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Am I just too heavy to go fast?

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Am I just too heavy to go fast?

Old 09-02-11, 02:48 PM
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NE Tiger
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Am I just too heavy to go fast?

I have been riding quite a bit for over a year, can ride for distance no problem, but I just can't seem to go fast. I had a too heavy hybrid, and could never get above 22/23 miles per hour. Got rid of it, got a road bike, and can't get above that speed! I'm just too heavy, right? I weigh about 245 when according to my height I should be about 190.
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Old 09-02-11, 02:52 PM
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Sounds like you just need to ride more. It all comes down to power/weight ratio so as you get stronger you will get faster. To give you an idea I'm 5' 10", a couple months ago at 220+ I averaged over 20 mph solo on a 60 mile ride with around 3,000 feet of climbing.
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Old 09-02-11, 02:54 PM
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Speed is dependent on your power to weight ratio.

If you had more power output, you would go faster even if you didn't lose weight.
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Old 09-02-11, 02:57 PM
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On the flats, weight isn't really an impediment to going fast. In fact the fastest TT'ers and sprinters tend to be big muscular guys. That's because on the flat, the relevant metric is power to frontal area. In the hills, it's power to weight.

I'd say keep riding, and throw in some interval work. Look at the sticky called BF Workout Cookbook at the top of the racing subforum. All sorts of ways to make yourself hurt in there.
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Old 09-02-11, 02:59 PM
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What's your cadence? When you get to your max speed, have you tried shifting to one gear lower and spinning faster?
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Old 09-02-11, 03:01 PM
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The good news is that even if you're not in shape, you'll still be faster than the skinny guys when going downhill
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Old 09-02-11, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by NE Tiger
I have been riding quite a bit for over a year, can ride for distance no problem, but I just can't seem to go fast. I had a too heavy hybrid, and could never get above 22/23 miles per hour. Got rid of it, got a road bike, and can't get above that speed! I'm just too heavy, right? I weigh about 245 when according to my height I should be about 190.
I bet you go fast downhill! And if you're looking for confirmation to your question, then yes, you're just too heavy.
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Old 09-02-11, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by haaseg
What's your cadence?
This.

My guess is that you are spinning too low, and subsequently pushing too big of a gear. Also, remember, going fast isn't about mashing on the pedals, it's about being fluid...lots of content already out there on this.
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Old 09-02-11, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by jrobe
Speed is dependent on your power to weight ratio.
On inclines.

On flat ground it's about wind resistance, so raw power output is the most important factor.
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Old 09-02-11, 03:14 PM
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When started riding in 2009, I struggled on 20+ mile group rides @ a 16-17 mph pace. I worked my way up to being able to hang onto the 20mph pace by the end of the season. In a sprint, I still only topped out in the 25-26 mph range.

This season (i.e. now) I can hold onto a 24mph paceline for a pretty good distance and not feel like I'm going to die. In a well led out sprint, I can brush up to nearly 35mph. Of course I can't hold it there for very long, but it's far faster than I could hit last year. At the beginning of this year I weighed ~210lbs. Since then I've dropped 50+ lbs. I definitely attribute part of my increase in speed to not having to lug around that excess flab.
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Old 09-02-11, 03:31 PM
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caloso has the ticket. Sprint intervals build power and cardio stuff too. Go all out and then recover. Repeat til you puke or feel like you will.

The advice about spinning faster is good if you concentrate on a really smooth circular spin. To my way of thinking a you feel a good spin equally in both legs at all points in the revolution. This should be smooth and easy enough you don't huff and puff @ about 90 to 110 rpm. If you're bouncing around in the saddle you need to adjust your seat height. If you can find a nice long flat for this it's ideal.

Oh, climb every hill you can find. Often.
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Old 09-02-11, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso
On the flats, weight isn't really an impediment to going fast. In fact the fastest TT'ers and sprinters tend to be big muscular guys. That's because on the flat, the relevant metric is power to frontal area. In the hills, it's power to weight.
Yes but here we're not talking about the size difference in a Contador and a Cancellara. The "big muscular guys" who eat up time trials still aren't anywhere near 245. Most aren't even 190. Thor is considered big by cycling standards and I doubt he hits 180 when it comes Tour time. I went from 225 to 166 (where I am now) and I promise you 166 me is way faster on any terrain than 225 me.
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Old 09-02-11, 03:57 PM
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yes, you are heavy, I'm about your sized and similar performance though as it's gotten later in the year I feel so much more powerful going up hills whereas earlier in the year they were a struggle. considering I'm an avid golfer and don't ride nearly as much as many others here do (i do btw 200-250 miles a month in the warm weather months and almost no riding in the winter other than my commuting miles) I'm fine with it, but i know even as a heavyweight I could still train myself to go a lot faster based on training i've done for other sports. I used to run a 4.7 40 yard dash at 6'3" 235lbs so i'm no slouch, just not trained on the bike and I enjoy the long endurance type rides anyways.
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Old 09-02-11, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by therhodeo
Yes but here we're not talking about the size difference in a Contador and a Cancellara. The "big muscular guys" who eat up time trials still aren't anywhere near 245. Most aren't even 190. Thor is considered big by cycling standards and I doubt he hits 180 when it comes Tour time. I went from 225 to 166 (where I am now) and I promise you 166 me is way faster on any terrain than 225 me.
Track cyclists might be a better example - your Tour examples still have to survive the mountains. And down an extremely steep hill, I can't see how your '225 you' would lose.

To the OP - do you do any (leg) weight lifting? That, as well as the sprint intervals mentioned above, should help a lot. I'm wondering if working on your cadence might help too - but that seem to require more info on the gearing your are using as well.
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Old 09-02-11, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by NE Tiger
I have been riding quite a bit for over a year, can ride for distance no problem, but I just can't seem to go fast. I had a too heavy hybrid, and could never get above 22/23 miles per hour. Got rid of it, got a road bike, and can't get above that speed! I'm just too heavy, right? I weigh about 245 when according to my height I should be about 190.
So you're about 6'5"?
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Old 09-02-11, 04:07 PM
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Going fast on the flats is about power/aero drag or Watts/CdA. In your case losing weight would make you more efficient by not having to fling around extra dead weight on your legs but more importantly losing your gut will allow you to achieve a more aerodynamic position and greater speed.

I would forget about intervals and sprint training and focus on long steady rides and limiting your food intake. If you drop 50 lbs and lower your riding position, without doing any special training I guarantee you will be much faster.
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Old 09-02-11, 04:18 PM
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as one of my cycling coaches said, "lose weight."
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Old 09-02-11, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by pdedes
as one of my cycling coaches said, "lose weight."
not all of us that weigh 240 have that much weight we can easily lose. i'm 6'3" 240 18% bodyfat. If i got down to 12% body fat I'd still weigh around 225. My real problem is that I have a torn ACL in my left knee so that limits the strength i have in that leg. i got into biking as a way to keep that leg healthy since I don't have insurance. With all the money i've spent on bikes in the past 18 months, I probably could have had knee surgery but I wouldn't have had as much fun!
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Old 09-02-11, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by therhodeo
Yes but here we're not talking about the size difference in a Contador and a Cancellara. The "big muscular guys" who eat up time trials still aren't anywhere near 245. Most aren't even 190. Thor is considered big by cycling standards and I doubt he hits 180 when it comes Tour time. I went from 225 to 166 (where I am now) and I promise you 166 me is way faster on any terrain than 225 me.
I'm having the same experience -- I'm way faster on the flats now that I'm lighter. I think it's a question of physiology more than physics. I understand that from a pure physics point of view, a heavy guy should generate nearly the same speed on the flats for given power output; however, the excess weight is probably an indication that you are not regularly riding at the level of intensity that is needed to increase your power output.
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Old 09-02-11, 06:24 PM
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I mean, how fast do you want to go?
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Old 09-02-11, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by motobecane69
not all of us that weigh 240 have that much weight we can easily lose. i'm 6'3" 240 18% bodyfat. If i got down to 12% body fat I'd still weigh around 225. My real problem is that I have a torn ACL in my left knee so that limits the strength i have in that leg. i got into biking as a way to keep that leg healthy since I don't have insurance. With all the money i've spent on bikes in the past 18 months, I probably could have had knee surgery but I wouldn't have had as much fun!
OP asked what he needed to go faster. I remember when Davis Phinney catabolized (under a doctor's supervision) a bunch of muscle mass so that he could be a GC contestant in the old Coors Classic (which he won). It is possible to remake your body if you want to go fast on a bike, but it's not necessary if all you want to do is have fun.
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Old 09-02-11, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by dahut
I mean, how fast do you want to go?
I'm sure hitting 40 on the flats is not a far stretch.
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Old 09-02-11, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by pdedes
OP asked what he needed to go faster. I remember when Davis Phinney catabolized (under a doctor's supervision) a bunch of muscle mass so that he could be a GC contestant in the old Coors Classic (which he won). It is possible to remake your body if you want to go fast on a bike, but it's not necessary if all you want to do is have fun.
Go ask him how difficult it was to do. Remember, I didn't say it couldn't be done, I said it isnt easily done. I work in the fitness biz, and I haven't lifted a weight in months because it bores me, I play golf and ride my bike. I do eat a bit more than than i should portion wise but i've still got a TON of muscle on my frame. It's sort of a good problem to have and If I did drop down 20lbs to 225 i know it would mean HUGE performance improvement, not just because of the lost weight, but because as someone else mentioned, I probably would have been doing a ton of riding in the process to get there.
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Old 09-02-11, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by FactVord
I'm sure hitting 40 on the flats is not a far stretch.
40 on the flats?! Pedal harder, then. And faster. And longer.
Probably ought to start eating more skinless chicken and salad, too.

40 is no mean feat. Its gonna take some work to get there.
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Old 09-03-11, 01:50 AM
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I'd say about 30 or so in spurts, and be able to ride steadily at the 22/23 mph pace that is killing me right now.

I definitely know more about how to go about this than when I began the thread, thank you for all the replies.
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