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  1. #1
    Clydesdale in Training
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    Am I Gonna Be A Turtle For Life?

    I just need to vent a little I think. I've been riding all summer long pretty regularly. I have well over 1,000 miles this summer which is pretty good for my limited riding time.

    On to my problem. I'm regularly riding a 15 mile route near my house. Its out of town so I don't have many, if any, traffic issues. Its all open highway. From the beginning of summer till now, my average speed and "lap time" over the route hasn't improved nearly as much as I had hoped.

    My lap time has gone from 55 minutes to 51 minutes and average speed from 16 mph to 18.5 mph. The route has only about 400' of climbing as the start and finish spot are the same.

    Other than just continuing to ride more, how do I get faster? I weight lift 3 times a week and ride at least 3 or 4 times a week averaging about 300 miles a month.

    I have some more weight to lose as I'm 6' and 215 lbs right now. And the weight is slowly coming off, but I want to get faster NOW!

    Rick

  2. #2
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    This issue comes up every once in awhile.

    The frustratingly simple answer is: ride faster. You can do this on your own or with others (group rides).

    By yourself, you would employ interval training, whether those intervals are short (1-minute or less) or long (20-minutes), on flats or hills is a decision you have to make with the help of a coach.

    The most fun--and least structured--is with others. Look up local group rides in your area, find one that's just a little bit faster than you. If there aren't any, then you push the pace (a form of intervals).

    Also, make sure you are riding longer distances than just the 15-mile loop. You'll need endurance to undertake any intervals or long group rides (around here, the shortest group rides are ~23 miles or more).

    And last, but most important, make sure you are resting/recovering from hard efforts.

    Visit The C-Blog : the blog about cycling.

  3. #3
    Senior Member redvespablur's Avatar
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    Its like running. You have to go farther slower to get faster. That and intervals. Sometimes changing up cadence to spin faster or push harder in faster gear. All else fails lose some weight off the equipment or yourself.

  4. #4
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    Do some interval training. Sounds like your body's used to the circuit so you need to shake things up to break through to the next level.
    HHCMF - Take pride in your ability to amaze lesser mortals! - MikeR



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  5. #5
    Senior Member turtlewoman's Avatar
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    Hey, what's wrong with being a turtle, anyway?
    1975 Peugeot UO-18
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    Just wanting to have some dang fun!
    "What she loved was simply life." Mrs. Dalloway
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  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by turtlewoman View Post
    Hey, what's wrong with being a turtle, anyway?
    +1

    Really, I've done better than 1700 miles in the last 12 months and while most of my riding is in the city, my best average mph is 15.5 (over 17 rolling to hilly miles). While I weigh a bit more than you(240), and my average ride might include a bit more climbing than that, I think your speeds are quite respectable. Above about 12 mph air resistance increases with the cube of speed, so even a slight increase in speed is quite a bit harder to maintain.

    What kind of bike are you on? I know I regularly get dropped off the back of many group rides, due to me riding a hybrid (though a fairly speedy one) as I don't have a bar position to get myself down out of the wind on some longer stretches.
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  7. #7
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by turtlewoman View Post
    Hey, what's wrong with being a turtle, anyway?
    Your question deserves its own thread.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    If you do any turbo/wind trainer riding indoors this winter, practice some one-legged pedalling. The object being to go through the full pedal stroke as smoothly as possible, with no jerking. You'll really feel your hip and abdominal muscles being brought into it.
    Do 20 revolutions with each leg, spin a bit with both legs, repeat 2 or three times and do this at least once a week. (Of course, you'll need toe clips or some kind of pedal system to do it.)
    When you get back on the road in spring, you'll be amazed at how much less effort you need to ride a pace that was a little hard the previous year, as you'll have learned to bring in more muscles to help with the effort.

  9. #9
    foolishly delirious RatedZeroHero's Avatar
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    i think maybe you aren't seeing the tree through the forest...

    you GAINED 2.5MPH in a season!!! you didn't lose you gained...

    lose some more body weight... work hard this winter and see... beside what i have been reading about solo riding 18mph is damn respectable...

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Depending on the bike, weather, etc 18.5 MPH for 15 miles realy is not bad at all. Turtle speed is when I have to ride with a co-worker and we are both on hybrids. I have no problem maintaining 15 MPH on the hybrid, he barely rides 12 MPH... I end up coasting a large percentage of the time. You may want to go faster, but are definitely NOT a turtle!

    I've been riding year round now for 2.5 years. On my road bike, I can average about 19 MPH riding solo. When I ride in a group I can ride about 20 to 21 MPH for 20 to 30 miles. That includes bursts of 24 to 25 MPH (on flat terrain), and some slow downs and stops for traffic lights and stop signs. I can definitely NOT hang with the group that averages about 22 MPH, they tend to ride long streaches at 24 to 25 MPH and I can't maintain those speeds yet.

    If you want to ride faster, follow the advise from the other poster to switch out your routine, etc. You may also want to search out a local bike club. It is fun to ride hard and fast for an hour or so with a club ride. If we've had an extra viggerous ride, I can always feel my legs for a day or two afterwards. Then you know that you've been working to legs hard.

    Happy riding,
    André

  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    I do this informally with my fiancee. She's a little thing, and got back on her mountain bike a couple months ago. She was slow and exhausted after her first ride, and I've been pushing her pretty regularly. Our route has a lot of starts and stops on it, and very, very minor climbing, but it does have some opportunities to really let you move for a while. I'll get out front of her and pull for all I'm worth. Due to the starts and stops, our average speed stays around 12-13 MPH, but I'm hitting 18-20 MPH in the longer stretches and airing it out for a minute or two at a time.

    I dont have anywhere near the time you do on the bike this year (about half what you have this summer), and Im definitely significantly faster than I was this spring.

  12. #12
    Senior Member hopsing08's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyossarian View Post
    Do some interval training. Sounds like your body's used to the circuit so you need to shake things up to break through to the next level.
    interval training is the best thing that every happened to me. i was riding a 22 mile loop and instead of just trying to conserve the whole time my dad told me to go as hard as i could on certain parts and recover on others. 2 weeks we turned our loop into a 55 mile loop and i feel great on it. i still do intervals in every part of my training from swimming to running. it is the not so secret weapon to getting alot faster

  13. #13
    Genetics have failed me Scummer's Avatar
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    Even if you go 25mph avg. you'll still be a turtle in relation to a pro racer.
    So what does it matter if you go 12 or 25? As long as you are having a good time on your bike it's all good.

    But if you really want to improve your speed quickly you need to ride faster and do intervals to a point where the pain is becoming excruciating.
    Gelato aficionado.

  14. #14
    Eternal Newbie Kevrob's Avatar
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    Q. Am I a turtle?

    A. You bet your sweet @zz I am!

    Kevin

  15. #15
    Clydesdale in Training
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    I'm riding a Lemond Alpe d'huez road bike with aero bars and spd clipless pedals and commuter style shoes. So I think I have a decent setup to cruise at a pretty good clip. I can average over 20 on the flats, probably around 15 on the 2-3% climbs. I'm pretty well spent when I'm done so I'm not leaving much in the tank.

    I'm going to do some interval training in the future. I'm also going to try one legged pedaling. I think I'm losing lots of potential by not pedalling efficiently.

    I've pretty much decided on buying a trainer for the winter. Maybe one of the Tacx VR or Computrainer styles so I don't get bored with it.

    My goal is to be able to average over 21 for this ride. Maybe 23 or 24 on the flats and climbing around 18 or 19. Basically just pick up another 3mph or so.

    And no, there's nothing wrong with being a turtle. I'd just like to be a FAST Ninja Turtle!

  16. #16
    Bikes fear me! RhinoBiker's Avatar
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    Cadence help

    I have notice a marked improvement when I quit using the large front ring for a while and worked on keeping my cadence above 95 rpm. My legs are really moving. When I started using the large ring again I kept the cadence and picked up speed. After zooming down the hills, I have also been counting revolutions I really pump hard going up the hills. I can make it over the crest of hills now that kicked my big back end a few weeks ago.
    a Clydesdale just doesn't describe my style. It's way to gentle...Started at 326 pounds April 08...
    Secret Santa gave me a old mountain bike - I killed it after 200 miles.
    ... bought another mountain bike and bent the back axle after 200 miles,
    ... used the income tax refund for the Sirrus Sport and love going to and from work. The Upstate of South Carolina is a beautiful place to ride. 265 lbs June09

  17. #17
    Totally Worth It SmokeDiver's Avatar
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    Shout out to my fellow turtles! Why does it have to be about speed? Slow and steady will get you pretty far!

  18. #18
    Senior Member turtlewoman's Avatar
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    Here's the helmet turtle-----
    Attached Images Attached Images
    1975 Peugeot UO-18
    -----------------------------------------------

    Just wanting to have some dang fun!
    "What she loved was simply life." Mrs. Dalloway
    "Free the cheese!"
    Diesel Dan: HTFU!

  19. #19
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    revolt fellow turtles

    hEY,
    I am a turtle too.
    I noticed as I increase mileage changes happen to my speed and cadance.
    I was ridding 20+ miles every day and pushed it up to 32 miles. and I was really beat up for a couple weeks
    but It seems to make a differnce .
    Its a little like running many people feel that around 55 mins the body starts to really change.
    Do you have a cadance device.I also monitor my heart rate, Ive noticed my heart rate at 110 is really goofing off when I move over 120 I start to breath a little harder and at 150 I sound like a steam engine. each person has different limits. If your not pushing yourself once in a while you will not improve as quickly. your heartrate really says it all and if your overdoing it a bit you'll see a longer recovery time when your slowing down a little.
    another important aspect is to mash a little one day and ride a easier cadance the next rest is important for builiding.
    I try and push my cadance all the time, try and keep you heart rate up. my heart monitor really tells me when I am coasting.
    Like today i never allowed my rate below 130 thats pretty hard on us older guys. plus I am a cd too.
    Doug
    Last edited by djnzlab1; 08-22-09 at 08:26 PM.

  20. #20
    Senior Member
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    I have to say intervals are your friend and as always the best intervals is hill repeats. I have nothing against going slow and will happily ride with anyone but I do find 14-15mph actually seems harder than 18-20mph avg. A turtle is not a bad thing just not my thing. To the OP the best way to get fast is ride with a group or someone faster than you.
    Best thing about cycling is when I'm at work I'm thinking of cycling, when I'm cycling I'm thinking about cycling.

  21. #21
    Working On My Kit Tan Varina Drag's Avatar
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    18.5 isn't bad. I'm looking forward to getting that fast with some more time in the saddle! Just a simple matter of perspective...

  22. #22
    Bicycle n00B
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    If you're truly a turtle, you'll know that slow, steady, forward progress is the key to beating that bloody rabbit!
    I reserve the right to be wrong at any time. :D

    Man does not live by bread alone, that's why God made ice cream.

  23. #23
    Clydesdale in Training
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    Well, I did my shopping in and around town this afternoon on my bike. I definitely WASN'T a turtle on the way out with a 12mph tail wind. Woooooooooooo Hoooooooooooo I averaged right at 24mph on the downwind leg of my 8 mile trip into town. Then I turned and it was a direct side wind. Speed dropped to about 18mph.

    I stopped at the bike shopt to look at season closeouts for a while. Then I turned into it, by this time it had kicked up to 15+. What a BUGGER!! Spinning like crazy to maintain 12 or 13 miles an hour? Whats that about? Then came the climbs to get back home. Uphill into the wind, what a sadistic event that is! Heart rate around 170 to climb a hill at a whopping 10mph. Ooooooooh baby. Final stats were a 22 mile ride with an average speed of 16.4mph. Am I dragging a boat anchor here?

  24. #24
    Bicycle n00B
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    lol, wind in the face sucketh! Glad you got in a good ride, though. Keep riding!
    I reserve the right to be wrong at any time. :D

    Man does not live by bread alone, that's why God made ice cream.

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