Thread: Average MPH
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Old 03-29-17, 08:16 AM
  #14  
wphamilton
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When I started at 48, I didn't even get a speedometer for over a year - I was biking just to get around, and I didn't really care much for speed except for being slower than other riders which did bother me, a little. But I measured my progress by how far I rode, and how difficult particular hills were.

When I finally did get a speedometer, my speed turned out to be around 12-13 mph, and I admit I had expected it to be a little faster than that. Like you I kind of had the idea that I could bump it up, and get to where I had a "forever pace" of maybe 14 or 15 and I'd be more or less satisfied if I could achieve that. I only sort of fantasized about speeds a few mph faster than that, with no real expectation of it.

So I started working at it, no formal training plan and certainly not group rides, but simply rides became "workouts". Some just harder rides, but I'd switch up sometimes concentrating on cadence, sometimes sprints, sometimes hills, technique, and so on. My speeds did start creeping up. Every half mph improvement seemed hard - I can't sugarcoat that - but it did happen. I'd say about a year to get to that first target pace, maybe a few months less than a year.

But as long as you're still improving, why stop there? Amazingly to me, I continued to get stronger. and after another year, maybe a little more, I was riding at the speeds I'd fantasized about earlier. It felt pretty good when I realized that had happened. And I still improved from that! I was riding 10 miles to work at that time, and my slower commutes took 32 minutes door to door. The situation had reversed with respect to those faster riders.

I'm not saying to target some improbable arbitrary speed and begin a rigorous training regimen - just the opposite! To my mind it doesn't really matter where our starting point is, because initial improvement is usually pretty quick even at our age. Don't worry about how fast we're improving either. Just keep working, take it as it comes and don't limit yourself. It may take a couple of years to get the speeds you want, but you might wind up surprising yourself.
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