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  1. #1
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    average speed while biking

    I used run regularly, but recently picked up biking and enjoyed that much more for staying in shape. I just purchased a Trek 7200fx bike to meet my needs. I am considering a tri or duathlon. I was a lifeguard in college, so the swin portion doesn't bother so much as not having a pool to regularly train in (which is why I'm considering a duathlon instead). My question is....what is the average speed for most bike riders in these events? I'm not looking to win, just to stay close to the pack, finish and enjoy the race. With my 7200fx without aerobars or pedal clips or straps, I'm averaging almost 14mph over a 15 mile ride. I'm looking to compete next spring or summer, so I have time to improve, but wanted to know what speed I should be looking to be able to maintain. Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
    I get high on lactic acid ^*^BATMAN^*^'s Avatar
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    Well I will hold about 37km/h for about 40km(dont know miles) but I train alot for my bike. I would say middle of the pack here is usually about 30km/h
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  3. #3
    MHR
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    Staying with "the pack" is not about just keeping up on the bike. You can have a great swim and a pretty good bike and the real runners will catch you, eat you for lunch and make you suffer.

    Average speed is partly skill, ability, conditioning, your ability to fuel your body, your equipment, the distance and most of all mother nature (heat and wind). I can tell you for the most part, in a 1/2 IM my average speed of 22-23 MPH for 56-miles keeps me in the front 20% overall for the bike easy and in the top 10% of my age group (45-49), Pro's will ride 26 - 27mph or so. Since most events have wave starts in the swim (based on your age group) - "the pack" is your age group. On the bike, my goal is always to catch the next 2-3 waves. In my last 1/2 IM I passed over 300 people on the bike leg which is motivating. At races like Ironman Hawaii it is a mass start, all 1,500+ swimmers go at the same time.
    For me the real race is the run....as a marathon runner, I salivate over starting the run while I'm hammering along on the bike and I can't wait to get out there to open up a can of Woop-As*.
    Last edited by MHR; 09-13-05 at 04:47 PM.

  4. #4
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    Since you have a fair bit of time, you can hit the weight room and do some power drills on the bike. Building strength tends to affect the cycling leg the most, and for a short ride (~15 miles), you'll want to go fast.

  5. #5
    One day at a time H2OChick's Avatar
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    I think terrain has a lot to do with average speed, too. If I'm somewhere relatively flat (like on the coast here) I can average about 18-20mph. But throw in some hills, like when I ride further inland and that speed drops significantly. Many races have hills, while some are virtually flat.

    It also might help if you tell us how old you are and whether you're a man or woman. Then people who are in your age group can weigh in with their experiences.

  6. #6
    Senior Member jennings780's Avatar
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    Its going to be hard to really get going on a hybrid like your Trek 7200. A road bike is much faster and a tri/tt bike is faster. On a hybrid you are probably giving up 2 -3mph to a road bike. The hybrid will be fine to train on during the winter and will be fine for doing a tri just to do one - but in my experience the people I know who do a tri with a hybrid or mtn bike get somewhat frustrated and quickly go out and buy a road bike or tri bike pretty quickly.

    Regarding average speeds - it of course depends on the length of the course, temp, hills, wind, etc. I typicaly average 21 - 22mph. That typically puts me between top 1/4 and top 1/3 on the bike. I would say middle of the pack is about 19mph average, give or take a bit.

    Realize that you will typically ride the tri faster than your training rides. In the tri there are no stoplights and you'll be working on some adreneline. My runs and bikes are always faster during the tri than during my fast training sessions. There is something about catching and passing people and getting pisd when you get passed.

  7. #7
    Riding is Praying Shorty's Avatar
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    Many tri's are pretty casual though. If you find the right race, I think you could have fun at 12 miles per hour. I don't know if fun is your aim though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by H2OChick
    It also might help if you tell us how old you are and whether you're a man or woman. Then people who are in your age group can weigh in with their experiences.
    I'm a 32 yr old male. I played soccer in college and have stayed relatively fit since then. I'm looking for motivation to help me continue to train. That is why fun and goal-oriented improvement is what I'm searching right now. If I enjoy a few events and feel like I can do well, my competitive nature would force me to train harder and get a better bike. But, for the time being, I'm looking for motivation to exercise consistently.

    I live in Cincinnati, which is pretty hilly compared to the surrounding areas. I plan to spectate an event or two here just to see how everything works. I haven't decided if I will compete locally or travel a bit to compete.

    Thanks for all the responses.

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    Just watching a tri was all the motivation I needed. You will see the ultra-cool (and expensive) bikes, the excessive preparations and the incredibly fit athletes right next to the couch potatoes on board-walk cruisers. You will be surprised when you see a few of the softer-looking competitors cross the line ahead of the hard-body types. It is quite challenging to finish at the top but it's not hard to finish as long as you have a little discipline.

  10. #10
    Junior Member apw0397's Avatar
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    I'm a newbie at cycling too. In my races I'm anywhere from 15-17 mph. That usually puts me near the bottom of my age group (25-29). The top tier riders are usually over 20 mph. That's my goal...some day.

    I just upgraded to clipless pedals and shoes last week, so I'm hoping to see some improvement in my next race (next Saturday).

  11. #11
    Senior Member jimbud's Avatar
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    Depending on how hilly the course is your training for if you can get to a point where your average speed is around 18mph you will be in great shape. Try this, go to www.pickleevents.com. On the top menu click on results and then for example click on the results for the Northwoods triathlon. That race had a hilly 15 mile course. Find your age group and you will see average bike time for the riders. Check the other races for longer bike events.

  12. #12
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Tangential question. I'm getting ready to do my first Triathlon. I ride a lot, but am a poor swimmer, and runner. What's a reasonable goal pace for the 13 mile (flat) leg of a sprint triathlon. I did the 40k State time trial championship in one hour flat (25mph).
    My thought is 25 mph would be a reasonable goal, with the assumption that the shorter distance would offset the fact that I'm swimming and running also. Is this realistic?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
    Tangential question. I'm getting ready to do my first Triathlon. I ride a lot, but am a poor swimmer, and runner. What's a reasonable goal pace for the 13 mile (flat) leg of a sprint triathlon. I did the 40k State time trial championship in one hour flat (25mph).
    My thought is 25 mph would be a reasonable goal, with the assumption that the shorter distance would offset the fact that I'm swimming and running also. Is this realistic?
    Wow. Sounds like you have a hell of an engine on that bike. What are the swim and run leg lengths, and have you done much in the way of combined bike / run workouts?

  14. #14
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisesposito
    Wow. Sounds like you have a hell of an engine on that bike. What are the swim and run leg lengths, and have you done much in the way of combined bike / run workouts?
    1/4 mile swim, 5k run.

    Haven't done any bricks yet. I have 6 weeks, and am going to do some combined bike/run workouts after I get a little bit of a running base.

  15. #15
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
    Tangential question. I'm getting ready to do my first Triathlon. I ride a lot, but am a poor swimmer, and runner. What's a reasonable goal pace for the 13 mile (flat) leg of a sprint triathlon. I did the 40k State time trial championship in one hour flat (25mph).
    My thought is 25 mph would be a reasonable goal, with the assumption that the shorter distance would offset the fact that I'm swimming and running also. Is this realistic?
    I don't think so. 2 reasons why you probably won't be able to average 25 mph on the bike: 1) the swim; and 2) the run. You'll be tired from the swim and you'll need to save something for the run. Seems like 22-23 would be a more realistic goal.

    edit: Which is still pretty darn good. I would think that would put you in the top half or even top third in the bike leg. And you should probably do well during the swim. Most triathletes (myself included) are terrible swimmers. So you'll fine.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  16. #16
    Senior Member jimbud's Avatar
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    I don't know about you the rest of you but 25 mph sounds a little fast as a average bike speed to shoot for unless the bike leg is going down a mountian. They would have to pick me up in a ambulance at the end of the run if I did 25 mph average on the bike.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
    1/4 mile swim, 5k run.

    Haven't done any bricks yet. I have 6 weeks, and am going to do some combined bike/run workouts after I get a little bit of a running base.
    Well, with 6 weeks to go, you may actually have the time to do all 3 legs in a workout 2-3 weeks before the race. That way you will have some idea what to expect as far as how your body will feel. If your TT bike (assuming that's what you are on) is set up like a tri bike (steep seat angle, etc.) then your legs may not be as trashed as they would be coming off a road bike.

    You might try this, assuming that you can recover for the following week: ride the course at an average speed (1st week of 22 mph), then a run. Next week, up the speed on the bike to 23, then a run. Next week 24, then a run. If you try to hold the run speed constant (whatever speed you pick), you can get a sense of the impact of increasing bike speed on how you feel on the run.

  18. #18
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    thanks for the advice. As for race strategy, am I better off going all out, or close to all out on the bike leg and just surviving the run, or holding back a little and saving for the run? While I should be pretty competitive in the bike leg, my run time will be terrible (I've run 1 5k race in my life finishing in 25 minutes). So my thought is since I'm going to drop major time on the run anyway, I should try to maximize my advantage on the bike.

  19. #19
    Junior Member Speed-n-Power's Avatar
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    Just remember that sprints are gut checks. Don't overdo it on the bike so much that you see your guts on the run. Once you make it through the first run mile, you'll be over the hump.
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  20. #20
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    After reading the above posts, I'm guessing about 22-25 kmph is a fair middle of the pack target to set for myself whenever I attempt my first triathlon (Olympic distance). Using a Hybrid bike.

  21. #21
    alpine cross trainer Ludkeh's Avatar
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    When I'm ready to sign up for a Tri race, I always go to the race website and review their past race results. That way I can see how many men are in my age group, how competitive it is and what times they had for each part of the race ect. Great information for my training and let's me gauge whether I'm on track with my training.

  22. #22
    Senior Member TrillTrax's Avatar
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    I did 14.5 mph for 20k in my first sprint tri...with a mountain bike that had fat, knobby tires.

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