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How to pace myself?

Old 06-06-19, 12:54 AM
  #26  
downtube42
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Continuous, even power is the goal if you're after maximum efficiency on a solo ride. Up hills, down hills, up wind, down wind. Use gearing to keep power output and cadence as constant as possible. That means on short climbs, others will pass you because they are upping the power through the roof. Sometimes you'll run out of gears on a climb, then you'll have to up the wattage to high levels just to reach the top. Do that only when you're exhausted gearing.. It is true that pedaling downhill provides less benefit for the energy burned, because wind resistance at high speeds is tremendous. But your physical performance will be better if you're continuously outputting power.

Note that most bike racing is different, because creating a gap is hugely important. Massive power expenditures are beneficial if they create a gap. Training for increased performance is also different; since varrying intensity is believed to be beneficial for improving strength.

Continuous even power, using gears to adapt to terrain and wind, never coasting,
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Old 06-06-19, 03:18 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by firebird854 View Post
Always save your energy for the hills and the headwind.
Actually, you've got it the wrong way round for headwinds. Lots of people do.

When riding into a headwind, relax and take it easy. Don't over-exert yourself. Leave something in the bank.

Then, when you get a break from the wind, ride hard.

Then relax again when you get into the headwind.

You'll feel better and you'll leave everyone in the dust.
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Old 06-06-19, 04:01 AM
  #28  
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I like using a computer and knowing how many miles I have left to ride

also do some experimenting cuz eventually I learned when and where I could exert myself more but also learned that burning up my legs was counter productive
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Old 06-06-19, 05:02 AM
  #29  
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Firebird had it basically correct in the first answer. To maximize speed over a given course it’s beneficial to apply higher than average power on hills and into headwinds. Ideally, the best strategy is to keep speed constant on a hilly course but physical limitations prevent us from achieving this.

How much extra power depends on the length and steepness of the hill. For example, going up a 7% hill for 10min you could go about 10% harder than your FTP and coast down the other side. Not much point in pedaling down a 7% hill. With shorter hills you can go higher than 10%.

Same principle applies with wind. On an out and back course you want to go a little harder into the wind and a little easier when the wind is behind you.

Lots of gory details (and references) here: http://sportscience.sportsci.org/jour/9804/dps.doc In particular, the section on pacing is relevant to your question.
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Old 06-06-19, 05:49 AM
  #30  
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Efficiency for "more speed" vs "longer distance"

More speed, for shorter elapsed time
--Aero on the flats
The biggest free speed increase is getting your bike is fitted so you can comfortably use the drops. (Well, getting much stronger would work, too.)

--Harder efforts on the climbs.
Riders can't make up time by going faster on the downhills. The time saved with hard efforts on climbs is significant.

For example: a hill climb and the same descent: A rider climbs at 6 mph for a mile, then descends the mile at a prudent 30 mph. 10 minutes for the climb, 2 minutes to descend, 12 minutes total. Even at an impossible 60 mph downhill, that's still just a 1 minute savings. Doing 8 mph on the climb instead of 6 saves 2.5 minutes -- that's a significantly harder climbing speed, though, around 20% more power.

--A once a week interval training ride.
Even an informal, shorter ride with very hard intervals and recovery in between. It probably doesn't matter how long the intervals are, either. This will boost your maximum power for the climbs, and help overall.

Longer distances

Like other posts said, it's more about steady efforts, avoiding "burning matches" and knowing your all-day perceived effort / heart rate / wattage.
Aero helps here too!
Training with longer rides to get used to the long saddle times.

~~~~

Aero
The required power goes up by speed cubed. See this old thread for the physics.

So, going from 17 mph to 20 mph on the flats, this calculator, taking the defaults with hands on the tops, says the power is 153 watts at 17 mph, 239 at 20 mph, 50% more power! Even a half mile per hour increase is significant, and takes noticeably more power.

From the same calculator:
Hands on the tops at 17 mph: 153 watts
Hands in the drops at 19 mph: 153 watts. Aero really helps.

Last edited by rm -rf; 06-06-19 at 06:19 AM.
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Old 06-06-19, 06:38 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post

So, going from 17 mph to 20 mph on the flats, this calculator, taking the defaults with hands on the tops, says the power is 153 watts at 17 mph, 239 at 20 mph, 50% more power! Even a half mile per hour increase is significant, and takes noticeably more power.
.
I just entered my values and environmental conditions and the calculator is way off for me (zero wind, flat, actual elevation, height and weights). I assume the wattage values are what you should average over the ride? or is it what it takes to get up to speed? If it's the average, it's telling me I have to sustain 320 watts for a 21 mph average speed. The actual solo measured watts for me is about 100 less than what the calculator says and that includes a little climbing and some wind.

Edit: I changed the value from hood to drops and the output is a lot closer to reality, as I do get pretty low on the hoods where my forearms are about parallel with the ground.

Last edited by jadocs; 06-06-19 at 06:43 AM.
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Old 06-06-19, 07:04 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
Don' just make things up.

Using the defaults at analyticcycling.com, a 165 lb bike+rider would coast down a
5% grade at 33 mph so a rider would have to brake to go 29 or 31 mph. That said, The rider would have to brake 105W to go down hill at 29 mph and 61W for 31. You could say that's an increase of 44W to go from 29 to 31. On the other hand for our rider to climb at 8 mph takes 280W and 394W for 11 mph. An increase of 114W. It looks to me like 44 is a lot less than 114.

You might also choose your work more carefully. This has nothing to do with efficiency. The word is speed. "When it comes to speed, it takes ... ."
I fixed it with my own example from Bike Calculator:
-5 and 150 watts speed: 31.4833
-5 and 252 watts speed: 33.47
6.3% change

+5 150 watts speed: 7.11
+5 252 watts speed: 11.12
56.4% change

I didn't think it pertinent to be 100% scientific considering I doubt the OP has a power meter and cares about watt difference, but apparently you do.

Also, if the goal is maintaining a high amount of speed for a given energy expenditure please explain how it is not a function of efficiency to spend said energy at the points where it would make the greatest percent change in speed along a given course. As the definition of efficiency in the context of physics is "Efficiency is a measure of how much work or energy is conserved in a process" I could argue that this method of energy application would increase efficiency by increasing speed for a lower total power output.
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Old 06-06-19, 07:10 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by firebird854 View Post
Also, if the goal is maintaining a high amount of speed for a given energy expenditure please explain how it is not a function of efficiency to spend said energy at the points where it would make the greatest percent change in speed along a given course. As the definition of efficiency in the context of physics is "Efficiency is a measure of how much work or energy is conserved in a process" I could argue that this method of energy application would increase efficiency by increasing speed for a lower total power output.
The proper definition of efficiency in the context of physics is work performed per unit of energy consumed. In cycling, work is done through the opposing forces of gravity, rolling resistance, and drag. If one increases CdA so the same amount of work is done against drag but at a lower speed, efficiency remains the same. The only time efficiency is relevant in cycling is when people pervert the definition to something else.
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Old 06-06-19, 07:19 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Actually, you've got it the wrong way round for headwinds. Lots of people do.

When riding into a headwind, relax and take it easy. Don't over-exert yourself. Leave something in the bank.

Then, when you get a break from the wind, ride hard.

Then relax again when you get into the headwind.

You'll feel better and you'll leave everyone in the dust.
No I don't have it wrong for the headwinds, here's another example produced using Bike Calculator:
154lb rider weight

10mph tailwind and 250 watts is 28.18 mph
10mph tailwind and 310 watts is 29.98 mph
6.38751% increase in speed for 60 watt difference

10mph headwind and 250 watts is 15.71 mph
10mph headwind and 310 watts is 17.39 mph
10.6938% increase in speed for 60 watt difference

Now, if you're in a race, you want to shelter in the pack during the headwinds, expending little energy, and possibly attempt a breakaway with a tailwind ergo "expending energy into a tailwind" and this is because drafting would matter less in the main group, making it harder to immediately chase the breakaway. Once established however, you would want to expend energy into the headwinds and hills accordingly.
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Old 06-06-19, 07:22 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
The proper definition of efficiency in the context of physics is work performed per unit of energy consumed. In cycling, work is done through the opposing forces of gravity, rolling resistance, and drag. If one increases CdA so the same amount of work is done against drag but at a lower speed, efficiency remains the same. The only time efficiency is relevant in cycling is when people pervert the definition to something else.
I'm defining "work" as a given distance for an amount of energy, sooooooo.... would I not produce more "work" e.g. "distance" for the same given energy expenditure if said energy is predominantly spent on hills and into headwinds?
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Old 06-06-19, 07:29 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by curttard View Post
Ok but what would I want to do? Keep heartrate in same range on flats as uphill? Get the bpm up on the climbs and let it go way down on the flats?
Bear with me on this as it is not a yes/no or true/false answer...

Keep in mind that heart rate is a measure of intensity.

The most useful metric for heart rate training is Lactic Threshold Heart Rate or LTHR. This is the heart rate above which your body can no longer supply sufficient oxygen to your muscles - you go into oxygen debt. You have likely felt this when you climb and your legs start to burn. LTHR is easily measured with a heart rate monitor and will give you an objective metric with which you can pace yourself.

To address your original question about how to pace yourself, once you know your "Threshold" heart rate, you can keep effort below LTHR and can theoretically ride all day long. This is very oversimplified and LTHR is most often used to set up zones. For example, Zone 1 is less than 81% of LTHR, Zone 2 is 81% to 89% of LTHR and so forth. You will hear riders talk about a "Zone 2" ride, meaning they are taking it easy (low intensity). Others will talk about a Zone 5 ride meaning they are performing workouts above LTHR (very high intensity).

Again, heart rate, LTHR and zones are an objective measure of intensity. It doesn't matter if you are on the flats or climbing or riding into the wind or what other riders are doing. If you know your LTHR and zones then you can back off when your heart rate starts to rise too high, when intensity is too high. For example, you can keep it in Zone 2 for the first half of a century.

The article below describes how to test for LTHR and set up zones properly. An expensive device isn't needed. I used to use a wrist based device and had my zones on a piece of paper taped to the top tube. It is better than guessing.

https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/j...setting-zones/


-Tim-

Last edited by TimothyH; 06-06-19 at 07:33 AM.
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Old 06-06-19, 08:12 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by firebird854 View Post
No I don't have it wrong for the headwinds,
Have you tried relaxing and riding easier going into the headwind ... and each time there's a break from the wind (a slight change in direction, a line of trees, etc.) going as hard as you can?
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Old 06-06-19, 08:31 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Bear with me on this as it is not a yes/no or true/false answer...

Keep in mind that heart rate is a measure of intensity.

The most useful metric for heart rate training is Lactic Threshold Heart Rate or LTHR. This is the heart rate above which your body can no longer supply sufficient oxygen to your muscles - you go into oxygen debt. You have likely felt this when you climb and your legs start to burn. LTHR is easily measured with a heart rate monitor and will give you an objective metric with which you can pace yourself.

To address your original question about how to pace yourself, once you know your "Threshold" heart rate, you can keep effort below LTHR and can theoretically ride all day long. This is very oversimplified and LTHR is most often used to set up zones. For example, Zone 1 is less than 81% of LTHR, Zone 2 is 81% to 89% of LTHR and so forth. You will hear riders talk about a "Zone 2" ride, meaning they are taking it easy (low intensity). Others will talk about a Zone 5 ride meaning they are performing workouts above LTHR (very high intensity).

Again, heart rate, LTHR and zones are an objective measure of intensity. It doesn't matter if you are on the flats or climbing or riding into the wind or what other riders are doing. If you know your LTHR and zones then you can back off when your heart rate starts to rise too high, when intensity is too high. For example, you can keep it in Zone 2 for the first half of a century.

The article below describes how to test for LTHR and set up zones properly. An expensive device isn't needed. I used to use a wrist based device and had my zones on a piece of paper taped to the top tube. It is better than guessing.

https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/j...setting-zones/


-Tim-
How are you translating the (I'll call it the 7 zone Training Peaks - zone 5 broken down to three subzones) to the 5 zones you see on a bike computer like the Elemnt Bolt? So for example, a user has his established zones in TP based off threshold HR and the zones appear as follows:

TrainingPeaks:

Zone 1: Recovery

Zone 2: Aerobic - overlap to zone 3 on a Wahoo below...and I assume you are speaking of this zone in your statement above, but on a bike computer like the Bolt it overlaps to zone 3.

Zone 3: Tempo
Zone 4: Sub Thresh
Zone 5a: SuperThresh
Zone 5b: Aerobic Cap
Zone 5c: Anaerobic Cap

Wahoo:

Zone 1: Easy
Zone 2: Fat Burn - have to be deliberate to keep it this low
Zone 3: Cardio
Zone 4: Hard
Zone 5: Peak
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Old 06-06-19, 08:36 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Have you tried relaxing and riding easier going into the headwind ... and each time there's a break from the wind (a slight change in direction, a line of trees, etc.) going as hard as you can?
Umm, no, into a headwind I get backbreakingly aerodynamic and push threshold power or slightly higher. If it lets up, or there is a break in the trees, I make sure I'm in my drops with my weight bearing down onto the handlebars so the buffeting winds don't force my aero-wheels to the side.

If you're sprinting when the wind lets up and taking it easy into the headwind you will go significantly slower, this can be proven easily with a power meter, speedometer, and the site windy.com or weather underground (for historical wind data). You could also use a tool like bikecalculator.com and enter positive/negative headwinds to see the varying speeds and necessary power output (like the example I gave you in my last reply).

If you really want to get technical, check out www.bestbikesplit.com, this breaks down precisely what power you should be aiming for for a given TT course, accounting for wind conditions and gradient. i.e. it will inform you to put out more power into headwinds and less power with tailwinds.

Also, considering I always run a dual sided crank based power meter, Garmin chest strap HR, and a Garmin 820 Edge GPS I can see very easily the effect my power output (increases and decreases) have into the wind and with the wind, and it aligns precisely with the examples I've showcased. It's actually glaringly obvious what sitting up, relaxing, and not trying does into a headwind... even if I sprinted with a tailwind...
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Old 06-06-19, 08:39 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Actually, you've got it the wrong way round for headwinds. Lots of people do.

When riding into a headwind, relax and take it easy. Don't over-exert yourself. Leave something in the bank.

Then, when you get a break from the wind, ride hard.

Then relax again when you get into the headwind.

You'll feel better and you'll leave everyone in the dust.
Within reason. If you leave too much "in the bank" on headwind sections you may find that you can never make that time back up on the fast sections, no matter how fast you take them.
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Old 06-06-19, 08:40 AM
  #41  
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Personally I go with real life experience.
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Old 06-06-19, 08:47 AM
  #42  
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This whole thing is going sideways. @Machka was 100% correct about duffing it into headwinds-- a headwind is not a hill, it cannot be defeated. There is no reward. The OP never asked about "power on a TT course" or any other tangential musings. The OP asked how to pace over longer rides for efficiency (which in this case means not wearing yourself down to the nub during a non-competitive ride) and most of the responses have come from pseudo-racers-- answering questions that haven't been asked. "Making up time?" Making up time from what, for what? This is in General, and it's not a race. No one should be talking about racing. Did people mistake that P for an R? Pacing, not racing.
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Old 06-06-19, 09:08 AM
  #43  
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To be fair, a PM is a great pacing tool (solo or in a group) if you know your threshold and zones if the objective is speed/distance. A lot of the stuff mentioned above are techniques and or strategies of when to ease up and when to push (can be variable based on rider or environmental conditions). Power is constant and yes there are techniques such as getting more aero to maximize it. A PM directly correlates to effort a rider can sustain given current level of fitness. There is no delay, or spikes if you drink coffee like what you can experience in purely going with HR. HR + Power will provide a better picture, but if I were to choose one or the other, I would go with power.
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Old 06-06-19, 09:13 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
This whole thing is going sideways. @Machka was 100% correct about duffing it into headwinds-- a headwind is not a hill, it cannot be defeated. There is no reward. The OP never asked about "power on a TT course" or any other tangential musings. The OP asked how to pace over longer rides for efficiency (which in this case means not wearing yourself down to the nub during a non-competitive ride) and most of the responses have come from pseudo-racers-- answering questions that haven't been asked. "Making up time?" Making up time from what, for what? This is in General, and it's not a race. No one should be talking about racing. Did people mistake that P for an R? Pacing, not racing.
OP asked how to be more efficient when cycling, specifically stating "if I could use less effort on my rides or the same effort but more speed or distance". I responded with the obvious answer of more power on the hills and into the headwinds and threw together a quick example on how this could be applied.

First, my examples got torn apart (as I didn't have time to get all analytical, and was simply providing the most obvious response) so I have since fixed them, to be accurate to the model on bikecalculator.com.

Then, Machka outright denied my claim of "more power into the headwinds rather than tailwinds", so I had to get more technical to prove my point, rather than just saying something like "it feels faster to do x", cause if I said that I can guarantee that would also get torn apart.

I understand you're under the impression that forum posts are just a QA with the direct OP, but that is often not the case, if it were, they would be able to select the "correct" answer like on Stack Overflow or Quora. This is a multi-sided conversation with varying levels of what peopled are looking to get out of it. Some appreciate a technically minded understanding of why they should do X to accomplish Y, some do not. Which is fine, we're all welcome to our views.

Also, if someone asks, "what makes me faster?" and you claim with no scientific basis that powering through tailwinds and coasting into a headwind does in fact make you faster, even though all actual scientific evidence would prove otherwise, how does that help anyone??

Just one more aside, this is literally advice on "pacing" not "racing" as I've mentioned previously, for "racing" you let others pull into a headwind and try to breakaway into a tailwind, but after this, you would go back to go hard into the wind and keep it easy with the tailwind.

Last edited by firebird854; 06-06-19 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 06-06-19, 10:09 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by jadocs View Post
How are you translating the (I'll call it the 7 zone Training Peaks - zone 5 broken down to three subzones) to the 5 zones you see on a bike computer like the Elemnt Bolt? So for example, a user has his established zones in TP based off threshold HR and the zones appear as follows:

TrainingPeaks:

Zone 1: Recovery

Zone 2: Aerobic - overlap to zone 3 on a Wahoo below...and I assume you are speaking of this zone in your statement above, but on a bike computer like the Bolt it overlaps to zone 3.

Zone 3: Tempo
Zone 4: Sub Thresh
Zone 5a: SuperThresh
Zone 5b: Aerobic Cap
Zone 5c: Anaerobic Cap

Wahoo:

Zone 1: Easy
Zone 2: Fat Burn - have to be deliberate to keep it this low
Zone 3: Cardio
Zone 4: Hard
Zone 5: Peak

Personally, I avoid zone 5 altogether by slacking, sucking wheels, hiding behind bigger riders, etc.

Actually, I don't train much in zone 5 and so I don't break it down into subzones. Subzones are useful to those with more focus but breaking it down into subzones just isn't that useful to me. I just try to be conscious of whether I'm slightly above threshold, way above or near max. That's good enough for the Saturday group rides and occasional gravel race where I place 197 out of 350.

Training peaks allows for several zone 5 sub-zones. I have them set up but again, for what I do I don't really see the need to pay much attention to it.


-Tim-
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Old 06-06-19, 10:12 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
The proper definition of efficiency in the context of physics is work performed per unit of energy consumed. In cycling, work is done through the opposing forces of gravity, rolling resistance, and drag. If one increases CdA so the same amount of work is done against drag but at a lower speed, efficiency remains the same. The only time efficiency is relevant in cycling is when people pervert the definition to something else.

While the term "efficiency" is used in a vague & sloppy way,

a 'proper' definition that has riding at 10 mph and at 30 mph equally efficient is useless.

I find analogy to automobile mpg to be helpful- going fast uses relatively more fuel, which is fine if the goal is to go fast.
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Old 06-06-19, 10:14 AM
  #47  
asgelle
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Originally Posted by woodcraft View Post
While the term "efficiency" is used in a vague & sloppy way,

a 'proper' definition that has riding at 10 mph and at 30 mph equally efficient is useless.
The term you're looking for then is fast or faster.
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Old 06-06-19, 10:27 AM
  #48  
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I use to use music at certain tempos to control my peddling and pace myself.
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Old 06-06-19, 10:29 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
This whole thing is going sideways. @Machka was 100% correct about duffing it into headwinds-- a headwind is not a hill, it cannot be defeated. There is no reward. The OP never asked about "power on a TT course" or any other tangential musings. The OP asked how to pace over longer rides for efficiency (which in this case means not wearing yourself down to the nub during a non-competitive ride) and most of the responses have come from pseudo-racers-- answering questions that haven't been asked. "Making up time?" Making up time from what, for what? This is in General, and it's not a race. No one should be talking about racing. Did people mistake that P for an R? Pacing, not racing.
OP's question, "same effort but more speed or distance".

If you can *never* make up time due to slacking too much in the headwind, then OP could not reach the same distance during the time interval.
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Old 06-06-19, 10:40 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
The term you're looking for then is fast or faster.
I think folks are often asking what is the best way to win the race, or accomplish the goal,

which could include riding position/drag, strength/training, nutrition, strategy, equipment, etc..

Maybe the french have a word for it.
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