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Old 08-08-11, 02:11 PM   #1
DEK
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Is it me or are others just BS'ing?

I hope I don't offend anyone with this post (I do that enough in "real life") but I feel like I must be doing something wrong with my riding.

Seems like a day doesn't go by where I read a post about someone who has "just started riding a couple months ago" and they've already ridden "20 centuries, 5 double centuries, and have toured all of Europe and most of Asia" all while maintaining "a 30+ mph average speed". Of course, I'm exaggerating but not by that much.

I've ridden almost 2,000 miles so far this year but there's no way I could do even a metric century much less a full century. In fact my longest ride this year is only 42 miles at about 15 mph.

So is it me or are these people just BS'ing or what? It certainly makes me feel like I'm doing something wrong.
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Old 08-08-11, 02:20 PM   #2
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Don't believe all of the average speeds you see posted on BF.

If you've ridden 2000 miles, you should be able to train for a century pretty easily. You're not doing anything wrong unless you're actively training to go longer or faster and are not seeing any results.
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Old 08-08-11, 02:20 PM   #3
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It's both. These forums (especially the road forum) are full of BS about being able to average 20mph for hours at a time, having no problem with 15% hills and all that nonsense.

Having said that, there are people here who have performed, and still do perform, at a superior level. You can generally tell the difference, though.

And the fact is that distances are no big deal. Further is much, much, easier than faster. I have ridden well over 5000 miles this year, including a 2500 mile tour over eight weeks. I am a fairly serious cyclist. But I am not fast, because I don't train for speed, and were I to try to increase my cruising speed by 1 mph I'd be shattered in an hour.

If you can ride 42 miles at 15mph I will guarantee that you can ride 60 at 13 mph.
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Old 08-08-11, 02:20 PM   #4
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my longest ride this year is only 42 miles at about 15 mph. . . .
You can do a century if you can do that.

Most people's average speed is around 15 mph. Speeds that get reported often times are cruising speeds, not average speeds. Last night I took a ride where I was cruising at around 25 mph, but my average speed was under 18 mph. Hills, stops/starts, etc. kill your average speed.

My wife has only 200 miles total under her belt, but is doing almost 30-mile rides now. We just take it easy and enjoy the ride, maybe 13 or 14 mph average speed. Still, she gets up over 20 mph from time to time in easy conditions.

So much of this is nutrition, which I think a lot of people underestimate. If you stay hydrated and fueled with carbs, then take in some recovery food right away (chocolate milk is nearly perfect) and get some rest afterwards, you can really improve quickly.
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Old 08-08-11, 02:22 PM   #5
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This is BF where everything is exaggerated at least 20%.
However, there are folks that are already in shape that can take to cycling fairly easily. There are those who are young to seem to adapt to anything and older folks who are retired and can ride all day long.
But...take everything you read with a grain of salt including this post.
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Old 08-08-11, 02:26 PM   #6
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The other thing to consider is that some people use bicycle computers that only count rolling time. If the bike is standing still, it doesn't enter into the rider's total time of the ride. This is, in my opinion, cheating at least a bit, because if a rider just finished climbing a hill, then gets a chance to rest at a red light, they will be able to go faster than if they rode straight through. In my case, I look at Google maps after a ride (if I don't know the distance) and then divide by the time I was out riding. Based on that I average right around 13 mph.
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Old 08-08-11, 02:27 PM   #7
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If you can ride 42 miles, you can do a metric century for sure. You just ride slower and take breaks ~ every 20 miles. After a short break for FOOD, your body is ready to go again. Just enter one and do it. It's not THAT big of a deal. Now a 100-miler will get your attention.

The 50+ forum has little/no BSing We know we can't do squat and actually brag in the other direction
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Old 08-08-11, 02:30 PM   #8
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I've ridden almost 2,000 miles so far this year but there's no way I could do even a metric century much less a full century.
You're problem is not ability. It's belief. (Mind you, I'm not telling you to believe all you read here on BF.)

I went from a pack a day smoker to riding 150 mpw overnight. That's not BS.
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Old 08-08-11, 02:37 PM   #9
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It's the interwebs, of course it is real! Yeah!
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Old 08-08-11, 02:51 PM   #10
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As others have said, its the internet, there is going to be a certain amount of BS. That being said, you could do a Century if you've really ridden that much this year, you just haven't tried. I'm a clydesdale and 1 year after I started riding, I did my longest ride, which was 50-60 miles (New York Five Borough) at an average speed of 12 mph. I'm slow. I'm always going to be slow. I'll never been one of these guys like on the bike trails in full kit who pass me like I'm standing still but that doesn't mean I couldn't ride a century if I prepped for it. Given your 2000 miles this year, your light years ahead of me.
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Old 08-08-11, 03:32 PM   #11
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I basically agree with what has been said, but I'll add my .02 anyway. A lot does have to do with where you start from: e.g. ex runner still in good shape or couch potato needing to lose 30lbs. I think you could easily do a metric. A 100 miler would be harder but is doable if you're willing to suffer a little. Gradually increase the length of your long rides and you can do it. If you can go 42 @ 15mph, there is no reason why you're not capable of going 100.
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Old 08-08-11, 05:34 PM   #12
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I got my first road bike in March. I've put just over 2000 miles on it since then. Yesterday was my longest and hardest ride. 87.35 miles, 7295 ft elevation gain, average speed of 14.2 mph. (Garmin Connect link) I probably could have made it another 13 miles, but didn't see the point. My mission was complete. Now that I've made it to the top (well, almost), I'm going to start increasing my speed on the way up.

If you want to do a century, then simply keep increasing the distance until you reach 100.
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Old 08-08-11, 05:39 PM   #13
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Now that's awesome! I'll need to look into that.
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Old 08-08-11, 05:48 PM   #14
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What I wanna know is what these people do for a living that they can ride 3 centuries per week between their 4 training days, 2 charity ride days, all day Sunday and Wednesday in church, and casual touring on Saturdays. Must be some pretty good jobs if they have that much time, and can still afford the helicopter support team needed to ride up the Himalayas on vacation.
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Old 08-08-11, 06:15 PM   #15
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People also come to cycling with various levels of commitment. I started out as a commuter, and have never tried to seriously move past that; I've done 3000+ miles in the last year, but I've never tried to race or ride with a group, and the recreational rides I go on are in the late evenings for my own amusement. As such, I've never done a ride over 40 miles at said 15mph. I have a race-capable bike, and if I wanted to I could push myself harder, especially if I did any group rides... but I don't want to.
A century is not the inevitable progression/conclusion of bike riding. Its like saying all car drivers aspire to go on 500-mile road trips. Its a choice about how one spends their free time. I don't think its any strike against my "qualifications" as a cyclist if I've never gone across the county line on a ride. I'm fine just going to the grocery store and back.
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Old 08-08-11, 06:21 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by tagaproject6 View Post
It's the interwebs, of course it is real! Yeah!
As far a the OP, he's lacking confidence. I was told by my ride partners I couldn't do this ride, I didn't believe them.

That's the beauty of doing a timed events with internet posted results. No cruising speeds, no exaggerations in average speed, or big mountain exaggerations. Just clearly posted computer scanned bar codes when you leave and when you return.

Posted proof is the key. I've gotten into a ton of debates with other cyclists that make claims but can't prove any of them. I never claim to be fast but being a Clyde at 230 lbs, posting 7:40 on this ride is what I claim in "your best ride" type threads. Some might believe me, some might not, but for those that don't I post proof.

Heck, I don't claim to be fast, I am a recreational rider, I don't race but there are lots of racers and other forum members making big claims that finish behind me.

Not everybody is full of BS

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http://www.ocw.org/bear/Bear2004/2004BearET_r.asp

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The ride, 100 miles, a hair under 10,000 ft (9800). I've done it four times.


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Me on the ride. No triple, no compact crank as I have claimed standard 39/25.


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I was #123 out of the 400 registered, far from last. So now take me off your BS list if I was on it!
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Old 08-08-11, 06:26 PM   #17
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Don't get me wrong folks... I love to read about the inspiring exploits of those of you who DO these things, like riding mountains and doing the long tours. And, if a few people are exaggerating a bit, I don't really care. Keep the bar high for the rest of us!
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Old 08-08-11, 06:42 PM   #18
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I just ride and worry about myself.
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Old 08-08-11, 06:43 PM   #19
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If you can do 40 miles at 15 mph, then you can do 80 miles at 13 mph. And after you have a couple of those under your belt, a century is do-able. It's up to you if you want to go for it or not, and there's no shame in "not." A century is a big goal, and it's not for everyone.
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Old 08-08-11, 06:44 PM   #20
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Don't get me wrong folks... I love to read about the inspiring exploits of those of you who DO these things, like riding mountains and doing the long tours. And, if a few people are exaggerating a bit, I don't really care. Keep the bar high for the rest of us!
It's amazing that when you hear these things, they sound like events that are out of reach. But when you actually do them, you find they aren't all that unreachable and wonder why you didn't do them before. They really aren't that hard.

I myself find some issues on the forums limiting to others. I read so many posts about wire bead tires, Deep V rims, not riding carbon, not having a compact crank with a 34/34 stopping a rider from climbing. I've tried to talk a ton of posters up our local climbs. Some have magnificent machines but think (because they read it on the forums) that they can't complete the climb because they don't have wheels that weigh 900 grams and blah blah blah!.

I ride wired bead $24 tires, Deep V's and weigh 230-250 depending on what I eat. And they are worried about making it. Strange thing, the most unsuspecting riders are the ones willing to try and they all complete the climb. The one's that don't try, are the ones that don't because they read on the forums somewhere that their bikes are limiting them on a climb.

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Old 08-08-11, 06:53 PM   #21
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You should easily be able to complete a metric century, give it a try today and get back to us. As Mr. Beanz indicated, you may just need a bit more confidence. OTOH lots of those that post here are not basing there statistics from a common base. They say 30mph, but for how long. IMO some wire less computers are not particularly accurate, as they can be influenced by factors outside of actual speed.
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Old 08-08-11, 06:58 PM   #22
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You should easily be able to complete a metric century, give it a try today and get back to us.
I agree! 42 miles, that pretty much is a metric centruy....Eat another powerbar or small samwich at mile 42, you'll be fine at 62. You might feel your legs a little more after you take your wife shopping for those new shoes, but you'll be ok.
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Old 08-08-11, 07:05 PM   #23
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It's good to hear I'm not that far off. To a certain extent I do lack some confidence on doing a metric or full century but it's not really because of physical conditioning. It's mostly because I don't think my bike fits me quite right. When I get to around 30 miles I start to have lower back and neck pain. I'm trying to save up to get a fitting done to - hopefully - eliminate that problem.
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Old 08-08-11, 07:49 PM   #24
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I disagree with Doohickey's approach there, and I expect that most riders, if they use a computer that shows "average speed" as one of the functions, that's the number they're going to report as average speed, rather than using a timer, map, and dividing it out.

That being said, I'm approaching 24,000 miles of cycling so far, and I'm still not especially fast. So if some kid hops on a bike the first time and is faster than me, that just wouldn't surprise me at all. It's a combination of a lot of different factors. When you read on the internet that everyone's faster than you, you can say "Well, they're all just exaggerating!". But when you get out on the road and everyone passes you up, you're out of excuses and have to face the fact that other people might really be faster than you, even if they haven't trained as hard or as long as you have. And that might or might not change as you ride more. Do what you reasonably can to improve, and learn to accept it otherwise. (Also accept the fact that the people passing you may not look overly athletic!)

PS. I'm at 8,200 miles for this year, and averaging 15.29 mph as shown on my bike computer, for what that is worth.
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Old 08-08-11, 08:30 PM   #25
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Thanks for the encouraging words. All of you who go do it and then urge the rest of us on give us a friendly challenge and good example. Trying to do it is the best approach to achieving it.
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