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The 19mph avg pace game

Old 08-24-21, 06:36 PM
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The 19mph avg pace game

Ok, since I haven't seen any ride this year where I've broken 20 mph for an average pace I decided to come up with a new goal. I want to have one ride of at least 24 miles (basic daily route) on each of my road bikes that cracks the 19 mph avg. With today's ride included I've managed that with only 7 of them so far this year. I am slowing down I think.

The "qualifiying" rides so far:

May 29th, 26.56 miles, 1:21:56, 447ft Pinarello 19.5 avg pace




Jun 12th, 41.37 miles, 2:10:34, 554ft, Y-Foil 19.0 avg pace




Jun 13th, 41.41 miles, 2:10:23, 531ft, Kirk Fishlips bike 19.1 avg pace




Jun 26th, 40.58 miles, 2:06:49, 607ft, Team Z Lemond 19.2 avg pace




Jul 24th, 40.12 miles. 2:06:29 505ft, Duell 19.0 avg pace




Aug 1st 40.06 miles, 2:06:22 554ft, Klein 19.0 avg pace




Aug 24th 24.97 miles 1:18:06 538ft Opus III 19,2 avg pace



I really have to give credit to the Opus III today. I went out wanting to do a fast ride but the conditions did suck. Had to ride most of the first 14 miles into a brisk headwind. But the Opus fought it's way through the first half of the ride strongly and let me cruise in for the final half. Also had several "traffic" issues that easily cost me about 2 minutes on the ride. It really was faster than the avg shows.

So that's 7 of the 21 bikes I have that qualify for this challenge. Should be interesting. About half of the remaining bikes have done this easily in past years. Still don't have a long ride of any sort on the Softride I've been messing with and the old Scwinn 684 is a bit of a mess right now too. I think everything else should be able to pull it off under this fat old man. I wonder if I can even sneak the Guv'nor into this, that might take a perfect day to get there. Anyway, should be fun trying to get this done over the next month or so before the cold sets in.
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Old 08-24-21, 06:46 PM
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By the end of the month you might hit 20.
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Old 08-24-21, 07:04 PM
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Man, those are fast bikes. I'm lucky if mine average 15. On a good day.
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Old 08-24-21, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by blamester View Post
By the end of the month you might hit 20.
Bikes?
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Old 08-25-21, 12:07 AM
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Been awhile since I've done that, and those days are fewer and farther between. The legs and engine just don't often cooperate anymore. I think I've had one or two rides like that this year.

Part of the problem is my preferred route is fairly hilly, with around 2,000 feet of elevation gain over 25-30 miles. Flatter routes to the east mean either mostly riding the MUP -- and I refuse to ride faster than 15 mph on the MUP when other folks are using it -- or blasting through neighborhoods and city streets dodging errant drivers.

But it's mostly the engine and legs. I never really got my mojo back after being hit by a car in 2018 and subsequent unrelated bout with cancer that same year. Technically I'm "better" now but it sure doesn't look it from my Strava data over the past three years.

On the plus side -- sorta -- my data also shows no consistent advantages to my older used carbon fiber bikes over my Centurion Ironman. Same average overall speeds, same times on the segments of 1/2 mile up to 5 miles. So I feel no temptation to get a newer or "better" bike. I'll get better results from more affordable stuff like good tires, latex tubes, whatever I'm wearing, etc.
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Old 08-25-21, 04:10 AM
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Hoodathunkit. It has nothing to do with the bike.

btw, it's easy to beat 20. Don't go solo.
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Old 08-25-21, 04:24 AM
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Jesus mate all your bikes are stunning. I've been lacking motivation to ride but games always help. Will report back.
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Old 08-25-21, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
But it's mostly the engine and legs. I never really got my mojo back after being hit by a car in 2018 and subsequent unrelated bout with cancer that same year. Technically I'm "better" now but it sure doesn't look it from my Strava data over the past three years.

On the plus side -- sorta -- my data also shows no consistent advantages to my older used carbon fiber bikes over my Centurion Ironman. Same average overall speeds, same times on the segments of 1/2 mile up to 5 miles. So I feel no temptation to get a newer or "better" bike. I'll get better results from more affordable stuff like good tires, latex tubes, whatever I'm wearing, etc.
Yeah I totally get this. Had a long down time a couple of years back with a wreck and a separated AC Joint. Wasn't getting up to speed until the end of that year. Then the next year was about 7 months off with knee problems. Then this year as I finally really got going at speed again all those western fires brought in a ton of smoke. One weekend of over 150 miles riding in that left my asthmatic lungs so inflamed that the doc had to put me on a round of steroids. First time in my life my asthma has been more than just an annoyance when I work out. Age is certainly catching up.

Total agreement on the "better" bikes aren't faster stuff. That's the reason I sold off a couple of high end C.F. bikes years ago. I wasn't any faster on them and they weren't as comfortable as the steel. That said, I did recently pick up a 20 year old Trek 5200 C.F. bike and am getting it sorted out. It'll get it's chance at a 19mph run soon.
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Old 08-25-21, 08:01 AM
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The bikes don't make much difference. I wish they did. When I was in my mid thirty's my average speed on a fast solo ride was about 19 or 20. But now, thirty years later, with a twenty year gap in my riding, I'm pretty sure I'll never average those speeds again. So now I mostly ride touring bikes on 1-1/4" tires, for comfort, with no cycle computer to track speed and remind me how much slower I am. I do try to keep track of my time, though, and sometimes calculate my average speed when I get home. I've tried hard this spring & summer to improve my speed/ time for my typical 28 mile ride, but I've seemed to sort of level off at about 15 or 16 mph average, roughly.
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Old 08-25-21, 08:14 AM
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I can't relate to this at all. Our rule of thumb around here is that, with only one exception (a crowded MUP along the water}, every 10 miles of riding equals 1,000 feet of elevation gain, in contrast to your 40 mile rides with only about 500 feet. The terrain dictates the average speed so there's no way on earth I could come close to 20 mph.
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Old 08-25-21, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
I can't relate to this at all. Our rule of thumb around here is that, with only one exception (a crowded MUP along the water}, every 10 miles of riding equals 1,000 feet of elevation gain, in contrast to your 40 mile rides with only about 500 feet. The terrain dictates the average speed so there's no way on earth I could come close to 20 mph.
Yeah, I get it. For me the wind is normally my hills if I don't do a climbing ride. I ride right after work during the weekdays which means heading at around 3:30 PM. Most days that means I get headwinds for about 1/2 the ride that average in the teens with gusts into the twentys. I can have a super fast ride going and then spend miles amping up the effort and still fighting for the 14-15 mph range, it's frustrating at times. Most of my fast rides will be weekend mornings when it's usually calm. Yesterday's ride was an exception to the wind rule.

On a side note, what's sobering is to look at the pace the pro's ride through here at each year for the Tour of Utah. Those boys really kill it. Heck they are faster up the CAT 2 climbs than I am on the flat roads.
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Old 08-25-21, 08:27 AM
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I admire your accomplishments, @jamesdak! I was thinking similarly to @davester about the terrain around here, which isn't actually terribly hilly. Here's the data for my riding in the past week:
  • 20 Aug 2021, 28.64 miles, 13.4 mph AVG SPEED, 1,335 ft ELEV GAIN
  • 21 Aug 2021, 49.54 miles, 13.9 mph AVG SPEED, 2,159 ft ELEV GAIN
  • 23 Aug 2021, 51.48 miles, 13.8 mph AVG SPEED, 2,234 ft ELEV GAIN
  • 24 Aug 2021, 20.03 miles, 13.0 mph AVG SPEED, 1,053 ft ELEV GAIN
Yeah, I'm pretty slow, but a contributing factor is also the stopping and starting involved when you're riding out of an urban center. Still, I don't think I could average 19 mph on a flatland ride!
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Old 08-25-21, 08:29 AM
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Yea 19 is work, that is about where I am at for 30 mile rides. I did my century this year at 17.5 and I was thrilled with that.
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Old 08-25-21, 09:24 AM
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All my solo rides right now are mixed surface- 40% road 60% gravel, and they have a decent amount of climb(40-70'/mile).
Recently I thought about breaking out a road bike and jumping on a flat bike trail that is also rural to see what I could pace on that. I actively try to avoid trails when riding solo, but that one is rural and an old rail line so its relatively low use and fairly flat. I have no idea what the difference in speed would be between gravel with some elevation and paved with little elevation, so kinda curious now. Just might need to give it a try.
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Old 08-25-21, 10:09 AM
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Havent been out on the bike for about 3 weeks and it was hot today, 85*.

Managed to do : 26.3 miles , 909 ft elevation, 1:29.34, 17.6 mph avg

Not quite there but felt good to get out. The hills killed me today. I passed 5-6 other bikers going the opposite direction. Bike felt sluggish towards the end and found that the front tire dropped 13 psi when I got home. Prob needs replacing.

Thanks, OP!


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Old 08-25-21, 10:10 AM
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Obviously the engine is key, but I also feel like aerodynamics becomes more of an issue around 16-17mph. A lot of us senior types set our bars for comfort at the expense of speed.
Anyway I applaud your efforts and your willingness to suffer.
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Old 08-25-21, 10:47 AM
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What a great way to have a personal challenge and goal for every ride jamesdak ! Given your consistency, it appears that it is more the motor and less the bike. Congrats!

All of my rides end with a 600 ft climb at an average of 10%, so I would never be able to get that average speed for the whole ride.. I'm going to try though, and shut the computer off before I start climbing to see if I can achieve that for the flatter part of my route.
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Old 08-25-21, 11:15 AM
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Just wanted to point out that my average speed year in year out over each year's rides has always been in the low 17 mph range. I usually have a bunch of climbing rides each year where I suck and then so many windy days and such. Then add in winter riding in snow and such and yeah, plenty of slower rides. Years past I considered my "honest hard" rides to be the ones in the 19-20 mph range. That seems to be creeping downward the past couple of years.

It's also taken me years to get fairly aero on the riding. Damaged lower back is always a hinderance. Here again, this past year I've started actually swapping out bars for more compact ones as I'm just not comfortable in deep drops. Still better when I started this fun and had to have the bars pretty much level with the saddle.

This was my norm 10 years ago.

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Old 08-25-21, 11:42 AM
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You might find this tool useful thinking about your position on the bike: Bike Calculator
IRL the time savings gained from moving to the drops (or hoods but with horizontal forearms) may not be quite as dramatic as indicated below, but it is worth ~1 mph in my experience.
And there's nothing like old fashioned HR training to gauge and improve strength (60-min zone 3 tempos, in particular)


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Old 08-25-21, 11:53 AM
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My problem, like the other Bay Areans, is hills. I've been doing a similar thing - I've got a 25.5 mile route I like to ride midweek, but it's got about 1100 feet of climbing - and I consider it my 'flat route'! The best I've managed is 18.8 mph, and the worst is 17.5, and the difference definitely comes down to the bike. Some bikes are just faster, given the same engine.

EDIT: The other thing? Wind. Because I ride after 5PM, I'm fighting the wind a lot. Mostly it seems like places where the wind direction would help are protected by trees and such, whereas places where it's in my face are wide open. And it increases during the ride so that any advantage I'd gain heading South at the start is more than compensated by a stronger headwind when I'm coming back North.

Yeah - THAT'S why I can't crack 19mph. Nothing to do with my own ability or fitness.
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Old 08-25-21, 12:52 PM
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[QUOTE=ctak;22199999]You might find this tool useful thinking about your position on the bike: Bike Calculator
IRL the time savings gained from moving to the drops (or hoods but with horizontal forearms) may not be quite as dramatic as indicated below, but it is worth ~1 mph in my experience.
And there's nothing like old fashioned HR training to gauge and improve strength (60-min zone 3 tempos, in particular)
QUOTE]

Seems like too much work for what I do just for fun, so I can eat pizza, and to keep the PTSD at bay.

Seriously though, my position is governed by years of experience finding where I can ride pain free with my various disabilities. The knees demand a really small range for saddle height and setback. From there I have a specific reach to the bars that doesn't aggravate the 6 damaged discs in my lower back. My one flexibility on fit is a bit of variation on bar height and drop.

Usually the back let's me know how long I can stay in the drops on any given ride.

Plus other "aging" factors come into play. Messed up the thumb joint on my left hand in the wreck of 2018. When it's bothering me it can affect how I ride on the bars and even which bike I take. I also find that I tend to ride with my shoulder left shoulder tensed and pulled up since the wreck. I think it's compensating for the right one being out of place. Sucks getting old. I sometimes wish I had been a cyclist in my younger days versus a runner.

Oh and I do use a HR monitor. My one gauge to give me an idea on how the body is feeling each day.
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Old 08-25-21, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
I admire your accomplishments, @jamesdak! I was thinking similarly to @davester about the terrain around here, which isn't actually terribly hilly. Here's the data for my riding in the past week:
  • 20 Aug 2021, 28.64 miles, 13.4 mph AVG SPEED, 1,335 ft ELEV GAIN
  • 21 Aug 2021, 49.54 miles, 13.9 mph AVG SPEED, 2,159 ft ELEV GAIN
  • 23 Aug 2021, 51.48 miles, 13.8 mph AVG SPEED, 2,234 ft ELEV GAIN
  • 24 Aug 2021, 20.03 miles, 13.0 mph AVG SPEED, 1,053 ft ELEV GAIN
Yeah, I'm pretty slow, but a contributing factor is also the stopping and starting involved when you're riding out of an urban center. Still, I don't think I could average 19 mph on a flatland ride!
Same here.

May I use my new Radpower 6 plus ebike?
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Old 08-25-21, 02:46 PM
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I was very encouraged to see @nlerner's data, because I know he's a much more fit rider than I am but I think if I made a max effort I could match those average speeds for at least the first 10 miles.

At the peak of my fitness (which was when I was around 45 because I spent most of my life as a couch potato), I could average 17 mph on my very flat 10 mile commute. As Neal observed, stopping and starting drags that down a bit, especially for a commute. At that time, I probably could have averaged 20 mph on mostly flat open roads (I've never been able to climb at anything more than a snail's pace). About the time I hit 50 my performance took an absolute nose dive. I thought it had to be health related, so I went to see my doctor. His professional opinion was that I'm getting old. I guess we all hit the curve differently, but I really didn't expect the lights to go out so quickly at this age. A few cardio tests confirmed the doc's diagnosis though. Every indication is that my heart and lungs are healthy. I'm just getting slow.

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, the only thing worse than getting old is not getting old.
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Old 08-25-21, 04:15 PM
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People sometimes measure "average pace" in different ways. For short rides it is easy, just do the math. Riders who do long distances will often subtract their time at stops from the calculation. For example, doing a 6 hour century using "total elapsed time" would give you a 16.7 mph average, while if 6 hours was your moving time (still 16.7 mph) then your overall start to finish time might be 7 hours which would otherwise calculate to 14.3 mph. Some computers will calculate moving time for the average pace while others will adjust the data manually. With these options it might be hard to compare results.

FWIW: I always considered a sub-6 hour century a good result (total elapsed time) for the typical century which has 3 or 4000 feet of climbing. That is not a reachable number for me anymore.
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Old 08-25-21, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Hobbiano View Post
Man, those are fast bikes. I'm lucky if mine average 15. On a good day.
I saw what you did here.
Found it pretty funny, too.
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