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  1. #1
    Senior Member CJ C's Avatar
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    Why am i so slow?

    As the title says, why am i so slow?

    Yes i only get to ride 2-3 times a week but i give it my all every ride. I do commute to work 3-4 days a week its only 4 miles one way. And i was off the bike from November to mid March due to a knee injury (from jogging). I understand it takes more training than i am doing but I still think i should be faster than i am going now. I dont think its because I am a clyde as less weight in the flatlands doesn't mean that much more speed. I am not going fast enough where aerodynamics come that much into play.

    So guys any tips, hints, ideas?

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    You just got back on the bike my friend and it takes time to get back into shape. You just have to keep plugging away really.

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    You doing longer rides on the weekends?

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    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJ C View Post
    As the title says, why am i so slow?

    Yes i only get to ride 2-3 times a week but i give it my all every ride. I do commute to work 3-4 days a week its only 4 miles one way. And i was off the bike from November to mid March due to a knee injury (from jogging). I understand it takes more training than i am doing but I still think i should be faster than i am going now. I dont think its because I am a clyde as less weight in the flatlands doesn't mean that much more speed. I am not going fast enough where aerodynamics come that much into play.

    So guys any tips, hints, ideas?
    What bike are you riding? What gearing does it have? Chain rings and cassette?
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJ C View Post
    Yes i only get to ride 2-3 times a week but i give it my all every ride.
    Are you really giving your all on every ride? How do you know? Are you using a heart-rate meter or power meter?

    So guys any tips, hints, ideas?
    Sounds to me like you need to ride further and possibly more often, too. I, personally, didn't worry about speed until I could ride 30 miles without a stop. You may also need a more organized training plan. If you just go out and ride you won't get as much benefit as if you did, say, some interval training.

  6. #6
    Senior Member tony_merlino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    What bike are you riding? What gearing does it have? Chain rings and cassette?
    Also - what kind of tires does it have on it? I know people say weight doesn't matter on level ground, but there's a huge speed difference between my 23 lb road bike with 700x25 tires inflated to 110 PSI, and my 41 lb errand bike with 26x1.95 tires inflated to 60 PSI or whatever. Same engine on both...
    L'asino di Buridano...

  7. #7
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    I'm a 14-15 mph rider. So I've described myself here as slow. Last February, I went down to Florida to ride the Withlacoochee Trail. I fully expected to get passed all the time. In the 200 miles I rode before I crashed, I got passed once and that was at the end of long day of riding. So compared to many of the posters here I'm slow. Compared to the general riding population I don't think I do too bad. You probably can say the same.

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    What are your current speeds (Average, sprint, tempo)? What would you like them to be? What's your current weight? Do you have 6-10 hours per week that you can commit to training?

    "giving it your all" from the beginning to end of each ride, actually isn't the most effective way of attaining most training goals.

    I'm riding 3-5 times per week. Each ride usually has a specific fcus. Strenth, leg speed, hills, bike speed, endurance, recovery, etc. There are number of tools that come into use for any one of those areas. And usually, a fair bit of the ride is conducted at something other than "max effort" . Max effort is reserved for whatever I'm focused on. And in the case of recovery and endurance rides, max effort doesn't come into play at all.

    So far I'm very happy with my modest results. Over the last couple months my solo ride average has increased from 22-24 km/hr to 25-27 km/hr. Once I've achieved solo averages in excess of 28km/hr I plan to start focusing on increasing my distances, with a goal of completing a century in Novermber with an average of 28km/hr.
    Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member digibud's Avatar
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    You don't say what you are calling slow. Maybe you think 20-22 mph is slow. Who doesn't think they should be going faster. Moving from speed X to speed X+2mph is actually quite some work. The amount of work goes up really rapidly as speed increases. If you aren't using clipless pedals then that's a huge thing as is the work it takes to pump up the quads so they make a meaningful addition. If you aren't spinning at 70-80 that's a big deal too because a person can't keep up a slow, hard cadence for very long. Those are both technique/training things you can work on.There's a lot of info on the net on how to increase cadence. Some of it IS because you're clyde. We have miles and miles of blood vessels our hearts have to pump our blood through and carrying the extra weight, even on the flats, is a big deal. Even a skinny 6' 5" clyde in good shape is at a disadvantage compared to a smaller, thinner, lighter rider so if your clyde status is, like mine, due to being overweight for your height then it's part clyde, part technique and part fitness. Oh..and yeah...could be part bike. A light, carbon fiber bike DOES make a difference, all other things being equal.

  10. #10
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Bianchi Via Nirone 7 ? Pretty nice bike.

    It comes by pushing yourself. If you ride into the wind, push your limits. If you go uphill, ride harder.

    Do some drills. Interval types. I'd also say do some looooonger rides, they force you to dig deep.

  11. #11
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    You're slow because you're not riding faster. Ride faster than you are now and you will not be slow.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    How slow is slow? How much do you weigh? Might be you're faster than you think. I have this theory that the majority of people on bikeforums fudges their numbers by a few mph for bragging rights. I've seen people in the roadie forum claiming to be able to average 30mph with no problems... as if.

    I've accepted that my weight is holding me back. Using a wattage calculator, comparing my 400lb self with a spry 150 pound version of me in the future, at 220 watts on a 1% grade, I can average 13.5mph, which is about what I do now. The lighter me should be able to average 18mph.

    http://bikecalculator.com/veloUS.html

    So I need to lose weight to bike. I'm stuck in this no-man's-land where I'm much faster than everyone on bike paths, but much slower than roadies on the road. It's lonely here, but one day...

  13. #13
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    How slow is slow? ................ I have this theory that the majority of people on bikeforums fudges their numbers by a few mph for bragging rights. ...
    Strava postings don't lie. There are many clydes here on strava.

    CJC, funny because your 33 mile rides are not much slower than your 10 mile rides. I'd take my 10 mile rides and turn them into full out TT sufferfest efforts.

    What I did a few years back was ride around industrial centers in later evenings for gauging progress. I'd do a lap (2 mile) around the block and time myself, then try to better each lap til I just couldn't push anymore.

    Sometimes I'd do a hard TT effort according in timed increments. Little fun and games like that add to the training and progress.

    Of course I'd do the weekend longer rides but 2 times during the week, I'd do some drill type rides. My cruising speeds on the longer weekend rides increased without much effort on the rides.
    Last edited by Mr. Beanz; 05-05-12 at 10:24 PM.

  14. #14
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Couple thoughts.

    1) it looks like you've ridden 200 miles so far this y ear. Wait till you get to 500 before you fret about your speed.
    2) Ride longer (ties in with #1 a bit).
    3) Once you have a solid base of 500 miles you can look into doing interval training, or a variety of other things, but really - the thing that will make you faster is simply being stronger.
    4) Find some groups nearby to ride with. Nothing makes you faster like frantically trying to hang on to the back of a group.

    Lastly, the other thing that can improve your speed is riding on a road where you don't have to stop. I know that sounds stupid but I can ride on the Santa Ana River Trail and average nearly 18, but if I'm riding around town with a simlar effort, the repeated stops for stop signs, lights etc will knock me down to 15 or 16.

    Looks like you're hitting PRs on your recent rides - that's always a good sign of improvement in my opinion. That 33 mile ride you did was about 12 mph and your last one was about 14 mph - again, that looks pretty good from an improvement standpoint.

    Bottom line- the really fast guys put a lot of time in the saddle. You'll get better with some effort!

  15. #15
    Senior Member catonec's Avatar
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    im also curious what is slow. I average 15.5 to 17 on my 35-46 mile loops depending on wind and whatnot, I feel Im slow.
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    I'm surprised no one here mentioned nutrition. Other than questioning what "slow" means to the OP, the OP might be hitting a wall every time he cycles due to lack of salt or carbohydrate intake. I know I began noticing improvements in speed when I ate properly both before and during the ride.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    Strava postings don't lie. There are many clydes here on strava.
    Was referring to the site in general, specifically other subforums where one-upsmanship is rampant. Regardless, anything can be faked, even Garmin data.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    Was referring to the site in general, specifically other subforums where one-upsmanship is rampant. Regardless, anything can be faked, even Garmin data.
    And doing so amongst a bunch of clydes, would just be sad. Really, if someone needed to fake data to make themselves seem faster than others, we're the last group to compare yourself to.
    Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.

  19. #19
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    I am slow. I've been riding a year, putting on close to 3000 miles in that time, and I am still slow, but not near as slow as when I started. My latest ride of about 34 miles on rolling hills with a touch of wind I averaged 12.7mph and was wiped. I couldn't even smell the roses, it was head down and ride my best. I have come to the conclusion that starting to ride in your late 50s after being sedentary, with no fitness and little muscle mass, that it takes a long time to build up and as Jethro said, "aspire to mediocrity." Last November, after losing most of my excess weight and exercising a lot the prior 8 months, I had a fitness assessment done. I had made it to average. Even as a child I was about as un-gifted of an athlete as there was. This was the first time I had made it to average!

  20. #20
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Slow? People here are talking as if 15mph is slow.

    I'm no Taylor Phinney, but I am borderline fit enough to race. The last crit I did was won at an average speed of 26.2 mph. Don't get excited, I was tailed off in the second group, but I averaged close to 26mph.

    I don't say this to boast, but to provide some context. My last training ride - and I was training, not just riding for fun - was a 40 mile ride with 2300 feet of climbing. I was not aiming to kill myself, but I was pushing it hard enough in the hills, high HR 168, average for the ride 129. A good, solid training ride. My average speed? Fifteen point three mph.

    If you are riding on your own for any extended period of time, a 15mph average is not a dawdle. Sure, I can go faster, especially if it's flat. But for the average Clyde who rides recreationally, it is no mean feat. And as goldfinch said, it takes time to build a base. People should be pleased with themselves for getting out there, and focus on the fact that they are improving, instead of beating themselves up because they're slower than Fabian Cancellara.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    If you are riding on your own for any extended period of time, a 15mph average is not a dawdle. Sure, I can go faster, especially if it's flat. But for the average Clyde who rides recreationally, it is no mean feat. And as goldfinch said, it takes time to build a base. People should be pleased with themselves for getting out there, and focus on the fact that they are improving, instead of beating themselves up because they're slower than Fabian Cancellara.
    Quoted for truth... +1

  22. #22
    Senior Member tony_merlino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
    I have come to the conclusion that starting to ride in your late 50s after being sedentary, with no fitness and little muscle mass, that it takes a long time to build up and as Jethro said, "aspire to mediocrity."
    This part is so hard for many of us, especially us older folks who are coming to cycling later in life. Even if we were never athletes, a lot of us have been pretty successful academically, in our careers, etc. We didn't get that way by aspiring to mediocrity. But this is a whole new ballgame. For many of us, for the first time in our lives we're attempting something that we were never particularly good at and have almost no hope of excelling at.

    And one of the things that makes it so hard for us as a group is that this whole process of going from "obese" or "morbidly obese" to "normal" requires a lot of sacrifice and discipline, commitment - even a measure of suffering. A lot of us motivate ourselves by holding a mental picture of what we'll be like when we've reached our weight goal. And often, that picture is completely unrealistic. The danger is that, once we realize that losing 50, 75, 100 lbs is NOT going to make us 20 year old Olympic stars, we decide the whole thing was a rip-off and go back to what we were doing before we started.

    I was reasonably fast 15 years ago - not racing fast, but I used to average a solid 17-18 mph on my 52 mile round trip commute to work, which involved crossing some of the ridges that comb Northern NJ. I also used to lift weights, and while not a bodybuilder by any stretch, I was pretty decent for a middle aged guy with a very demanding job and a family.

    So, when I went back to lifting weights last summer, I HAD to get back to where I was quickly, and kept adding weights to the bar as soon as I could force myself to lift them. Result: torn rotator cuff that is just starting to be healed enough to even think about lifting again. But hopefully I've learned my lesson: this time I will take it slow, and "aspire to mediocrity".

    Ditto for cycling. I have no speed goals. I even stopped using a bike computer. I don't calculate my average speed, don't track anything but my mileage (and I even wonder if that's productive). The point is to get out there and ride, do some good exercise, enjoy the process as much as possible. The rest will take care of itself as well as it will - which may not be fantasy level, but will be infinitely better than where we started.
    L'asino di Buridano...

  23. #23
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfred View Post
    And doing so amongst a bunch of clydes, would just be sad. Really, if someone needed to fake data to make themselves seem faster than others, we're the last group to compare yourself to.
    Right. I was just saying that if he's gotten the impression that he's slow from other subforums here, like the 41, then you can get the odd impression that 25-30mph is normal and 12-15mph is pathetically slow. It's an unnecessary complex that people can get here; I know I've felt it often. Hell people in this very subforum have been known to call my speeds of 12-14mph to be "pathetic".

  24. #24
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tony_merlino View Post
    This part is so hard for many of us, especially us older folks who are coming to cycling later in life. Even if we were never athletes, a lot of us have been pretty successful academically, in our careers, etc. We didn't get that way by aspiring to mediocrity. But this is a whole new ballgame. For many of us, for the first time in our lives we're attempting something that we were never particularly good at and have almost no hope of excelling at.
    I think the reason I am finding trail riding so much more fun than riding the road is that I have no expectations. No one talks about how fast they ride a trail. And it isn't technical single track riding, so I don't have to compare myself with those riders. It is just fun. I feel like I am flying through the woods, around the ponds and across the cornfields. Identifying birds by their calls. Watching the baby bunnies skitter across the trail. Stopping and pulling out the binoculars to check out the wood duck babies and the indigo buntings that just returned for spring.

  25. #25
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    Hell people in this very subforum have been known to call my speeds of 12-14mph to be "pathetic".
    Says more about them than about you. Flatlanders who ride for a half hour flat-out can delude themselves they're a top time-triallist. And of course, there are always those who find that the easiest way to put themselves up is to put others down.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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