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I feel I'm kinda slower than others and bugs me a bit.. dumb rant

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Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

I feel I'm kinda slower than others and bugs me a bit.. dumb rant

Old 06-15-20, 01:07 PM
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eaglesandcycling
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I feel I'm kinda slower than others and bugs me a bit.. dumb rant

I consider myself quite a fit guy, riding a gravel bike (2019 Trek Checkpoint ALR5) around 200km a week on average and with climbs from 500-1000meters per ride (i probably ride around 60% off road). I know it's totally silly to compare myself but I do look on Strava (and use Strava often to track my rides) at other gravel cyclists that I follow and see some differences and i dont get it at all lol. For example, today I did a 65km ride mostly on quiet roads and around 800 meters of climbing. One guy I follow did almost the exact same distance and climbing. He averaged 28kph and me, 21.5kph. He has quite a similar bike to mine but who knows, maybe he's got much faster tires (i havent switched over to tubeless yet and i should). Anyway, again, I know super ******** to compare myself but cant help it haha. It just confuses me cuz i consider myself quite fit but maybe i'm not what i think i am just felt like ranting..
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Old 06-15-20, 01:40 PM
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For those tied to imperial, the op's stats are below.
40mi ride
2600' climb.
13.6mph average


Hey OP- I the feeling...mostly. For me it's constant disbelief that normal people can ride routes i ride at 5 and 6mph faster. I say that I'm in good shape and even if I dropped 10# to be in great shape, I still wouldn't be close to the speeds I see. I cant imagine how massive my legs would have to be to average 28-21kph!

I consider anything over 50'/mile to be a solid ride and that means 600m for your 65km ride.
Keep working hard and best of luck catching riding faster!
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Old 06-15-20, 01:49 PM
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Juan Foote
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I was so slow that I had to petition the cycling club I was in for over a year to create a ride designation slow enough for me to stay with. It worked out well for beginners to the club, and I just stayed where I was for the LONGEST time...lol. I found it very helpful to ignore Strava aside from my own accomplishments and to attempt to better or match those. Personal bests were well earned.
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Old 06-15-20, 01:50 PM
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OP: You're doing great.

Oddly enough, a lot of the road racers I know (self included) are really enjoying gravel just because there's a lot less competition/comparison/strava-navel-gazing than in the road scene.
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Old 06-15-20, 01:53 PM
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Strava kinda encourages gamesmanship. The auto-pause settings on your bike computer can make a huge difference. I'm sure that people stop and start manually too, just to cut out slow bits. At the top of the leaderboard some are certainly cheating with e-bikes and even motorcycles.

Forget all about it. All that matters is you vs yourself, and tracking your progress. So pick a configuration on your computer or phone, don't change it, and just ride
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Old 06-15-20, 03:38 PM
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Because of this, Strava just rolled out a new feature called "local hero."
Basically you get to be a hero not for going faster, but for riding the route more than anyone else.

More ways to feel inferior.

or, I like creating routes where there are few lycra's around so I can hold on to my KOM. -)
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Old 06-15-20, 03:52 PM
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Go easy on yourself, friend. You are in this existence to become the best you, in service to others.... And you come to the job with the best starting qualifications
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Old 06-15-20, 08:45 PM
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Unless you're racing, it's a bit pointless to compare yourself to others in this way.

If you are racing, remember that by merely showing up and riding the event, you are more active than 99.176% (scientifically-determined value) of the population.
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Old 06-15-20, 08:50 PM
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Today I was hammering up a gravel hill (about 1700 ft climbing) and someone on a gravel bike came up behind me and closed the gap so quickly that it set off my Garmin radar (which I left on after I left the road, because it was too much trouble to turn off). He passed so quick i only saw the flash of orange from his Chris King hubs.

I objectively suck at this by comparison. So best not to compare.
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Old 06-15-20, 10:48 PM
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What do you use for tracking? My phone will say that I'm doing 1-2mph when I am clearly stopped at a traffic light. This obviously kills my average as the Strava app doesn't have a "pause when under _ mph" setting as many computers do. I am don't care enough to buy a cycling computer.
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Old 06-16-20, 04:05 AM
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Turn off Strava, take everything off your handlebars that relates to speed, time or distance and ride your bike; you'll be a lot happier. It doesn't matter how fast somebody else is unless that's how you make a living.
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Old 06-16-20, 04:48 AM
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I follow a lot of different levels of riders on Strava, the fast ones put in a ton of time/effort. Like riding everyday, on a trainer or outside. Doing structured routines like intervals, weightlifting. These guys are just cat 3 and up probably, weekend warrior racers. I've thought I definitely need to do some weightlifting myself.

I noticed you said you don't run tubeless? Tire choice and pressure will make a bigger impact on gravel. I run tubeless wtb riddler's, 37mm at 35/35. I'm 180lbs. I'm pretty much the same speed you are, a touch faster but with half the climbing.
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Old 06-16-20, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Today I was hammering up a gravel hill (about 1700 ft climbing) and someone on a gravel bike came up behind me and closed the gap so quickly that it set off my Garmin radar (which I left on after I left the road, because it was too much trouble to turn off). He passed so quick i only saw the flash of orange from his Chris King hubs.

I objectively suck at this by comparison. So best not to compare.
I was once in a Cat 4 road race, in a breakaway with two other riders, when we got passed by the leaders of the Pro/1/2 race that had started after us. As they blew by, one of my fellow Cat 4 racers muttered, "So, that's what it looks like."
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Old 06-16-20, 08:09 AM
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As another data point I'll throw my two cents in. I'm not in particularly great shape right now but the vast majority of my gravel rides are very similar to yours. 30-40 miles, 1500-2500ft of climbing depending on the route. I can't remember the last time I averaged 13.6mph. My moderate pacing puts me at 15mph and my hard rides are more like 17mph.

One thing I've learned over the years is that riding alone most of the time inflates a person's opinion of themselves. Every time I ride with a group I'm reminded at how average I am by at least a few other riders. I'd recommend some structured training. If you wnat to go faster you have to go faster. I'm willing to bet you think you're going hard but you actually have a lot more to give. It's like lifting weights. If you only ever curl 20lbs dumbells, you'll only ever be able to curl 20lbs dumbells. You gotta hurt your self with 25lbs dumbells once in a while to get stronger.
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Old 06-16-20, 08:09 AM
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There is no winning this "game" of comparison until you're completely at the top, then you'd worry about the next guy knocking you off. Just look at all the Everesting challenges right now, every day its a new winner. So... what's the point?
I think the point is... did you enjoy it? Perhaps its the view, the air, the alone time... or the pain the suffering, puking, bonking... either way its just for the joy of the moment and looking back on it.
So track your own progress. If you're serious about improving then start looking at LT, V02, wattage etc. Variable training, serious nutrition, benchmarking efforts and looking for improvements. It can be fun.
If you realize that's too much "me, me, me" then get to know a few locals that seem to hang with you on rides and just follow them for some fun back and forth cameraderie.

There was a time when I tracked everything, wondered about +/-1mph average times over 50 mile rides, considered weather conditions, amount of sleep or type of food/drink.
Then I decided to remove everything and just rode. I found that was a great change and I focused more on mental cadence, perceived effort...
After years in another sport I'm riding and just enjoying the TIME I get in the fresh air and the pains of effort (and probably never beating a previous strava time again)

Lots of ways to enjoy cycling... but make sure you're actually enjoying it.
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Old 06-16-20, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by shoota View Post
You gotta hurt your self with 25lbs dumbells once in a while to get stronger.
You mean 50lbs? or you mean drop the 25 on your foot?

Yes, if you're always settling into a pace at 70-80% effort you can feel stressed but keep going and the body "sets" that as its upper pain limit... gotta work those intervals into 90-100% if you want more "matches" to burn.
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Old 06-16-20, 06:38 PM
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To the OP, I do the same thing and I guess it really doesn't matter. I ride alone exclusively (except when riding with my 8 year old daughter where we do about 8-10 miles maximum, at about 8mph average). The last time I rode with a friend was in 2006 when I first started "cycling" and doing a 15 mile ride was HUGE for me. Looking back, that friend who was really into cycling was very diplomatic and understanding; I now know he kept a MUCH slower pace for my sake.

Nowadays, my standard ride is around 30 miles at 15-16 mph average and I'd like to think that's pretty decent for doing mostly road on a gravel bike with 40mm kinda knobby tires. I'm 6'-3" and currently weigh around 240 lbs. I always gain weight over winter and lose it in the summer when riding a lot; by fall I'll be like 210 and my speed will be like 16-18 mph.

The other day I had a nice tailwind and was riding at a nice steady clip of 21-22 mph and I saw a girl gaining on me. It took a few miles but when she passed me, it seemed pretty fast (I guess 25-27 mph). I thought I was doing really well and felt a little disconcerted but I got over it quickly. She was on what looked like a pretty nice Trek Domane, and I probably outweighed her by 120 lbs, and was probably close to 20 years older than her. In other words, I think I do pretty well for an older, big guy so I try to keep that in mind when comparing to others. But the comparisons can surely hurt you. I see it in my profession all the time and have to really stress it with trainees or it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy and can lead to failure.

TL;DR: Just ride how you ride to enjoy the sport. Min/Max numbers games take the fun out of it. Just do your thing and have fun.
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Old 06-16-20, 06:53 PM
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Don't worry about how fast the other guy is going-- it's a variable over which you can assert no control. Treat yourself as the other guy. You did your route this time at 13.6mph? Next time, try to do it at @ 14mph. Pick a segment somewhere in the middle of the ride and really try to hammer it.

Try to get faster than the guy you ride with every day-- you. Because at some point, Time is going to catch up with you, and you'll never be able to catch your former self. Best to start mentally preparing yourself for that eventuality now.
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Old 06-16-20, 07:07 PM
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There's no shame unless you get off the bike and push. Even then, you're doing something that 99% of everyone is too lazy to attempt. Attaboy!
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Old 06-17-20, 10:51 AM
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If you want to get faster, look into structured training plans. Just going out as fast as you can every day is a recipe for mediocrity and over-training.

Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Don't worry about how fast the other guy is going-- it's a variable over which you can assert no control. Treat yourself as the other guy. You did your route this time at 13.6mph? Next time, try to do it at @ 14mph. Pick a segment somewhere in the middle of the ride and really try to hammer it.
This is what I do, it has probably been a year since I looked at someone else's time on strava. Although, the other day I thought I had a good ride and it was nowhere near my fastest this year on that course.

Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Try to get faster than the guy you ride with every day-- you. Because at some point, Time is going to catch up with you, and you'll never be able to catch your former self. Best to start mentally preparing yourself for that eventuality now.
The kids 1/3 my age are a lot faster than I am. One time on the shop gravel ride there was a local mtb racer that did 5 hill repeats on the hill we were climbing in the time it took us to climb the hill. I would have been collapsed by the side of the road with an asthma attack. Trying not to think about that ride too much. But there are a couple of pros in this area, so any strava segment that involves gravel or mtb has a KOM I probably would have trouble matching with an ebike.
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Old 06-17-20, 11:22 AM
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It's really weird how this all works. I get on Zwift and I get absolutely SMOKED by people who are much older (and based on photos, much less fit) than I am. Cruising at 50+ watts more than I can comfortably sustain for those periods of time. It has conditioned me to think that I am a below-average cyclist for my age and fitness level.

Then I step out onto the road on my gravel bike with my larger tires, worse aero, and I'm flying by everyone, even the pseudo-pros in their silly biking outfits. It's especially noticeable when going up hills or on flats, it's only when going down long hills that I can't keep up.

Looking at Strava my average ride is much shorter than the other folks on the leaderboards (~22 miles) so I'm guessing that these Strava heroes are guys like me who don't ride as long and have more power to put down in short bursts. Because I won't pretend for one second that I can hold a candle to these people if we were in a race.

Personally I like the competition that Strava provides but the competition I care about is myself, not other people.
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Old 06-17-20, 05:23 PM
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I know someone that goes out warms up, and does a strava segment at their max and then goes home. I'm sure there are a lot of people like that. There have been a couple of times when I was at the end of a 600km brevet and the time limit was looming. So I went all-out for the last few miles. Then I go check strava and people have done some of those segments at 10mph faster than me. Granted, they probably didn't have 370 miles in their legs over two days, but still, that's a big speed difference.
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Old 06-17-20, 05:28 PM
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Ah yes, some call 'em KOM hunters, I call 'em Strava Snipers. Check their ride from the fly-bys, they took 3+ KOMs in one ride... with a ride average speed of 12mph.

Sure, there's nothing wrong or ever especially underhanded about it, but still. I just don't have the desire to spend my time that way.
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Old 06-18-20, 01:50 PM
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Took me 2 minutes to go up a steep hill on the way home. I noticed on Strava it was a hill segment. 22 seconds is the KOM. Driving it is probably 12 seconds...
I'd had a nice ride that day. It doesn't mean anything for my ride or my fitness...
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