Build up to it. It will come.
What I found helpful was looking at where I lost speed, and worked on that area. When I started I sucked at hills. Once I got through that with weights, repeats, and some technique, my cornering was bad...and so on.
It it took me 2 years to go from 11-12 to 17-18. Be patient, and be analytical about your training. You'd be surprised how fast you become, especially if you have a goal. For me it was to ride with the B group and not get totally embarrassed with an A group, while riding at 230 to 240 lbs.
And and make it fun - this is where tools like Strava can be useful.
2012 CAAD 10 4 / 2011 Masi Speciale Fixed Drop / 2010 Novara Matador MTB / 2008 BMW cruise bike / 1979 Schwinn Varsity (flat handlebar)
I noticed my cruising speed last night was approximately 1 mph faster than I was on the Walmart bike. Thus, it must be mostly the engine.
It is difficult to see though when you see other folks on road bikes. I was behind a guy who kept stopping and adjusting as he told me he just bought it the day before. It was just spitting rain and I turned around at my 6 mile mark just passed the tunnel. He continued on but I guess decided to turn around as I saw he lit up the tunnel with his light behind me. Coming out of the tunnel, he got up beside me, said, "I think we're gonna get rained on now," as the rain seemed to be picking up. I never saw him again until I reached the trail head, LOL. He was gone like he was shot out of a cannon.
Ride no faster than your Guardian Angel can fly!
And a drop bar still won't make you a TDF superstar....... just so you know..... it really is the motor!
A cheap way to experiment with drop bars is to buy a set of bolt on drops, by Origin 8, available thru Niagara for sure. They really work well for what they are.
More time will definitely see more results - like Machka said - come back in 6 months and tell us how you are doing, comparatively.
"Retirement is the best job I ever had!" Me, 2009
Specialized Crosstrail Sport - '08
Nishiki Sport - misappropriated from my youngest son (circa 1984)
Marin Stinson - misappropriated by my youngest grandson - '01
"The Beast" - 1990 Schwinn Airdyne (in the basement for winter torture)
You have not ridden much. It will take a while for your body to get used to the idea of cycling.
There is a HR training thread in the road cycling sub forum which you might want to check out.
Heart Rate Training...ride slower to get faster?
The basic idea is that trying to ride faster and faster at your limit is not going to do much for you. It is better to get some serious volume with lower level efforts and then crank up the intensity with near max and max effort intervals.
If you ride volume with low effort and hard intervals (google HIIT training and get a HR monitor) you might get the same result I did. Last summer I started doing lots and lots of volume with some hard intervals and my low effort speed bumped up from 14mph to 17mph.
The basic formula is:
80% of your riding should be in the low effort zone or "zone 2". You are not going to get lactate and you are burning about half and half carbs and fat. Well, in the beginning lots more carbs but this is also what low lever training is for: fuel efficiency training. So you need to be able to chat with your riding buddy at this speed. Not have a raging monologue filled argument but rather that little wheezy discussion with curt sentences. You get the picture when you try it. These rides are from 2-5 hours long.
10-15% needs to be in the so called "Zone 4" which has lots of definitions. I'm not sure what other people mean by this but I would say it's just above FPT. You get the feeling that it's really hard but you can sustain it for some minutes. 8 minutes maybe...? someone help me out here. But yeah, do 5 min intervals with 1 min breaks. Or shorter intervals and longer breaks or longer intervals etc. Vary it a little just to shock your body in new exciting ways. You need to be pretty spent after every interval. With the warmup and cooldown these rides are about 1 hour or less.
5-10% needs to be MAX intervals where you actually go to your max heart rate. It doesn't matter what number it actually is, you will KNOW when you are there. Your body can only sustain this effort for a few seconds but getting to that effort level will take some more time (you don't want to just rush there and rip all your muscles and tendons to shreds doing it) start with four to six 1 minute intervals with 1 to 2 minute breaks in between. You may puke. I personally do these running (not optimal for cycling but I'm going for triathlons anyway so whaeva) since blacking out during one of these is a risk. With warmup and cooldown these rides take 30-60 minutes. I would personally have my rest day after a max interval day.
Start our slow with the interval stuff. Your body needs to get accustomed to hard efforts and it will take some time.
And a really important thing! Go to the gym! Lift weights, do squats, deadlifts, lots of core training, stretching, kettlebell is awesome for cycling.
As you mentioned you are frustrated that your muscles are not building up. Well, doing cardio is not going to actually grow muscles that much. That work is done in the gym. Also, strength comes in some part from the gym as does several other very good things. A diverse gym regime is going to help with muscle imbalances ensuing from cycling and help with balance, power, joint durablity and a host of other things.
Good luck mate, you'll get there eventually. Just takes a lot of work.
17mph on a hybrid? As a beginner!? Is pretty impressive, you won't really get much faster than that without a paceline/drop bars/long training
Assume nothing; Question everything
Just as an update if anyone still cares, after taking a week off due to competitions (non-cycling related high school stuff) and getting toe clips, I can finally sustain at 17mph with no headwind. I'm really grateful for all the help and will continue training during this summer. Hopefully I'll become fast enough to join a cycling club in college and compete
Incremental progression. Take a smaller jump in intensity (speed) or volume (distance).I rode about 120 miles/week at 15/16 mph for a solid month and for the past two
days I was hoping to speed up to a constant pace of 16~17 mph for at least an hour and I just couldn't do it. I've ridden 15mph for 2/3 hours non-stop but when I tried to
bump it up to 17 mph for an hour, I simply could not.
As you get more advanced, playing the sport is not enough. That's where strength & conditioning comes in. From your words, it seems that you lack strength/mass. Do some heavy lifting: squat, bench, deadlift, press. Every movement can be expressed as a percentage of your strength. More strength = smaller percentage = less fatigue = more endurance.my biking
muscles just aren't building up.
Keep things simple to avoid overwelm, especially when you're getting going.
Try to bike 3 times a week if you can: One long ride, one ride where you climb some hills (find a hill that takes you 3-8 minutes to climb... do it as fast as you can a few times), and one interval ride (go all out for 1-2 minutes; recover 1-2 minutes, repeats 4-8 times).
Strength train twice a week. Keep it simple. Day 1 do squats, a pulling movement (like a row), and a core movement. Day 2 do lunges, a pushing movement (like pushups), and a different core movement. 3 rounds of each exercise, 8-15 reps.
Take one-two rest day a week, and call it good.
If that's too much volume, start with 2 riding days and 1 strength day a week, and build up from there.
Feel free to PM me if you want to get more specific. Happy to help.
Oh, the ironies. Carbonfiberboy makes lots of good points, all of which I should find discouraging, but I don’t. I just have to remember where I was when I started and then look at where I am now. Then I think about where I MIGHT be after seven years of training...
I’m actually in my sixth year of a fitness struggle that started after two bariatric surgeries (the first one was botched) early in 2009, but the first year probably doesn’t count because it was spent walking – from an extremely painful third of a mile assisted by a cane for three months to a brisk six miles a year later.
In 2010, I moved onto my 1980 six-speed Huffy and rode it at top speed around the neighborhood for ten miles a day. It didn’t have a speedometer, so I don’t know how fast I was going, and it didn’t matter.
In 2011, I took the Huffy to a nearby bike trail where I quickly discovered EVERYONE was riding much faster than I. You think you’re frustrated, Brian? Imagine how I felt knowing I was the slowest rider in the world. So I took the Huffy to a local bike shop and had it converted to a 12-speed. After that, only HALF the other riders passed me, and by November, I was riding up to 20 miles a day.
In 2012, I bit the bullet and bought a new Giant Cypress 21-speed (with a Cateye computer), and I spent a lot of time riding with a veteran biker who taught me about cadence and the advantages of middle-ring gearing. After 1,500 miles that year, I felt good about being able to average 12-13 mph on a typical day, and I extended my range to 35 miles. I still got passed a lot, though.
I planned to train hard in 2013. My daily average speed improved only slightly, but wonder of wonders, I was enjoying myself a lot more. Suddenly, riding was fun and not the tough daily grind it had been. My weight dropped to the same level it was when I was 19, and virtually all the troublesome health problems I’d had for many years disappeared. One hot summer morning, I rode 51 miles, and it about killed me. My child bride made me park my bike for a week.
A couple weeks ago, I surprised myself by averaging 15 mph on a 20-mile ride. My best time ever, but so what? I have no desire to do 17 mph, and I’m really comfortable at speeds that two years ago I found unacceptable.
It’s all in how you look at it.
Oh, BTW. I forgot to mention. I began my fitness struggle when I was 70. I’m now 75, and I’ll be 76 or 77 before I reach the “peak” Carbonfiberboy wrote about.
So Brian, just try to be patient. I’m sure you’ll do your 17 mph eventually. But you might not do it before you reach the ripe old age of 25.