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Old 06-06-12, 01:11 AM   #1
stapfam
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Hills good- speed bad

I know I am just coming back to fitness but getting some exerting rides in. Getting mileage up aswell so quite happy. Hills are getting easier and that is a bonus as where I live the decent rides involve a lot of up and down. I am not racing the hills but even a few of my mates are saying that my rides have too many lumps in them.

But it is speed that I am lacking. I have never been a speed merchant but for some reason it is beginning to annoy me now. Done a few checking rides with the HRM and I am keeping myself in my working zone so it is not as though I am slacking on the rides. My average for a normal ride of 40 miles taking in about 2,500 ft of climbing is around 13 to 14 mph. Top speed on the flat is only getting to about 18mph but that seems to be normal.

As I have said- I have never been a speed merchant although on a metric I can get my speed up to do it in around 4 hours so 13 to 14 is probably around my "Normal" speed for rides. So why is it that my lack of speed is beginning to bug me?
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Old 06-06-12, 06:11 AM   #2
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I don't know. Perhaps you are paying too much attention to everyone else's claims to speed.
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Old 06-06-12, 06:20 AM   #3
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Living in Florida, I am a terrible climber. The only thing I have here are bridges and I have to travel a bit to get to some rolling hills. I don't usually worry about how fast I get to the top of a hill. Just getting there is an accomplishment for me. Each time I do a charity ride that is located in a hilly part of Florida (Orlando area and north) I have drive north several times a week to train for the ride. But as Dudelsak mentioned, you may be too concerned about others claims and want to match them.
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Old 06-06-12, 07:19 AM   #4
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I have about the same speed and am OK with it. Improving the hills interests me more. I have been thinking I will mix some sprints into my riding which may affect both. The reason I don't do sprints now is that I ride with my wife who has no interest in them. But I could simply toss in a few short sprints and circle back to continue the ride and do it her way/my way.
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Old 06-06-12, 07:40 AM   #5
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It's inherent in roadies....the....need....for....speed. First sign of onset is burning legs, dry throat and the horrid bikeface.


Seriously, it's probably "comeback fever". Go drop somebody today.
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Old 06-06-12, 08:04 AM   #6
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My average for a normal ride of 40 miles taking in about 2,500 ft of climbing is around 13 to 14 mph. Top speed on the flat is only getting to about 18mph but that seems to be normal.
Dang, I wish my speed was that good. If I had those numbers I would be on here bragging about it.

Here in lower South Carolina where I live it is mostly flat. However, there is a hill near my house that I call my practice hill. Someday I am going to make it to the top of that thing without having to use the granny gear.
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Old 06-06-12, 09:03 AM   #7
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This is an interesting thread. It really puts in focus how different we all are and how different ride styles/paces are so individual. On a ride as you describe (I have a similar club ride) I will average 15-15.5. I can do 23-26 mph on the flats but suck in the hills. It's not that I ever feel like I can't make a climb it's just that I'm slow. I attribute that to excess weight (187 lbs when I should be 175 lbs) and age (66 in June). It's always the hills that drive my average speed down. In a big way. The idea of getting better on climbs yet not getting faster does not compute to me.
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Old 06-06-12, 09:18 AM   #8
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[QUOTE=stapfam;14319626]
I have never been a speed merchant but for some reason it is beginning to annoy me now.
QUOTE]

It seems you are a "ride the way that makes you happy" kind of cyclist. If faster will make you happier, go for the sprint training, hill repeats, etc. Otherwise, may I recommend a slice of pie?
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Old 06-06-12, 11:27 AM   #9
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Think the pie bit may be a problem as I am not getting enough right now. The 13 to 14 seems about the same as last year- but if I take a ride without the hills- I am just about the 14.

That last ride I did and a long hill at the end. I was tired by then and was not looking forward to it but I learnt many years ago that a bike is heavier when being pushed that when ridden. One of the reasons why I can safely say that I cannot remember the last time I walked a hill. I may be slow and a fit walker pushing his bike up a hill can overtake me sometimes. So as far as I am concerned hills are not a problem. Downhill and there are not many that will be able to stay with me either so hills- no problem. But on the flat- If I am doing 18mph- that is about my limit. Slight slopes and I will be slower and a down slope and I am not much faster- if any. I just do not go out for a fast ride so I am just annoyed that it is beginning to bug me.
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Old 06-06-12, 11:40 AM   #10
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I can average 17 to 18 mph when riding solo on a flat route. Throw in some hills and the average drops 2 or 3 mph on a longer ride.

My speed on hills drops to 5 or 4 mph when the climb is greater than 10%. I sometimes hit 40 mph on the descent, but my average is always less on hilly routes.
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Old 06-07-12, 06:46 PM   #11
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If you feel good and feel like you are improving over time you're lucky. I was hung up on average speed and went nuts trying to up it every ride. I got over that and now just enjoy each ride, sometimes when I check it the avg is up and some times not, but I dont even check very often.
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Old 06-07-12, 08:43 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
Think the pie bit may be a problem as I am not getting enough right now. The 13 to 14 seems about the same as last year- but if I take a ride without the hills- I am just about the 14.

That last ride I did and a long hill at the end. I was tired by then and was not looking forward to it but I learnt many years ago that a bike is heavier when being pushed that when ridden. One of the reasons why I can safely say that I cannot remember the last time I walked a hill. I may be slow and a fit walker pushing his bike up a hill can overtake me sometimes. So as far as I am concerned hills are not a problem. Downhill and there are not many that will be able to stay with me either so hills- no problem. But on the flat- If I am doing 18mph- that is about my limit. Slight slopes and I will be slower and a down slope and I am not much faster- if any. I just do not go out for a fast ride so I am just annoyed that it is beginning to bug me.
As you know hill have never been my friend, being as you say about 14 stone. But I am getting better at it. But part of it may be in our heads. Two years ago my average ride speed was 15.5 with an average ride of 35-45 miles three times a week. Sometime with less than a 1000 feet of climbing. Last year while training for the Furnace Creek 508 I got my yearly average to 16.5 for 6800 miles for the year. This year I didn't seem to care as much and was back about 15.2 for the first 1500 miles. Then came Strava but that is another story. So I am beginning to believe my average speed should be 15 for an average ride.


But as for trying to push my speed up again I hold Dudelsack responsible for getting so many of us to join Strava and then joining the 50+ group. Somebody has to be responsible and Dudelsack started the thing. Some of you 50+ guys are just too fast for the rest of us.
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Old 06-07-12, 08:53 PM   #13
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I have no speedometer, and I'm just as happy not knowing!
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Old 06-07-12, 10:07 PM   #14
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I rode a 15 mile recovery/easy ride last night and my average speed was 15 mph. There was 750 feet of climbing in 15 miles. The terrain is what I call flat to rolling with longish 1% to 3% grades. I did not go below 10 mph on those easy climbs. It was really easy to go over 20 mph on the descents. One thing I hate about the easy rides is that my ass always feels the ride since there is not enough force to unweight the sit bones with each pedal stroke and I focus on higher cadence to enhance recovery.
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Old 06-09-12, 07:54 AM   #15
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So why is it that my lack of speed is beginning to bug me?
Speed or endurance seems to be the metrics most praised when discussing cycling. It always comes down to those two things. We can embellish those with how much vert was on the ride or other challenges that one might have faced. The beauty of the day, the interesting objects seen or the experiences had often take second billing if mentioned at all. It is therefore no wonder why speed is important. However - if it really bugs you just make up the numbers, we won't know the difference.

Seriously though - I have found that the biggest deterrent to speed on a hill is your mental attitude. If you are not confident in your conditioning and ability to tackle a particular hill you will approach it with a grind away attitude, if you are confident and aggressive you will power up it giving up as little to gravity as possible. I usually don't worry so much about the speed I am going up as much as I focus on whether or not I have let the hill win or if I am fighting it. On long steep grades it is hard, when you are already at the limits of your gearing and your RPM is dropping and you just can't seem to get on top of that gear no matter how hard you try - you either find that burst within or you succumb to the grind. Long mountain assaults ov many miles of steep grade are very different though - there you must maintain focus and a steady power output, too much attack at the onset and you will explode before the end.
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Old 06-10-12, 08:53 AM   #16
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Mike- my neighbour- has just got back from a 64 mile ride. Average of 13.7 and it took in a few hills. First one was at 10 miles and he walked it. He said that he wished I had been with him as we have found out that I pace myself-and him- for the first part of the ride and I also pace him uphills. He feels certain that if I had ridden with him he would have got nearer the 4 hour mark as he was pushing too hard in too many places and having to recover.

Amongst his grouping--55 and over- he came 5th out of 16 but was disappointed that so many of the next group- 60+- not only beat him- but were coming past him towards the end of the ride as fresh as though they had just started.

Mike and I ride quite often but the rides we do enjoy are the ones where we forget about the other riders and go at our own pace. Over 40 miles we are evenly matched so perhaps I am not as slow as I think I am.

And the hill he walked--It is a pimple for about 2 miles but it does go on- and on-and on and----- at about 6 to 8% with a 12% bit in the middle. He did the 12% but just ran out of legs. Saw him just as he got back and I chatted to him through the car window. As he got out of the car he winced. His thighs are hurting a bit.
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Old 06-10-12, 10:39 AM   #17
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Ebay your speedometer, HRM and cadence tracker. Problem solved; make riding fun.
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