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Increasing speed? stuck around 15MPH

Old 07-28-17, 11:23 AM
  #1  
tararogue
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Increasing speed? stuck around 15MPH

Hi all!

I've been a bike commuter for years (fairly short lengths, around 10-15 miles) but upped my riding length to about 20 miles a day 3-4 days a week. I also started racing this year, both gravel and track. On average, I ride about 60-80 miles a week.

When I'm trying to get base miles in and/or commuting, though, on my own, I CANNOT seem to get past 15.3-15.5 miles an hour. I once hit 16 on average on a 16 mile ride, but that was one time. It's so weird that I am literally always in that range no matter what I seem to try and do.

So, this may be a fairly silly question, but what have you found to be successful for slowly increasing your strength and speed?
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Old 07-28-17, 12:14 PM
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go clipless and lose any extra weight you don't need and amp up the effort. I never broke 15mph average (15.9mph was my highest) until I just recently went clipless. now my highest is 16.6mph, but I'm still new to clipless.

Last edited by xodondum; 07-28-17 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 07-28-17, 12:17 PM
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Join a local group ride. Many bike shops have regular rides, and perhaps there is a bike club in your area.
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Old 07-28-17, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by xodondum View Post
go clipless and lose any extra weight you don't need and amp up the effort. I never broke 15mph (15.9mph was my highest) until I just recently went clipless. now my highest is 16.6mph, but I'm still new to clipless.
I was clipless but do road clips now. MOAR POWER.
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Old 07-28-17, 12:20 PM
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I believe that is the same thing.

Originally Posted by tararogue View Post
I was clipless but do road clips now. MOAR POWER.
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Old 07-28-17, 12:22 PM
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in
ter
vals

.
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Old 07-28-17, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by xodondum View Post
I believe that is the same thing.

I always thought clipless was this:

And clips were this:

Maybe tomayto tomahto?
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Old 07-28-17, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by tararogue View Post
..upped my riding length to about 20 miles a day 3-4 days a week. I also started racing this year...
This, but more. More miles, lots of easy miles, some of them hard. For what it's worth, I don't race or ride groups very often, but if my weekly mileage gets under 100 I really start to lose ground, and I don't see much gain until I consistently have about 130 or more. 20 minute intervals, some hills, some long rides.
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Old 07-28-17, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by tararogue View Post
I always thought clipless was this:

And clips were this:

Maybe tomayto tomahto?
Incorrect. They are both clipless pedals. You race and don't know what toe clips are?
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Old 07-28-17, 12:29 PM
  #10  
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Those are both clipless pedals. Old school clips and straps look like this.

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Old 07-28-17, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by tararogue View Post
Hi all!

I've been a bike commuter for years (fairly short lengths, around 10-15 miles) but upped my riding length to about 20 miles a day 3-4 days a week. I also started racing this year, both gravel and track. On average, I ride about 60-80 miles a week.

When I'm trying to get base miles in and/or commuting, though, on my own, I CANNOT seem to get past 15.3-15.5 miles an hour. I once hit 16 on average on a 16 mile ride, but that was one time. It's so weird that I am literally always in that range no matter what I seem to try and do.

So, this may be a fairly silly question, but what have you found to be successful for slowly increasing your strength and speed?
To ride faster you must ride faster. (This is both a zen koan and training advice.)

2 time honored ways of riding faster are 1) find faster people to ride with, either a training partner or a group; 2) intervals.
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Old 07-28-17, 12:36 PM
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what are "intervals"?
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Old 07-28-17, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Incorrect. They are both clipless pedals. You race and don't know what toe clips are?
Welp, I'm super new, like new to racing this year, but way to sound super arrogant and condescending about it, dude! 'Preciate it.
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Old 07-28-17, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by xodondum View Post
what are "intervals"?
Doing repeats of alternating high and low intensity.

Like, if you sprint up a hill, and coast down it to recover, and then keep doing that over and over again, that's a form of interval training.
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Old 07-28-17, 01:01 PM
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good luck w your quest w/o injury

at some point don't we all reach our max & can not increase anymore? otherwise there would be cyclists going 100 mph, right? starting late in life, I increased as much as I could but then I had to accept where I wound up. my speed is my speed & it's not changing anymore. as I age my numbers will start going back down, if they haven't already. also, I accept that some ppl are genetically predisposed natural athletes. I do athletic things but I'm not one of them. I look at some of the guys that pass me with big legs & slow cadence & don't sweat. they always pass me when I'm feeling my strongest too. drats
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Old 07-28-17, 01:04 PM
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Dial up 400 watts.
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Old 07-28-17, 01:11 PM
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More seriously ... when you say you average 15 mph ... what and where? On a flat 15-mile loop? Up a hill? On a 30-mile ride? In a race? In a gravel race?

I am a fat old man who rides purely for pleasure. I know what intervals are (and how to be condescending--so I am ready to race! ) but I don't train. I ride to ride, to get an hour or two away from everything and just to ride my bike.

My speed has slowly increased over the span of a year or two just by riding ... I ride a little quicker or a little farther because I can as I ride more, and that just sort of progresses naturally. Just riding a few times a week has increased my capacity.

Unless you have some physical limitation, I cannot see why you cannot slowly get at least a little faster without even trying, and if you were to make an effort ... i don't get it.

Are you resting enough? Are you eating right? I find it hard to believe that you never get our of that very narrow range.
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Old 07-28-17, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by superdex View Post
in
ter
vals

.
^^^ What he said.
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Old 07-28-17, 01:16 PM
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Interval training can get super nerdy and specific, especially doing them to power targets, but essentially it means riding hard for a specified amount of time, recovering, and then repeating. Different intensities and length of intervals target different body systems, but generally the pattern of overstress-recovery-overstress-recovery produces a training response that will make you stronger and give you more endurance.
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Old 07-28-17, 01:49 PM
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I now know why (toe clips were a thing), but it took me some time to realize that clipless pedals are the pedals you clip in just not via toe clips. It's really bizarre branding from the outside looking in.
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Old 07-28-17, 01:54 PM
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am I the only who think that training to speed instead of power is a waste of time ? I can ride 15mph on the flat with a tailwind while in my sleep. Try to do the same on a head wind going up a 10% gradient hill and let's talk. Speed has been irrelevant to me for awhile now. I trained to power. I made significant gain on my climbing and overall endurance.
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Old 07-28-17, 02:39 PM
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This
Originally Posted by superdex View Post
in
ter
vals
.
Whenever I've plateaued I go back to interval training. Mostly one-half to hour sessions once or twice a week on the local roller coaster hills. Charge up the hills until my legs and lungs are burning and my body is shaking, then coast down and loaf-pedal for recovery. Later, rinse, repeat.

Sucks. Not fun. At all. But it works for me.

Or clipless. Most of my casual group riding friends have gone clipless the past year. I'm still on platforms, even on my road bike. They swear it helps. Some of them really are faster, but they're also riding more miles and harder than when we first began riding, so it's as much conditioning as magical shoes and pedals. I think they enjoy riding more with clipless, or they get a boost of encouraging placebo effect, so they ride more and harder. Whatever, it works for them.

I'll probably go clipless on my road bikes soon.
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Old 07-28-17, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by tararogue View Post
Hi all!
So, this may be a fairly silly question, but what have you found to be successful for slowly increasing your strength and speed?
I don't have power data to back up my impression, but ISTM that losing weight can make a dramatic difference in ave speed (I'm assuming constant ave power).

scott s.
.
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Old 07-28-17, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Symtex View Post
am I the only who think that training to speed instead of power is a waste of time ? I can ride 15mph on the flat with a tailwind while in my sleep. Try to do the same on a head wind going up a 10% gradient hill and let's talk. Speed has been irrelevant to me for awhile now. I trained to power. I made significant gain on my climbing and overall endurance.
Sorta. But the GCN folks did a video emphasizing the differences in techniques needed to consistently ride faster on flats, and that power training, intervals, hills, etc., won't necessarily translate to being faster on the flats without adapting to the different techniques.

I'm reasonably fast on flats even in wind since I'm fairly slim, but a slug on hills. So lately I've been focusing on hill intervals. But I've pretty much hit my limit with platforms. I can't spin efficiently fast enough without foot retention -- above 80 rpm I can feel my lifting foot slightly losing contact with the pedal. I used toe clips years ago but have resisted clipless. Time to get with the 20th century now that it's over.
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Old 07-28-17, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Sorta. But the GCN folks did a video emphasizing the differences in techniques needed to consistently ride faster on flats, and that power training, intervals, hills, etc., won't necessarily translate to being faster on the flats without adapting to the different techniques.

I'm reasonably fast on flats even in wind since I'm fairly slim, but a slug on hills. So lately I've been focusing on hill intervals. But I've pretty much hit my limit with platforms. I can't spin efficiently fast enough without foot retention -- above 80 rpm I can feel my lifting foot slightly losing contact with the pedal. I used toe clips years ago but have resisted clipless. Time to get with the 20th century now that it's over.
how can you truly measure your effort ? Power is the only way. Regardless of the interval, climbing and endurance training. Power is the only measure that effort regardless of attenuating factor like wind, temperature, road gradient...etc...

It is not a cheap investment but before you decide to upgrade your wheel or groupset, you should buy a power meter. Even if it's a left only Stages. It will change the way you look at cycling. Oh get some clipless already....;-P
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