Notices
Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

Average Speed Woes

Old 07-19-16, 01:02 PM
  #1  
Nstoltzner
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 116
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 41 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Average Speed Woes

Hey all!


I wanted to ask a question in regards to average speed. I recently started using a bit lower gearing and higher cadence and have reached really close to the 20 mile mark, the issue I am having is I started around 10.2 mph average and am now only averaging around between 11.5 and 12.5 depending on the terrain and wind etc. Should this be something I should be worrying about? If I push myself too hard then my legs just quit working after about 10 miles so I am trying to find the "sweet spot". Any advice is much appreciated.
Nstoltzner is offline  
Old 07-19-16, 01:06 PM
  #2  
dr_lha
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Central PA
Posts: 4,843

Bikes: 2016 Black Mountain Cycles Monster Cross v5, 2015 Ritchey Road Logic, 1998 Specialized Rockhopper, 2017 Raleigh Grand Prix

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 374 Post(s)
Liked 11 Times in 8 Posts
Originally Posted by Nstoltzner View Post
Hey all!


I wanted to ask a question in regards to average speed. I recently started using a bit lower gearing and higher cadence and have reached really close to the 20 mile mark, the issue I am having is I started around 10.2 mph average and am now only averaging around between 11.5 and 12.5 depending on the terrain and wind etc. Should this be something I should be worrying about? If I push myself too hard then my legs just quit working after about 10 miles so I am trying to find the "sweet spot". Any advice is much appreciated.
What cadence are you riding at? Higher cadence certainly helps against sore legs. Other than that my advice is more riding.
dr_lha is offline  
Old 07-19-16, 01:09 PM
  #3  
making
Senior Member
 
making's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Greenwood Indiana
Posts: 2,726

Bikes: Road bike

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 591 Post(s)
Liked 41 Times in 30 Posts
I quit worrying about that a long time ago. I suppose if you rode on a track and controlled stops, wind, traffic ect, maybe it might help you keep track of fitness. I commute and ride around town, a lot, I do good to average 13 mph due to lights, following traffic laws etc. I do have a TomTom that helps keep track of average speeds but I cannot remember last time I looked at that. but other than that I just have fun.
Originally Posted by Nstoltzner View Post
Hey all!


I wanted to ask a question in regards to average speed. I recently started using a bit lower gearing and higher cadence and have reached really close to the 20 mile mark, the issue I am having is I started around 10.2 mph average and am now only averaging around between 11.5 and 12.5 depending on the terrain and wind etc. Should this be something I should be worrying about? If I push myself too hard then my legs just quit working after about 10 miles so I am trying to find the "sweet spot". Any advice is much appreciated.
__________________
Good Night Chesty, Wherever You Are
making is offline  
Old 07-19-16, 01:36 PM
  #4  
Nstoltzner
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 116
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 41 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by dr_lha View Post
What cadence are you riding at? Higher cadence certainly helps against sore legs. Other than that my advice is more riding.

I used to just mash the heck out of gears and ride around 40-50 maybe...now I average around 85-90 cadence in a lower gear. I feel MUCH better, just my average speed went down in doing so.
Nstoltzner is offline  
Old 07-19-16, 01:39 PM
  #5  
dr_lha
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Central PA
Posts: 4,843

Bikes: 2016 Black Mountain Cycles Monster Cross v5, 2015 Ritchey Road Logic, 1998 Specialized Rockhopper, 2017 Raleigh Grand Prix

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 374 Post(s)
Liked 11 Times in 8 Posts
Originally Posted by Nstoltzner View Post
I used to just mash the heck out of gears and ride around 40-50 maybe...now I average around 85-90 cadence in a lower gear. I feel MUCH better, just my average speed went down in doing so.
Well feeling better is the important thing, especially if it allows you to push to longer distances. Higher average speeds will come as your fitness improves.
dr_lha is offline  
Old 07-19-16, 02:05 PM
  #6  
rumrunn6
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Posts: 24,865

Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint, GT Timberline 29r

Mentioned: 103 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3719 Post(s)
Liked 842 Times in 586 Posts
doesn't any performance metric improve with training? I like making note of my average, especially over time over the same route(s) but there's little I can do to influence it. I accept the low numbers and sometimes get a happy surprise with a high number. but yeah, where's the sweet (cadence) spot, right?
rumrunn6 is offline  
Old 07-19-16, 02:12 PM
  #7  
dr_lha
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Central PA
Posts: 4,843

Bikes: 2016 Black Mountain Cycles Monster Cross v5, 2015 Ritchey Road Logic, 1998 Specialized Rockhopper, 2017 Raleigh Grand Prix

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 374 Post(s)
Liked 11 Times in 8 Posts
Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
doesn't any performance metric improve with training? I like making note of my average, especially over time over the same route(s) but there's little I can do to influence it. I accept the low numbers and sometimes get a happy surprise with a high number. but yeah, where's the sweet (cadence) spot, right?
Depends on the person, as it turns out, but typically in the 80-100 range.
dr_lha is offline  
Old 07-19-16, 02:25 PM
  #8  
Nstoltzner
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 116
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 41 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by dr_lha View Post
Well feeling better is the important thing, especially if it allows you to push to longer distances. Higher average speeds will come as your fitness improves.


Thanks for the reply. I was a bit discouraged with the lower number, but it is good to know that it will go up. I did after all go from a 4 mile ride to a 17 mile ride. The difference is the 4 mile ride made me feel like I was going to have a heart attack, the 17 mile ride just felt great!
Nstoltzner is offline  
Old 07-19-16, 02:27 PM
  #9  
dr_lha
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Central PA
Posts: 4,843

Bikes: 2016 Black Mountain Cycles Monster Cross v5, 2015 Ritchey Road Logic, 1998 Specialized Rockhopper, 2017 Raleigh Grand Prix

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 374 Post(s)
Liked 11 Times in 8 Posts
Originally Posted by Nstoltzner View Post
Thanks for the reply. I was a bit discouraged with the lower number, but it is good to know that it will go up. I did after all go from a 4 mile ride to a 17 mile ride. The difference is the 4 mile ride made me feel like I was going to have a heart attack, the 17 mile ride just felt great!
Sounds like you're making excellent progress to me. Honestly if you're not racing, IMHO extending to longer distances is more important than increasing your speed.
dr_lha is offline  
Old 07-19-16, 02:41 PM
  #10  
Nstoltzner
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 116
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 41 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by dr_lha View Post
Sounds like you're making excellent progress to me. Honestly if you're not racing, IMHO extending to longer distances is more important than increasing your speed.


That makes absolute sense to me. It seems to get easier as I lose weight. I am down to 283 or so from 303-305 depending on the day.
Nstoltzner is offline  
Old 07-19-16, 02:59 PM
  #11  
jsigone
got the climbing bug
 
jsigone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: San Diego
Posts: 9,919

Bikes: one for everything

Mentioned: 80 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 545 Post(s)
Liked 81 Times in 49 Posts
what kind of bike? size tires? fat tires, 12mph is pretty good
__________________
Rule #10 // It never gets easier, you just go faster.
jsigone is offline  
Old 07-19-16, 04:28 PM
  #12  
Nstoltzner
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 116
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 41 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
what kind of bike? size tires? fat tires, 12mph is pretty good


I wish I could say it's a fat bike. I upgraded to a Specialized Roubaix SL4 Sport which I fell in love with on the very first ride. I will say that I also push up to 26-28 mph on a slight downhill. 25 mm tires by the way.
Nstoltzner is offline  
Old 07-19-16, 05:29 PM
  #13  
Black wallnut 
Senior Member
 
Black wallnut's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Ellensburg,WA
Posts: 2,939

Bikes: Schwinn Broadway, Specialized Secteur Sport(crashed) Spec. Roubaix Sport, Spec. Crux

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Your average speed may or may not increase with distance and effort. With serious training it will likely increase. Your ambitions and goals will determine if faster speed matters. Are you enjoying the ride? To me that is what really matters. That said my average speed has increased over time.
__________________
Sir Mark, Knight of Sufferlandria
Black wallnut is offline  
Old 07-20-16, 11:08 AM
  #14  
Nstoltzner
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 116
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 41 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Black wallnut View Post
Your average speed may or may not increase with distance and effort. With serious training it will likely increase. Your ambitions and goals will determine if faster speed matters. Are you enjoying the ride? To me that is what really matters. That said my average speed has increased over time.

I am really just out enjoying the ride. I love seeing big numbers in the miles ridden category and the feeling I get knowing that I didn't give up when I wanted to. Which seems to happen quite often but I just keep trucking and reap the rewards. I love the riding here in the Yakima area.
Nstoltzner is offline  
Old 07-20-16, 11:16 AM
  #15  
andr0id
Senior Member
 
andr0id's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 2,522
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1421 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Nstoltzner View Post
I used to just mash the heck out of gears and ride around 40-50 maybe...now I average around 85-90 cadence in a lower gear. I feel MUCH better, just my average speed went down in doing so.
Once you get accommodated to spinning, then start working at spinning a harder gear. Just one click higher, spin hard to get to your 85-90 range and work on getting stronger faster in that gear range.

mash big gear = slow
spin easy gear = not so slow
spin big gear = fast

But it takes time... months and years of time.

Originally Posted by Nstoltzner View Post
I wish I could say it's a fat bike. I upgraded to a Specialized Roubaix SL4 Sport which I fell in love with on the very first ride. I will say that I also push up to 26-28 mph on a slight downhill. 25 mm tires by the way.
700x25 are just fine. Not going to slow you down at all.

Last edited by andr0id; 07-20-16 at 11:20 AM.
andr0id is offline  
Old 07-20-16, 11:42 AM
  #16  
dr_lha
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Central PA
Posts: 4,843

Bikes: 2016 Black Mountain Cycles Monster Cross v5, 2015 Ritchey Road Logic, 1998 Specialized Rockhopper, 2017 Raleigh Grand Prix

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 374 Post(s)
Liked 11 Times in 8 Posts
I also recommend looking for group rides, which will push you to longer distances and higher speeds. My club has group rides for all levels, from 8mph average to 20mph average speeds.
dr_lha is offline  
Old 07-20-16, 12:07 PM
  #17  
Nstoltzner
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 116
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 41 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
[QUOTE=andr0id;18925813]Once you get accommodated to spinning, then start working at spinning a harder gear. Just one click higher, spin hard to get to your 85-90 range and work on getting stronger faster in that gear range.

mash big gear = slow
spin easy gear = not so slow
spin big gear = fast

But it takes time... months and years of time.




I guess I shouldn't be too hard on myself then. I have only been at it 5 months with 2 of those off due to surgery. I thought as much in terms of just trying bigger and bigger gears. Essentially I went from the big ring in front to the small one. Before I used maybe the first 3 gears where now I pretty much use them all. I figured utilizing them all is probably a better idea since they are there. Although, hills still kill me even in the "granny" gear.
Nstoltzner is offline  
Old 07-20-16, 12:40 PM
  #18  
Black wallnut 
Senior Member
 
Black wallnut's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Ellensburg,WA
Posts: 2,939

Bikes: Schwinn Broadway, Specialized Secteur Sport(crashed) Spec. Roubaix Sport, Spec. Crux

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Nstoltzner View Post
I am really just out enjoying the ride. I love seeing big numbers in the miles ridden category and the feeling I get knowing that I didn't give up when I wanted to. Which seems to happen quite often but I just keep trucking and reap the rewards. I love the riding here in the Yakima area.
Have you joined in with any of the Yakima Basin Velo rides? If you have the means and are not opposed to traveling I am leading an easy ride from The ReCycle shop in Ellensburg on Wednesday evenings. 5:30 PM. We ride for about an hour at a pace that all who ride can keep. Generally 12mph or less. These rides usually do not have many participants due to the craptastic weather we have so far had this year. Last week a family showed up with three little ones so our pace was about 6mph, they had a great time!
__________________
Sir Mark, Knight of Sufferlandria
Black wallnut is offline  
Old 07-20-16, 12:47 PM
  #19  
JReade
Senior Member
 
JReade's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Vancouver, WA
Posts: 1,617
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 95 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
what kind of bike? size tires? fat tires, 12mph is pretty good
And depending on grade, etc. Around here, flat roads, 12 mph would be a cruise. Put me in the hills and I'm awful at climbing.. so 12 mph may be good.
JReade is offline  
Old 07-20-16, 01:21 PM
  #20  
Nstoltzner
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 116
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 41 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by JReade View Post
And depending on grade, etc. Around here, flat roads, 12 mph would be a cruise. Put me in the hills and I'm awful at climbing.. so 12 mph may be good.


The roads that I ride on are 2 MUP's at the moment. The first one is a steady grade not sure of the percentage and the other is quite varied. There are about 8 big hills on it.
Nstoltzner is offline  
Old 07-21-16, 10:48 AM
  #21  
chaadster
Thread Killer
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 9,356

Bikes: '15 Kinesis Racelight 4S, '76 Motebecane Gran Jubilée, '17 Dedacciai Gladiatore2, '12 Breezer Venturi, '09 Dahon Mariner, '05 Novara Big Buzz, '12 Mercier Nano, '95 DeKerf Team SL, '19 Tern Rally

Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1046 Post(s)
Liked 28 Times in 15 Posts
I'm not sure I understand whether the OP's average speed has gone up or down with the increased leg speed, but it doesn't matter, and is nothing to worry about at this point.

My advice to the OP is to keep at, and to push yourself in one way or another. Interval training, where you go hard for a bit, then easy, then hard again, is a great training tool, as it conditions your body both to stress and to recovery. Do that on some rides, then on others, spend a ride working on high cadence, another on going easy and longer distance; mix up what you're doing on each ride, so that you train different abilities and don't burn out by pushing continuosly for some random target which is really insignificant to your development as a rider, or which may even be unattainable given your current situation (i.e. conditioning, equipment, routes, etc.).

When doing intervals, consider pushing hard at lower cadence (65-75rpm) for a couple of minutes, right up until that "heart attack" feeling, then shifting gears, easing back on the effort with a higher leg speed (80s rpm) and let your heart rate come back down and catch breath for 5 minutes, then do it again. Repeat that alternating scenario for several times, like 4 each, and you'll pass a good 35 minute ride hopefully feeling like you made a good effort, but didn't wipe yourself out. That'll do a lot of fitness building for you.

As you become more comfortable with the efforts, alternately turn up duration and intensity of the hard intervals, but keep the easy recovery part easy, that's important. My guess is that by the time you're ready to do that, you'll be looking at riding differently, and eyeing hills and little rises as opportunities to drop the hammer! You'll start enjoying those hard efforts, confident in the knowledge you can go hard and still feel good and recover after.
chaadster is offline  
Old 07-21-16, 11:10 AM
  #22  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 27,010
Mentioned: 192 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11418 Post(s)
Liked 3,059 Times in 1,700 Posts
Originally Posted by making View Post
I quit worrying about that a long time ago. I suppose if you rode on a track and controlled stops, wind, traffic ect, maybe it might help you keep track of fitness. I commute and ride around town, a lot, I do good to average 13 mph due to lights, following traffic laws etc. I do have a TomTom that helps keep track of average speeds but I cannot remember last time I looked at that. but other than that I just have fun.

^^This^^


I often don't even take the computer on my road bike out of sleep mode. I always have my touring bike computer on when I tour, but that's often a totally different animal. It's helpful to know things like how many miles you have left on that 15 mile climb, and you don't want to get lost in the middle of nowhere. But even then I leave it on the mode that shows top speed for the trip, switching it do trip distance only when I feel it might be useful to know how far I have gone and how close I am to the next turn. When top speed mode is displayed, my current speed is not displayed. That's a huge psychological advantage for me as I don't get discouraged by seeing how slowly I might be going or get worried if I see I am descending quite rapidly. I just ride within myself, enjoy the moment and forget about statistics unless I truly need to focus on them.
indyfabz is online now  
Old 07-21-16, 01:51 PM
  #23  
DrIsotope
Non omnino gravis
 
DrIsotope's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: SoCal, USA!
Posts: 8,346

Bikes: Nekobasu, Pandicorn, Lakitu

Mentioned: 118 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4733 Post(s)
Liked 1,404 Times in 817 Posts
Average speed is only a useful metric when viewed over extended periods of time. Months or longer. And even then, it's heavily influenced by innumerable variables. I was tearing it up in June, then Pokemon Go came out, so my avg. speed has dropped a significant amount.



A trend over time I like to watch more closely is heart beats per mile. While HR during any given ride is dependent on almost as many variables as avg. speed, less beats per mile is better, because that (generally) means more endurance.



You'll note that in July my HR is up while avg. speed is down... and that's just because it's wicked hot. By the time I got home today, it was 102º.
__________________
DrIsotope is offline  
Old 07-21-16, 02:12 PM
  #24  
PatrickR400 
Senior Member
 
PatrickR400's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Laval, Quebec, Canada
Posts: 406

Bikes: 2015 Ghost Panamao X3; 2015 Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 63 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by Nstoltzner View Post
... I started around 10.2 mph average and am now only averaging around between 11.5 and 12.5 depending on the terrain and wind etc...
That is an improvement of between 13% and 23%; not bad to pretty good, depending on how hard you want to be with yourself.

As you become fitter, you will be able to select a higher gear, maintain the higher cadence, and increase your speed even more. Patience...
__________________

Strava profile
PatrickR400 is offline  
Old 07-21-16, 02:22 PM
  #25  
Nstoltzner
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 116
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 41 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by PatrickR400 View Post
That is an improvement of between 13% and 23%; not bad to pretty good, depending on how hard you want to be with yourself.

As you become fitter, you will be able to select a higher gear, maintain the higher cadence, and increase your speed even more. Patience...

Thanks for bringing that up...I never thought to look at it as a 23% gain in average speed. Which to me isn't too shabby. I am thinking I should be a lot easier on myself and just keep cranking out the miles.
Nstoltzner is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.