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Old 09-02-12, 02:51 PM   #1
CHAUSE1
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Very frustrated!!

Ok so far you guys have been very helpful and I know there is alot of experience out there. I am 56 years old and presently weigh 190 lbs. I have been cycling for a little over a year. I started cycling after having 4 way bypass surgury. I was 225 lbs and started with a Trek hybrid bike, after 6 months I bought a Felt Z100 road bike. I have ridden about 1500 miles in a year. My frustration is that I can not seem to average more than 16 to 16.5 miles per hour. The only reason I want to pick up my average is so I can go on group rides. I have joined some group rides, but I usually get dropped, because it seems I need to be around 17.5 to 18. I enjoy group rides for the fellowship, safety, and I have learned alot, but it does get very frustrating not being able to keep up the pace. I do have a cycleops trainer I have used it to try and keep in condition. I even demoed a Trek 2.0 Domane this weekend with not any better results, other than my top speeds. I was considering getting a carbon frame to see if that would give me the little extra so I could continue to join the group rides. I respect all of your experience out there.....any suggestions. I really to love to ride and group rides push me to go more miles! Would also like to know if there is anything I can do to the Felt Z100 ie. wheels, tires etc. that might help give me a little extra, I would appreciate that input also. Thanks!

Last edited by CHAUSE1; 09-02-12 at 02:59 PM. Reason: want to add something I forgot
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Old 09-02-12, 03:03 PM   #2
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I rode a hybrid for about a year when I began riding again at age 50. I was 240 lbs and was very happy with a 15 mph pace.

I switched to a drop-bar road bike and started to hold 17 mph for 30 miles.

However, staying with a fast group ride can require 20+ mph for 40 miles or more. It took me 4 years of 4000-5000 miles per year of riding to hold that pace. It also helped to have a modern, good-quality, road bike.
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Old 09-02-12, 03:04 PM   #3
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Aside from conditioning and muscle building there is a lot of technique involved in improving your performance in cycling.

Little things add up. It either takes time to learn about and perfect those little things or you could short cut the learning process with a coach.

While I would never talk someone out of buying more bikes, I don't believe that will solve your issue.

I have found that the odious task of quantifying ones rides then analyzing them can be helpful in speed improvements.
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Old 09-02-12, 03:08 PM   #4
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Average speed usually involves stopping and starting at street intersections. Perhaps the more important speed metric is cruising speed. What might that be? You average 16.5 mph but your cruising speed is most likely much higher and good enough for club rides.
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Old 09-02-12, 03:08 PM   #5
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Not sure what to say because there are so many variables at play. I think someone who started where you started only a year ago and weighs 190 lbs is doing well to be where you are. Of course I don't know whether your rides have any elevation but even so that seems impressive to me. I'd be tempted to find a group that rides about where I ride and spend the rest of the season just getting time in on the bike and enjoying the rides. It may just take longer than you think to get the kind of improvement you're looking for.
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Old 09-02-12, 03:15 PM   #6
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Thanks, but my average mph is taking into consideration stopping time. Thanks for the reply!
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Average speed usually involves stopping and starting at street intersections. Perhaps the more important speed metric is cruising speed. What might that be? You average 16.5 mph but your cruising speed is most likely much higher and good enough for club rides.
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Old 09-02-12, 03:34 PM   #7
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I appreciate your input, I am hoping it is just a time thing...but I really do enjoy group rides
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Old 09-02-12, 04:08 PM   #8
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Good for you to get into cycling. I was down your way in June and noticed a number of cyclists around the Wrightsville Beach area. Do you know why you're getting dropped? I know that wind can be a factor around your area but hills are generally more subtle. Are you getting dropped due to the mileage/length of the ride and getting tired? Or is it because there is a gap in the group and you're not able to close the gap due to the wind? Or is it due to some hills in your area?

I'm guessing it's the mileage deal but you can confirm. First, riding with folks a little faster than you will help you get there-even though you're getting dropped now eventually you'll get there. Without knowing why you're getting dropped I'm going to assume it's because of getting tired. Regardless you're going to want to concentrate on doing some hard bursts for short periods. Has your doctor limited your maximum heart rate due to the surgery? Make sure you follow any advice he provides. However doing "intervals" will help increase your ability to gain a little power and help you close gaps when they form. Continue to work on your weight. That will help you immensely as well even though your terrain is fairly moderate the reduced weight will help when there are gaps and you need the extra power to close them before completely losing the wheel. I suspect that now once you lose the wheel it is way too difficult to get back on with the group. Although I don't know the style of your felt right now unless you have some extra heavy wheels I'm thinking I'd work more on the performance than think about new bike parts. However lighter weight wheels are really helpful when you're trying to accelerate quickly. The heavier wheels are fine once you get the momentum going but they take longer to spin up. That might be something to think about later on.

If you are doing 1500 miles in a year I'm thinking most of your rides are on the shorter side. You probably want to think about adding more miles to each ride. On the next organized ride think about doing the longer version (40+ mile option versus a 25-30 miles option). You are going to want to continue to build up your base miles over time.
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Old 09-02-12, 04:15 PM   #9
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You need two things.

More miles on your legs.

Increase your cadence and ride in the middle ring.
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Old 09-02-12, 04:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
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You need two things.

More miles on your legs.

Increase your cadence and ride in the middle ring.
There's a middle ring?
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Old 09-02-12, 04:59 PM   #11
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There's a middle ring?
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Old 09-02-12, 05:13 PM   #12
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There is a middle ring and that is the only one I use and cadance is around 90
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There's a middle ring?
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Old 09-02-12, 05:27 PM   #13
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You are pretty new to cycling and may be trying to get really good, really fast and need a few more years of more mileage to get there. A new bike won't make you a lot faster but will signal the spouse that he/she's in for some financial changes. Nothing wrong in that and multiple bikes is a good thing (I have 5, no 6)

I rode the so-called "AA" rides 12 years ago, so 18-19 avg. for 50 miles. No way I can do that now (age 57), but partly cause I'm much heavier (by 30 lbs), as well as older, as well as cannot do the 5,000 miles per year required to ride at that level. Nor do I want too. Right now I can avg. 16 for 50, but suck in the hills. And slower is something I now enjoy.

So as a philosophical question, what's you're goal ?. Do you want to be fit enough to stay with the racing crowd ?. Does that help you overcome the fear generated by the bypass ? (that would be a wakeup call for me). My impression from the OP was you're doing really well for a short time riding. I think it took me 3 -5 years to get to you're level and I was 35 at the time I started cycling.

As well, I would find out if there's a group ride in your area that is a tad slower and maybe hookup with them. Or maybe bring up the subject with the ride leader(s) and ask if there's a less speedy group, or do they ever go slower.

So stick with it, as you really are doing very well.
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Old 09-02-12, 05:33 PM   #14
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Considering your situation you are doing well. The simple answer is to find a different group or maybe form your own to ride at a speed you find comfortable.
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Old 09-02-12, 05:39 PM   #15
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Wilmington. Flat as a pancake. You don't have to worry about getting dropped on the hills there.

Have you learned pace line skills? Over 14 MPH drafting saves you 30% effort.
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Old 09-02-12, 05:43 PM   #16
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Up your riding to 150 miles a week.
28 miles a week is not near enough.
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Old 09-02-12, 06:27 PM   #17
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That is another reason I would like to do group rides
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Old 09-02-12, 06:46 PM   #18
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Is there a "B" level ride in your area? I was discouraged that I couldn't keep up with my club ride, and it turned out we had a lot of other people in the same situation. We started a B ride as an alternative to the main club ride. For example, when the A's did a killer hills ride today, the B's rode a relatively flat 38 miles out into the country. We had several new people join us who now expect to join the club.
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Old 09-02-12, 07:06 PM   #19
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You are riding a perfectly good road bike. Upping to carbon or something fancy will not make an appreciable difference. Neither will spending major bucks on wheels, tires, etc.

But what pedal system are you using? Clipping in and improving your pedaling technique accordingly can easily get you 1-1.5 MPH.

Also, you can get noticeably faster by improving your position on the bike. Getting down in the drops is good for significant speed, and whilst most of us don't care to do that for most of the ride, a lower more aero position with your hands on the brake hoods and elbows bent is also going to help a lot. If you don't find that comfortable, get a professional fitting and find the most aggressive position you can muster without pain or discomfort.

I returned to group riding earlier this month after being sidelined with injuries for a long time. My strength and stamina are coming back, but in some of the earliest group rides, I was hanging on by a thread. To survive I, (a) made sure to do no pulling (b) hung near the back of the pack, and looked for somebody big/tall to draft behind and (c) kept my body position as low as I could.

And what 10 Wheels said- 1500 miles in a year isn't enough to get strong. Weekend warriors who try to hammer on Saturday without putting in the miles the rest of the week are either (a) going to fail or (b) a lot younger than us.
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Old 09-02-12, 07:37 PM   #20
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If you want to ride in a group, listen to 10Wheels, especially regarding mileage. In addition to that, consider adding rollers to your indoor training tools. Back when we were young and fast, my wife could barely hold 20 mph on her own but would ride for hours with a group of us who cruised at 28 mph because she could sit extremely tight to the wheel in front of her. She could do that because we all rode rollers as a regular training method. No squirrels were allowed to ride with us.

You'll still be on your own on the inclines, but at least you won't get dropped on the flats.
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Old 09-02-12, 08:40 PM   #21
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If you want to be faster, you have to ride fast. This, is how it was explained to me recently. I know this seems overly simplified, but the truth is, riding faster takes a serious effort that'll push you beyond your comfort level.

Take a serious look and break down each ride. What is a comfortable pace? What pace is uncomfortable; a speed that's hard to hold for any distance. Then ask yourself......are you really putting in enough effort to ride faster?

Except for the surgery, your pretty much described my story........ Started last year, 56 years old, weight was 220 lbs and currently 190, average speed between 15-16mph. Except I have apx. 3600 miles on the bike and another 700 commuting miles.

I too, would like to ride faster at distance, but that's going to take a lot more work and effort. I need to embrace the pain, continue to push my speed to +20 mph and try to hold it and continue to rack up miles. I was also advised to include intervals (on flats and hills) on a regular basis to improve speed and strength.

To be honest though, sometimes I just don't feel like it. Don't feel like burning my legs off or running out of breath. It hurts, I get sore and it just wears me out. But I know, it's what I need to do if I ever want to increase my average speed.

Well, that's my 2 cents......all the best.
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Old 09-02-12, 08:49 PM   #22
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Find a slower group to ride with.
Been riding 40+ years, weigh 135 and am now 80 years old.
No, I can't keep that fast a pace either but still get in 100+ miles a week.
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Old 09-03-12, 12:51 AM   #23
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I've been riding for 20 years and on a Metric century I can only manage 15.5 mph. But all of my rides involve elevation change. Slow uphills but try and catch me down them. Drafting when in a group helps but I lose the group when gravity goes the wrong way.

I tried Group riding and although in the main I am faster than the "B" group at our local club- I cannot keep the constant pace that they do. So I ride solo. I aim for 100 to 120 miles a week and it is not all speed work. I enjoy the scenery and I Prefer the hilly routes to the boring flat stuff.

But something that "May" increase your speed and that is a better tyre and some good wheels. I use Michelin Pro Race tyres in 23 and look after my wheels. Both have made a difference to speed for me over the OM wheels Although I still keep a pair of OM wheels for Rain/foul weather riding fitted with a cheaper Lithion tyre. Can't afford to wear out the good stuff all the time.

But 16.5 mph for 40 miles is dreamland in my book.
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Old 09-03-12, 04:29 AM   #24
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I agree with Zonatandem - find a slower group. I usually average about 12 mph which doesn't bother me. I don't care about how fast I go - I just enjoy riding.I average riding about 80 miles per week.
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Old 09-03-12, 05:42 AM   #25
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Thanks MinnMann all good info
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