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If you're into speed

Old 06-25-13, 09:05 AM
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If you're into speed

What did you do to get faster? What surprised you that didn't work?

On the get faster items changes in position related to aero, riding hills (tough around here), and wind sprints seem to have made the biggest difference.

For me, riding lots of miles at an easy to moderate pace didn't help much.

My aero changes over 2 3/4 years and ~6500 miles:

252 Lbs - can't reach the hoods and breathe ~12 MPH
230 Lbs - first spacer comes out as bars are lowered. Can ride drops some but breathing is compromised ~ 17 MPH
210 Lbs - stem is flipped, one spacer remaining. Can ride the drops and breathe but knees point outward ~19 MPH
200 Lbs - bars are all the way down. Can ride the drops all day and belly no longer effects riding postion. Knees point straight ~20 MPH

I'm 5'7"
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Old 06-25-13, 09:39 AM
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Yeah, well, losing more than 50 lbs will certainly help. For the record, I'm 6'3", returned to cycling aged 49 nine years ago at around 235 lbs, now 195.

As far as getting aero is concerned, my changes have been marginal. I was comfortable with a big saddle/bar drop from the outset - about 4" - and the changes have not changed that, they have just stretched me out slightly more by increasing the stem length.

For me, riding lots of miles at a moderate pace certainly did change things. However, I am talking lots of miles. I don't think there has been a year in the last nine in which I have ridden less than 5000 miles and these days it's more like 10000. These aren't astonishing figures, really, 10000 miles a year is only about 12 hours per week on the bike. And at 12 hours per week, even at moderate pace, my experience is that one does get faster. I tour. Sometimes I tour at well over 20 hours per week on the bike. At the end of those tours I feel exceptionally strong and fast.

Having said that, the volume = intensity thing goes only so far, and works only if you have plenty of time. When I took up racing aged 57 (there's no fool like an old fool) it immediately became clear that the ability to maintain a high average speed was immaterial. What was required was the ability to go all-out for short periods, recover at speed, and repeat - and repeat, and repeat. So I got into interval training, in various shapes and forms. Nauseating, but gives rise to amazingly fast adapations. Just a few weeks of incorporating really intense intervals into one's routine makes a massive difference.
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Old 06-25-13, 10:43 AM
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For me it has been more related to dropping 30 lbs and riding miles. I have one done about 1000 miles this year but I have been fueling my body correctly and use a heart rate monitor. I have found that almost weekly I could increase my cadence and therefore my speed by regulating what HR zone I was in.

Now I can trounce along at 18-20 mph for an unlimited time and not burn out.
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Old 06-25-13, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by bbeasley
For me, riding lots of miles at an easy to moderate pace didn't help much.

My aero changes over 2 3/4 years and ~6500 miles:
If the 6500 over 2 3/4 years is what you consider "lots", then that is why you did not notice the benefit. My lots and getting faster was 7300 miles in one year. The year I did this mileage I did not do anything too special, no intervals, no sprints etc. I did lots of climbing and lots of moderate miles. I did one organized metric century with a 20 mph average, and that was riding the first 40 miles solo.

Back in 2003, I did more mtn climbs all out effort types but only did 4000 miles. My best fastest climbing year as far as speed.

But 6500 miles over 2 3/4 years would not be considered "lots". Not nearly enough to gain speed by way of moderate pace riding. Not being snobbish, just being honest here.
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Old 06-25-13, 11:13 AM
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while i ride a heavy but well set up bike
i convince myself how much faster i would be on a lighter one
then when i get on my lighter bike
i am soon reminded that
its not about the bike
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Old 06-25-13, 11:30 AM
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I have noticed an increase in speed over time. I ride lots and I ride as oten as I can with friends that are faster which forces me out of my comfort zone, I get dropped but over time i go farther before getting dropped. I embrace hills and work to get faster. Sufferfest workouts help as have spin classes focusing on speed at the LBS in the off season. Weight loss and riding lots has seemed to be the key. Lots defined as increasing distance every month. 5,000 miles last year.
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Old 06-25-13, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Chitown_Mike
For me it has been more related to dropping 30 lbs and riding miles. I have one done about 1000 miles this year but I have been fueling my body correctly and use a heart rate monitor. I have found that almost weekly I could increase my cadence and therefore my speed by regulating what HR zone I was in.
Sorry, I don't follow this. You aren't riding much, but by using a HR monitor you can increase your cadence and therefore speed? There's no direct relationship between cadence and speed, in my experience. Nor do I understand how you adjust your cadence by focusing on HR.

Now I can trounce along at 18-20 mph for an unlimited time and not burn out.
An unlimited time? Really? You should enter our national 24-hour time trial championship, you'd be in with a chance of a podium finish.
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Old 06-25-13, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz
If the 6500 over 2 3/4 years is what you consider "lots", then that is why you did not notice the benefit. My lots and getting faster was 7300 miles in one year. The year I did this mileage I did not do anything too special, no intervals, no sprints etc. I did lots of climbing and lots of moderate miles. I did one organized metric century with a 20 mph average, and that was riding the first 40 miles solo.

Back in 2003, I did more mtn climbs all out effort types but only did 4000 miles. My best fastest climbing year as far as speed.

But 6500 miles over 2 3/4 years would not be considered "lots". Not nearly enough to gain speed by way of moderate pace riding. Not being snobbish, just being honest here.
Oh I don't take any offense at all. I think my best year, mileage wise, was only 2,000 miles. In reading these posts, it looks like I can improve quite a bit by just doing a lot more of what I'm doing. I also know 20 isn't fast, it's just fast for me.
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Old 06-25-13, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by chasm54
Sorry, I don't follow this. You aren't riding much, but by using a HR monitor you can increase your cadence and therefore speed? There's no direct relationship between cadence and speed, in my experience. Nor do I understand how you adjust your cadence by focusing on HR.



An unlimited time? Really? You should enter our national 24-hour time trial championship, you'd be in with a chance of a podium finish.

Sorry I didn't know I walked into the A&S forum and have to write out literary works of genius with big words to cover every aspect of my post.

The first part is I was able to maintain a heart rate and cadence range and increase speed by being able to run in smaller cog in the back. I watched my heart rate and kept it within a range, so when I went over I slowed down my RPMs, when I went below I increased them. Over time I started to over spin the gear so I was able to go down in numerical gear ratio.

So simple math: same RPM + smaller numerical gear ratio = more speed

The second part is an embellishment, had I know there were smart donkeys running around I might have phrased that differently. But I guess, so you can sleep at night and know all is well in the C&A forum and all truths have been justified or corrected, I SHOULD have stated that I have YET to find a distance and/or time period during or in which I am not able to properly maintain a consistent velocity of 18.0000-20.0000 miles per hour (or 28.9682 kph - 32.1869 kph for the hardcore cyclist like yourself).
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Old 06-25-13, 12:26 PM
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I don't have much time for volume but intensity I can deal with. My tool into my speed gains has been my singlespeed MTB. There is no sit n spin up a steep hill. It's attack it at speed and keep your leg speed up or you're walking. Recover a bit on the small decent and hammer the next hill and the next. My normal MTB ride are only about 8-10 miles but almost 2k ft of grinding it out in one gear.

So the SS deals with power, active recovery, it's own style of intervals. The roadie is about endurance, and holding that power thresh longer and longer. Where the SS power outputs are only needed for shorter burst to clean hills or obstacles, the roadie is like 5-20min tt efforts on the club rides. Or even hour + hill climbs.

I only average about 2300 miles/ yr
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Old 06-25-13, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by bbeasley
Oh I don't take any offense at all. I think my best year, mileage wise, was only 2,000 miles. In reading these posts, it looks like I can improve quite a bit by just doing a lot more of what I'm doing. I also know 20 isn't fast, it's just fast for me.
Cool! Too many people misinterpret info for arrogance, glad you can see the difference. 20 is fast if over a long ride vs seeing 20 mph when you look down and glance at the computer and see 20. So it depends on how you post 20. If you average 20 for a 10 mile ride, that's fast imo. Heck, if we average 17 on a 40 mile ride along our trail, we're blowing by tons of riders.

My yearly totals have dropped to 4000 of moderate riding and I've lost speed. Only way I can gain speed with 4000 miles is lots of intervals and hill repeats, but I have to be in the mood. After 17 consecutive years of riding, not every year is a "go get em" year.
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Old 06-25-13, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Chitown_Mike
Sorry I didn't know I walked into the A&S forum and have to write out literary works of genius with big words to cover every aspect of my post.
You don't. But if you want to be taken seriously you need to make some effort to write something that makes sense.

The first part is I was able to maintain a heart rate and cadence range and increase speed by being able to run in smaller cog in the back. I watched my heart rate and kept it within a range, so when I went over I slowed down my RPMs, when I went below I increased them. Over time I started to over spin the gear so I was able to go down in numerical gear ratio.
Or, to put it another way, If you train at a constant HR the speed you can maintain in a given HR zone will gradually increase. I agree.



I SHOULD have stated that I have YET to find a distance and/or time period during or in which I am not able to properly maintain a consistent velocity of 18.0000-20.0000 miles per hour (or 28.9682 kph - 32.1869 kph for the hardcore cyclist like yourself).
Really? I'd heard Chicago was pretty flat.
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Old 06-25-13, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by chasm54
Sorry, I don't follow this. You aren't riding much, but by using a HR monitor you can increase your cadence and therefore speed? There's no direct relationship between cadence and speed, in my experience.
I have played around with this and agree that on average it doesn't matter, within a certain range. I tend to get less advantage spinning like mad and slogging. I have found that a proper cadence improves my endurance at what for me is a decent "cruising" speed. (about 17-20 mph flat, no wind)

At about 2000 mile per year I know I have to get my mileage up. I have set a goal of 1000km (620 miles) for July.

To the original topic, I have recently gotten a track bike and have started frequenting the local velodrome, and riverside bike paths. (survival instinct precludes me from taking it on the street-much) I have found that I am faster on it than on my road bike, by about 3 mph-Top speed on a flying 200 meter track sprint was about 27 mph (flat except for the down bank start-no drafting). I've hit 28 1/2 drafting stronger riders. The strongest riders drop me heading into the 30's. I attribute this to several factors. The biggest is, I believe, aerodynamic. I am about 6" lower in the drops on the track bike than I am on my road bike. It feels to me, though I have no easy way to quantify it, that the stiffer steel frame on the track bike may contribute a little too.
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Old 06-25-13, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz
Cool! Too many people misinterpret info for arrogance, glad you can see the difference. 20 is fast if over a long ride vs seeing 20 mph when you look down and glance at the computer and see 20. So it depends on how you post 20. If you average 20 for a 10 mile ride, that's fast imo. Heck, if we average 17 on a 40 mile ride along our trail, we're blowing by tons of riders.

My yearly totals have dropped to 4000 of moderate riding and I've lost speed. Only way I can gain speed with 4000 miles is lots of intervals and hill repeats, but I have to be in the mood. After 17 consecutive years of riding, not every year is a "go get em" year.
I've recently been able to average 20 MPH for 20 miles over my flat rectangle ish shaped course. A major goal of mine.

It sounds like we all either put in the miles or put in the intervals and hills (or both). I've never been able to ride 4K in a year so for me it's been intervals and hills. I'm trying to crawl my way up to where I can race and at least hang with the pack most of the way. After my first race, it's evident I need to ditch another 20 lbs and pick up another 2 MPH to get there.

Nobody else seems to mention the aero much, I wonder if it's just a placebo for me?
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Old 06-25-13, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by bbeasley
Nobody else seems to mention the aero much, I wonder if it's just a placebo for me?

it depends on how fast you consider fast
some people want to increase their average speed from 13 to 16 kph
and some people want to increase from 35 to 39

aero makes a much bigger difference the faster you go

i have been riding mtbs almost exclusively this year
at the speeds i get on the trails
i do not suffer much from aerodynamic drag
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Old 06-25-13, 01:51 PM
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I'm 6'2, there is no aerodynamics LOL. I started on a 58cm frame, not much aggressiveness to it (tall head tube) then I've tried riding 55cm frame w/ 130mm stem and 6" seat/bar drop. works great for crits, climbing and short then 50mile rides but after 3hrs its just PITA and ride on the hoods allot. I like the longer top tubes now with decent drop but comfy. More comfy I am in the drops, the longer I can hold 25-35mph when needed while keeping my head low.

Aero wheels seems best over 20mph on solo ride and help a $hit load in group riding.
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Old 06-25-13, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by jsigone
I'm 6'2, there is no aerodynamics LOL. I started on a 58cm frame, not much aggressiveness to it (tall head tube) then I've tried riding 55cm frame w/ 130mm stem and 6" seat/bar drop. works great for crits, climbing and short then 50mile rides but after 3hrs its just PITA and ride on the hoods allot. I like the longer top tubes now with decent drop but comfy. More comfy I am in the drops, the longer I can hold 25-35mph when needed while keeping my head low.

Aero wheels seems best over 20mph on solo ride and help a $hit load in group riding.
Where do you see the advantage with the aero wheels in group riding? Not quite sure how to ask this, how deep are your aero wheels?
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Old 06-25-13, 02:11 PM
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1. Dropping weight while getting more active
2. HIT (high intensity interval training) 3 times/week
3. Increasing gear ratio on my "go-to" gear - commuter bike (dropping to smaller rear cog, every week or 2)
4. Doing my commute on a single speed (46/16)

Since April of this year, shaved an average of 10 - 15 minutes off my training route (18 - 22 km / 75% bike path & MUP - 25% city streets) to around 40 minutes, but likely could not maintain this pace for more than an hour to 70 minutes.
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Old 06-25-13, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by bbeasley

Nobody else seems to mention the aero much, I wonder if it's just a placebo for me?
It is anything but a placebo, it is massively important. Anyone who doubts that should try riding along at their cruising speed on the tops, then getting low in the drops. I'll guarantee their cadence will increase by at least 10% without additional effort.

It may be that people aren't mentioning it because they haven't been focussing on their riding position. In my own case, although my set-up hasn't changed much, I'm much more likely to be in the drops than I was, say, five years ago.
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Old 06-25-13, 02:32 PM
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I'm running 50mm carbons. In the group, it takes less effort to stay in the ped at speeds. Doesn't matter where you are in the field, from sides to middle to near the back. That aerodynamics saves power output to sustain XXmph, giving you more oomph when you hear those gears clicking down, that is shining in those moments. Same goes if crit racing too. This are tubular so about 300 grams lighter then most clincher wheels so they spin up face when accelerations are needed.

The only downside to these wheel are decending hills and mountain passes. The cross winds through some of the opening makes the front end move when I'm on the front or solo. If I'm following someone,they do a good job breaking that wind up so the front doesn't jump as quick.
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Old 06-25-13, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by chasm54
It is anything but a placebo, it is massively important. Anyone who doubts that should try riding along at their cruising speed on the tops, then getting low in the drops. I'll guarantee their cadence will increase by at least 10% without additional effort.

It may be that people aren't mentioning it because they haven't been focussing on their riding position. In my own case, although my set-up hasn't changed much, I'm much more likely to be in the drops than I was, say, five years ago.
Recently I've been learning to ride with my forearms on the bars. It's very effective for me on flat sections, almost as good as aero bars but you still don't have the leverage the aero bars afford. I find it's a good postion after climbing a hill as it seems to engage different muscles and allows for quicker recovery while maintaining or gaining speed.
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Old 06-25-13, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by bbeasley
Oh I don't take any offense at all. I think my best year, mileage wise, was only 2,000 miles. In reading these posts, it looks like I can improve quite a bit by just doing a lot more of what I'm doing. I also know 20 isn't fast, it's just fast for me.
20 is fast if it's for a distance other that seeing it on the computer when you look down. 20 miles in 60 minutes is fast no mater how you skin the cat. I usedta could do that. I'm afeared that if/when I get back on a bike that will be a distant memory.

I think you can get better by just doing a lot more of what you have been doing. Hills work great and long-ish max efforts, and shorter intervals will get you there.
I use a power meter and I get workouts from the team coach. Along with those I do (or did before my accident) a LOT of base miles. To the tune of > 1,000 in May. I had, again, up until my accident on 8 June, had put over 3500 miles on the road and indoors and have >170,000' elevation gain.

The workouts that my coach gives me vary quite a bit. It could be a warmup then 20 min @90%FTP, rest 5 then another 20 min pass; it could be just 2 1/2 hours of laps around my neighborhood which is 5 miles and 750' gain per lap. 25 miles of that garbage is enough for a day. Be sure to add in recovery days and I was told a recovery day should be "stupid slow", right on the verge of falling over if you will.

As for racing it's not all speed but HOW you race... I raced a crit a month or so ago and I was spat off the back in spectacular fashion. My 'race' turned into an FTP test session. My average before I got pulled was 24 mph.
It's not how fast you can go it's the folks that want to do those explosive minute long stints at 200% of my FTP. I'm old AND fat. I don't do the accelerate thing real well.
I do better in tie trials as I know what effort I can put out as a constant... I did better than anyone on the team, including myself, thought I would do in Philly.

I'm certain, at least for myself, that getting a powermeter was the single best investment I had got for my, what is now trashed, bike.
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Old 06-25-13, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by jsigone
I'm running 50mm carbons. In the group, it takes less effort to stay in the ped at speeds. Doesn't matter where you are in the field, from sides to middle to near the back. That aerodynamics saves power output to sustain XXmph, giving you more oomph when you hear those gears clicking down, that is shining in those moments. Same goes if crit racing too. This are tubular so about 300 grams lighter then most clincher wheels so they spin up face when accelerations are needed.

The only downside to these wheel are decending hills and mountain passes. The cross winds through some of the opening makes the front end move when I'm on the front or solo. If I'm following someone,they do a good job breaking that wind up so the front doesn't jump as quick.
Read this as - jump in behind the fat guy and let him suck you around
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Old 06-25-13, 03:14 PM
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I've got a power meter on my hit list. I just read DC Rainmaker's update of the Stages PM and it appears very promising. Seems like one software update made all the difference.
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Old 06-25-13, 03:26 PM
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That guy from the Chi
 
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Originally Posted by chasm54
Really? I'd heard Chicago was pretty flat.
It is, with stop lights or signs every 1/4 mile. Maybe I should concentrate in intervals then....
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