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Thread: slow rider

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    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    slow rider

    So I never have any problem completing distances, but I'm slow. I've not gotten any faster since I started riding because I didn't care to. But I went to sign up for a 125 ride and realized I likely wouldn't finish in the 10 hour limit for the ride. I average 10 MPH including stops. My speedometer says I average around 13 MPH moving speed.

    So what's the best strategy to get faster over distances? I have a 17 mile ride I manage to fit in before work in the mornings.. should I work on getting faster on that ride and will it naturally translate into the longer rides? Or do I need to start pushing myself on my longer rides (toward the end I'm assuming)?

    I'm fine for short bursts of a couple of miles or so, but after that my cardio won't keep up. Thoughts?

    Mods, if this should be in Training and Nutrition please move it. I really wasn't sure which section it worked best in, since I was aming to improve time on 100 mile plus distances.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    So I never have any problem completing distances, but I'm slow. I've not gotten any faster since I started riding because I didn't care to. But I went to sign up for a 125 ride and realized I likely wouldn't finish in the 10 hour limit for the ride. I average 10 MPH including stops. My speedometer says I average around 13 MPH moving speed.
    So, that's 9.6 h of riding time in 12.5 h, leaving 3 h of stops.

    One strategy is to shorten your stops.

    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    So what's the best strategy to get faster over distances? I have a 17 mile ride I manage to fit in before work in the mornings.. should I work on getting faster on that ride and will it naturally translate into the longer rides? Or do I need to start pushing myself on my longer rides (toward the end I'm assuming)?
    A fair number of people start-out too fast on longer rides. It might be useful to note your average speed over each 25 mile segment of the ride.

    I'm not sure if those sorts of short rides are going to be a lot of help to make you faster.

    What kind of riding do you do at the "middle" level (like 60-70 miles)?

    Is there a club you can ride with?

    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    I'm fine for short bursts of a couple of miles or so, but after that my cardio won't keep up.
    Sound like you are "sprinting" (which you aren't going to be able to do for very long.

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    Randomhead
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    I have a problem, a couple of years ago I was sick all winter and so when I rode a series of brevets in the spring I was really slow. That wasn't really the problem, the problem was that I realized I kinda like to ride slow. Anyway, limiting stops really is the best idea. I'm out for a ride, not out to stand around at restaurants and convenience stores

    As far as training goes, you can get faster by doing 2 20 minute intervals twice a week. You want to go at a rate that you can keep up for 20 minutes

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    Senior Member Steamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    As far as training goes, you can get faster by doing 2 20 minute intervals twice a week. You want to go at a rate that you can keep up for 20 minutes
    .....at a pace that you can can keep up for 20 minutes, but a pace that could only be sustained for about 20 minutes. In other words, a 20 minute maximal effort (i.e. the hardest you can ride for 20 minutes). This level of effort should hurt. If a person really does 80 minutes worth of time trialing like this per week, that's an awful lot. I'd say even just one 20 minute TT on a given ride, done two days per week, is pretty damn good. Truth be told, however, I find 20 minutes a touch long if done at a 20 minute maximal effort. Cut back to 10 to 15 minutes at the same pace, and it's no longer a maximal effort, and it is is much less taxing, and less likely to lead to burnout. I am able to do two of those 10-15 minute intervals in a given ride without feeling like it was too much, mentally. And I can muster the determination to do them on more than one ride a week. I use strava segments as my 'framework' for doing these efforts. Helps with the motivation.

  5. #5
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    So, that's 9.6 h of riding time in 12.5 h, leaving 3 h of stops.
    One strategy is to shorten your stops.
    To finish in the 10 hour time frame, I'd have to pretty much not stop though. On organized rides my stops are shorter because I don't have to find a place to lock up my trike, get my stuff off, go into the store to use the restroom and refill my water bottles. Or I just stop in a wooded area and I'm off the trike for about a minute.

    My 120 mile ride a few years ago was on pace to be 10 1/2 to 11 hours long until I got lost in Buffalo a few times.

    That might be my best strategy though.. even eat on the bike.. just empty out and fill up.

    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    A fair number of people start-out too fast on longer rides. It might be useful to note your average speed over each 25 mile segment of the ride.

    I'm not sure if those sorts of short rides are going to be a lot of help to make you faster.

    What kind of riding do you do at the "middle" level (like 60-70 miles)?
    I'm pretty much the same for anything from 30 - 100 miles. Average speed tends to be 10 MPH. I'm like a tortoise.. slow and steady.

    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    Is there a club you can ride with?
    The only club I know of are ones that really train for races with a 17-18 MPH+ average.
    Last edited by chandltp; 04-18-13 at 11:24 AM.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    As far as training goes, you can get faster by doing 2 20 minute intervals twice a week. You want to go at a rate that you can keep up for 20 minutes
    I'll have to try that on my morning rides.. 20 minutes seems like I could grin and bear it.
    There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary and those that don't.

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    Ding! Bandera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    I don't have to find a place to lock up my trike
    You are saying that you are Slow, but riding a Trike for that distance?
    I fell like a major sissy, go chandltp!

    Regards,

    -Bandera
    '74 Raleigh International - '77 Trek TX900FG - '92 Vitus 979 - '10 Merckx EMX-3- '11 Soma Stanyan

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    Senior Member joewein's Avatar
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    Fewer, shorter stops and eating and drinking while riding rather than at a shop are the easiest way to improve average speed. Anything else involves more training.

    I found training in the hills really beneficial. Long climbs force me to work harder for longer, gradually raising my fitness level. When I got my heart rate monitor and checked how I was doing on various courses, I found that I was usually putting in a pretty good effort on climbs, but slacking off on flatter sections of the rides and downhill. So without changing my effort pattern, I would get more exercise the more time I spent climbing.

    What helps me put in more effort on flatter courses is either a faster riding partner or a heart rate monitor that shows me how hard I'm working. Trying to keep up with someone fitter than oneself is a good way of pushing (and eventually moving) the envelope.

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    There's no easy way to get faster, you just have to pedal harder. That involves training at a level that is outside your comfort zone.

    Unterhausen has suggested 20-minute intervals and they will work. Another alternative is "tempo" rides. You ride for between one and two hours at about 85% of your threshold. If you don't use a HR monitor, take that as being a pace at which you are breathing hard enough to restrict talking to shortish sentences.
    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.

  10. #10
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bandera View Post
    You are saying that you are Slow, but riding a Trike for that distance?
    I fell like a major sissy, go chandltp!
    A trike lets me be slow on the hills better than a regular recumbent (I have a really low gear where 4 MPH is spinning about 100 RPM, IIRC).. old ladies with walkers can pass me.

    Before that I was riding a Trek 7000 those distances, but my butt always hurt.

    I tried road bikes but I couldn't get past hand numbness due to a shoulder injury, and my butt still hurt.

    The only thing that bothers me on my trike are my knees when I train too fast, or my feet (which I have new shoes on order). I can look at my trike the day after a 100 mile ride and want to get back on.. that never happened on an upright bike.
    There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary and those that don't.

  11. #11
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joewein View Post
    Fewer, shorter stops and eating and drinking while riding rather than at a shop are the easiest way to improve average speed. Anything else involves more training.
    I think that's going to be my short term solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by joewein View Post
    Trying to keep up with someone fitter than oneself is a good way of pushing (and eventually moving) the envelope.
    I've actually been looking for someone to train with, but finding someone to ride at 5:00 AM is tough.

    I think this is probably best for me, because when I do see a random roadie training on my normal ride, I tend to go faster trying to keep up with them, until I drop off after 6 miles or so. Some of my best rides have been trying to keep up with someone. I kept up with the group on a charity ride a few summers back until leg cramps set in about 1/2 way through the 100K.
    There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary and those that don't.

  12. #12
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Unterhausen has suggested 20-minute intervals and they will work. Another alternative is "tempo" rides. You ride for between one and two hours at about 85% of your threshold. If you don't use a HR monitor, take that as being a pace at which you are breathing hard enough to restrict talking to shortish sentences.
    Thanks for giving me a way to gauge the level of intensity I need to aim for. I don't have a HR monitor, and really have little interest in purchasing one. I just got a cadence sensor on my trike this year. I thought I had a good ride this morning, but I wasn't ever breathing as hard as you describe, so now I know I need to push even harder.
    There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary and those that don't.

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    Senior Member mr_pedro's Avatar
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    Depending on your situation the quickest way to become faster will be loosing weight or becoming stronger or both.
    For the becoming stronger part you can simplify it by concentrating on 2 things:
    -Long term power.
    -Short burst all out to get over hills quickly with recovery afterwards.

    Probably you want to work on the long term power first, which is where the 20 minute intervals come in.
    There is a test to measure what your maximum average power output is for 1hr, it involves going all out for 20 minutes and taking 95% of that power.

    However if you want to improve your long term power you don't have to go all out for 20 minutes as it is believed that training at a lower intensity will have you recovered sooner so you can go at it again sooner, which more than compensates for the reduced training impact of doing it at a lower intensity.

    So you can do 10 or 20 minutes intervals at a pace slightly below all out. It is a bit difficult to explain what the right intensity is without HR monitor or power meter. But you should be sweating, legs should be stinging a little bit and it should feel hard.
    You can maybe start with 2x10 minutes with 5 minute rest in between and work it up to 3x10, 1x20 and 2x20

  14. #14
    Senior Member Steamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    Thanks for giving me a way to gauge the level of intensity I need to aim for. I don't have a HR monitor, and really have little interest in purchasing one. I just got a cadence sensor on my trike this year. I thought I had a good ride this morning, but I wasn't ever breathing as hard as you describe, so now I know I need to push even harder.
    There is tons of training info out there...perhaps start doing some digging on the interwebz.

    Here is one good guide to what different intensities are like, in absence of power or HR numbers: http://home.trainingpeaks.com/articl...ew-coggan.aspx

    If you do those 20 minute intervals - your talking zone 4, maybe flirting with low zone 5 if you limit them to 10 minutes or so.

    Zone 4 hurts somewhat. Zone 5 is painful. Zone 3 is an intense effort, but not really painful, per se. Although it can be perceived as very difficult if you do it for something like a full 2 hours (or more).

    If you do tempo rides, you're in zone 3.

    Zone 6 and 7 don't have much (if any) value for an endurance cyclist.
    Last edited by Steamer; 04-19-13 at 02:06 PM.

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