OP: Where are your hands when you sprint? Deep in the curves or on the returns?
"Yes," Tenno replied.
"Tell me," the master continued, "did you place your umbrella to the left of your shoes, or to the right?" Tenno did not know the answer, and realized that he had not yet attained full awareness. So he became Nan-in's apprentice and studied under him for ten more years.
Second a screenshot of a power file would be good, maybe a portion of a ride where you sprint. Also, I think you can get your best numbers for 5s, 10s, 60s, etc. This would put a true value on "1000w average". Is it 1000w@5s? 1000w@60s? etc. "About 15 seconds" gives an idea but is it also "about 1000w?" Some real numbers would be good (also you should be doing whatever you need to do to zero the PT every time you use it, not sure what that is).
You don't need to change anything on the bike unless you've cracked something. That's totally possible - cracked chainstays, BB, etc. Usually manifests itself as creaking. It can happen so it's worth checking.
Once you get beyond that.. I tried looking for a post where I list what new racers do wrong all the time. It's in the 33, not in this section, but I rant in it a bit :) The biggest thing is that many new racers sit way too upright. I posted it a month or two ago but I can't find it.
At any rate position is absolutely critical. You can get much lower but it's not just flipping your stem. You need to take into account your hip/thigh angle which means your saddle fore/aft/height. I bet you could bring your stem down a lot. How do you do this for little money? You very politely ask an LBS if they have some take off stems that they can loan out (and you'll buy one for $20 or something like that). The quality is not the goal, it's the fit.
Here's a fit I did on a friend/teammate, starting with a "professional fit at a bike shop that has a racing team" (implying that they know fit etc). The numbers:
"Bottom line: Seat raised 17mm & moved forward 10mm, bar lowered 25mm, stem extended from 100mm to 120mm."
He was a strong Cat 4 at the time but was frustrated by his lack of progression in his racing (speed, etc). He asked me for some honest feedback. Since my policy is not to give unsolicited advice I hadn't said anything up until then. So I did one of those, "Are you sure you want to hear this?" things and then started a list of things that we could improve. We did the fit session and he won the next three Tuesday Night races plus he placed 3rd in a target race. In fact he later won a full length A race Tuesday Night, something I haven't been able to do.
If I'm pulling to try and bridge a gap, I'll be doing 30-35 mph without sprinting, 600-800 watts, give or take.
Getting to 30 mph is hard work, but if you do it over and over (like by racing a lot or by doing intervals) then it gets a bit easier. The biggest difference between a racer and a non-racer is the top end speed. A racer understands how to get up to speed; a non racer struggles because they never see those power numbers regularly on rides. A typical training ride for me, which might be a typical training ride for a non-racer, is something like 150w avg while hitting 300-500w on some hills. On a hard ride I might avg 170w, hitting 600-800w on short risers, but that's getting into racer territory. In a race I'll avg 160-190w (so not much more than in training) but repeatedly hit 600-800w and in some races repeatedly hit 800-1000w, all before the sprint. It's a totally different kind of workout, totally different stress on the body. Until you go out and do that kind of stuff over and over it'll be nigh impossible to hit those numbers.
Part of the reason is that an "aggressive" position allows you to recruit muscles ideal for cycling (glutes etc) and repeated efforts train these muscles which in everyday life are at best lightly utilized. Once you've developed a base of cycling fitness you'll find yourself with even more power, even more speed. Lifting is an artificial form of that but unless you're doing a LOT of reps in the gym you won't replicate the stresses cycling puts on your legs. Plus I found that lifting hurts my knees so I don't do any lower body lifting.
An example of a hard pull and a sprint in a race (M40+, 2012). My 34 mph pull is a bit after 10:00 in (and "Shovel" is shovelhd here on BF). In the sprint Strava said I did 41 mph, I don't think I really did that. 1140w max, much lower sustained (900w?):
Same race, next year (this year, M35+ to help teammates, 2013), different priorities, better sprint. Strava says my sprint was 1 mph slower but the numbers don't show that the sprint was better in terms of the race. Shovel (again, a member here at Bike Forums) led me out. Note that we close 9 of the 10 second gap the solo rider has in the last half a lap. We weren't going super hard in the field so it would have been very possible to catch the guy in the sprint. I didn't do a full on sprint as I was waiting to be swarmed and I prefer to jump a second time (I don't commit to most sprints in the first jump, it's usually the second jump where I'm all in).
So basically show us your position (and get ready for an avalanche of critique), get us just one power file, make some judicious changes, and I think you'll be well on your way to hitting 35+ mph in your sprints.
As for your other things, money/job/etc, I have no advice to offer. Sorry.
My thoughts on lower end bikes:
Basically I happened to use a bike similar to yours as an example of a great solid base for a race bike. I list some things to change, mainly for fit or ergonomics (clipless pedals). The biggest thing you could do is to get wheels, but that's not as critical as fit.
- It's not like I'm consciously thinking much at all when trying to sprint during a race, and
- My life has been, to be blunt about it, so effed up the last couple years, that I don't have much opportunity to sprint during a race, therefore:
- I don't remember all that well.
I think we need to be on the same page, terminology-wise.
This isn't my bike, just a handy image.
During sprints or any other short, high-intensity efforts, or during high-speed descents, I'm usually in the "drops".
Okay, what I called the "returns" is labeled "drops" in that picture. What I called the "curves" is directly behind the brake levers. Compare the two photos taken from the side.
Depending on the shape of your bars, your hands may be only a few inches farther forward, but it can make a big difference.
Good photo regarding hand position.
My track mentor took me aside when we were working on the team sprint and had me place my hands more forward. Huge difference in control and an improvement in leverage while keeping me lower.
Cavendish and Renshaw both have a track background. It shows.
Fit isn't necessarily free but a stem is probably the most expensive thing you'll need to get. When I fit my friend I brought a stem or two and he borrowed maybe four or five from his shop, covering a very wide range of extensions and angles. We quickly honed in on what he needed and it became pretty straight forward. I think (but I don't remember) that he ended up with one of the shop stems, a take off. I think they charged him $20 and were happy to see it go.
I think at this point the best help I can ask for is links to YouTube (or other) instructional videos on what is proper sprint form/technique.
I recognize that like, say, squats and deadlifts in the gym, this is a physical skill that needs not just an experienced person there to see and advise, but someone who has successfully trained others to do it in the past, and that's just not going to be happening right now, so I think some sort of instructional videos, along with text I already have, will have to do, so if someone has some links handy they'd like to recommend then that would be great, otherwise I'll just research it like I do anything else.
Counter point: I met Ex here and I'm nothing but a pain in his ass.
so you want advice on an internet forum, but believe that advice can only be had face to face, but you want to remain anonymous.
this is going to work out well.
I'd like to change my answer to the original question:
Yes, your bike is holding you back. Buying a new one will prevent this thread from going on another 10 pages.