Road Cycling “It 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.” -- Ernest Hemingway

How Fast do you Ride?

Old 02-26-08, 07:37 PM
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mkfmedic
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How Fast do you Ride?

As a new poster, and new road bike owner, I am curious on how I measure up?

A route I ride is approximately 15 miles one way, level with little in the way of elevation gain or loss. There aproximatley 26 underpasses on the trail to bypass roads and bridges.

I rode today at a steady pace on the outward leg and according to my computer, was averaging approximately 21 mph. The wind wasn't at my back, but was from the side and rear, so I imagine it assisted me. On the return leg, the wind that I assume was assisting, sure seemed to hinder. I returned with an average speed of 15mph. I've taken the last couple of weeks off to let a problematic knee work itself out, but I would consider myself to be in good shape.

I'm a big rider at 6'3" and 205lbs., 38 years old, and in addition to cycling I workout with jujitsu, running, and golf (I know, is it really a workout, but I walk and carry my clubs). I ride a Scott CR1 with 105 componetry and basic askium wheels. Due to a friend, I will soon be upgrading much of my componetry to DA/Ultegra and will be using Ksryium ES wheels. I have been told that the wheels will be a big improvemnt. But all in all, I doubt that they components or wheels make that LARGE a difference?

Anyway, I'm not interested in breaking records, just my own, but would love to improve and become the best rider possible for my attributes. I am hoping to ride from two to four times a week and would greatly appreciate any input on drills, riding suggestions or input on how the experienced riders in the forum train.

Thank you and I greatly appreciate any of your input.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 02-26-08, 07:39 PM
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By chance do you ride in Minnesota?

edit: jealous

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Old 02-26-08, 07:43 PM
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I live in Southern California, Huntington Beach in paticular. It was a beautiful day for a ride today!

Mike
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Old 02-26-08, 07:44 PM
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As others will say, if you really want to see how you're improving, get a heart rate monitor (less expensive) and/or power meter (way more expensive). Speed is meaningless as a measurement to determine fitness gains given all the variables.
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Old 02-26-08, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by mkfmedic View Post
As a new poster, and new road bike owner, I am curious on how I measure up?

A route I ride is approximately 15 miles one way, level with little in the way of elevation gain or loss. There aproximatley 26 underpasses on the trail to bypass roads and bridges.

I rode today at a steady pace on the outward leg and according to my computer, was averaging approximately 21 mph. The wind wasn't at my back, but was from the side and rear, so I imagine it assisted me. On the return leg, the wind that I assume was assisting, sure seemed to hinder. I returned with an average speed of 15mph. I've taken the last couple of weeks off to let a problematic knee work itself out, but I would consider myself to be in good shape.

I'm a big rider at 6'3" and 205lbs., 38 years old, and in addition to cycling I workout with jujitsu, running, and golf (I know, is it really a workout, but I walk and carry my clubs). I ride a Scott CR1 with 105 componetry and basic askium wheels. Due to a friend, I will soon be upgrading much of my componetry to DA/Ultegra and will be using Ksryium ES wheels. I have been told that the wheels will be a big improvemnt. But all in all, I doubt that they components or wheels make that LARGE a difference?

Anyway, I'm not interested in breaking records, just my own, but would love to improve and become the best rider possible for my attributes. I am hoping to ride from two to four times a week and would greatly appreciate any input on drills, riding suggestions or input on how the experienced riders in the forum train.

Thank you and I greatly appreciate any of your input.

Regards,

Mike
Do you work for Pedal Force?
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Old 02-26-08, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by mkfmedic View Post
averaging approximately 21 mph.
average speed means sweet FA.

just sayin'.
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Old 02-26-08, 07:55 PM
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components don't make a large difference. the DA/Ultegra will last longer and put up with more abuse and the lighter wheels will help acceleration. I remember kysriums (ssc sl's) being nice and stiff so that will help you as a larger rider.
i think your pace sounds good!
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Old 02-26-08, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by botto View Post
average speed means sweet FA.

just sayin'.

What is FA?
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Old 02-26-08, 07:57 PM
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Thanks for the heart monitor advice, and I completely agree. I use a cateeye computer with a heart rate monitor. Having played on a Div. 1 Water Polo/Swim team, I benifited from some basic heart rate education, but that was literally 20 years ago. When I ride it takes a lot to get my heart rate above 140, but about half way through a ride, I probably break 170, and with a max effort I get to 190 bpm. My resting HR is probably about 56 or 58 bpm (Did I mention I swan for years).

Right now, I seem to do a couple of different workout routines. Like today, I set a pace and hold it. Sometimes I spin up and try to continually increase my speed until I max. Finally, every once in a while, I'll cruise for a predetermined time, followed by a max sprint for a couple of minutes and repeat. Other ideas?

My hope is to balance improvement on the bike not only phsically, but also in my riding technique and ability. I was trying to get into a more aero position today by placing my forearms on the horizontal of my bars, but I couldn't seem to keep my bike straight... I guess I need to continue to work on that one.

Thanks again for all the input,

Mike
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Old 02-26-08, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by prendrefeu View Post
What is FA?
**** all.
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Old 02-26-08, 08:02 PM
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What does FA refer to?

No, I'm sorry, I don't work for Pedal Force. I'm a fire captain for a department in Los Angeles County.

Mike
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Old 02-26-08, 08:02 PM
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I don't ride as fast as I would like to.
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Old 02-26-08, 08:03 PM
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so fast.
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Old 02-26-08, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by mkfmedic View Post
I returned with an average speed of 15mph
maybe stick to golf
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Old 02-26-08, 08:09 PM
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I have about ~18 stoplights on my way home from work and that prevents me from having a great average speed. With a backpack on I can get an average of barely >19 on my 10 mile commute with a combination of bike paths, bike lanes, and the road. For a recreational rider your training seems pretty good to me, a fellow recreational rider. Also, a couple weeks off can really affect your fitness in the short term.
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Old 02-26-08, 08:10 PM
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Average speed is pretty meaningless in the grand scheme of things, although it's fun to try to "beat" yourself on your training loops.

If you ride hard all the time trying to "best" your average speeds on rides, you'll not reach whatever potential you may have. Have to mix in the easy rides as well....and then the insanely hard rides too (group rides are good for this - hard ones, that is).

It's a process. For now, just enjoy the bike, get some miles in your legs, don't try to burn yourself out in 3 months, and grab Joe Friels' book "The Cyclists' Training Bible".
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Old 02-26-08, 08:12 PM
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I ride fast enough to keep wheel sucking off the guy in front of me. There are no hills where I live, but there is wind. Tomorrow the wind is supposed to be 20-25. The 35 mile ride will suck. Not in a good way.

Average speed is a red herring.
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Old 02-26-08, 08:13 PM
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47?
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"The only good race pace is suicide pace, and today looks like a good day to die."
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Old 02-26-08, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by botto View Post
**** all.
Exactly.
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"The only good race pace is suicide pace, and today looks like a good day to die."
-Steve Prefontaine
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Old 02-26-08, 08:15 PM
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Disappointing.

What I thought might be a legitimate question from a beginner, looking to maintain fitness and improve, seems to have been taken by some as a joke or an insult. I don't see many riders my size out there on the "Tour of Anything," I'm certainly no professional cycler, nor do I aspire to be one. I am riding to improve, to live longer, and to have fun. I am quite happy to stick to golf, I will continue to pursue my other interests, but I will also continue to ride and hopefully improve. What speed should I be going before it is legitimate, or before I can waste your time with a question?

If I have somehow insulted you, am wasting your time, or sorely underperform, feel free to ignore the post and move on. I certainly will.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 02-26-08, 08:23 PM
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Feel free to re-read my post
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Old 02-26-08, 08:24 PM
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The problem lies in the question itself. The answer probably changes every ride for everyone here and we all ride under different conditions anyway so an answer from one of us probably wouldn't be of too much use to you. That said, I gave you an honest answer because I as a non-racer similarly want to know how I compare with others and can empathize (even though I know it's comparing apples to oranges). Additionally, BF members have probably seen this question a million times and are very tired of it. You shouldn't take the reaction as an insult.
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Old 02-26-08, 08:27 PM
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Don't worry about speed Mike. You can ride harder on any given day than another but still end up having a lower average speed. So many variables to consider (climbing, stoplights, curvy routes, wind)....

Just enjoy yourself and work hard.

But if you're seriously looking to improve yourself - look into interval training, or hill climb repeats...
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Old 02-26-08, 08:30 PM
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I ride slightly faster than the guy struggling behind me but slightly slower than the guy ahead of me. I think botto put it best, FA...
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Old 02-26-08, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by mkfmedic View Post
Disappointing.

What I thought might be a legitimate question from a beginner, looking to maintain fitness and improve, seems to have been taken by some as a joke or an insult. I don't see many riders my size out there on the "Tour of Anything," I'm certainly no professional cycler, nor do I aspire to be one. I am riding to improve, to live longer, and to have fun. I am quite happy to stick to golf, I will continue to pursue my other interests, but I will also continue to ride and hopefully improve. What speed should I be going before it is legitimate, or before I can waste your time with a question?

If I have somehow insulted you, am wasting your time, or sorely underperform, feel free to ignore the post and move on. I certainly will.

Regards,

Mike
Mike-- 21 is not bad nor is 15. Just keep on doing it. Since road biking is about distance in my opinion, try covering 40 miles in 3 hours over varied terrain. If you can reduce that to 2 or less, you can hang with most club rides. You sound like a pretty fit guy and have a good starting bike.

BTW I am much slower and still have a lower performing bike than you but I do NOT give an F about ave speeds or what anyone says. If I can hang with the racing types even for a minute - cool if not who cares! I think a lot of folks here race and it's all about speed. In a 100 mile race if you can do a real 21 mph average, that is actually up there not elite. I have ridden with a lot of beginning riders and sure they can crank up for the first 5 miles but it's the first few hills and the first 35 miles or descent in a 15% grade that reveals what they've got an something that can only be achieve in time on the saddle. Doesn't matter what other sports you were good at before. different muscles and discipline. Just like Lance, he had a hard time finishing the marathon (was it Boston or NY). A killer climber but struggled in his marathon run. So you should come to this sport with an open mind, even though you may be able to swim 5 miles etc.

Last edited by logdrum; 02-26-08 at 08:54 PM.
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