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  1. #26
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    Uh, cuz I'm weak? Uh, I haven't done any kind of serious physical training in over 15 years? Seriously, I thought I made this clear. Maybe not.
    Yes, you may be weak, but I'm pretty sure that my 70 year old mother-in-law can go faster than 10.1 mph moving average on a properly set up road bike with proper clothes, and she never cycled a day in her life. So what I'm trying to figure out is why you end up being so slow.

    My questions were designed to get to the bottom of this. Vertical speed on hills would help understand just how weak you really are. Low speed on flats would indicate a problem with aerodynamics, either due to excessively upright position or due to baggy clothes. Sounds like the handlebars are set up reasonably well, though you could still take a photo of yourself on the bike and check out the angle. You want to be at 45 degrees or lower.

    37 mm tires are part of the problem, they slow you down by increasing your rolling resistance. Are they slick or offroad type (with grooves)? Start by making sure that they are properly inflated.

    I don't know how bad your roads are. I've never ridden in NY, but I've ridden in at least 12 counties in both Northern and Southern California and once ventured to Nevada, always on 22-23 mm racing slicks, and I've never had problems. I'd be surprised if NY were indeed so dramatically worse than CA. After you get properly padded cycling shorts/bibs, at least consider getting 32mm or narrower tires for dry-weather rides.
    Last edited by hamster; 06-03-14 at 09:29 PM.

  2. #27
    Senior Member antimonysarah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    Yes, you may be weak, but I'm pretty sure that my 70 year old mother-in-law can go faster than 10.1 mph moving average on a properly set up road bike with proper clothes, and she never cycled a day in her life. So what I'm trying to figure out is why you end up being so slow.
    There is absolutely no need to be insulting. 10mph moving average honestly doesn't seem that odd to me for someone in hilly terrain coming off a long cycling break.

    It is, however, not fast enough to make the finish for a 200k -- stop signs and bare-minimum of control in and out will take more than that. 11mph is doable with discipline at controls, but tough. 12mph is fairly easily finishing near the end of the time limit; 13mph gives a cushion sufficient to stop worrying about time.

    OP -- there's nothing stopping you from riding a non-organized 200k ride, though -- build up to it and see how you like the distance! And I don't know which 200k you were thinking of targeting, but looking at the CNY brevet page, there's a 200k described as flatter on their schedule in September: Central and Western NY Randonneuring That seems like a good potential ride to target. If you can get up to 11mph for a 50-miler in truly hilly terrain, you'll be doing 13mph+ on flat ground and 12mph+ in gentle rollers.

    From what I hear, the roads in NY are similar to those in MA -- bad, bad, bad. Wider tires are going to be nice, although boat-anchor heavy/stiff wide tires might be a problem.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by antimonysarah View Post
    There is absolutely no need to be insulting. 10mph moving average honestly doesn't seem that odd to me for someone in hilly terrain coming off a long cycling break.
    It's not insulting, it's a statement that OP has something wrong with his setup. 2 years ago I was coming off a long cycling break, I had BMI 27..28, and I was seeing moving averages 12..13 mph on routes with 100 feet/mile of climbing.

  4. #29
    Senior Member antimonysarah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    It's not insulting, it's a statement that OP has something wrong with his setup. 2 years ago I was coming off a long cycling break, I had BMI 27..28, and I was seeing moving averages 12..13 mph on routes with 100 feet/mile of climbing.
    Eh, your experience is not mine. I know a lot of people who ride at 10ish mph and have trouble getting faster -- a lot of them are happy touring/riding at that pace. Granted, most of them are women. I've worked hard to get up to a 13mph average for LD riding, and on 100ft/mi terrain I'm going to do 11mph at best.

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by antimonysarah View Post
    From what I hear, the roads in NY are similar to those in MA -- bad, bad, bad. Wider tires are going to be nice, although boat-anchor heavy/stiff wide tires might be a problem.
    But they are paved, right? And it's asphalt, not cobblestone or gravel? How bad do they need to be to necessitate wide tires?

  6. #31
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    If you know you want to keep doing this kind of riding, then it makes sense to start to think about your N plus 1. The disc trucker is obviously optimized for touring. So why not think about what kind of bike you need for the kind of riding you are currently doing?

  7. #32
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    Your working on your motor, which is good. Your have some proper cycling shoes, which should help you smooth out your pedal stroke, which is good also. And finally, you are you are looking into some proper clothing, which I also think is step in the right direction. Dunno what you are looking at specifically, but I strongly recommend a good set of bibs, versus shorts. The sell specific chamois cream, but I've found a little dab of Eucerin works just fine too.

    Besides conditioning, what is your pedaling technique like. My overall average gradually crept up after learning to keep my cadence up at all times, and sit and spin on hills. By keeping cadence up, I'm talking 60+ RPM at the pedals, pretty much all the time, unless enjoying a nice downhill. On uphills, gear down, and keep the spin up. No coasting, even downhill.

    How is your bike position? Are you comfortable in the drops, in addition to the tops and hoods? Getting down and low will make a huge difference when having to battle a headwind.

    Finally, if your going to spend some money on your rig, treat yourself to some better tires. Don't know your weight, but at 200lbs, I won't ride anything smaller than a 28. I see you are on a 37 now, but would possibly consider something in the 28-32 range. I've had good luck with Continental Grand Prix 4 seasons (labeled 28, but may be a little on the small size), and Vittoria Randoneur Hypers (an honest 32). Note: I think it is labelled differently, but you want the one with "Hyper" in the name. Haven't tried the Compass tires yet, but the reports are very favorable for ride quality, at the expense of some durability. They are made by Panaracer (Panasonic), which also makes the very reasonable, and previously suggested, Pasela. The tourguard belt, on the higher priced Pasela, adds durability, but destroys ride quality.

    Finally, maybe there is a small, no-drop group ride in your area, where you can practice your technique and pick up some pointers.

  8. #33
    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
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    What mph shows on your bike computer, when you are on a flat road, going at what seems like a fairly hard but sustainable pace? That'll give us more info.

    And I like the advice above:
    -- Better tires sized 28c or maybe 32c, no tread. These have less rolling resistance.

    -- Spinning more than mashing a low gear. Try clicking into one shift easier than you would normally select, and see how that faster cadence works for you. To get an idea of my typical cadence, I would count the right pedal rotation for 20 seconds, and multiply by 3.

    -- "Intervals": go very hard up a short hill, recover at an easy pace, and repeat. (I never do hill repeats, it seems too boring to me, but I'll route to a series of small hills and use those for intervals.)

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    But they are paved, right? And it's asphalt, not cobblestone or gravel? How bad do they need to be to necessitate wide tires?
    What the literature shows is that tire width basically doesn't matter, except that comparable-construction, wider tires are faster on rough roads than narrow, high-pressure tires that just lead to hysterisis losses from bumping the rider around.

    What does matter is tire construction. So if you take a fast, 700Cx23 tire and then use the same materials to build a 650Bx42 tire then the 650B will be just as fast as the 700C on similar roads. There are numerous articles in Bicycle Quarterly on this. Or you can easily test it yourself.

    But the tires on a Long Haul Trucker are probably heavy-duty, flatproof tires, with some amount of tread. All of that is as far as you can get from fast. Something like a Grand Bois Cypres 700x32 tire will be much faster on the OP's bike.

    Nick
    Last edited by thebulls; 06-04-14 at 12:11 PM.

  10. #35
    Senior Member rowebr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    Yes, you may be weak, but I'm pretty sure that my 70 year old mother-in-law can go faster than 10.1 mph moving average on a properly set up road bike with proper clothes, and she never cycled a day in her life. So what I'm trying to figure out is why you end up being so slow.
    I agree with others that 10mph cycling speed is totally normal for a rider just getting back into shape and riding on hilly routes.

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by rowebr View Post
    I agree with others that 10mph cycling speed is totally normal for a rider just getting back into shape and riding on hilly routes.
    Agreed. Back to the original question, there is nothing wrong with LHT Disc. One of the fastest guys in our area uses one; he holds the course record for a hilly 600K.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by rowebr View Post
    I agree with others that 10mph cycling speed is totally normal for a rider just getting back into shape and riding on hilly routes.
    It's not hard to demonstrate that it isn't.

    Let's use a calculator at Bicycle Speed (Velocity) And Power Calculator and plug in some numbers. For simplicity, assume that we have a trip that consists of 1 mile uphill at 4%, 1 mile downhill at 4% and 1 mile flat. Pick "racing bicycle - hands on the tops", plug in bike weight 20 lbs, rider weight 160 lbs, power 145 W (2 W/kg - very conservative for a male rider getting back into shape), leave all else at default values.

    The uphill part of the trip takes 7:19 at 8.2 mph. The downhill part takes 2:15 at 26.6 mph. The flat part takes 3:37 at 16.6 mph. Total 13:11 to go 3 miles, or an average speed 13.6 mph.

    If I drop the flat part and just keep a mile up at 4% and a mile down at 4%, that still gives me 12.5 mph.

    The only way to get down to 10 mph with these premises is to knock the grades up to 8%, in which case our hypothetical 2 W/kg rider will not be asking "why is my average speed so slow?", he'll be asking "why am I so bad at climbing hills?" (or maybe even complaining "I hate hills!"), because 2 W/kg gets him up 8% grade at only 4.7 mph, and even the extremely low gearing of Disc Trucker (26/32 lowest gear) is going to be borderline insufficient.

  13. #38
    Senior Member rowebr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    It's not hard to demonstrate that it isn't.

    Let's use a calculator at Bicycle Speed (Velocity) And Power Calculator and plug in some numbers. For simplicity, assume that we have a trip that consists of 1 mile uphill at 4%, 1 mile downhill at 4% and 1 mile flat. Pick "racing bicycle - hands on the tops", plug in bike weight 20 lbs, rider weight 160 lbs, power 145 W (2 W/kg - very conservative for a male rider getting back into shape), leave all else at default values.

    The uphill part of the trip takes 7:19 at 8.2 mph. The downhill part takes 2:15 at 26.6 mph. The flat part takes 3:37 at 16.6 mph. Total 13:11 to go 3 miles, or an average speed 13.6 mph.

    If I drop the flat part and just keep a mile up at 4% and a mile down at 4%, that still gives me 12.5 mph.

    The only way to get down to 10 mph with these premises is to knock the grades up to 8%, in which case our hypothetical 2 W/kg rider will not be asking "why is my average speed so slow?", he'll be asking "why am I so bad at climbing hills?" (or maybe even complaining "I hate hills!"), because 2 W/kg gets him up 8% grade at only 4.7 mph, and even the extremely low gearing of Disc Trucker (26/32 lowest gear) is going to be borderline insufficient.
    That is an interesting calculation, but it doesn't square with the OP's experience, and that could be for all sorts of reasons. Maybe his tires are especially slow and bulky, maybe he weighs more, doesn't put out that much power per kilo of body weight, isn't comfortable riding that fast downhill, etc.

  14. #39
    Senior Member bransom's Avatar
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    FWIW, I ride a Novara Randonee (a steel touring bike similar to a LHT) and a older Cdale R500. On my regular training routes of 15-20 miles, I find my average speed runs about .5 mph slower on the Randonee. It's more comfortable but a touch slower.

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    It's not hard to demonstrate that it isn't.

    ....calculations....
    My cycle club just had one of their large all-club rides. I ended up leading the slowest speed group. We did an 11.5 mph average for 25 miles, with a 4% grade hill and a 3% grade hill and smaller roller hills, 800 feet of total climbing for the ride.

    The riders were nowhere near 145 watts. Think 60 or 75 watts as the effort some of them were willing to do.

    ~~~~~~~
    Now that I think of it,

    Back 15 years ago, when I was an occasional rider, using my mountain bike with slicks on city rides, my "epic" ride was 8 miles to a local park and back, with a 5-6% grade of 200 feet or so after a shallow grade climb of a mile or two. I was in my triple's 24(approx) chainring x 30 (I think) cog, at well under 4 mph. I was working hard, too.

    Estimating from your calculator link, I was probably near 100-120 watts. My 15-16 mph speeds on the flats was in that ballpark, too.

    Now I sometimes ride that same hill on the way to a 35 mile group ride, and it seems like nothing much at all.

    My old self would be amazed to think that years later, I'd be riding 50 or 60 miles with 6000 or 8000 feet of climbing.
    Last edited by rm -rf; 06-04-14 at 10:05 PM.

  16. #41
    Bridge Burner RollCNY's Avatar
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    OP, may I ask where in CNY you are? If you have the goal to do 200k this year, you can help yourself a great deal by picking the right course. The northern end of the Finger Lakes are much flatter than the southern end. The eastern sides of the lakes are flatter than the western. Riding east of 81 is much flatter than west of 81.

    I ride a great deal from Syracuse to Cortland and Ithaca, out to Utica, and as far west as Canandaigua. If it ever worked out, I would be more than happy to ride with you at some point and perhaps offer more specific pointers, if interested. I do not have the long distance know how of others on this forum, but do ride 200km rides with some frequency, and usually on a steel single speed. Most likely, your bike isn't the major limiter.

    Feel free to PM me if that interests you.

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    Riding 10 to 10.5 mph, particularly for a 58 year old resuming cycling after inactivity, and in hilly terrain, sounds entirely normal. I see many casual riders -- people who have not ridden good mileage over a period of months -- who could not possibly maintain 10 mph for 50 miles, or for 20.

    Ride several days a week, and rest at least a couple of days a week. The body gets stronger in the rest period. Too much riding all at once is not helpful. A simple guide is to increase your total mileage no more than 10% a week.

    You'll get stronger, you'll get faster, and as you ride you'll figure out whether your equipment, clothing, etc. are really holding you back.

    Your motor is by far most important. You want to build your motor, and over time you'll see when you're ready to go for a certain time or distance achievement.

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
    OP, may I ask where in CNY you are? If you have the goal to do 200k this year, you can help yourself a great deal by picking the right course. The northern end of the Finger Lakes are much flatter than the southern end. The eastern sides of the lakes are flatter than the western. Riding east of 81 is much flatter than west of 81.

    I ride a great deal from Syracuse to Cortland and Ithaca, out to Utica, and as far west as Canandaigua. If it ever worked out, I would be more than happy to ride with you at some point and perhaps offer more specific pointers, if interested. I do not have the long distance know how of others on this forum, but do ride 200km rides with some frequency, and usually on a steel single speed. Most likely, your bike isn't the major limiter.

    Feel free to PM me if that interests you.
    Along the Eerie canal is great..

    Route along the south shore of Lake Ontario is also very nice...

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    First, on the bikes, I have 6 of them used for various purposes. From fastest to slowest, they are: road, cyclocross, touring, hybrid/commuter, mountain, and folding. I live in the Alps, so it's about as hilly as it gets (some of our hills have snow on them year round). On the road bike, I average about 22.5 kmph (14 mph). On the touring bike, it's 20 kmph (12.5 mph). On my 20" folding bike, it's 18 kmph (11 mph). I've ridden my bikes on flatter terrain and, there, my average speed is much closer (about 0.5 mph between road and touring). I would say it's much more about the engine than the bike, although a lighter bike is significantly faster on climbs.

    Second point is that you're just getting back into biking. Don't overdo it. It takes time to build up fitness and strength (especially in tendons and ligaments). If you go too hard, too fast, you have a good chance of ending up with an overuse injury. I wish I had followed my own advice last year. I cycle about 15,000 km/year (9000 miles/year), so I'm in reasonably good shape. I used to be a runner back in the 90s, but I hadn't done any serious running since then. Last year, I set a goal to run a full marathon and gave myself about 4 months to prepare. On the first day, I could barely run 4 km. However, within a few weeks, I could run 10 km easily. Over the next couple of months, I increased my training runs to 20 km. I ended up running the 26-mile marathon in under 3.5 hours, but I also developed a case of plantar fasciitis in my right foot and had to stop running about a month later. It took almost a year before it felt fully better again. A classic result of trying to do too much too soon.

    Rather than try for a timed 200k in 2 months, perhaps you can set a goal of riding an untimed century this summer. If it goes well, then try to ride another century, but this time time yourself and try to do it in under 10 hours total. If you can do that, then I think you have a good shot at doing a 200k within the time limit.

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    One other quick point. Are you certain your computer is properly calibrated for your tire size. If this was setup by a shop, they should have taken care of it for you, but it wouldn't hurt to check. Otherwise, if you set it up yourself, the installation directions would have covered this point. There are charts online, but the best method is to simply mark a point on your tire, and likewise on the floor, roll forward one complete revolution, mark a second point on the floor, and measure the distance.

  21. #46
    JWK
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    Just a quick follow-up to the thread and a thank you to many of the very good suggestions and pieces of advice.

    I've been working on my motor and taking some of the things I've learned here and put them to use. First, I live on one of the steepest hills in the area. Right at the top. It's not the biggest, but I haven't found one yet that's as steep. I always go 50+mph down one side of it without applying any brakes. So one ride last week I decided to eliminate my hill from the equation. Started my bike computer at the bottom of the hill and took the readings when I returned to the same spot 18 miles later (just a short run). Averaged 13.4 mph.

    Today I went for a pretty decent ride: 42 miles. I had a number of really good climbs and did NOT take my hill out of the equation. From my back door returned to my back door. Averaged 12 mph. I'm starting to think seriously about that RUSA 200k in September. If I can keep up the training, I think I'll be able to do it. Oh, and maybe even just as important: I only stopped twice for 2-3 minutes to drink down a bottle of water each time. A few weeks ago a took a 40 mile ride and I was gone 5 hours, so I think I'm getting there.

    Thanks again!

    Quote Originally Posted by Staggerwing View Post
    One other quick point. Are you certain your computer is properly calibrated for your tire size. If this was setup by a shop, they should have taken care of it for you, but it wouldn't hurt to check. Otherwise, if you set it up yourself, the installation directions would have covered this point. There are charts online, but the best method is to simply mark a point on your tire, and likewise on the floor, roll forward one complete revolution, mark a second point on the floor, and measure the distance.
    Yes, it was calibrated accurately by me, measured on concrete with me on the bike and the tires inflated to my usual pressure. Did it twice to be sure.

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    Congratulations, it sounds like you are getting it figured out.

    The only point that gives me pause is your note about "ONLY stopping twice for 2-3 minutes to drink down a bottle of water." Listen to your body, it is OK to pause every now and again. More important, is learning to fuel yourself while out on multi-hour rides. Two hours of strenuous activity in the heat of summer without caloric and electrolyte intake is a good recipe for bonking. There are all sorts of fancy drinks and gels that you can purchase at your local cycling emporium, although a handful of fig newtons, bananas, something salty but not oily, like pretzels, and even a sugary drink or candy bar for some instantaneous fuel work just fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Staggerwing View Post
    Congratulations, it sounds like you are getting it figured out.

    The only point that gives me pause is your note about "ONLY stopping twice for 2-3 minutes to drink down a bottle of water." Listen to your body, it is OK to pause every now and again. More important, is learning to fuel yourself while out on multi-hour rides. Two hours of strenuous activity in the heat of summer without caloric and electrolyte intake is a good recipe for bonking. There are all sorts of fancy drinks and gels that you can purchase at your local cycling emporium, although a handful of fig newtons, bananas, something salty but not oily, like pretzels, and even a sugary drink or candy bar for some instantaneous fuel work just fine.
    I agree, but nothing to worry about on this end. I always have food with me. Yesterday I had banana bread in my saddle bag, but had eaten a P&B sandwich just before I left. The weather was a beautiful 72 degrees. I simply didn't need it. The second time I stopped was because I knew I should, not because I felt thirsty. I was/am also dealing with some numbness issues in my feet and privates. Still working on the seat adjustment thing. I also need to lose a good 15 lbs. before I start messing with different saddles. I mean, being overweight can help cause that circulation cut-off thing, right? I also have to figure out what is causing my sore knees after 20 miles or so. I'm hoping it's just some technique flaw. The rest of me feels good.

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    After 1 1/2 to 2 hours in, plan on food and electrolyte intake whether you feel like you need it or not. Once behind the "power curve" on intake, it is hard to catch up without a rest. Doesn't have to be much.

    As for numbness on your feet. I get that too after a bit. Found that orthotic quality insoles, like Superfeet help. I just use the greens, but see they have cycling specific models too. Also, what about your cleat position. Tradition says to place them under the ball of the foot, but following a thread on another group, I've gradually moved them back, almost as far back on my SIDI's as they will go, with much improvement. FWIW, I'm using 2-bolt SPD style, but don't others on the mentioned thread were using more typical 3-bolt road styles.

    You actually have three contact points on your bicycle, the saddle, pedals, and bar. Increasing pressure on either of the other two, will take some off of the perineum. As you build tone, ride in a more balances position and pedal harder, the saddle situation may improve. Of course, get used to standing and pedaling at least a few minutes every hour, just to take some pressure off.

    As for the knees, I don't have much problem there, unless my cadence get low (below 40 rpm), and I start grinding.

  25. #50
    Senior Member Jim Kukula's Avatar
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    I'm 58, got back into biking about three years ago. I've put in about 9000 miles of riding in that time. I am seem to be getting very gradually faster, maybe from 10.3 mph to 10.7 mph!

    My 14 mile ride today took about 1:20, avg speed about 10.9. I live in the Catskills - the big hill today was about 14%. My BMI is about 25 and my expedition touring bike weighs about 40 pounds. 50-622 Marathon Supremes. Bottom gear about 17 inches.

    I have no idea how far or fast I will get. No doubt more mileage would ramp me up faster, but that's not really likely to change much! I know people do all kinds of tremendous things, but it really isn't so pathological to be stuck for years in the 10 mph zone even if you ride a fair amount.

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