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IF Increase speed is important, what would you do?

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IF Increase speed is important, what would you do?

Old 11-11-22, 07:00 AM
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wheelreason
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
IF Increase speed is important, what would you do?
Ride long steep descents.
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Old 11-11-22, 07:19 AM
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1. Follow a modern structured training plan, with adequate recovery (focused on your riding goals, age etc). Ideally with integrated off-bike strength and mobility training
2. Monitor your nutrition carefully.
3. Monitor your sleep carefully.

That's how you get faster IME, especially if you are not currently doing any/all of those things.
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Old 11-11-22, 07:29 AM
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Position, Training, Nutrition, Rest, Kit...IMO this is the order for performance improvements.
Good aero wheels offer the biggest increase of speed compared to the rest of your kit...but...there are some caveats such as they are a pain to get up to speed for the lighter rider, can be difficult in side winds...not "can", they are a b itch in side winds, dragging them up a climb is not a lot of fun.
I'm not knowledgeable about supplements but back in the '90's I experimented with Creatine for one racing season. I increased my weight by 5 lbs average...I went from 135lbs to 140lbs of muscle...my thigh size increased and my sprints became much faster with far more power. I was generally a top 10-15 in the normal crit in New England before my experiment. I moved up to top 5 and winning several crits and primes. I even beat some of the best sprinters in my category...Masters/cat 3 at that time...After one big win several opponents/friends came up to me immediately after the race and said "what are you taking". I told them Creatine and they laughed and agreed.
Down side it hurt my climbing ability. Dragging that extra weight hurt my finishes in races with a finish at the top of a climb. And it was expensive...yikes !
When that season ended I stopped using Creatine and went back to my normal body size/weight. It was an interesting experiment.
I did not change my training plan during that season.
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Old 11-11-22, 09:59 AM
  #29  
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I ride a fair amount, my bike is very nice and I am close to ideal weight. In my mid 60's and I think this is as good as I am going to get. Maybe with a very intense and structured training program, aero wheels and socks, I can get another few percent. But then it would be work, not fun.

If I could buy my way into the "A Group," I'd do it in a heartbeat.
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Old 11-11-22, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
... Previously I kept adding gears. What this allows is for you to ride a broader array of conditions in your preferred comfort zone.

I now have discovered single speeds. These may seem a quaint, backwater novelty to most but, what a single speed does for you is rip you out of your comfort zone. You either get strong or you don't go. The ride is much more varied. Light load & 130 cadence going down. 500 watts @ 60 rpm going up until you explode.

A single speed set your preferred cadence at your preferred speed & letting terrain dictate your level of "discomfort" can force a lot of adaption. ...
A corollary which is less "extreme" than riding a single speed: a narrower range cassette with a largest cog that is one cog smaller, e.g., going from 11-28 to 11-25.
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Old 11-11-22, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by bampilot06 View Post
Position on the bike is super important, having a strong base is also important, follow that with intervals and some strength training.
This is also something that people need to discuss or realize when they go in for a bike fit.

Too many seem to think a bike fit is all about comfort. However you can also have the fit be more about getting the most power to the pedals. And that trades off a certain amount of comfort. So compromises have to be made. A person doing a short time trial can put up with some more discomfort than a person doing a 200 km ride.

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Old 11-11-22, 10:52 AM
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done all of the above...
some works, sometimes... and sometimes not...
what works , every time... ride more often in a group with young riders, and wheelsuck like your life depends on it... works 100% of the time...
Ride On
Yuri
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Old 11-11-22, 10:58 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
A lot has been said in this thread. Aero means a lot. Position means a lot. Structured training means a lot. Equipment means a little.

While all these things are true, recently my approach has changed a bit. Previously I kept adding gears. What this allows is for you to ride a broader array of conditions in your preferred comfort zone.

I now have discovered single speeds. These may seem a quaint, backwater novelty to most but, what a single speed does for you is rip you out of your comfort zone. You either get strong or you don't go. The ride is much more varied. Light load & 130 cadence going down. 500 watts @ 60 rpm going up until you explode.

A single speed set your preferred cadence at your preferred speed & letting terrain dictate your level of "discomfort" can force a lot of adaption.

Now that I've the light, I'm never going to not have one in my stable.

Try it. You might like it.
My winter fendered bike is a 12 speed with a racing block. It doesn’t nearly have the gearing of my modern bike, so I really have to muscle the hills. I figure it is a good training bike since it doesn’t give me an easy out on a climb similar, but not too similar, to your fixed gear. Good recomendation.

Regarding a more aero position on the bike; I have had shoulder pain for the last two years which is pretty much resolved after doing strength training. I can hold an aero position longer with little discomfort which is a bonus.

I have also gained a significant amount of strength for out of the saddle climbs over the last two years as well. Previously a 10 second climb would hav me out of breath with legs burning, now I can hammer for 30 seconds until lactic acid kicks in, and I am nearly not so out of breath.
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Last edited by rsbob; 11-11-22 at 11:09 AM.
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Old 11-11-22, 12:52 PM
  #34  
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I care about speed and tick most of the boxes listed.

The biggest thing is training, sleep and nutrition where I don't do it perfectly, and generally every year I have a month to two when everything just falls apart (I'm going to call it an off-season, yep), but I try to improve, and the power curve is improving year on year. Doing ​​​​​​loosely structured training with mostly endurance and one to two days per week going beyond that, and a short weights session once per week... most weeks, at least. If I could shed a few more kilos, 4W/kg is within grasp and that provides a bit of extra motivation to eat clean.

Equipment I use is mostly optimized for speed. Aero clothing, already done. It's really a no brainer, a basic Decathlon road suit costs like 100 Eur and you can see the improvement, it really works, there is no comfort downside and it costs as much as a half decent bib and jersey. Low hanging fruit. Aero socks kind of struggle to stay up, tried it on races. Maybe the Silca ones which are more like a normal one? Don't know. Mitts without extra stuff on them, which maybe makes them more aerodynamic, but most importantly lack of velcro makes them not stick to other lycra when washing. Medium depth aero wheels. Cost a bit, but there's practically no downside to 45-50mm deep wheels which give most of the benefits, will probably buy deeper. Top shelf tires, too. Position is pretty aero and optimized, too - it is basically my forte, and I can really make a good effort to bridge a breakaway, although making one is... really hard. The net sum of it helps, but not as much help as I need to stick with the first group.

My bike handling skills are my biggest failing because I started riding late in life. Trying to improve, but sometimes I mess up. 🤷

Last edited by Branko D; 11-11-22 at 01:01 PM.
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Old 11-11-22, 01:15 PM
  #35  
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Things I've done:
1. Ride a lot more - the last two years I've done > 6000 miles, vs 1000-3000 the previous decade. I not only ride more days but also ride longer on the days I ride.
2. Lose weight - I lost 30# the first year of the Pandemic - calorie counting and a lot more exercise.
3. Optimize position - I was already doing pretty well, but a few mm of extra saddle height. Using a Smart trainer, I discovered I was able to put out higher power longer at that height.
3a. Set up the bars so the drops and aero hoods are useable positions, then practice riding in them for several miles at a time. Comes in handy for the summer headwinds here.
4. Keep pushing over the top on hills, instead of getting to the top and stopping pedaling.
5. Keep riding through the winter - for me, Zwift makes riding the trainer palatable, so when Spring comes, I haven't gained 20 lbs and lost all my fitness.

So, even though I'm almost 65, I'm faster now than I've been in a couple decades. Mind you, if I'd already done all of those, I wouldn't have had as much room for improvement
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Old 11-11-22, 03:10 PM
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Weight makes very little difference unless climbing, but the difference in weight between 'Bike A' and 'Bike A with a couple lightweight parts swapped in' is generally a miniscule overall difference.

Otherwise -
  • Maintenence (bearings in good condition, drivetrain cleaned and lubed)
  • Fit allowing maximum efficient power output
  • Aerodynamic Position
  • Tight/aerodynamic clothing
  • Good quality tires
I think these are roughly in the order of importance, but the order would change based on the individual. If riding faster, aerodynamics plays a bigger part, for instance.
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Old 11-11-22, 03:15 PM
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Re. Weight - I said above weight makes little difference, but I was referring mainly to trying to make the bike lighter. genejockey said they lost 30# of body weight - generally, losing weight off your body is more effective than taking weight off the bike because (a) many of us have more weight available to take off our bodies (hard to take 30# off a bike), and (ii) losing body weight is often accompanied by an increase in fitness.
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Old 11-13-22, 12:51 PM
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Have been a doing a bit of reading and video watching and it appears that the current approach toward training for most athletes is the ladder or pyramid. I keep running into this methodology which is contrary to what I have been doing, which is always push myself except when really exhausted then take it very easy. So now it will be zone 1-2 four days and do zone 5 two days and a rest day. Have also started measuring resting heart rate when I first awaken to determine if I may be overdoing it. Also trying, like today, to take a complete day off - except for weights, core and shoulders/arms. Have always resisted a structured program, but now is the time to give it a shot.

Did a heavy Zwift session the day before yesterday with an average HR for an hour and a half of 160, staying in threshold and tempo the entire time. Started feeling twinges in my chest which have since stopped. Had the same thing occur when I first got Zwift two years ago and went absolutely crazy pushing myself and ended up getting a EKG and other studies to see if I was damaging myself. All the results came back negative but didn’t like having those minor pains, so backed way off. Looks like running my heart that hard for so long is not a good idea as my body is telling me it is not happy so will moderate my efforts to either decrease duration or effort.
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Old 11-13-22, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Train with more purpose and planning, ride more, sleep more.

Buying more stuff should be pretty far down the list, but it's what most people will prioritize.
But that requires work. This is about buying more speed. Ha ha.

Eddy Merckx said, "Instead of buying more upgrades, ride up more grades."
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Old 11-13-22, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
The key word above is IF. For those who want to go faster, or even further with less effort, what lengths would you go to getting there?

Lighter bike, carbon aero wheels, lose weight, take supplements, do more leg and core work, run steps, buy more aero clothing, hire a trainer? All of the above?

I know there are plenty of people totally not interested in either going further or faster or both and I get that. But for those that do, what are your strategies?
Finding a long distance area that has the least impedance for riding in is what I would strategically strive for, but I think a concoction of supplements & non drowsy antidepressants would be more realistic.
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Old 11-13-22, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Have been a doing a bit of reading and video watching and it appears that the current approach toward training for most athletes is the ladder or pyramid. I keep running into this methodology which is contrary to what I have been doing, which is always push myself except when really exhausted then take it very easy.
A fairly consistent rule over the decades has been that you can't just do the same thing every time because the body learns to be efficient doing that one thing. Various programs have come out of that, and I have no idea what the prevailing one is right now since I haven't raced in many years, but you get the idea. It actually reminds me that I need to diversify my workouts more (and with intention) if I'm going to get back in shape.
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Old 11-14-22, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by oldbobcat View Post
Eddy Merckx said, "Instead of buying more upgrades, ride up more grades."
Where, when, and in what language did he say that?
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Old 11-14-22, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by RChung View Post
Where, when, and in what language did he say that?
Bingo. It's highly suspicious.

https://www.bikeradar.com/features/cycling-quotes/
"This delightful nugget is frequently attributed to [Eddy Merckx], which seems extraordinarily unlikely given that it’s distinctly American to refer to a climb as “a grade” and [Merckx] is a Belgian man who speaks decent English but isn’t famed for his anglophone wordplay."
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Old 11-14-22, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by RChung View Post
Where, when, and in what language did he say that?
From the book of cycling mythology. I've heard it so many times, but I never bothered to track it down.
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Old 11-14-22, 02:12 PM
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Get a good coach.
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Old 11-14-22, 05:14 PM
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I use a coach and do structured training.
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Old 11-14-22, 08:28 PM
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46 posts and everyone has missed the obvious answer: dial it up to 400 watts.
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Old 11-14-22, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
46 posts and everyone has missed the obvious answer: dial it up to 400 watts.
And drope the hamer!
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Old 11-14-22, 09:49 PM
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I feel for the OP.
I did not hit the genetic lottery either.
Acceptance is brutal in middle age.
At about 35 y/o, its been all downhill.
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Old 11-14-22, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Have been a doing a bit of reading and video watching and it appears that the current approach toward training for most athletes is the ladder or pyramid. I keep running into this methodology which is contrary to what I have been doing, which is always push myself except when really exhausted then take it very easy. So now it will be zone 1-2 four days and do zone 5 two days and a rest day. Have also started measuring resting heart rate when I first awaken to determine if I may be overdoing it. Also trying, like today, to take a complete day off - except for weights, core and shoulders/arms. Have always resisted a structured program, but now is the time to give it a shot.

Did a heavy Zwift session the day before yesterday with an average HR for an hour and a half of 160, staying in threshold and tempo the entire time. Started feeling twinges in my chest which have since stopped. Had the same thing occur when I first got Zwift two years ago and went absolutely crazy pushing myself and ended up getting a EKG and other studies to see if I was damaging myself. All the results came back negative but didn’t like having those minor pains, so backed way off. Looks like running my heart that hard for so long is not a good idea as my body is telling me it is not happy so will moderate my efforts to either decrease duration or effort.
You got that right. I'm 77 and that seems to be the maximum hard riding age for those who, for many years, did what you're talking about. You break the equipment is what happens. Bummer. Now I'm seeing the cardiologist, too. Sure was fun, though!

Right now I'm only doing zones 1 and 2, mostly 2, and going to the gym. Strength work is a big deal. I'm not in good riding shape unless I can deep squat my bodyweight or close to it. Then I'll add some Z3 "intervals" and then longer zone 2-3 rides. I won't do hard intervals or hard effort climbs until probably February. Base is the slowest thing to add and lasts the longest. High end comes up faster and goes away faster. You got your macrocycles, your mezzocycles, and your microcycles. Periodization works. I'm talking about ordinary trad training. I don't know what folks are doing now, but pushing hard, all the time only works for so long.

I should have started doing this progression back on October 1, but heart issues got in the way, so I'm a little behind and I'll have to compress things a little more than I'd like to.
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