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Masters Racing (All Disciplines) Race on the track or road or on your mountainbike in the Masters Category? Want to talk tactics, strategy and training with your peers?

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Old 12-09-13, 06:11 PM   #26
duncanblkthrne
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Not if you repent now.
I don't think that'll help. I'm fairly well convinced, with the way things have been going the last couple years, that I'm well and fully damned already, and I just haven't received the official notification in the mail yet.
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Old 12-09-13, 08:21 PM   #27
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At nearly 6'4" and 190 lbs the bike isn't your problem, it's your barn door aerodynamics. I'm the same way, though a couple of inches shorter at 6'2" but I weigh about the same and I'm quite lean. Despite being down to 10% body fat I still have a 34" waist, I'm built like a playing card from my hips to my shoulders.

I don't have blistering top speed but I jump harder than most of the other guys I race against. I just started racing again last season on the track, used to race on the road but it's been ten years. My body is a lot heavier since I last raced. Whereas I once was a mountain goat I now prefer short races with explosive finishes.

I think I'm doing well by a combination of keeping my head and body as low as possible and the gym work I've done, primarily heavy deadlifts and squats plus plyos like box jumps.
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Old 12-09-13, 09:40 PM   #28
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Problem that bugs me the most when training/racing:
I can't seem to pull off a decent sprint. I can generate 1200-1300 watts peak and average over 1000 watts, but I've rarely seen my road speed, sprinting on the flat by myself, get over 30mph. Usually I have to kill myself off even getting to 30mph on the flat.
This stood out to me. You're younger and stronger than I am, but about the same size - I'm 6'2"/180. You've also been doing this longer than I have. For me, 30 mph on the flat is hard, but not death-march hard. Ex stated that aerodynamics is an issue in sprinting, and this might be where the problem is. To add my voice to the Greek chorus here, it probably ain't the bike. Of course, that's a good news/bad news thing...the good news is that you don't have to come up with the money; the bad news is that it's probably a sweat-equity (mental or physical) issue.
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Old 12-09-13, 10:12 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Element GT
I did my first metric this year and it was a blast! The biggest surprise was how much I actually ate through the whole thing at the snack tables.


..excuse me?
Is there a point to what you just posted here, or are you just being a jerk?
I try not to be.

My background is distance stuff. Rando's, doubles, so as Racer Ex so kindly pointed out, I just found what Element GT said was awesome, in it's own way, and it also made me giggle a bit.

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No. 1. But that's no reason not to get a new bike if you want one.
Agree!

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Kettle meet Pot.

You took offense at someone's signature. Those are defaulted little things some people use as taglines on ALL their posts. Mostly comments that people find either amusing or uplifting. They are not directed at anyone or relevant to the particular post.

In this case LAJ found something another member posted amusing. You'll see a few of my more pithy stuff floating around quoted by others. LAJ is a very nice person who took the time to answer your question, albeit briefly.
Thank you, Racer Ex. You're too kind.

Sit back and read the stuff here, duncanblkthrne. I mean read it, and absorb it. There is gold here, and there is gold in the other racing forums. Just allow yourself to listen to what is said.
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Old 12-09-13, 10:21 PM   #30
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OP, you have huge power for only getting to 30 mph. I'm wondering if you are riding too hard and not fast? In track and field the 100 meter runners need more technique than any other running event to achieve success. Think about a shot putter running against a true sprinter, the shot putter can probably put our way more watts per Kilo than a sprinter in a 100 meter race, but due to technique the runner will smoke him. At the top level it only takes a small loss of concentration and form for the elite runner to fail. The same goes for sprinting on a bike at the end of a race. Sprinting out of the saddle with your chest open to the air is just like a parachute that could be used to slow you down. Are your knees tight to the top rail? Elbows tucked in and bent? Head tucked down? Are you relaxed, smooth and supple while hammering? Are you trying too hard and bouncing the bike? There are a lot of things that allow you to go faster or slow you down in a sprint. You can practice riding fast and making changes to your position and form. In races every sprint finish is different and you need to make real time adjustments due to length, position in the field, wind and what is happening around you. Going balls to the wall only works when you get to your sweet spot (10", 20", 30" or whatever PP time is your best) and no one else is ahead.
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Old 12-09-13, 10:38 PM   #31
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I don't think that'll help. I'm fairly well convinced, with the way things have been going the last couple years, that I'm well and fully damned already, and I just haven't received the official notification in the mail yet.
Hi duncanblkthrne, now you're getting it. There's an eclectic mixture of ways that people respond. Roll with it.

If you believe that a bike is holding you back it will. However, the bike probably is not physically holding you back. If you like a bike a lot and you think it makes you faster, it probably will.

As others have said, aerodynamics are probably holding you back more than anything else. I there is a first order effect in play here if you have trouble breaking 30 MPH in a solo sprint. Unless the bike is completely the wrong size (which is possible), it is not going to hold you back to the level that you're experiencing. After aerodynamics and before equipment is technique. You are going to need someone to help you with aerodynamics (body position, not bike) and technique. One can rarely sleuth these things out and fix them via internet discussions.

Also, don't pay too much attention to your numbers in term of absolute performance. A coach can use wattage, etc. to help make you better but you can't predict good or bad speed just from wattage.
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Old 12-09-13, 11:27 PM   #32
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At nearly 6'4" and 190 lbs the bike isn't your problem, it's your barn door aerodynamics. I'm the same way, though a couple of inches shorter at 6'2" but I weigh about the same and I'm quite lean. Despite being down to 10% body fat I still have a 34" waist, I'm built like a playing card from my hips to my shoulders.

I don't have blistering top speed but I jump harder than most of the other guys I race against. I just started racing again last season on the track, used to race on the road but it's been ten years. My body is a lot heavier since I last raced. Whereas I once was a mountain goat I now prefer short races with explosive finishes.

I think I'm doing well by a combination of keeping my head and body as low as possible and the gym work I've done, primarily heavy deadlifts and squats plus plyos like box jumps.
Yeah, I'm leg pressing 1105 for 3x8 right now, finishing up Fall strength training, this week and next week and I'm done with that. I don't lack for force, and much as you are I'm trying to compensate for the physics of the situation.
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Old 12-09-13, 11:33 PM   #33
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If you believe that a bike is holding you back it will. However, the bike probably is not physically holding you back. If you like a bike a lot and you think it makes you faster, it probably will.
This is part of the question so far as I'm concerned; it's the only road bike I've ever owned so I have nothing else to compare it against. The only other bike I've owned since I started riding again was a $350 Giant MTB.

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As others have said, aerodynamics are probably holding you back more than anything else. I there is a first order effect in play here if you have trouble breaking 30 MPH in a solo sprint. Unless the bike is completely the wrong size (which is possible), it is not going to hold you back to the level that you're experiencing. After aerodynamics and before equipment is technique. You are going to need someone to help you with aerodynamics (body position, not bike) and technique. One can rarely sleuth these things out and fix them via internet discussions.
OK, now I think we're getting somewhere.
The Pilot 2.1 has a less aggressive, more upright riding position. To me that says "poorer aerodynamics", am I right?

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Also, don't pay too much attention to your numbers in term of absolute performance. A coach can use wattage, etc. to help make you better but you can't predict good or bad speed just from wattage.
I wasn't doing that actually, I know it's a more complex equation that just power/weight ratio, I merely mentioned power output to help illustrate that I'm not lacking for the ability to generate Force.
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Old 12-09-13, 11:38 PM   #34
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OP, you have huge power for only getting to 30 mph. I'm wondering if you are riding too hard and not fast? In track and field the 100 meter runners need more technique than any other running event to achieve success. Think about a shot putter running against a true sprinter, the shot putter can probably put our way more watts per Kilo than a sprinter in a 100 meter race, but due to technique the runner will smoke him. At the top level it only takes a small loss of concentration and form for the elite runner to fail. The same goes for sprinting on a bike at the end of a race. Sprinting out of the saddle with your chest open to the air is just like a parachute that could be used to slow you down. Are your knees tight to the top rail? Elbows tucked in and bent? Head tucked down? Are you relaxed, smooth and supple while hammering? Are you trying too hard and bouncing the bike? There are a lot of things that allow you to go faster or slow you down in a sprint. You can practice riding fast and making changes to your position and form. In races every sprint finish is different and you need to make real time adjustments due to length, position in the field, wind and what is happening around you. Going balls to the wall only works when you get to your sweet spot (10", 20", 30" or whatever PP time is your best) and no one else is ahead.
It's entirely possible. It's not like what coaching I've had was hands-on, it was managing my training schedule for me, and that was about 3 years ago and I literally have no money to pay a coach to do anything for me for the foreseeable future.
I recognize that a specific speed skill like sprinting is something that most people have to be taught, much like the proper way to do squats and deadlifts in the gym: some people can figure it out, but most will screw it up without some help learning to do it right initially. I have no one to teach me to sprint properly; I just go into the drops, tuck in, and go balls-out at >100rpm, shifting when necessary to maintain power output. Probably completely wrong.
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Old 12-10-13, 12:06 AM   #35
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I'm going to look at this with a slightly different eye than others have. And, by the way, I wasn't inferring that your bike fitter was in any way incompetent.

Looking at the bike you currently ride, taking your physique into consideration, and then throwing what almost every one else here has said into the equation (drag, you make a lot of power, but you seem to be hitting a wall in a sprint), I'm going to go out on a limb and say that your bike MIGHT be holding you back on TOP END. It has a tall head tube, hence you're feeling more wind than you would on a bike with a "flat" (or flatter) top tube. It's probably a very comfortable bike, it's probably fine for climbing (I don't think it holds you back there), for long distance rides, and for sitting in in a pack. I would be inclined to think that once you pull out from behind another rider at high speed with the intent of drilling it on a sprint you'll see your 1000 watts because that's what it is taking to overcome the drag that you're suffering by your upper body being placed higher than it would be on a bike with a lower head tube.

Then again, I wasn't called an idiot for nothing...

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Old 12-10-13, 12:24 AM   #36
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I'm going to look at this with a slightly different eye than others have. And, by the way, I wasn't inferring that your bike fitter was in any way incompetent.

Looking at the bike you currently ride, taking your physique into consideration, and then throwing what almost every one else here has said into the equation (drag, you make a lot of power, but you seem to be hitting a wall in a sprint), I'm going to go out on a limb and say that your bike MIGHT be holding you back on TOP END. It has a tall head tube, hence you're feeling more wind than you would on a bike with a "flat" (or flatter) top tube. It's probably a very comfortable bike, it's probably fine for climbing (I don't think it holds you back there), for long distance rides, and for sitting in in a pack. I would be inclined to think that once you pull out from behind another rider at high speed with the intent of drilling it on a sprint you'll see your 1000 watts because that's what it is taking to overcome the drag that you're suffering by your upper body being placed higher than it would be on a bike with a lower head tube.

Then again, I wasn't called an idiot for nothing...

Wasn't implying that you were implying anything about my ex-coach; just trying to answer questions I anticipated. ;-)

See, what you're saying about the bike I have now are the things that I've been thinking about it myself, having been riding it for almost 7 years.

So far as I can tell it's fine all the way through Zone 4 (race pace), but it's when I really jump on it hard, it just doesn't seem to jump with me.
If I knew someone who was experienced enough to tell the difference who could ride the bike and test my theory, I'd sure do that.
Local bike shops aren't even any help. They don't do "test rides" on race bikes, and even when Specialized had a test-ride day, they wouldn't even put a freakin' cyclometer on the Venge I rode so I'd at least know how fast I was going; the test ride was largely a waste of my time.

In a perfect Universe I'd find someone on this forum who has had the same bike, races, is experienced enough to comment authoritatively, and therefore could say yea-or-nay.
But as you say: I might have the aerodynamics of a brick, in part because of the geometry of the bike.

Got any ideas, other than riding a real race bike, to test this?
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Old 12-10-13, 12:53 AM   #37
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Ideas to test it? No, not without a wind tunnel and a different bike.

I can give you my experience. Take from it what you will. When I started racing I was riding a Look 566. Now, it's not entirely like your bike - it's carbon, and the rear triangle is specifically designed to be a little bit "soft". But, the geometry is very similar. I can't draw a direct correlation, because I'm female and smaller than you are, BUT, that bike seemed to hold me back. It wasn't until I did ride a bike with lower front end geometry that I was able to confirm that. I now race a Cannondale CAAD 10, and it's significantly easier for me to go fast - on the flats and in sprints - than it was on the Look. Climbing is no different. However, my top speed is higher, and I can sustain it a little longer, too. It could be argued that I'm stronger, a better rider, you name it, but from a perception point of view, the Look was like riding in sand where the Cannondale is almost effortless. I've ridden both bikes with the same wheels, same gearing, same saddles - the CAAD 10 is a different animal.
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Old 12-10-13, 12:59 AM   #38
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You're nearly 6'4", even with a slightly longer headtube, I find it difficult to believe that you wouldn't be able to achieve a reasonably agressive position on a 61cm frame.

Do you run any spacers under your stem?

Is your stem angled up or down?

What's it's length?

But, more importantly, have you ever been "A Sprinter" in your previous life?

If No, then perhaps you aren't predisposed to be one and may have to find other ways to win races. There are sprinters, there are climbers and than there are Rouleurs. The Boonens and Cancellaras of the world who we see frequently contesting for the classics. Bigger guys. Guys with power and speed, but, not the jump and sprint of Cav or Sagan or Kittel. If this is you, look for courses that may not split the field too badly with significant climbs and which finish on a long flat or descent that hopefully has a crosswind from left to right (if you're riding on the right side).

How are you at TT'ing? Or, if you haven't been participating in those, how are you at taking long pulls at the front? Do people in any group rides you do groan if you move to the front?
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Old 12-10-13, 01:06 AM   #39
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There are a lot of ways to skin a tall head tube cat, a lot of bikes are biased this way these days but it doesn't stop people from getting low and/or narrow, the two things that are most likely to improve drag. Removing spacers under the stem, changing the headset cap, going to a longer or more angled stem, going to deeper drop or more narrow bars all could improve things.

Looking at a couple of spec sheets your Pilot is probably 20-30mm taller than a more race oriented frame by size. That's not huge and could be equalized out going to a -17 degree stem.

The word of caution, especially for the AARP crowd, would be to not make a radical change all at once. Go maybe 20mm at a time to give your body a chance to adapt, figure 4-6 weeks for that process. Then make another change.

On the narrow front, I run 40 c-c bars on my road stuff with a 150 drop. My track bars are even narrower with the same drop.

And please don't sprint on the hoods.

BTW I was in before Fred with this but he is in a different time zone.
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Old 12-10-13, 05:59 AM   #40
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I have no one to teach me to sprint properly; I just go into the drops, tuck in, and go balls-out at >100rpm, shifting when necessary to maintain power output.
Commenting while having my first cup of coffee can be dangerous, so keep this in that context.

You noted that you shift at >100 rpm during sprints. What's your cadence during the rest of the race? I'm asking because sometimes strong guys use relatively slow cadence because they're relying on their leg strength, and it makes it harder for them to function well at higher cadence. Also, where are you during the rest of the race? Do you stay within the pack, or do you make it into breaks? I'm just thinking that if you're strong enough to make it into and stick with a break, you won't have to worry about pack sprints.

ETA: Going along with what Ex said about position, when I was fitted to my carbon bike (an "endurance" bike, so similar geometry to yours) as a century rider I had a 100mm stem flipped up on top of 25mm of spacers. As I transitioned to racing, I went through a gradual lowering of my position to the point where I now am comfortable with a 120mm stem flipped down and slammed. This is just to point out that you may be able to improve your position somewhat in terms of aero. By our age, a lot of guys have back issues, so this may not be possible for you.

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Old 12-10-13, 06:32 AM   #41
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they wouldn't even put a freakin' cyclometer on the Venge I rode so I'd at least know how fast I was going; the test ride was largely a waste of my time.
41

You're describing something you think you 'feel' and then want to try and quantify it by looking at a cyclometer? Let's draw straws and call it a day. I'm surprised they even let you ride a Venge after that request.

Jump on one, then jump on the other. Put a little lateral pressure on the bb and see if one sways more than the other. I bet the new bike is stiffer. I also bet that at this juncture the entire conversation is unnecessary handwringing. Get a fit by a reputable fitter. Get some video of you sprinting. Look at it. Look at guys that are better than you. I bet you see some stuff. Once you iron out some of the obvious things that are holding you back run out and drop 10K on the latest wonder bike. That's not going to do you any good if your position is poor and your technique and engine can't parse out the difference between a 2007 bike and a 2013 bike. I know plenty of really fast guys racing on really old stuff.
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Old 12-10-13, 09:48 AM   #42
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Gary is dead on - so is Ex and Chuck.

I said in another thread and I'll repeat it, speaking in terms of "cost of their toys", that I am not a good enough rider to eek out that 1% morsel of performance that a $10K could afford me verses my $2500 bike. I'd bet you're in the same boat.
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Old 12-10-13, 10:15 AM   #43
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I'm clearly in that boat as well, but I still bought the expensive bike when I started racing.

Then it fell off the trunk rack, so I bought a more expensive version of that bike.

Broke that one crashing, so got the latest model frame for the rebuild.

6 weeks later, that was stolen at a crit, and I replaced it with my current carbon marvel, a Giant Propel.

No wonder my wife considers cycling a "pathos". But I have to say that each upgrade provided a noticeable improvement in stiffness that I -think- made a difference in crit's, except the most recent bike, which sacrifices a small amount of stiffness in favor of being more aero. It also corners -much- better. I tend towards a breakaway strategy, and try to minimize the aero penalty my size presents. That includes a drop of just over 5 inches. We taller guys tend to tolerate (and need) a fair amount of drop.

OP - maybe you could measure yours? Easiest way is to measure the top of the saddle to the ground, and the top of the bars to the ground, and take the difference.
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Old 12-10-13, 10:29 AM   #44
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I really don't begrudge folks buying kick ass equipment. But there's a quantum leap between 'need' and 'want.' When your primary limiter in a sprint is knowing how to ride the last two laps and where to launch from, buying a new bike to improve your sprint is, errr, <edit>, errrr <edit> unwise.

I know guys with the best stuff. They want it. They can afford it. They don't have the illusion that the 15K parlee custom is what's going to win them races. Equipment counts. It does. But one needs to be realistic with what we're trying to find in terms of improvement with equipment.
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Old 12-10-13, 10:29 AM   #45
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Oh, and just to add another note, during all the bike changes, I've had to race a 22# steel bike several times (also raced it my first year), with a huge head tube that prevents any kind of aero positioning. That included a stage race, and I did what was for me extremely well in the RR and crit. As Cleave has noted, you need the right mental approach, and I had kept an "it won't matter" attitude. Defining moment of the RR was a climb where I buried myself and held on, despite the extra pounds.

I know how little it matters, but I really enjoy a light stiff bike, and also one that handles appropriately. The last part being of paramount importance for crit's.
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Old 12-10-13, 10:32 AM   #46
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I really don't begrudge folks buying kick ass equipment. But there's a quantum leap between 'need' and 'want.' When your primary limiter in a sprint is knowing how to ride the last two laps and where to launch from, buying a new bike to improve your sprint is, errr, <edit>, errrr <edit> unwise.

I know guys with the best stuff. They want it. They can afford it. They don't have the illusion that the 15K parlee custom is what's going to win them races. Equipment counts. It does. But one needs to be realistic with what we're trying to find in terms of improvement with equipment.
And when it comes to sprints, this is a guy you really want to listen to.
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Old 12-10-13, 11:02 AM   #47
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Here are some metrics from the track for sprinting. The measure of a track racers' sprinting ability is the flying 200 meters. In this race, the racer has three laps to complete the solo race and on the third lap, his time is started 200 meters before the finish line. The goal is to hit the start line at the fastest possible speed and hold it for 200 meters until the finish line.

Here is a table of 200 meter times versus average speed over the distance (final 200 meters).

15" = 29.82 mph
14" = 31.95 mph
13" = 34.41 mph
12" = 37.28 mph
11" = 40.66 mph
10" = 44.73 mph

Under 13 seconds is excellent.

We hold Saturday beginner sessions at the track where many first time riders (note I did not say racers) show up and rent track bikes that are geared at 84 gear inches. We teach them to ride the track and do some mock races. Many times the supervisor will have them do a flying 200 meters. Many riders get under 15 seconds including the women riding on steel, somewhat flexible, under geared, fitted up for the moment rental bikes. And some of the better male racers, trying track for the first time, will get under 13 seconds on a rental bike.

OP, your 1100 pound leg press, 1000 watts and years of racing do not compute to sub 30 mph efforts and it is not the bike unless it is totally wrong (which I doubt). You need to look at other aspects of your cycling to improve your top end sprint speed.
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Old 12-10-13, 11:23 AM   #48
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Gary is dead on - so is Ex and Chuck.

I said in another thread and I'll repeat it, speaking in terms of "cost of their toys", that I am not a good enough rider to eek out that 1% morsel of performance that a $10K could afford me verses my $2500 bike. I'd bet you're in the same boat.
Well, even if I manage to not end up homeless in a couple months and actually find work, I won't be buying any $10000 bikes anyway, or even a $5000 bike. I'll be lucky to find a way to afford a $3500 bike, and probably more like $2500-3000, and that might be buying a frame-set and building it a piece at a time as I can find deals on decent components.

The bike I'm riding now cost about $1300 new and anything else I added to it or upgraded it with was over time as I could afford it.
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Old 12-10-13, 11:42 AM   #49
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41

You're describing something you think you 'feel' and then want to try and quantify it by looking at a cyclometer? Let's draw straws and call it a day. I'm surprised they even let you ride a Venge after that request.
Was that really such a rude request for me to make? I even offered to supply it myself, and they didn't want to do it. All I wanted was something quantifiable and non-subjective to take away from the experience, that I could use for comparison purposes. I've only ever owned one road bike, I'm a relatively inexperienced racer (compared to some of you who have been doing it for decades, that is), so what do I know anyway? I felt that my 100% subjective observations wouldn't be very useful to me.
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Old 12-10-13, 12:06 PM   #50
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I know plenty of really fast guys racing on really old stuff.
Well I know plenty of really fast guys racing on really new stuff. Like everybody in the Tour of the FRANCE. If old bikes were so great then how come none of the Pros ride old bikes?

Note: I'm just screwing around with G.
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