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My Quest For Speed

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My Quest For Speed

Old 04-25-18, 11:07 AM
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OldsCOOL
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My Quest For Speed

Some of you know me and that desire to go faster in any way I can. It’s been this way since childhood. If it moves, it can move faster. I know the risks. I know the personal rewards. Last year I had a thread in the General Cycling Forum show a pic of my GPS displaying 50.0 mph which (well, duh) on a downhill course that had a too tight corner near the bottom. At that point I hung up my craziness.

That is, until now. We now live in a secluded rural area where I rode a course where on a safer downhill stretch I coasted 40.7 mph. Coasted. That means I can pedal and run my ‘88 Cannondale Criterium 53/12 gearing to it’s designed intent.

And maybe I can sing (an edited version) of Sammy Hagar’s tune “I can ride 55”.
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Old 04-25-18, 11:21 AM
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Aerodynamics a bike as streamlined as a fish will be fast.. a velomobile is a tadpole trike inside a fairing.

IHPVA Battle Mountain NV meet is clocking over 80 mph for the flying 200M.. but those 2 wheelers have launchers and catchers

since its hard to put a foot down once the crew closes the body of the fairing..




...
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Old 04-25-18, 06:50 PM
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Yes, streamlining helps in your quest for speed. My buddy in his Quest velomobile, passing me at 1:23. I was doing 45 mph at the time, significantly faster than any of the other upright bikes but I couldn't hold a candle to him. His speedo was mis-calibrated but I estimated he was doing around 60 mph. This was on a hill you probably know -- Rogers Road SW of East Jordan Lake. DALMACers know it as the '3 tears' but I think the story there involves someone in the road marking crew banging their shin.

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Old 04-25-18, 08:00 PM
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Each year it gets more difficult to ride my age in distance. Don't tell me I also gotta ride my age in speed now.

When I was 35 (21 years ago) I hit 49.7mph riding downhill in traffic. Long story short, cheap, sub-optimal brakes and cross traffic up ahead necessitated me Flintstone-ing to a stop while contemplating the possibility of running up against the curb to either scrub off speed or deliberately fall. Scared me so badly when I got home I literally tossed my bike in a dumpster.

More recently, at 52 I made it to 44mph on a different hill in traffic, with total control. But on a subsequent attempt I felt a slight wobble and backed off.

But if there were a totally traffic-free downhill, two of my bikes feel like they'd be up to it, and I think I would try to break 50 once and for all, and maybe 60, and....no. Nope. I think I'll stick to upping my average speed, and my distance, although that seems to be limited by a 5-hour seat time max these days.
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Old 04-25-18, 08:08 PM
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Like many tandems, we've hit over 60 coasting. It takes a bit of getting used to. Over 55 on my single, steeper hill.
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Old 04-25-18, 09:10 PM
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I've gone over 50 a few times. Nice new blacktop, nice long rural downhill, starts off with a nice slightly downhill before the bottom falls out. Pedaled for all I was worth, and I got the Strava crown! Held it for a while, till someone beat me by a second.
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Old 04-25-18, 09:29 PM
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A tandem rolling downhill was my fastest.
55mph.
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Old 04-25-18, 10:56 PM
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All my fastest measured times are very recent, mostly the past month due to unusually brisk winds from various directions. Helps snag some personal bests on segments where I'm normally a slug.

We don't have any long steep hills, so most of the KOMs on downhills by the strongest local riders are around 44 mph. I can manage that only briefly on peak efforts. So far I haven't averaged 40 mph on any local downhill.

Looks like my fastest over a couple of -2% and -3% downhills over 1.5 miles or so are 32 to 36 mph, with peaks over 40 mph. All with tailwinds. Pedaling until I was close to being spun out.

With my road bike's 52/13 top gear I'm getting a bit wobbly at 120 rpm. I've pushed faster, closer to 130-140 rpm but it feels really sketchy above 40 mph peaks. I've only been wearing clipless since early February so my technique might improve a bit. But I'd be more comfortable with something like a 52/12 or 11 top gear and cadence closer to 110.

With headwinds on other days my speeds are typically half that on those same segments. On neutral wind days I split the difference, around 20-25 mph depending on effort.

I've cracked the top ten on a few tough local Strava segments, which surprises me. All tailwind assisted, of course, but so are almost all Strava KOMs/QOMs and top tens everywhere. You can check the Weather Underground archives against the dates/times for other cyclists and see most of them are tailwind assisted. There are degrees of assistance and I'd estimate my efforts are very heavily tailwind assisted, while some very strong local amateurs and pros got relatively little tailwind assist. In a weighted scale, a local woman pro would hold many KOMs because her top tens were under far more demanding conditions.

While the fast downhills are fun I'm a bit prouder of the fast climbs. Also tailwind assisted. But climbs have always been my nemesis and cracking the top ten on those very tough segments is encouraging.

But to be honest I do a lot of cherry picking. I check the wind reports before every ride and choose my route based on the tailwind advantage for segments where I want to improve my times. And to conserve energy I loaf against headwinds. So my overall average speed is much slower than the folks I've "beaten" on some Strava segments. That's because they ride steadily, while I sprint like mad until my eyes are bleeding, then loaf between sprints until I can breathe again. In group rides with those same folks I'm always lagging way behind.

Here's my best longish run from March 19. Unusual conditions -- a steady 15-20 mph wind from the west, perfect for this 6 mile long undulating roller coaster segment. Usually our prevailing wind is out of the south, with many flip-flops from the north. Significant steady wind from the west or east are uncommon, and I grab those whenever they occur.

I was aiming for some KOMs along this segment but didn't quite get there. Had a 2nd place on one 2 mile segment, 6th on another, and top tens along the way on shorter segments. At the time the guy with the KOM finished the 6 mile route 50 seconds faster. I thought that would be tough to beat. Then a week or so ago a friend topped us both, snagging the KOMs and putting a 90 second gap between us. That's way out of my reach. Any tailwind strong enough to propel me faster would be dangerous, and he's a much stronger rider under any conditions.

But it was a blast, lots of fun. My lungs were unusually clear that day -- normally I suffer from asthma and exertion tends to constrict my airway very quickly. I was huffing and puffing toward the end segment with three consecutive short, steep climbs, but not completely spent. In retrospect I could have pushed a little harder, but I didn't trust myself that day.

I've had few faster continuous downhills since this video, but none over this distance and with roller coasters with intermittent short, steep climbs.

I'm looking forward to tackling this route again. I've made a couple of bike tweaks -- swapped the sticky Suntour rear derailleur for a smoother running Shimano; replaced the front 700x25 Conti with a 700x23 Schwalbe -- so with the right conditions I could improve on this run.

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Old 04-26-18, 09:47 AM
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No.
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Old 04-26-18, 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Dudelsack
No.
Dudel is a man of few words. What he is saying is that at your age,

"Speed is NOT your Friend"
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Old 04-27-18, 07:09 AM
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I've topped 40 a number of times on long downhills. But it was mostly gravity, with a 50/12 capacity, it pretty much tops out at 40 mph as far as adding anything that could be called acceleration. Much above about 35 and I start thinking about "what if?" Fork failure, tire blow-out, chain break, spokes popping, bird strike...
At my age thrill rides at amusement parks no longer hold any appeal for me and I don't need a bike crash at 20 mph much less at a high speed.

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Old 04-27-18, 11:21 AM
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Many, many years ago I hit a long downhill on a ride from ME to CT. Took three days and was 300 mi. long. In any event, on this downhill I hit 53 mph. Was all proud and all until I thought about things like a dog running out into the road, then it was "WTF were you thinking?"
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Old 04-27-18, 11:44 AM
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I found a hill last year that pushed me to 50 MPH on my old Colnago Super. It wiggled and jiggled, and was a wild ride.

I have to head back there and try it on the Colnago C-40 which I hope is a bit more up to the task.
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Old 04-27-18, 11:47 AM
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The first time in the spring that I go out with bare knees and elbows, it's a bit intimidating. But I get used to it. I used to ride a motorcycle a lot. When I was learning on the moto, I was terrified at 60 mph. I got used to it. It's the same with the bicycle. Two wheels. human with endoskeleton. I once hit a donkey on the moto. I hit the rear brake hard, laid the bike down, and slid under him, wheels first. Both of us were OK. I've done the same thing on my bicycle with a car which suddenly pulled out in front of me and stopped. Both of us were OK other than a little blood on my leg and a driver whose eardrums were hurting. I wouldn't do that with a moving vehicle. We had a fixie rider here who locked up the rear and slid under a dump truck. He died. Brakes and good decisions are both real helpful.
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Old 04-27-18, 12:50 PM
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I back off on my DIY velo around the mid-40's. I like the speed, but it can be frightening in how fast it picks up speed, especially if I haven't been on it in a while. Or maybe I'm just getting more cautious year after year ...
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Old 04-27-18, 02:51 PM
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My wife has pulled away from me on downhills at over 40 mph on her fully loaded touring bike
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Old 04-27-18, 05:50 PM
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My "need for speed" is two-fold this year. I have a TT that is 6.5 mi. .long. It has a relatively flat 1 mi. Strava Segment along our Town Green. Last year I did the TT at 18.7 mph. Shooting for 19 mph this year. And, if I can find 5 seconds I can do that Strava segment at 25 mph. Here we go.......
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Old 04-27-18, 06:16 PM
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Tomorrow Iím riding the route with a friend that has the same year and model Cdale Criterium Series. This should be interesting. Iíll try to top out the 53/12 before the real steep part.
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Old 05-03-18, 07:16 PM
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I suggest all of you come to Florida for a ride. With no hills, 25 mph feels like it's screaming fast. I've hit 30 going down a bridge and was terrified.
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Old 05-03-18, 08:54 PM
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North Georgia has hills.

54.4 MPH in a duathlon about 15 years ago was my highest recorded speed and I hit 51 descending a mountain last fall.

This past Wednesday night I hit 43 MPH on a local hill.

Yep, we got lots of hills.


-Tim-
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Old 05-04-18, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood
Dudel is a man of few words. What he is saying is that at your age,

"Speed is NOT your Friend"
Which is an attitude I hope to never adopt.

"At my age" is not in my vocabulary.
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Old 05-04-18, 06:20 PM
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Come out to Lake Tahoe where is easy on several hills in the area to hit 50MPH plus. It is possible to hit 65 MPH on the east side descent of Monitor pass on Hwy 89.
High altitude, high temperatures, and low humidity equal thin air. (That is why several hour record attempts have been made in Mexico city.) Hit the right weather conditions on the five mile Sierra downhills and it is all fun and games. Well, until you hit a pebble at 55.
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Old 05-04-18, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by LAJ
Which is an attitude I hope to never adopt.

"At my age" is not in my vocabulary.
There it is.
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Old 05-04-18, 10:12 PM
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I hit 63mph on the downside of High Point NJ back in my crazy youth with a leather strap helmet and 52/13 on my Guerciotti. Speed stops being fun when you realize that you only have SO much control when there's just 1/4 inch of rubber on the ground, unexpected hazards in the road, or unanticipated mechanical malfunctions. Experiencing once was satisfying enough for me. Unlike a car, I am not wrapped in metal...
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Old 05-05-18, 03:01 PM
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This British Lad has his own approach to a speedy bike....

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