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Old 05-31-12, 06:58 AM   #1
Bikey Mikey
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Faster and faster

This morning I did a 35.4 mile ride with a couple of stops and a few slow downs because of some cars and a school bus. I still managed to best my previous best avg. Today I had an overall avg of 17.7mph. Yes, I know that there are others where they avg 19, 20, more usually, but I'm pleased. Had the wind been mild, 2~3mph instead of 8~9, I may have had an even better avg as the wind most of the time was blowing sideways or headwind--there were only very short distances where it was a tailwind. At the 23 mile mark I was near 17.9 as an average...the wind started picking up on the last third or so of the ride.
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Old 05-31-12, 07:03 AM   #2
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I think that's a great job. Lately my solo rides have been in the 40-50 mile range with one or two brief stops, and I've been finishing them at just a hair over 17 myself.
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Old 05-31-12, 07:14 AM   #3
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I'm impressed by both you guys. I had a very strange ride yesterday. I've been spending the last month just putting miles in my legs but decided to crank it up a notch. The ride is 34.2 mi. with 2200 ft. of climbing most of which comes in the last 7-8 miles. It was cool but a bit humid. At about mile 27 when the climbing really begins I was at 16.3 mph. I found myself climbing at 4.5 mph instead of the 6-7 mph I usually do. Couldn't understand why. I was having the hardest time just turning the pedals. On the flats I was doing just fine. I'm guessing I didn't eat or drink enough given the weather...had one GU and a bottle of water with GU tab in it. Still I was fine on the flats and didn't feel like I was bonking. I'm perplexed.
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Old 05-31-12, 07:47 AM   #4
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I'm impressed by both you guys. I had a very strange ride yesterday. I've been spending the last month just putting miles in my legs but decided to crank it up a notch. The ride is 34.2 mi. with 2200 ft. of climbing most of which comes in the last 7-8 miles. It was cool but a bit humid. At about mile 27 when the climbing really begins I was at 16.3 mph. I found myself climbing at 4.5 mph instead of the 6-7 mph I usually do. Couldn't understand why. I was having the hardest time just turning the pedals. On the flats I was doing just fine. I'm guessing I didn't eat or drink enough given the weather...had one GU and a bottle of water with GU tab in it. Still I was fine on the flats and didn't feel like I was bonking. I'm perplexed.
Some days are like that. The part of this kind of ride that remains hidden is how the body is adjusting. You merely felt like you weren't strong as usual, your body was getting a hard workout when it wasnt ready. Next time out? The body will be ready and you will enjoy the feel of it.

I find that any ride where I'm suffering and still doing my best is nothing to be discouraged over because your body will adjust and be stronger.

Hey Mikey, good going
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Old 05-31-12, 07:54 AM   #5
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Sounds like a good thing you have going there Mikey. That is a good speed range for me also, I can cruise for quite a while at that cadence. I'm trying to step things up, now that I am getting my fitness back from the med down I had to take, into the 18-20mph range so I can start doing our club group rides and the Saturday shop rides on the RTT routes in Milton, FL.. I'd like to get to your mileage as my daily ride, as well. It seems you have got things going you way. Keep up the great work.

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Old 05-31-12, 08:03 AM   #6
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Average speeds are fun to discuss but I wouldn't take them too seriously. The biggest factor which brings down average speed is the time spent averaging in zeros or very small numbers.

In the days before cycle computers, "average" speed was calculated exactly as its name implies - total distance divide by total elapsed time from start to finish. (Remember your physics classes?) Nowadays computers stop counting when you aren't moving, so your down time doesn't get included. It makes you feel better because the numbers look better. But even so they still count time spent walking the bike, slowing for intersections, etc. Spend much time doing that and your computed fake-average speed can fall significantly.
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Old 05-31-12, 08:09 AM   #7
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Agreed Jim, the only reason I know my average speed is because the computer has that function. I use it for a mental benchmark like total elapsed time. Not really meaningful, but it lets me know what I just did. I can't rationalize any training using A/S as a metric anyway.

Back to Mikey's post.

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Old 05-31-12, 09:13 AM   #8
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I'm impressed by both you guys.
Don't be too impressed by me. My numbers reflect the flat terrain around here, something I had failed to consider/mention. I checked my log from last October's Hilly Hundred and my average was way lower, somewhere around 14 if I recall correctly.
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Old 05-31-12, 09:25 AM   #9
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Nice job Bikey Mikey. I think average speed is a good indicator of how your riding is measured as long as the metrics are the same. A lot of my rides have some training aspect in them, that incluldes hard efforts then recoveries which effects the average speed, but I still will look at the average speed once I'm back home even though it means nothing about the ride. On Tuesday I rode 7 miles from my home as a warmup to a club ride then after the club ride continued back home. About 1/2 way home on the warm-down I noticed that my average speed for the ride to that point was 20.5 mph which caused me to ride hard the rest of the way home to be able to ride @ 20.5 mph for 48 miles. What I really needed to do was to forget the average speed and use the last 7 miles to recover.
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Old 05-31-12, 09:29 AM   #10
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Feels good, doesn't it? Like when I did my first 30 miles in 2hrs total (15mph average-moving speed a bit higher.) I am a ways off your pace, but gaining on it.
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Old 05-31-12, 09:31 AM   #11
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In the days before cycle computers,
In the days before cycle computers we estimated our distance and speed.
Guess what? Not only did we go farther and faster than we do today, but it was also uphill both coming and going.
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Old 05-31-12, 09:35 AM   #12
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But even so they still count time spent walking the bike, slowing for intersections, etc. Spend much time doing that and your computed fake-average speed can fall significantly.
+1- and to illustrate; http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/59848195 Compare where the speed on the graph dips to the location of major intersections.
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Old 05-31-12, 09:36 AM   #13
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In the days before cycle computers we estimated our distance and speed.
Guess what? Not only did we go farther and faster than we do today, but it was also uphill both coming and going.
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Old 05-31-12, 10:20 AM   #14
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Rarely do I get up to 20mph- on the flat- with a tailwind and when I am feeling good. So average is always a lot less than that. I don't mind really as it is the hills I worry about--In fact some of them look terrifying but I do them but I can't remember the last one I walked. In fact I have stopped worrying about speed so much that I rarely take the Garmin out for a ride.

But My ride last weekend was done at an average of 13mph. Not bad for an old git that lives in a hilly area and is just settling in after a winter of just turning the wheels. Just wish I had got some more miles in before the ride because 7 hours of riding did hurt a bit.But I did stop for breakfast 2/3rds round.
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Old 05-31-12, 12:40 PM   #15
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Thanks for the congrats and input all. I use the avg as a reference only--as a guide or gauge of my improvement. I check the cyclocomputer every once in a while and it helps me push myself--like riding against a better rider.

I also feel good about my improvement as I'm using clips and straps, not clipless. I don't even tighten the straps so it's easy to remove my foot and prevent a tombay. I'm contemplating getting power grips as they will clamp your foot like clips and straps, but you can twist out like clipless--may be a way to get into clipless--but with the $200 repair I just had, clipless will have to wait and power grips would be an inexpensive transition and give me a better efficiency(especially since I don't strap in).

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Old 05-31-12, 03:27 PM   #16
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Wow. If you posted this on the 41 you would have been blown out of the water by now. They must have ten average speed threads going at any given time, and I read them only when there's nothing good on the WWF.

I enjoy Strava because it lets me compare performance over controlled circumstances. I don't like it when someone chooses a Strava segment that has you going through stop signs and red lights, because that's not good citizenship, at least if you want a fast time on a segment.

There are times when, with a gentle tailwind, etc, I suspect I can up my speed on a segment so I will hammer it as best I can. Otherwise, I have to go through too many stop signs and crap to make my average speed look decent.

It doesn't matter. Strava says under the best of circumstances I'm slow. A 60 y/o Clyde with a heart condition, riding a 30 pound bent just isn't going to set any land speed records around here.
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Old 05-31-12, 03:39 PM   #17
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In the days before cycle computers we estimated our distance and speed.
Guess what? Not only did we go farther and faster than we do today, but it was also uphill both coming and going.
Before bike computers I used to use a Huret odometer on the front wheel and a digital watch and did the math in my head. I've gotten quite lazy since bike computers came along.
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Old 05-31-12, 04:05 PM   #18
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My wife and I often check the avg speed on our computer after our tandem rides. We can spend seemingly most of the ride pushing hard on the big chainring, sometimes in the low 20's mph, typically in the upper teens on any non-uphill stretch. At the end of the ride it reads 12.4. On a good day it might read 12.6. On a great day it might read 12.8. Too much walking the bike at lunch stops!
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Old 05-31-12, 04:21 PM   #19
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Before bike computers I used to use a Huret odometer on the front wheel and a digital watch and did the math in my head.
I couldn't do that while riding. When I get tired, higher brain functions abandon me. You should have seen me at last year's TdC, trying to calculate how many more laps of the Speedway I needed to complete to get to my metric century. Then I realized my computer had a miles ridden function.

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Old 05-31-12, 04:33 PM   #20
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Well done, Mikey. That's an excellent rate for a ride like that. Keep doing that kind of distance, push yourself a bit, and take recovery rides and days off. You can and will improve your avg. for that and similar rides..
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Old 05-31-12, 08:07 PM   #21
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Average speeds are fun to discuss but I wouldn't take them too seriously. The biggest factor which brings down average speed is the time spent averaging in zeros or very small numbers.

In the days before cycle computers, "average" speed was calculated exactly as its name implies - total distance divide by total elapsed time from start to finish. (Remember your physics classes?) Nowadays computers stop counting when you aren't moving, so your down time doesn't get included. It makes you feel better because the numbers look better. But even so they still count time spent walking the bike, slowing for intersections, etc. Spend much time doing that and your computed fake-average speed can fall significantly.
^ True dat. Wind and terrain play a big factor, and unless you are measuring power directly, ave spd is kinda useless, except for you over the same course over and over under similar conditions.

Further to your point above, even with the "auto pause below x mph," all cyclo-computer I'm aware of report the arithmetic mean. It's the form of "average" that most of us are familiar with. But it is not the only way to compute an average, and certain averages are better reported as the median or modal average.

Having said that, I like RWGPS to upload my rides. One graph they have (FYI -it may be a premium acct only feature) is a speed histogram.



This type of graph shows your "modal" average speed, that is, the speed you spent the most time at. That is often more in line with our perception of what the average is.

On a ride with few stops or slow downs or hills, it may be the same or similar to the mean. On a very hilly ride, there may be a "bi-modal" curve, one that represents, most likely, your climb speed, and the other your descent speed. Perhaps there is even a third mode, your flats speed.

Wish I had a bi-modal graph to show, but here in flat FLA, not much chance...
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Old 05-31-12, 08:27 PM   #22
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Further to your point above, even with the "auto pause below x mph," all cyclo-computer I'm aware of report the arithmetic mean.
Arithmetic mean, really? Computed from what, equal time samples or equal distance samples? The latter should be okay, I think. The former would under-weight time spent going fast because you'd be covering any given distance in less time.

I like the histogram idea.
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Old 06-01-12, 05:41 AM   #23
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Arithmetic mean, really? Computed from what, equal time samples or equal distance samples? The latter should be okay, I think. The former would under-weight time spent going fast because you'd be covering any given distance in less time.

I like the histogram idea.
I have no idea. That's a question for the computer mfgr.

That being said, my contact at RWGPS said it taken as a time slice and gps data. I don't see how that would create a bias as it is basically averaging the speed masurements taken at regular intervals. I would think equal distance would skew an arithmetic mean toward the high end, which would not be correct for that type of average measurement. That's what the modal average is for.

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Old 06-01-12, 07:29 AM   #24
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Averages are totally inaccurate in assessing your progress and condition. About 3wks ago I kept getting this 13.8mph average on a very uncanny frequent basis. I'm like, what's up with this. So what I set out to do was improve the bike by swapping lighter wheels/tires/brakesets and with the faster (but stiffer granny gear) freewheel. In doing this my riding has improved but what also made the difference is my being ticked off at the 13.8 showing up too often on my 10, 20 and 30mi courses. Now it's at 15.5mph. We'll see how many times that shows up.

ETA: my rides contain many hills and we have a constant 10-15mph minimum on wind speeds blowing here. When the wind steps up to 20-25 I hit the hills courses and stay off the open road.
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Old 06-01-12, 07:32 AM   #25
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Not as fast as yesterday, but fastest avg for the distance I did today. This morning I did 45 miles with an overall avg of 17.1mph. I'm still proud since around the 33 mile mark, I was near home and was seriously thinking of just doing the 35--I didn't feel I had it in me. Instead I told myself to suck it up and pushed myself to do 45. I ate two breakfast bars, one at the 20 mile mark and the other at the 30 mile mark as well as consumed 22oz of water in total between the two snacks(drank at each snack time).

I understand that the avg can be influenced by many factors and unless you have controlled conditions that are the same each and every time, the avg needs to be taken with a large grain(or sack) of salt. The route I ride is the same but other factors influence what my avg or my speed at any time will be. I mentally take note of how the wind was and direction and other factors such as traffic(which is very light to nill where and when I ride), pedestrians, slow downs for safety, etc. But, I still can use the overall avg as a VERY general guide of my improvement.

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