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How fast do you descend?

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How fast do you descend?

Old 04-04-21, 07:16 PM
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My mom will not let me go past 40 mph.
She checks Strava and I am on bike restriction if over 40 mph.
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Old 04-04-21, 09:12 PM
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I don't feel comfortable doing 35 mph almost anywhere in the city. Our streets are 3rd world quality, I can't see far enough down cross streets, and you never know when a dog or kid will appear out of nowhere.

57 mph coming down Barlow Pass, that was great!
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Old 04-04-21, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
I don't feel comfortable doing 35 mph almost anywhere in the city. Our streets are 3rd world quality, I can't see far enough down cross streets, and you never know when a dog or kid will appear out of nowhere.

57 mph coming down Barlow Pass, that was great!
I have noticed that U turns are thing in Seattle. Right on Aurora Ave, drivers will just flip a U turn across three lanes.
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Old 04-04-21, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi
If there aren't any curves, I grab two handfuls of copper, get aero and let it happen.
Lol im too much of a coward to grab my copper when going super fast. I supertuck and keep my hands close to the breaks. my aerobar is pretty sketchy at high speeds because if I start sweating heavlly my arm can slip forwards which makes me turn (ie eat dirt)
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Old 04-04-21, 11:53 PM
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The faster you go the more you need suspension, but bikes with suspension really arenít that fast. Itís a mystery.

I believe the speed record for a bike without pacing is held by a guy in a skin suit riding a special MTB down a ski mountain. Someone will check me Iím sure.
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Old 04-05-21, 06:50 AM
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Depends on the road, if the pavement is good, and I have a good line of sight, I've done 55mph with zero pucker factor. On other roads, it'll feel sketchy at 40, just depends. But under decent conditions, I do 50+ pretty regularly.
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Old 04-05-21, 08:35 AM
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I did a few stupid fast decent 20ish years ago I am guessing near 60 from what other folks clocked, but these days I doubt I ever break 40mph. The payoff/risk ratio is just too low for me... and my ride is way less aero now, anyway.

If I want a DH adrenaline rush, I ride the MTB.
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Old 04-05-21, 09:20 AM
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Depends on many factors. Familiarity leads to the fastest descents, conversely, lack of familiarity keeps it in check; road conditions, unknown intersections, wet conditions. My bike is very stable but I have seen high speed wobbles that look very scary.
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Old 04-05-21, 09:57 AM
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When I was a racer-boy in my early 30s, bumping and grind at 30mph was no problem, neither was descending at 50+. My max. was 60 on a long wide-open descent during a race in Death Valley. That made me nervous. After being off the bike for 15 years, being over 50 years old, and having a much higher concern for my structural integrity, my nervous line has dropped to about 40mph. I've been to 50mph once recently, but it was definitely a stretch out of my comfort zone.

This was from my ride on Saturday morning...
I wasn't pushing to go my fastest, just enjoying one of my favorite descents. According to my Strava data, I averaged about 30mph in this section, with my max. at 38. For comparison, the top Strava times on this segment (set by brothers Cory and Justin Williams - US pro crit beasts) are about 10mph faster average speed.
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Old 04-05-21, 10:21 AM
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How about max drafting speed?

Some years back, a friend and I jumped behind a grain truck as it pulled out from a crossroad, and drafted as it accelerated. I made it to about 49+ mph before I couldn't spin fast enough, and my friend hit 50 mph before dropping off. We were 2-3 feet off the rear bumper the whole time.

Eric F : I find that sort of long, fast descent to be very tiring. Few a few years I did the Mt Evans Hillclimb race - 28 miles, about 7000 feet of elevation gain. The first year, one of the pro teams offered me a ride down -- they had an opening in a vehicle. I said, "Hell, no, I rode up and I'm riding down!" About halfway down, I understood why they went down in the team cars. Descending a winding road at high speed takes a lot of unwavering concentration.

Last edited by Koyote; 04-05-21 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 04-05-21, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote
How about max drafting speed?

Some years back, a friend and I jumped behind a grain truck as it pulled out from a crossroad, and drafted as it accelerated. I made it to about 49+ mph before I couldn't spin fast enough, and my friend hit 50 mph before dropping off. We were 2-3 feet off the rear bumper the whole time.
You need to use your little ring, like Dave did in Breaking Away when he was drafting behind the semi.

Originally Posted by Koyote
Eric F : I find that sort of long, fast descent to be very tiring. Few a few years I did the Mt Evans Hillclimb race - 28 miles, about 7000 feet of elevation gain. The first year, one of the pro teams offered me a ride down -- they had an opening in a vehicle. I said, "Hell, no, I rode up and I'm riding down!" About halfway down, I understood why they went down in the team cars. Descending a winding road at high speed takes a lot of unwavering concentration.
I don't have that issue. I love that zone of concentration, and the mental exercise of setting up your line and body position for a corner.
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Old 04-05-21, 10:36 AM
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Depends on my tires and the geometry of the bike I'm on. My Schwinn has a 72* HT and Paselas, so it becomes unsettled at above 50. Need more time on that bike. Maruishi has a 74* HT and wide tubs, so I've comfortably railed around corners at close to 50mph. Just depends on the bike.
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Old 04-05-21, 11:05 AM
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I was going 44mph down a descent when I saw something in the road up ahead. The item was blocking the shoulder and it didn't occur to me to slow down because I was planning on going around the item. As I got closer, I realize it was a railroad tie that had probably fallen off a truck. As I got near to pass the item, a huge truck was passing me on the left. I realize I couldn't go around it, so I bunny hopped it at 44mph. My back wheel hit the top, I wobbled pretty good, I saved it and stuck the landing. My heart was beating so fast after that close call. When I'm going over 40mph, I am always looking for what could possibly kill me.
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Old 04-05-21, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote
I find that sort of long, fast descent to be very tiring. Few a few years I did the Mt Evans Hillclimb race - 28 miles, about 7000 feet of elevation gain. The first year, one of the pro teams offered me a ride down -- they had an opening in a vehicle. I said, "Hell, no, I rode up and I'm riding down!" About halfway down, I understood why they went down in the team cars. Descending a winding road at high speed takes a lot of unwavering concentration.
Descending Mt. Evans is kind of a special case, because the pavement is really terrible. Unwavering concentration is required so you don't destroy your wheels.
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Old 04-05-21, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by scottfsmith
My eyes become a limiting factor at some point. I hit 40 on a hill today and they were tearing up too much and I had to slow down. I have prescription eyeglasses but I'm starting to see why all the pros are wearing those face wraps.

The road itself was straight, wide, perfectly paved, no cars etc so no real reason to slow down otherwise. The gyroscopic forces get higher the faster you go so it gets progressively harder to wipe out.. unless an obstacle suddenly presents itself.
Oh, yeah, wrap-around or sport sunglasses are the way to go. Crap, my eyes start watering at 20+ mph.

I remember hitting 45 on the old Dawes Atlantis, somewhere out in the San Fernando Valley, I think. High-30s is about where I sit nowadays, on old MTBs with 1.5 slicks.
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Old 04-05-21, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F

This was from my ride on Saturday morning...
https://youtu.be/ljln8FpJ2t4
I wasn't pushing to go my fastest, just enjoying one of my favorite descents. According to my Strava data, I averaged about 30mph in this section, with my max. at 38. For comparison, the top Strava times on this segment (set by brothers Cory and Justin Williams - US pro crit beasts) are about 10mph faster average speed.
Some years ago a guy at work started riding bikes and got a nice, light mtb. This guy had spent his life on 2 wheels, raced desert, a little motocross, etc., so he had the skill for mtb riding. He kept asking to go on a road ride with me so I told him we were going to GMR and he wanted to try it. We agreed that he would turn back if it got to be too much for him. My friends and I went to the village after dropping him on GRR and didn't think we would see him again. We started back down and he was still climbing, almost to Cow Saddle. He was out of food and water and looked beat. We gave him snacks and water and started the descent.

I'm not a fast descender but I can usually drop mountain bikes but this guy was stuck to my rear wheel all the way down to Sierra Madre. I was impressed with his handling skill. Better than a lot of roadies out there. I eventually did go mountain biking with him and he eventually got a road bike.
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Old 04-05-21, 12:08 PM
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I have occasionally hit just over 40mph on long/straight descents and that's good enough for me. I have little interest in pushing beyond that. Things start happening really fast at those speeds.

I have friends who did a ride with Christian Vande Velde about 10 years ago in Colorado. They were all worried about keeping up with him on the climbs, but he took it easy on the way up and then proceeded to put on a show on the descents. No one could keep up. 50mph+ is no big deal to those guys.
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Old 04-05-21, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote

Eric F : I find that sort of long, fast descent to be very tiring. Descending a winding road at high speed takes a lot of unwavering concentration.
I agree 100% for some roads but the one EricF posted above is actually pretty nice. There are some hard braking turns but it isn't one of those descents that wears you out. To me the worst ones are the bumpy broken pavement roads that make you wish you had a mountain bike. The ones that make my vision blurry.
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Old 04-05-21, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by big john
I agree 100% for some roads but the one EricF posted above is actually pretty nice. There are some hard braking turns but it isn't one of those descents that wears you out. To me the worst ones are the bumpy broken pavement roads that make you wish you had a mountain bike. The ones that make my vision blurry.
Yeah. I'm not such a fan of those, either.
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Old 04-05-21, 12:52 PM
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As others have already pointed out, it is entirely circumstantial. I've hit 58mph a couple times and would've gone faster if I could have spun my legs any harder...but those were on a road with very good sight lines and no traffic whatsoever. Felt perfectly safe and in-control. Conversely I've "felt unsafe" descending at 18mph...mostly because of the other asshats on bikes descending around me, and/or the road conditions, traffic patterns, weather, whatever.

Whether or not I'm wearing a helmet has zero bearing on whether or not I feel safe.
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Old 04-05-21, 01:00 PM
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My personal best is 67.7 kmh (42+ mph)

That was on a fatbike with a loose front QR skewer.

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Old 04-05-21, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz
Lol im too much of a coward to grab my copper when going super fast. I supertuck and keep my hands close to the breaks. my aerobar is pretty sketchy at high speeds because if I start sweating heavlly my arm can slip forwards which makes me turn (ie eat dirt)
I don't think I have ever exceeded 40 mph on my road bike. When Strava or Wahoo apps tell me that I exceeded 35 mph, I suspect momentary GPS glitches; the corresponding peaks on the graph look too sharp.

What is this "grabbing copper"? Will someone please enlighten me?
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Old 04-05-21, 01:45 PM
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my max was 52.8 but it didnt feel like it. That KOM lasted for 8 years on that particular decent
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Old 04-05-21, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz
Lol im too much of a coward to grab my copper when going super fast. I supertuck and keep my hands close to the breaks. my aerobar is pretty sketchy at high speeds because if I start sweating heavlly my arm can slip forwards which makes me turn (ie eat dirt)
Originally Posted by Chinghis
Oh, yeah, wrap-around or sport sunglasses are the way to go. Crap, my eyes start watering at 20+ mph.

I remember hitting 45 on the old Dawes Atlantis, somewhere out in the San Fernando Valley, I think. High-30s is about where I sit nowadays, on old MTBs with 1.5 slicks.
Even with wraparound shades, there are times when I feel like the wind may dislodge a contact lens.
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Old 04-05-21, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
Even with wraparound shades, there are times when I feel like the wind may dislodge a contact lens.
Ah, I can see that. I don't wear contacts, just have the plastic prescription inserts. But I'm pretty lucky, and my prescription is pretty weak.
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