# How much could this bike be holding me back?

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• 12-10-13, 04:42 PM
caloso
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hermes
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.

I had a similar revelation this summer in Northbrook. Made me realize I was trying to jump in way too big a gear.

OP: Where are your hands when you sprint? Deep in the curves or on the returns?
• 12-11-13, 12:37 AM
duncanblkthrne
Quote:

Originally Posted by caloso
OP: Where are your hands when you sprint? Deep in the curves or on the returns?

As I recall, in the drops.
• 12-11-13, 03:15 AM
gsteinb
Quote:

Originally Posted by duncanblkthrne
As I recall, in the drops.

After ten years of apprenticeship, Tenno achieved the rank of Zen teacher. One rainy day, he went to visit the famous master Nan-in. When he walked in, the master greeted him with a question, "Did you leave your wooden clogs and umbrella on the porch?"

"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.
• 12-11-13, 09:06 AM
Quote:

Originally Posted by bigfred
With regard to shoes: Never mind color. The answer to speed lies with your pets. The cat pissing on mine made me noticably faster! People can't hold my wheel nearly as easily as they used to. Almost like I have to ease in order to prevent a gap from forming. Now, if I could just find the power to create more than a three length lead.

Here kitty, kitty! I have
a whole new racing plan!
• 12-11-13, 10:41 AM
carpediemracing
Quote:

Originally Posted by duncanblkthrne
Attachment 354491

That's the bike I've got, with a few modifications and extras: A 2007 Trek Pilot 2.1. Aluminum frame with carbon forks, seatstays, and seat post.
When I bought it, I had no idea I would end up racing, but I'm poor and can't just run out and spend \$2500-5000 for an actual race bike.

I've got Mavic Ksyrium SL's for racing on.
I've got a PowerTap wheel for training on.
I've got a 53-tooth chainring in place of the 50-tooth that came with the bike.

I've been training and racing for 4 years now. I'm still Cat-4. On a good day I can get a top-10 finish.

I know this is probably a highly subjective question to ask, but: How much could this bike be holding me back?

This is a 2007 model.

I'm 49 in a couple months.
Been racing 4 years.
6'3.75", ~190lbs at race weight (not fat, but tall with high bone density).
I have a low bodyfat percentage, have strong legs (leg pressing 1100lbs on a 45 degree sled for reps), and over 4.0w/kg power at UTT.

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.

You ask in later posts what other info we could use. The biggest would be a picture of you on the bike, on the drops for example, preferably riding outside (but a trainer or even leaning against a wall would work).

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.
• 12-11-13, 10:44 AM
carpediemracing
My thoughts on lower end bikes:
http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...team-bike.html

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.
• 12-11-13, 11:00 AM
duncanblkthrne
Quote:

Originally Posted by gsteinb
After ten years of apprenticeship, Tenno achieved the rank of Zen teacher. One rainy day, he went to visit the famous master Nan-in. When he walked in, the master greeted him with a question, "Did you leave your wooden clogs and umbrella on the porch?"

"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.

For what it's worth:
• 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.
• 12-11-13, 11:07 AM
duncanblkthrne
Quote:

Originally Posted by carpediemracing
The biggest would be a picture of you on the bike, on the drops for example, preferably riding outside (but a trainer or even leaning against a wall would work).

Thanks for the comment, I appreciate it greatly, but I just don't have any way to take the sort of pictures/videos you want. I have no one here to help me, and ideally you'd want to see me actually on the road, and there's absolutely no way I can get video or pictures of that, either. Knowing that I should just ignore the bike for now (as if I have a choice anyway), working on building anaerobic endurance, and looking for other ways to self-coach myself in sprinting are what I guess I'm going to have to do.
• 12-11-13, 11:11 AM
gsteinb
Quote:

Originally Posted by duncanblkthrne
For what it's worth:
• 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.

right. All pointing towards the biggest gains being in practicing training and technique.
• 12-11-13, 03:56 PM
Quote:

Originally Posted by duncanblkthrne
Thanks for the comment, I appreciate it greatly, but I just don't have any way to take the sort of pictures/videos you want. I have no one here to help me, and ideally you'd want to see me actually on the road, and there's absolutely no way I can get video or pictures of that, either. .

• 12-11-13, 04:29 PM
caloso
Quote:

Originally Posted by duncanblkthrne
As I recall, in the drops.

• 12-11-13, 04:50 PM
duncanblkthrne
Quote:

About 2500 miles from where you are.
• 12-11-13, 04:57 PM
duncanblkthrne
Quote:

Originally Posted by caloso

Attachment 354751

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".
• 12-11-13, 05:22 PM
caloso
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.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-B8PBJHbcaj...positions4.jpg

Depending on the shape of your bars, your hands may be only a few inches farther forward, but it can make a big difference.
• 12-11-13, 05:29 PM
AzTallRider
Quote:

Originally Posted by caloso
Depending on the shape of your bars, your hands may be only a few inches farther forward, but it can make a big difference.

Huge, and the shape of the bars influences how well each position works. Some encourage you to get the hands forward; others discourage it.
• 12-11-13, 06:14 PM
Racer Ex
Quote:

Originally Posted by AzTallRider
Huge, and the shape of the bars influences how well each position works. Some encourage you to get the hands forward; others discourage it.

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.
• 12-11-13, 06:37 PM
carpediemracing
Quote:

Originally Posted by duncanblkthrne
About 2500 miles from where you are.

He was asking not to stalk you but to see if there were any of us nearby that could help you. A lot of the longer term members have locations actually filled out simply because it's easier to understand what someone wants or needs. For example I have no idea where you live but if you asked about winter training the answer is pretty different for a Texan versus someone in Maine.
• 12-11-13, 06:44 PM
duncanblkthrne
Quote:

Originally Posted by carpediemracing
He was asking not to stalk you but to see if there were any of us nearby that could help you. A lot of the longer term members have locations actually filled out simply because it's easier to understand what someone wants or needs. For example I have no idea where you live but if you asked about winter training the answer is pretty different for a Texan versus someone in Maine.

I can appreciate all that but I'm not comfortable with people on the Internet knowing where I live, what my real name is, etcetera.
• 12-11-13, 06:54 PM
carpediemracing
Quote:

Originally Posted by gsteinb
right. All pointing towards the biggest gains being in practicing training and technique.

Remember that fit has a lot to do with technique. For example having a multi-time national champion explain to you about holding the drops properly is great, but if your bars are in such a position that you can't hold the drops properly then all that great advice won't do any good.

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.
• 12-11-13, 06:59 PM
carpediemracing
Quote:

Originally Posted by duncanblkthrne
I can appreciate all that but I'm not comfortable with people on the Internet knowing where I live, what my real name is, etcetera.

It's all good and I was like that also. I guess part of my getting over it is that in the local cycling scene I'm not anonymous so I'm used to having my name/email all over the internet. However there are some very good, very nice, very solid folks on this forum, especially in the Masters and the Racing ones. For example I didn't know shovelhd before BF and a year or two later he's one of the instructors of a mandatory new-racer clinic I run and he'll give me a leadout if it works within the realm of that day's racing (in his lead outs to me he was in his second race of the day, one done mainly for training).
• 12-11-13, 07:08 PM
duncanblkthrne
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.
• 12-11-13, 07:13 PM
gsteinb
Counter point: I met Ex here and I'm nothing but a pain in his ass.
• 12-11-13, 07:43 PM
bigfred
Quote:

Originally Posted by duncanblkthrne

...I'm really not looking for training advice in this thread, that's a whole different subject, so please, don't post comments along those lines...

So, having a consensus opinion that it's probably not the bike, when are you going to start the "training for sprinting" thread? :-) Where everyone can weigh in on ways to improve ones sprint.
• 12-12-13, 12:31 AM
duncanblkthrne
Quote:

Originally Posted by bigfred
So, having a consensus opinion that it's probably not the bike, when are you going to start the "training for sprinting" thread? :-) Where everyone can weigh in on ways to improve ones sprint.

I personally don't think that's a subject that can be dealt with purely in a text-based setting. As previously stated, I believe that some things, like squats and deadlifts in the gym, or proper sprinting technique on the bike, should probably be taught in person by someone who knows very well how to do them, and who knows how to teach someone else.
• 12-12-13, 04:11 AM
gsteinb
got it.

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.
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