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    Senior Member magohn's Avatar
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    Average Speed - I dont get how some of you guys are so fast....

    Hi Guys,
    I just thought I would mention a pattern that I see constantly on these forums. After a year of constant cycling, my avg MPH is hovering around the 13mph mark on a 40 mile ride - and thats pushing it. However, in numerous threads I repeatedly see reports of avgs in the 17,18,19 and even 20+mph catergories. Now, correct me if I am wrong, but didnt the "2011 USA Cycling Pro Time Trial Championships":

    http://www.dailypeloton.com/displayarticle.asp?pk=18798

    report the winner averaging 25mph? If so, it looks like we have a bunch of Clydes who are almost Tour De France caliber!

    How are people calculating their average speed? If its calculated on riding downhill with a tailwind, then I may be able to beat the World Champions this weekend on my way to Wendy's

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    Group rides are much faster than solos because you get to draft. Some places are just plain flat.

    By myself I struggle to average 15 with a group of friends I'll average 19+.
    Litespeed M1 | Masi Vincere | Panasonic Sport-500 | Raleigh Technium

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    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    I know some clydes doing 5 hour centuries averaging 20 over flat ground. But the article says something about the last climb. Possible it was a hilly race. That makes a big difference.

    But you should be faster than 13 mph if you are doing flat rides. I did 13.8 ave ride time/ 13.1 ave total time mph on a century with a 62 mile 10,000 ft climb. Not anything close to a TDF rider. But on the flats, I've averaged 19 mph for a flat 40 miler solo. Heck, Gina's averaged 18.4 at her best on a 42 miler riding my wheel.

    Heck, on a flat orgnized ride (Palm SPrings) I average 17.5 solo for 100 miles. (I don't draft on rides )

    I average 14 on this ride, you should have no problem averaging 16 or 17 on a flat ride. I'm not a lightweight.


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    Retired C.O. RandoneeRider's Avatar
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    Old short fat guy here with a 24" inseam...... new bike, new Clydesdale member.

    The GPS I mounted to my bike indicates that in the last 70 miles, my average speed around town of setting out for the purpose of getting my butt used to my Specialized saddle..... has been "12.4 mph".
    Keep in mind that I haven't ridden a bicycle in over 25 years. I'M MAKING A COMEBACK!

  5. #5
    Senior Member magohn's Avatar
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    This is what confuses me. Can the difference between the ultra-elite, pro cyclist and clyde hobbyists (who are admittedly overweight) be a mere few miles per hour. In a logical world, if a clyde can ride 17+ mph for numerous miles a skinny "World Pro" should be able to ride at least 10 mph faster - hills or no hills. The winner from the article averaged 25mph ,the WINNER. Therefore, it is quite possible that many of the clydes on this forum are in the wrong profession

    I have had numerous comments that my 13mph seems low. But it is what it is. I push and really feel Im maxing it out. I dont see anyway that I will ever get close to 17+mph anytime soon. Dont get me wrong, Im fine with my 13mph, I just dont get how a pro-athlete and a clyde can have avg mph's that are so close to each other

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    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Required power goes as the cube of speed, so going 27 mph on flat ground (all other things being equal including drag, bicycle efficiency, etc.) requires 4 times the power of the same cyclist going 17 mph. In more real world terms 15 mph requires approximately twice the power of riding 12 mph. You don't say what type of bike you're riding, but an upright position can really affect speed. You indicate that you've been riding for about a year, but don't say what sort of riding you've been doing. Even without riding in a paceline you'll naturally push harder/go faster/get faster riding with a group, but it takes time. If you really want to get faster you might consider somewhat of a structured training approach. Otherwise, just enjoy riding.
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    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    You can't assume that all clydes are over weight. Some of us are just big (like Beanz ) I've done 115 miles in 4:45 minutes (that was in a group), numerous 20mph centuries and done flat TT's averaging over 22mph. I've ridden with pro riders and I'm definitely not in their league but in the right circumstances and terrain I can ride with them. Just because you are big, doesn't mean you have to be slow.

    Magon, how many miles do you ride per year and do you do the proper type of training to get fast? Miles for the sake of miles are meaningless. I ride as much as 10k miles a year and do specific speed work. It all comes down to no pain, no gain!
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

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    Senior Member mwchandler21's Avatar
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    You can't think of mph like a car. The difference between 17 mph and 25 mph is huge for a bike, almost 50% increase.

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    Senior Member magohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdtompki View Post
    Required power goes as the cube of speed, so going 27 mph on flat ground (all other things being equal including drag, bicycle efficiency, etc.) requires 4 times the power of the same cyclist going 17 mph. In more real world terms 15 mph requires approximately twice the power of riding 12 mph. You don't say what type of bike you're riding, but an upright position can really affect speed. You indicate that you've been riding for about a year, but don't say what sort of riding you've been doing. Even without riding in a paceline you'll naturally push harder/go faster/get faster riding with a group, but it takes time. If you really want to get faster you might consider somewhat of a structured training approach. Otherwise, just enjoy riding.

    Thanks for the reply. I ride a full-carbon Roubaix and my average ride is 30-40 miles per ride. I usually ride 30+ miles twice per week and a couple of shorter 6 mile local rides on my "in between" days. i always arrive home soaked in sweat and certainly know I have been exercising.

    Following your breakdown would it also follow that a clyde who can average 19mph avg would dictate the following formula:
    (15 mph requires approximately twice the power of riding 12 mph) + (17 mph requires approximately twice the power of riding 15 mph) + (19 mph requires approximately twice the power of riding 17 mph) = A clyde averaging 19mph is working 6 times harder than I am at my 12-13mph? I find that hard to swallow

    Excuse my meanderings, but if I may use my brother as an example. He is 160lbs and lives and breathes fitness/cycling 9always has since being a kid). On his best day he averages 20mph over 50 miles and this guy can ride like the wind. He rides 150+ miles per week and is president of his local racing club. I can see how he could come "kinda" close to pro levels (but still respectively slower) but have a hard time imaging a 250lb'ish clyde on a Trek Fx pushing the high teens - just doesnt make sense to me.

  10. #10
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    First off, you use a bike computer/speedometer that stops measuring time when you stop riding, such as at stoplights and rest stops. That is how nearly everyone measures "average speed". If you actually ride from one end to the other of a 30 mile course with a bunch of stop lights and all, and take the total time and figure your speed, it'll be a lot slower. If your course has a lot of stops, it'll drop your average speed on a bike computer due to the slow-downs at those stopping points. So a long rural route produces higher average speeds.

    If you don't believe other people are averaging 18 or 20 mph, go find a fast group ride and watch them disappear into the distance while you cough up a lung or two. Yes, people do go that fast.

    A while back, I was on the local club ride, managed to make it to the front of the pack as we went up a little hill. As we neared the top, I and one other guy were about even, going 20 mph. I was giving it everything I had. But then the other guy just took off like I was sitting still. That's the difference between being 50 years old, 200+ lbs, on a 40 lb bike, and being 25 years old, 140 lbs, on a 20 lb bike. There's old men that can ride circles around me, and a lot of the women in Lone Star Randonneurs can outride me pretty handily if they take a notion.

    There is a BIG difference between averaging 20 mph and averaging 25 mph in terms of power output, so being "almost" TdeF material doesn't mean much. Also keep in mind that the TdeF has some major climbs in it, so you can't compare average speeds of that route to your route in a meaningful way.

    Right now, my average speed for the year is around 15.5 mph or so. I've done a couple of longer rides that averaged around 18.1 mph. They involved favorable wind (or rather, lack of unfavorable wind), working really hard at it, and doing lots of drafting. Oh, and lots of riding in the drops.
    Last edited by StephenH; 06-01-11 at 10:45 PM.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  11. #11
    Senior Member magohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    ...I've done 115 miles in 4:45 minutes (that was in a group)...
    Congrats! Your match the 2010 winners of the "2011 USA Cycling Pro Time Trial Championships" that was also over 115 miles! (see the article linked)

    "Today’s mark of 4:28.02 is more than 16 minutes faster than reigning champ Ben King’s (RadioShack) 2010 time of 4:44.59."

    Told you us Clydes are as fast as the pro's

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    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by magohn View Post
    Congrats! Your match the 2010 winners of the "2011 USA Cycling Pro Time Trial Championships" that was also over 115 miles! (see the article linked)

    "Today’s mark of 4:28.02 is more than 16 minutes faster than reigning champ Ben King’s (RadioShack) 2010 time of 4:44.59."

    Told you us Clydes are as fast as the pro's

    "under hot condition on Memorial Day this past Monday"
    "Despite the soaring temperatures 95 F (34 C) and signature southern humidity"
    "on the final climb up Paris Mountain"
    "The powerful field turned up the pace, despite the heat"
    "Fusche and Hincapie attacked on the final climb and joined the survivors of the break and then forcing the selection on the final move to the final three circuits."
    "Those four emerged as the strongest riders in the race that included four ascents of Paris Mountain"
    "As usual on the last time up that mountain the attacks went"
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

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    Quote Originally Posted by magohn View Post
    Hi Guys,
    I just thought I would mention a pattern that I see constantly on these forums. After a year of constant cycling, my avg MPH is hovering around the 13mph mark on a 40 mile ride - and thats pushing it. However, in numerous threads I repeatedly see reports of avgs in the 17,18,19 and even 20+mph catergories. Now, correct me if I am wrong, but didnt the "2011 USA Cycling Pro Time Trial Championships":

    http://www.dailypeloton.com/displayarticle.asp?pk=18798

    report the winner averaging 25mph? If so, it looks like we have a bunch of Clydes who are almost Tour De France caliber!
    No. With power to overcome aerodynamic drag increasing with the cube of velocity it's nearly twice as hard to go 25 MPH as 20 MPH on flat ground.

    Running the numbers for a 180 pound rider on a 20 pound bike riding on the brake hoods I get 88-89% more power depending on frontal area.

    With physiological strain proportional to the square of power production, an hour at 25 MPH racks up as much stress as 3.5-3.6 hours at 20 MPH and some one winning a 115 mile time trial in 4:28 has done the equivalent of about 15.6 hours and 312 miles at 20 MPH.

    Once the rate of lactic acid production exceeds your body's rate of clearance things get much worse, with levels increasing with to the fourth power of power. 2-3% faster can be the difference between a lot of work and painful where you run out of steam after 10 minutes instead of an hour.

    This also neglects that it's much, much easier to ride in a group where you may be spending 30% less energy between pulls.
    Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 06-01-11 at 11:29 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by magohn View Post

    A clyde averaging 19mph is working 6 times harder than I am at my 12-13mph? I find that hard to swallow
    19 MPH is only 2.5X as hard as 13 MPH on flat ground (200 pound Clydestale, 20 pound bike, .760 Cd, .4 m^2 Sd per Gibertini's measurements of a cyclist riding on the brake hoods, .004 Crr).

    http://www.analyticcycling.com/ForcesPower_Page.html

  15. #15
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by magohn View Post
    Congrats! Your match the 2010 winners of the "2011 USA Cycling Pro Time Trial Championships" that was also over 115 miles! (see the article linked)

    "Today’s mark of 4:28.02 is more than 16 minutes faster than reigning champ Ben King’s (RadioShack) 2010 time of 4:44.59."

    Told you us Clydes are as fast as the pro's
    You're mixing up time trials with group rides. It doesn't work that way. My RAAM team averaged 20mph for 3000miles non-stop. Don't believe it, look up the record.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

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    Senior Member magohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    You're mixing up time trials with group rides. It doesn't work that way. My RAAM team averaged 20mph for 3000miles non-stop. Don't believe it, look up the record.
    No disrespect intended.
    Im sure you reported accurately your performance. Im just trying to get it clear in my head how there can be such a difference between clyde riders. Looks like you guys can and do ride 17+mph. Just saying it looks like Im riding in another dimension and probably will have to be satisfied with the low teens....

    Just as an FYI, I have had much pain and so far little gain with respect to speed.
    Last edited by magohn; 06-01-11 at 11:57 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by magohn View Post
    No disrespect intended.
    Im sure you reported accurately your performance. Im just trying to get it clear in my head how there can be such a difference between riders. Looks like you guys can and do ride 17+mph. Just saying it looks like Im riding in another dimension and probably will have to be satisfied with the low teens....
    A little structure to your riding
    - Hard on the tough days, easy enough on the light days so you're rested enough to go hard when you should
    - 5-10 minute intervals a couple days a week
    - rest days, weeks, and months
    will do wonders to your average speed.

    Quantifying your effort via heart rate (or power, but that's more expensive) can make it easier to dig deeper when you can but your legs feel tired, and hold back when things feel great but your plan calls for an easy day/week/month.

    There are more printed and on-line resources than you can shake a stick at.

    Naive approaches like "always ride hard" (you're never rested enough to go really hard or have enough time to recover so you're both slow and tired) or "ride with a faster group" (either you're going to hard for too long so you're not getting the intensity in, or you're not working hard enough when you're not pulling) don't work.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    I feel your pain. While I can crank on the flats and downhill I have resigned myself to being a slug whenever the road tilts up. Gravity is an evil mistress.


    Regarding training...What Drew said.
    Last edited by Homeyba; 06-02-11 at 12:22 AM.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  19. #19
    Loves to suffer freighttraininguphill's Avatar
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    I don't give a rat's ass about my average speed. I ride purely for fun. While I love climbing and don't mind suffering on a climb, I'm not into hammering on flat ground to the point of pain. Especially since I nearly always ride solo, so I never have the benefit of drafting. If I have to start worrying about average speed and trying to compete with people, I will get burned out like I did in 1994 when I quit riding hard and gained all the weight. I refuse to make that mistake again.

  20. #20
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    stopping and starting on the road takes a bit off your average.. My best average speeds are on MUP where there are no stop signs, just wide open trails..

    What is amazing is the Mt. Baldy stage of TOC they averaged 18.8mph with 15k of climbing.. The average was over 20mph before the final ascent of to the baldy ski lifts..

  21. #21
    Junior Member MrsNetNut404's Avatar
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    I don't give a rat's ass about my average speed. I ride purely for fun. While I love climbing and don't mind suffering on a climb, I'm not into hammering on flat ground to the point of pain. Especially since I nearly always ride solo, so I never have the benefit of drafting. If I have to start worrying about average speed and trying to compete with people, I will get burned out like I did in 1994 when I quit riding hard and gained all the weight. I refuse to make that mistake again.
    I couldn't have said it better myself!

  22. #22
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Another thing you have to remember is speed doesn't come over night. I rode my first year thinking the guys doing 20 in a paceline were superfast. I thought I'd never be able to hold 20 even on the back of a paceline. I kept riding, threw in some hills including ez ride recovery days. A year later I woke up one morning and blew down the trail at 26 leaving that paceline far behind. I was shocked.

    Give it time for the leg muscles to develope and adjust to cycling. One thing that really enhanced riding is sustained climbs cause you have no choice but to keep the energy flowing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    You can't assume that all clydes are over weight. Some of us are just big (like Beanz )

    Who is this guy? I love this guy! I love you Man!

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    Me 195 lbs, 5' 8'', bike 23 pounds, stuff/water 8 pounds, total of 226 pounds. I ride solo all the time so i blast a hole in the wind all the time. 5-27 first 7 miles 20.6, 10 miles 20.3(up and over a check dam at both sides) 17 miles 19.7(7 miles head wind), 30 miles 18.8(reached my turn around point, head wind 13 miles of 8 to 14mph wind). Finished ride at 17.7 mph avg, 51 miles. 66 years old. I do a lot of speed work, hill repeats, sprints which has helped build my legs/lungs. This August it will be 2 years on a road bike after 45 years on not riding. Everyone has different talents, if you want to go faster, you have to go faster first with your cadence, then endurance, it all builds on what you have done. It will take time. Some told me when i started it would take about 2 years before you will really see results. He was right.

  24. #24
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LAriverRat View Post
    I ride solo all the time so i blast a hole in the wind all the time.
    Yup, not everyone drafts. I ride alone and the only reason anyone rides with me is because I ride with Gina but I'm rarely on a wheel unless I fall back to take a pic etc.. I've done about 35 centuries and only drafted on maybe 2 or 3 that were set up with forum members.

  25. #25
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    Last Fall I posted a somewhat similar question in another bike forum. The advice I got was Ignore anyone that tells you what speed you should be going. They also concluded that it takes five years of riding to reach your genetic potential. So we really are just beginners.

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