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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 11-10-22, 01:15 PM
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IF Increase speed is important, what would you do?

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?
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Old 11-10-22, 01:39 PM
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Fit and position on the bike.
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Old 11-10-22, 01:40 PM
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Cardiac stents.
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Old 11-10-22, 01:43 PM
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Are you having to deal with declining ability as you age? That's life and you'll have to deal with it at some point. In most competitions it should be about the competitor, not the equipment. But that doesn't seem to apply to some sports. The answer you are seeking can only be answered by you. You can work on your body, buy yourself some speed or even go beyond that. Maybe Low T treatments are in your future. See if you can get a TUE exemption. That should help you get faster. E bike could also help.

I remember a poster that no longer posts here that couldn't accept his declining performance as he got older. He could rationalize most anything if it kept him riding in the fast group.
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Old 11-10-22, 02:31 PM
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Sneak an electric motor into the bike somehow.

Without cheating, and this is what I’m doing, I’m forcing myself on to rides with more hills/climbs when outside, and will be cranking up the mileage on the trainer this winter. Off the bike, I spend a couple/few days in the gym doing some weight training and the other days I’m in the pool or running (outside when above 50*, on a treadmill below that) because I’m in tri training mode. A lot of my weight training is core focused, and then I sprinkle in other workouts for arms or legs or a combination.

A solid core is great for skiing, golf, and just about everything else. I’d be much further ahead if Ben and Jerry’s would go out of business though…
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Old 11-10-22, 02:35 PM
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Old 11-10-22, 03:01 PM
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What speed are we increasing? Average speed, the max speed you can obtain, the speed you can maintain for twenty minutes or some particular amount of time, or a speed you need to increase so you can PR on a particular climb or segment?
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Old 11-10-22, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
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?
​​​​​​Motor. Allowed if you're over 60.
​​​​​​
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Old 11-10-22, 03:08 PM
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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.
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Old 11-10-22, 03:22 PM
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Weight probably only plays a part where acceleration or climbing is a large part of the segment you need to increase speed on. However weight shouldn't be ignored for long rides since it's effects are cumulative for how much energy you'll have at the end of the long ride. Otherwise ride more goes a long way. As does some structured training if you can't do the ride more part.
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Old 11-10-22, 03:30 PM
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Anabolic steroids. Be like Lance he was the best technically.

Or a motor.
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Old 11-10-22, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
The key word above is IF. [...] for those that do, what are your strategies?
Lie down until the feeling goes away.
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Old 11-10-22, 04:44 PM
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Position on the bike is super important, having a strong base is also important, follow that with intervals and some strength training.
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Old 11-10-22, 07:58 PM
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I would pedal harder.
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Old 11-10-22, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
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?
Training is your best bet. It will increase both your physical and mental capacity, and it will take a long time to reach your maximum athletic ability (if you ever get there).

Drafting off of other riders will increase your speed.

Changing position, aero socks, tight cycling clothing, aero helmet, aero shoe covers, tires with low rolling resistance, HRMs are pretty cheap.

Professional fit and power meters are moderately expensive, usually worth it if you ride lots and want to improve.

Aero wheels and aero frame are expensive, especially given the relatively small benefits and occasional downside (e.g. aero wheels don't always handle well in crosswinds). I don't see much in them unless you're competing in something.

The bike's weight doesn't matter, unless you're literally doing a hill climbing competition. Being healthier is more important than losing body weight.

I avoid supplements. Their benefits are often exaggerated, and quality can be dubious. I'd recommend you stick to coffee.
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Old 11-10-22, 09:09 PM
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I feel if I were to increase my cadence I could pick up some speed. This morning I rode basically the same route I did yesterday but at an 82 rpm cadence instead of 70 rpm. Speeds were improved. but I really don't like thinking about what I'm doing as much as I like enjoying what I'm doing. And because my older bikes don't have cadence sensors, I would even have to think about it more.
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Old 11-10-22, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by bampilot06
Position on the bike is super important, having a strong base is also important, follow that with intervals and some strength training.
This is exactly the type of information I was hoping would appear.

There seems to be a common misconception that this is all about me. I was inquiring as to what others do for themselves. If you don’t do anything, that’s fine too.
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Old 11-10-22, 09:39 PM
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Once you've reached a certain point, (good base, position, decent bike), I think getting faster and going further are 2 different things. If you ride with faster people you will get faster, hopefully. If you want to do long distance you can bump your mileage over a period of time.

Train specifically for what you want to do.
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Old 11-10-22, 10:09 PM
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I would not go to far lengths.

I won't buy a lighter bike. I love my bikes and they are not the lightest, though not the heaviest. I have no interest in buying a lighter bike and definitely don't want to buy one that will save me 15 seconds over 100km at 40kph.

I probably won't buy lighter deeper wheels. Wheel weight is largely...meh when it comes to importance for me. My wheels also aren't heavy as it is and my road bikes are rim brake. All that adds up to deep carbon not being ideal for me. I said probably won't because I do think about it. Can't bring myself to spend $1k +/- for some wheels though. I don't think they would transform my experience and I don't think the gains would be worth the cost.

I for sure won't buy more aero clothing. That will just make me feel and look like a stuffed sausage. Why would I pay for that? My current cycling clothes aren't exactly parachutes.


What I would do is what I will do this winter- zwift and weight train. I was noticeably faster when I was 10# lighter. It wasn't so much the weight as a combo of weight plus strength and stamina that came from simply being in better shape.
So I'll do that this winter.
I can't out exercise my diet, but I am going to die trying!
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Old 11-10-22, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
This is exactly the type of information I was hoping would appear.

There seems to be a common misconception that this is all about me. I was inquiring as to what others do for themselves. If you don’t do anything, that’s fine too.

I do all the above, but the thing that made the most noticeable change over the shortest amount of time was adopting an aero position. I had people watch me ride to help guide me, as well as change the set up on my bikes to allow for a more aero position. One bike the stem is completely slammed, the other 2 have different amount of spacers under the stem, but each bike allows me to be in the similiar if not same position. I also shave my legs.
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Old 11-10-22, 10:25 PM
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#aeroiseverything
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Old 11-10-22, 11:09 PM
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My guess would be that the OP is interested in increasing average speed. Around here (PNW), that's all about climbing. 4-5 hour rides once a week, to exhaustion, hammering every hill, good pace on the flat, but a recovery pace. So Z4 and 5 on the climbs, zone 3 on the flat. Get so you can recover at that pace. Keep trying until you can do a ride like that, Be prepared to drag yourself along for the last hour or so. It'll get better, but it takes a couple years at least. "If you can still walk after the ride, you could have gone harder." Equipment is the least important thing. There are helpful supplements, but "supplements are a feather, training is the hammer." Although as I've aged, I use supplements more than I used to.

So the simplest thing to do is to find a group of endurance riders who are a little faster than you, and hang with them until you're toast. Being toast is the goal. The thing about group rides is that you immediately see what makes you faster. If you're riding near the front, you need a faster group.

That's what I did. Went from off the back to leading the group in ~7 years. I was in my late 50s-early 60s. At that age, didn't last long as group leader though.
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Old 11-10-22, 11:41 PM
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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.
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Old 11-11-22, 01:17 AM
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Assuming optimal conditioning for our age, etc., I've found only a few cost effective bits of gear that made a significant difference:

The most aero position you can hold on any bike. Probably matters more than the frame material, or even aero wheels, etc. Plenty of wind tunnel tests to show this on YouTube. Check Oliver Bridgewood's videos on GCN and his previous channel, especially his attempt at the one hour record. Ollie is the most relatable presenter on GCN because he's not a pro, never been a pro, never could have been a pro, but he's a strong recreational rider and an everyman type of guy.

Tires and tubes. Decent supple tires and latex tubes made a big difference to me in lower rolling resistance and, more important to me, comfort. If I'm comfortable I can hold an aero tuck longer.

Aero kit. A cheap knockoff of an older Giro aero helmet with face shield, and some affordable Pearl Izumi aero jerseys helped a bit as well. Supposedly even aero socks make a significant difference, although I don't know whether those have been compared to shaved bare legs and ankles in a wind tunnel. Full custom aero suit if your budget allows. But a helmet may be the biggest factor in getting aero, after the optimal position on the bike. Makes sense that the biggest body parts facing the wind -- torso and head -- would benefit the most from aero kit and getting the most aero tuck we can manage and hold for awhile.

Getting a position on the bike that I can hold for an hour without excruciating pain. Due to neck injuries and cervical stenosis I can't manage most aero bar positions longer than a few minutes at a time, but even those outdated, uncomfortable old school Scott clip-ons like Greg LeMond used in the late 1980s were good for a 1 mph boost even if I couldn't hold the position longer than a few minutes at a time before sitting up. Carbon fiber Profile aero bars were more comfortable and helped as well, but two years after trying those I can't handle that position for more than a few minutes either. This year I had to unslam my bar and stem and raised the bar to where it's only an inch or so below saddle height. It's much more comfortable and I can hold a reasonably aero tuck with hands on the hoods, forearms nearly parallel with the ground, longer than I could with the bar and stem slammed. So, for me, less aero is better because it works better for me. Maybe after a cervical spine ablation procedure later this year I'll be able to get more aero again, at least until the effect wears off.

Little things like a clean bike and chain, chain lube, etc.

But bike frame material or design? Nah, makes no difference in my rides. I have personal best times on Strava segments ranging from 1-6 miles (I don't pay attention to shorter segments) riding my 1989 Centurion Ironman steel bike, 1993 Trek 5900 OCLV (carbon fiber but old school standard tubing and diamond frame), and 2010 or so Diamondback Podium 5 with internally routed cables. Significant weight differences between 'em, but we have no mountains here. None of our climbs are long enough or consistent enough to matter. It's all rollers with lots of semi-steep but very short sprint-climbs. My best time on a favorite 6 mile time trial roller coaster segment is on my steel bike, from 2017, I think. Just a combination of perfect conditions and physical fitness. I haven't yet matched my 2017 conditioning, after a 2018 bout with thyroid cancer and getting hit by a car.

I've tried semi-aero wheels vs my favorite low profile old school climbing rims. No consistent differences.

I've tried various bar wraps, and no wraps, just bare handlebars. No consistent differences that might be attributable to aerodynamics.
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Old 11-11-22, 05:03 AM
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You can climb that hill faster with only one kidney.

Pro tip: Your left kidney is the heaviest.
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