
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Old 08-01-12, 08:15 PM   #5
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I think there are two possible factors causing this:

The 'engine' is tired;
THe tires are not properly inflated
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Old 08-01-12, 11:47 PM   #6
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Have you given the wheels a spin to see if there's excessive friction?
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Old 08-02-12, 06:04 AM   #7
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Great comments. Forgot about tires as that word be an obvious culprit. I ride pro race 3s, 23 I believe, at 116-120 psi every time. I don't think they can take much more air before they burst! I am 175, so this pressure is just about their max.

Just looking at my strava training data I've ridden all of the past 9 days, and rode 850 miles n July, nearly twice as much as June. Perhaps it's time for a rest day or two... :-/
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Old 08-02-12, 06:38 AM   #8
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I think you hit the nail on the head. Slow decreases in performance in the setting of frequent hard riding is generally a sign of overtraining. Remember that other stresses in your life, especially those that interfere with sleep, relaxation, and nutrition will change your threshold for overtraining. Take a physical and mental break with lots of sleep, good nutrition, and some enjoyable active rest (pleasant, low intensity recreation) for a few days and then schedule rest periods throughout your training. You don't get stronger when you ride, you get stronger when you rest after you ride.
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Old 08-02-12, 06:58 AM   #9
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Ruling out something obvious like a brake pad rubbing, you have overtained as others said. Low tire pressure doesn't make that much difference.

This is probably key

Quote:
When I ride it's usually as fast as I can go.
Your body can only take so much before it rebels - that's what overtarining is about. Google the subject and see what the warning signs are and what you're in for if you don't back off
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Old 08-02-12, 07:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickthaquick1 View Post
. I ride pro race 3s, 23 I believe, at 116-120 psi every time. I don't think they can take much more air before they burst! I am 175, so this pressure is just about their max.
Way too much air pressure as well. Search this site and you'll find all sorts of threads and guides on how much pressure to use. Too much pressure actually increases rolling resistence instead of lowering it.
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Old 08-02-12, 07:06 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Myosmith View Post
I think you hit the nail on the head. Slow decreases in performance in the setting of frequent hard riding is generally a sign of overtraining. Remember that other stresses in your life, especially those that interfere with sleep, relaxation, and nutrition will change your threshold for overtraining. Take a physical and mental break with lots of sleep, good nutrition, and some enjoyable active rest (pleasant, low intensity recreation) for a few days and then schedule rest periods throughout your training. You don't get stronger when you ride, you get stronger when you rest after you ride.
If your goal is to ride faster, you have to vary your effort. Almost everybody works too hard on their easy days and not hard enough on the hard days.
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Old 08-02-12, 07:17 AM   #12
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While you're taking that couple of days off that you need, grab a spoke wrench and give truing that back wheel a try and do whatever general maintenance that you've been putting on the back burner since last July. You'll have time since you're not riding and when you come back you'll feel fresh and your bike will ride like new.
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Old 08-02-12, 07:22 AM   #13
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nickthaquick1, I weigh 175-180 and run 100 PSI in my crit bike's 23 mm tires. For a very general guideline with training broken into a week at a time, schedule an easy day and a non riding day during training. There are many good online tutorials to help train for a specific goal.

If the bike is at fault it'll be noticeable during coast down.

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Old 08-02-12, 08:47 AM   #14
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"I also have not taken my bike in for a tune since I bought it last July, or approx 4k miles later.
If anyone could give me advice, I'd greatly appreciate it as I'm NO mechanic."

I think you should get that bike into the LBS pronto! Any delay might further reduce your preformance. A blank cheque left with the obviously deteriorating wabbling wheels will help assure that all the appropriate work will be done with promptness and precision and likely, maybe, perhaps restore your hoped for preformance. A word to the wise
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Old 08-02-12, 09:00 AM   #15
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Average speed is not a good way to judge performance on the road to many variables stop signs, traffic in general the only way you could use it would be if your route had no stops signs, no wind and nothing that could alter your speed in any way, just ride stop signs make your avg. speed go down fast and its very hard to get it back.

And as other have mentioned tire pressure and just riding to much with no rest can make you tired.
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Old 08-02-12, 09:08 AM   #16
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wobbling wheel? no check up in 4K miles? seriously? get that bike in a shop for a ride ready tuneup asap. those wheels and spokes should be tensioned by an expert. I've brought new-to-me used bikes with what looks like good straight wheels and had the tech tell me, oh yeah we can improve on those after spinning and observing them. also get your bearings replaced and repacked. who knows what's going inside your hubs after a year and 4K miles!
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Old 08-02-12, 12:42 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
Do you pump up your tires before each ride?
What size are the tires and how much pressure are you using?
Indeed, I found on my commuter pumping up your tires makes the biggest difference.
I know you are not a mechanics, but you could try re greasing bearings around your bike?
I use marine grease from walmart, its under 5 dollars and will last a cyclist a life time
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Old 08-02-12, 03:30 PM   #18
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Even if you do not do your own repairs you should know how to do a "quick check" of your bike and do so on a regular basis. It takes very little time/effort to check for wheels spinning easily with no side place, brakes working well but not rubbing, and wheels being true, tires inflated. If you do all that you do not have to guess as to whether there's a problem with the bike. If there were a problem that was slowing you down to that degree it would have to be a serious one.

I agree that overtraining is a distinct possibility.
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Old 08-02-12, 05:22 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickthaquick1 View Post
Hi all,

I have been noticing a slight decrease in performance over the past week or so and am wondering if there is something mechanical to blame rather than me going soft.
You're somewhere between over-reaching and over-training (most likely the later). You need to back off and read about periodization before you do more damage to yourself and are forced to take even longer to recover.

Quote:
In terms of training I ride between 100 -230 miles a week, none commuting. When I ride it's usually as fast as I can go.
You need easy weeks, days, and months too. Otherwise you'll be slow, tired, and have health problems.
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