Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

Things that suddenly make you faster or slower

Road Cycling ďIt is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.Ē -- Ernest Hemingway

Things that suddenly make you faster or slower

Old 09-17-20, 09:35 AM
I eat carbide.
Psimet2001's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Elgin, IL
Posts: 21,627

Bikes: Lots. Van Dessel and Squid Dealer

Liked 1,308 Times in 561 Posts
There is something to the temp. I have known riders that really don't perform well unless it's hot. The hotter the better for them. Personally I always raced better in the spring and the fall. Early season races and then late races into cyclocross. I figured out after many years that 50's/60's are perfect for me.

It also mean that every year for Superweek in July that I'd be dying right when other riders were reaching peak fitness and enjoying the heat.
PSIMET Wheels, PSIMET Racing, PSIMET Neutral Race Support, and 11 Jackson Coffee
Podcast - YouTube Channel
Video about PSIMET Wheels

Psimet2001 is offline  
Old 09-17-20, 09:42 AM
Senior Member
noodle soup's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 8,922
Liked 1,882 Times in 998 Posts
Originally Posted by Psimet2001
There is something to the temp. I have known riders that really don't perform well unless it's hot. The hotter the better for them. Personally I always raced better in the spring and the fall. Early season races and then late races into cyclocross. I figured out after many years that 50's/60's are perfect for me.

It also mean that every year for Superweek in July that I'd be dying right when other riders were reaching peak fitness and enjoying the heat.
I get really slow below 60F, and the best temps are 70F-100F
noodle soup is offline  
Old 09-17-20, 09:53 AM
your god hates me
Bob Ross's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 4,602

Bikes: 2016 Richard Sachs, 2010 Carl Strong, 2006 Cannondale Synapse

Liked 1,335 Times in 730 Posts
Originally Posted by Psimet2001
Adequate recovery.



Also: cocaine
Bob Ross is offline  
Likes For Bob Ross:
Old 09-17-20, 11:34 AM
Full Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 230
Liked 57 Times in 36 Posts
Originally Posted by TMonk
smooth pavement on the TT bike.
I should've mentioned that as another possible explanation. Some stretches of my ride have been newly paved. That's a gift to bike riders.
CoogansBluff is offline  
Likes For CoogansBluff:
Old 09-17-20, 01:12 PM
MUP World Champ
adamhenry's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Oceanside, CA
Posts: 419

Bikes: '19 Trance 3, '17 Defy Adv 2, DK Legend, Electra Verse 21D

Liked 33 Times in 24 Posts
Wind has a large affect on my cycling speed. On an out and back trip, I will be quick going downwind and equally slow coming back upwind.
adamhenry is offline  
Old 09-17-20, 09:55 PM
vespertine member
wipekitty's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Land of Angora, Turkey
Posts: 2,476

Bikes: Yes

Liked 220 Times in 163 Posts
Dewpoint and temperature, for sure. If the dewpoint gets around 70, my speed drops. Somewhere around 30-40 is nice, even if the actual temperature is warmer. I think there's also a certain headwind/tailwind speed that is ideal, but I'm not sure what that is.

Other times, it's just my mood: I get in a mood where I need to ride. My fastest ever solo effort was when I was super ticked off about something. I remember being cranky, getting in an anger flow, and really letting it rip.
wipekitty is offline  
Old 09-18-20, 04:34 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: SW Ohio
Posts: 2,441
Liked 1,863 Times in 897 Posts
What suddenly makes me faster?
Taking all data logging devices, of any kind, off my handlebars.

What suddenly makes me slower?
Putting them back on and seeing the truth.
nomadmax is offline  
Likes For nomadmax:
Old 09-18-20, 08:06 AM
Senior Member
Andy Somnifac's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1,297

Bikes: Too many.

Liked 174 Times in 86 Posts
I think that getting hit by a car would suddenly make you faster followed by a sudden deceleration.

Andy Somnifac is offline  
Old 09-18-20, 08:13 AM
Full Member
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 383
Liked 142 Times in 83 Posts
On our first club ride after lockdown restrictions eased, myself and the two friends I was riding with managed to do our fastest lap (my club has a set Saturday morning route) by a long margin. Even though we had been riding together in our own little bubble once we were allowed to meet up with friends again, just the excitement of being out on a club ride carried us along.
rivers is offline  
Old 09-18-20, 09:26 AM
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 42
Likes: 0
Liked 19 Times in 13 Posts
Proper nutrition.

I did a 40 mile and my body just failed, ate like crap for days before and only drank water.

A week later I did a 60 mile and felt great. Ate a good meal the night before, Nuun in the morning, Tailwind and Clif bars during the ride. Massive difference.
scutchin is offline  
Old 09-18-20, 09:35 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 571
Liked 234 Times in 155 Posts
I find I ride much, much slower when I'm actively having a heart attack than when I'm not.
RGMN is offline  
Old 09-18-20, 10:38 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Cali
Posts: 118

Bikes: Litepseed Catalyst Neutral Support Bike, La Pierre Spicy Team, Mercier Kilo TT, Cannondale Multisport2000, Goffa BMX, Haro Dave Mirra Freestyle

Liked 21 Times in 12 Posts
I pretend there are zombies chasing me....HA

But personally, well inflated tires, cooler temps, and a well lubed/tuned drivetrain make a world of a difference for me.
oleg232000 is offline  
Old 09-18-20, 12:41 PM
Newbie racer
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 3,406

Bikes: Propel, red is faster

Liked 1,571 Times in 974 Posts
The CRR of rougher country roads on the TT bike are easily 1mph slower sometimes. The routes closer to home by the lake are hillier, so should be slower. But the avg speed isn't much lower due to much better pavement.

If you can hear the tires on the pavement whirrr....yeah, not quick. There's a single 1 mile long strip of new pavement on the country road near work I do TT workouts on. When I hit that fresh patch, it's sometimes a gear change depending what cadence I'm already at. The pavement change is a solid difference.

Another........ where the downhill parts lead seamlessly into the next uphill. The momentum saved there greatly influences the speed. As opposed to the cursed sharp corner or stop sign right at the bottom of a downhill and the subsequent slog uphill after stopping.
burnthesheep is offline  
Likes For burnthesheep:
Old 09-19-20, 02:59 AM
Experienced Oldie
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Utah
Posts: 12

Bikes: 3 (commuter bike, racing bike, and mountain bike)

Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
dogs are highly motivating

Originally Posted by znomit
Rabid dogs
So true. I had 2 Rottweilers come after me with fangs showing, before I even knew what a Rottweiler was, but I didn't stick around to see if they would actually bite.
oldernwiser is offline  
Old 09-19-20, 04:31 AM
Experienced Oldie
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Utah
Posts: 12

Bikes: 3 (commuter bike, racing bike, and mountain bike)

Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Experience of 50+ years

Originally Posted by CoogansBluff
The past couple of solo rides that I've made (30-35 miles), I've found myself going significantly faster. And while the purpose of riding isn't speed improvement, I'm still always curious as to what causes the ups and downs.

So, which of these things probably made the most difference?

-It was 75-80 degrees vs. 90-95 degrees and humid.
-In a good mood, eager to ride with nothing on my mind
-Tires inflated to 105 instead of 95 (I've gained a little weight to 210 and wondered if I'm squishing the lower-pressured tires)
-Got my gear lever fixed (wasn't always getting crisp gear changes going up hills)
-Got my chain lined up where it's quieter, not rubbing against something.

And what sort of things affect why you find yourself going faster or slower on a given day? Ever had a repair or bought something new (ie, tires), or tinkered with tire pressure and suddenly noticed a difference?
For me the temperature is not the reason, as my best record was set at 95 degree temperature. I attribute this to what I ate. I puposely tried something healthy that I grew. It seems to double my endurance, but in this case I noticed I did not feel the heat as well. Yes!!

Other factors that I noticed a difference:
Sleep -(huge) in that is giving your body a few days to recoupe, like running a marathon, don't expect to do something really hard after burning so many calories the day before. Example. I did a 40 mile round trip through an elevation gain of 4,000 feet to 8,000 feet above sea level. I thought it was not easy. I went across another mtn. pass, with a friend, a few months later, that the summit was 9300 feet above sea level. Basically it was 50 miles from my house to the summit and I burned 5,000 calories to get there, let alone coming home. The next Saturday , a week later, I tried the first summit that I mentioned that only went to 8,000 feet. It was like " a piece of cake". I couldn't believe how easy it was.
4 hrs sleep before a big race just doesn't cut it, it is not enough, as I discovered.
Now to mention a few other factors.
This includes hydration, cannot be over stressed. I use Dr. Guerrero's formula that triples your endurance in athletes. I passed this formula to a friend who runs 150 miles through Death Valley in June (crazy) temperatures even when running at night were not below 95 degrees. He reported to me that he really noticed a difference and it also helped him from getting delirious, like other Death Valley runs he had done before.
My daughter at 4 years old , rode her little 1 speed bicycle with 10 inch wheels ? about 13 miles? Amazed my wife and I, because the most she had done before was a few blocks around the house. I noticed later , that when we ate my homemade multi grain cereal she had lots of energy. When she had just eggs for breakfast all she wanted to do was go a few blocks and she was done.
Equipment ​​​​​​- I noticed at least a two mile an hour difference when I bought my new Fezzarri bike where I had to clip my feet into the pedals. My joy riding up hills also increased when I was able to use more and different muscles as I was able to crank on the upstroke as well as the normal downstroke. Besides being lighter, this made a huge and an immediate difference.

As you mentioned, Tire pressure makes some difference, also your attitude and energy before starting. Keeping a bike tuned up increases my joy in riding. I love a quiet well oiled machine, especially no squeeking. (Ha,ha) On that note, I have been running a new chain oil that is the best stuff on the market. Probably should make a separate post about it. (No chain noise, best lube I have ever used, applied once a year ago, no mess, no plastics, waxes, or silicone).

Last edited by oldernwiser; 09-19-20 at 04:34 AM.
oldernwiser is offline  
Likes For oldernwiser:
Old 09-19-20, 09:51 AM
Full Member
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: SGV SoCal
Posts: 251

Bikes: 2013 Wilier Gran Turismo, 1983 Trek 760, 80's Colnago Super, 90's De Rosa SLX, 2009 Waterford 22 Series Singlespeed, 85 Medici Pro Strada, De Rosa Alumino frameset, Dave Molten Fuso frameset, 70's beater Peugeot PX10, Zizzo Liberte, 2022 Yoeleo R12

Liked 200 Times in 92 Posts
Heat definitely affects me. Above 85 degrees or so my heart rate jumps 10 bpm higher than normal over the same course and Iím riding at 85-90% of max heart rate instead of 75-80% or so. I donít have as much energy to push harder and faster in higher temperatures and I donít try since I was diagnosed with AFib years ago, but not on any medication. Iím surprised to hear some say they ride faster in the heat.
momoman is offline  
Old 09-19-20, 06:17 PM
Super WW
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY (state)
Posts: 669

Bikes: A really light one and a really heavy one.

Likes: 0
Liked 43 Times in 15 Posts
Getting your position dialed in so you're properly balanced on the bike. I've never experienced anything like it.
cyclebycle13 is offline  
Old 09-19-20, 06:54 PM
Senior Member
noodle soup's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 8,922
Liked 1,882 Times in 998 Posts
Using bad tires with stiff casings(like Gatorskins) will definitely slow you down. If thorn punctures are your main source of flats. tubeless is going to be smoother, and likely faster.
noodle soup is offline  
Old 09-20-20, 01:51 AM
Me duelen las nalgas
canklecat's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 13,513

Bikes: Centurion Ironman, Trek 5900, Univega Via Carisma, Globe Carmel

Liked 2,807 Times in 1,803 Posts
Besides bike prep and conditioning, for me the biggest factors are wind and my health. I'm a tailwind mooch. With an auto-immune disorder and screwed up endocrine system, I can't handle hard efforts in heat anymore. And with a screwed up neck (busted up C1-C2) it's hard to hold an aero position for long.

My bikes haven't made much difference, other than the rare occasions when I've tried aero bars. My speeds are about the same whether it's on a 24 lb steel bike or sub-20 lb carbon fiber bike. We don't have enough long, serious climbs for the weight to matter. But if I can get and hold an aero tuck, I'll be faster.

Most of this summer my heart rate would hit 130 bpm just coasting downhill from my home to the nearest turnoff toward my favorite cycling route. My max HR is 173 and I'd come close to pegging on the first climb, regardless of effort.

But Saturday evening the autumn temperature was in the low 70s and I barely cracked 130 bpm on climbs and averaged 116 bpm on an easy paced ride. The same effort a month ago when the temp was over 100F, my HR would average 150-160.

With a lower heart rate I have a lot more overhead to push harder. That's confirmed looking at my data the past couple of years -- my fastest speeds/shortest times on the same routes are always in spring, autumn, and on rare occasions an unusually cool summer morning or evening. In summer I'm just treading water, not making any improvements.

I've discounted the strong wind effect that's common here in spring because my routes tend to be equally affected by headwinds and tailwinds. My fastest rides are usually in neutral wind conditions. On days with strong winds I may have some unusually fast segments with tailwinds and even crack a Strava top ten, but I'll be a slug on the return trip while the genuinely strong riders are holding their averages.
canklecat is offline  
Old 09-20-20, 05:19 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 1,365
Liked 125 Times in 58 Posts
Loose dogs make me faster. Sometimes not fast enough.
billyymc is offline  
Old 09-20-20, 03:06 PM
Senior Member
walnutz's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: ATX
Posts: 637

Bikes: CO-OP ADV 3.1 aka Beeftank (stolen, RIP), State All-Road

Liked 144 Times in 75 Posts
Seeing a lot of people post here about higher tire pressure making faster. Can anyone explain this to me?
walnutz is offline  
Old 09-20-20, 03:59 PM
Experienced Oldie
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Utah
Posts: 12

Bikes: 3 (commuter bike, racing bike, and mountain bike)

Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Tires speed and pressure

Originally Posted by walnutz
Seeing a lot of people post here about higher tire pressure making faster. Can anyone explain this to me?
for me, I don't notice much difference in 5 lbs , but when I am in a hurry to get to work and I am running at 80 lbs instead of 100+ then yes I definitely notice a difference. I used to run 120 for a bike race, because as the heat from rhe asphalt and the summer sun temperatures are hard on the rubber and the tires seem to deteriorate faster as the tire flexes more over irregularities in the surface of rhe road. I also seem to be less prone for getting a flat even from goat horn stickers. This last year for example I rode all year mostly on my commuter road bike without a single flat, then this last week I had 4 flats, only two of which were from goat heads go figure.
I run tires that are rated to 125 lbs, but I found that when I run them at 100+ they last longer. Two nights ago, one of my tires separated from the heat and pressure and blew a hole in tire and tube. To answer your question, look at car tires, the fat wide tired car gets less gas mileage because it takes more effort, but if you need more surface area for more friction, then wider is better. When I ride my mountain bike it seems I go half the speed with twice the effort over the 23C s or even 25c's that I am currently running on my road bike.
When I ride in rhe snow and ice during the winter for fresh snow and ice, to my surprise i prefer the 23c s because they cut through the snow and ice better especially steering is important and I always get into trouble when my front wheel starts sliding around like it does on the mountain bike after the tread picks up and holds onto the snow. (No steering snowball on snowball) I usually weigh about 185 lbs with my backpack loaded with gear and food and whatever I need for the day at work so tire pressure for that amount of weight is very important. Now when I ride in a race without a 30 lb backpack on especially going uphill, I feel light as a feather, so I can't tell you what difference 5 lbs make. When the snow is crunchy and lots of frozen car ruts I prefer the softer ride of a mountain bike tire.

My best suggestion is try it out for yourself and see what you think, and draw your own conclusions. Psychologically it will make a bigger difference than what a salesmans pitch will.

Last edited by oldernwiser; 09-20-20 at 04:10 PM.
oldernwiser is offline  
Old 09-20-20, 04:40 PM
Senior Member
dmanthree's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Northeastern MA, USA
Posts: 1,683

Bikes: Garmin/Tacx Bike Smart

Liked 296 Times in 193 Posts
Lose weight.

Well, that and proper diet, and the usual exhaust, recover, repeat.
dmanthree is offline  
Old 09-20-20, 06:18 PM
Packers Fan
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Orange County, Ca
Posts: 140

Bikes: 2010 Roubaix Expert

Liked 60 Times in 30 Posts
Carbon fiber everything. Adds horsepower to the bike, which is proven science.

I'm working on carbon fiber socks, patent pending. I figure they'll be worth 1.21 gigawatts over the course of an hour, allowing the rider to hit 88mph and travel back in time.

Also, I feel that, like others have mentioned, planning ahead a couple hours in the nutrition department makes a big difference. My endurance and energy are quite a bit better when I've properly hydrated, done the electrolyte thing, and had some carbs before a long ride.

And, of course, keeping fueled.

And the tailwind, obviously. Yeah.

But really, it's all down to carbon fiber.
SVTNate is offline  
Old 09-20-20, 06:45 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 18,138

Bikes: 2 many

Liked 323 Times in 169 Posts
Caffeine and proper hydration.
2manybikes is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Your Privacy Choices -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.