Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

Looking for tips on how to get faster: I hit a plateau

Notices
Road Cycling ďIt 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.Ē -- Ernest Hemingway

Looking for tips on how to get faster: I hit a plateau

Old 12-06-14, 08:44 PM
  #1  
krispenhartung
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
krispenhartung's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 231

Bikes: S-Works Venge Dura-Ace DI2, KTM Strada 4000, Fuji Norcom Straight 1.3 (TT), Fuji Track Elite, BMC Trackmachine TR02

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 100 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
Looking for tips on how to get faster: I hit a plateau

Hi. This is my first time on this forum and first post, so bear with me as I get to know the landscape and resources.

I seem to have hit a plateau in my cycling and Iím having some troubles increasing my average speed. I am almost 47 years old, and I didnít start road cycling until a little over a year ago. It about killed me at first (major lung and leg burn), but with some pain and perseverance I was able to get acclimated in about 6 months, started riding a lot of local and out of state centuries, and now averaging about 120 miles a week. I have no desire to race. I do this for fitness and as a personal challenge. On shorter rides and commutes (10-30 miles), my average mph is usually between 19 and 21 mph. On longer rides (40-100) it is between 18 and 20. My average cadence is roughly 95 rpm. Hill climbing is not my forte. I weigh about 178 pounds and Iím 5í 11ĒÖyeah, I know, this is probably one issue. Iíve spent the last 8 years in the gym and wasnít concerned that much about weight, only muscle mass and strength. I donít have a power meter on my bike, so I canít provide that data yetÖbut when my new bike gets here in March, Iíll have one installed. A few other things about meÖin all the seasons except winter, I suffer from major allergies and have asthma, but I can usually control it with inhalers. Intense cardio makes it worse, and I also fail the lung capacity test at my doctorÖso Iím not sure if this has any impact, but letís just set it aside for now since Iíve been dealing with it for years and have adapted.

Anyway, I am looking for a few basic tips on how I can get faster and off of this plateau. Is this just as simple as I need to suck it up, endure some more pain and push myself? No pain, no gain. I can certainly do that, as Iíve reach sort of a comfort level. Or are there very specific things that I could be doing that may have a good ROI, like interval training, etc. And I wonder if I need to factor my age in here as well.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Kris
krispenhartung is offline  
Old 12-06-14, 08:54 PM
  #2  
Bunyanderman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: California
Posts: 1,300

Bikes: NeilPryde Alize Raleigh Misceo 2.0

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Change up your riding, if you hate hills like everyone else then do them until you are good at them. I didn't think I could do a 8-9% grade over about 4 miles, I started to take less breaks and completed it more than 10 times now I am king of the mountain for that segment.
Bunyanderman is offline  
Old 12-06-14, 08:54 PM
  #3  
achoo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 4,700
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
What's your ride schedule? How often/how long do you ride?
achoo is offline  
Old 12-06-14, 08:55 PM
  #4  
Homebrew01
Super Moderator
 
Homebrew01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Ffld Cnty Connecticut
Posts: 21,611

Bikes: Old Steelies I made, Old Cannondales

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1040 Post(s)
Liked 435 Times in 317 Posts
Intervals

https://www.bikeforums.net/33-road-bi...cipe-book.html

And consider doing some group rides that push your limits a bit.
__________________
Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike.

FYI: https://www.bikeforums.net/forum-sugg...ad-please.html

Last edited by Homebrew01; 12-06-14 at 08:59 PM.
Homebrew01 is offline  
Old 12-06-14, 09:10 PM
  #5  
krispenhartung
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
krispenhartung's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 231

Bikes: S-Works Venge Dura-Ace DI2, KTM Strada 4000, Fuji Norcom Straight 1.3 (TT), Fuji Track Elite, BMC Trackmachine TR02

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 100 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
Yeah, I figured someone would bring up hill climbing. Looks like I'll have to bite the bullet. I have no choice but to do them on some of these centuries, and a few are 7-8% for 4-6 miles. Pure torture. :-) Fortunately, I live in Boise, ID and we have a mountain, Bogus Basin, that is very popular with racers for training in the NW USA.

My schedule: I ride 6 days a week, usually 1 hour a day / 20 miles, and on the weekend, I do at least one longer ride, 40-80 miles. Unfortunately, work gets in the way, as does it getting dark at 5pm. I hate rollers and my trainer.

Intervals...yup, no way around it. I did them today and my legs were in fire. My legs seem to fatigue easy when I get up off the seat for long periods of time, but today I experimented and tried this in higher gears and a lower cadence, and I was able to go a bit longer.
krispenhartung is offline  
Old 12-06-14, 09:30 PM
  #6  
datlas 
Beyond Bogus
 
datlas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Malvern, PA (20 miles West of Philly)
Posts: 34,367

Bikes: 1986 Alpine (steel road bike), 2009 Ti Habenero, 2013 Specialized Roubaix

Mentioned: 479 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14167 Post(s)
Liked 2,602 Times in 1,333 Posts
Get a book on training. The ones by Chris Carmichael are popular. Invest in a Heart Rate Monitor or maybe even a power meter.

You can get better and faster, but you will have to be willing to suffer more. Whether that is "worth it" is a philosophical decision based on your goals and values.
__________________
Originally Posted by rjones28 View Post
Addiction is all about class.
datlas is online now  
Old 12-06-14, 09:34 PM
  #7  
FLvector
Stand and Deliver
 
FLvector's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Tampa Bay
Posts: 3,340

Bikes: Cannondale R1000, Giant TCR Advanced, Giant TCR Advanced SL

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
Intervals

https://www.bikeforums.net/33-road-bi...cipe-book.html

And consider doing some group rides that push your limits a bit.
^^This^^ A combination of interval training and finding a fast group to ride with.
FLvector is offline  
Old 12-06-14, 09:39 PM
  #8  
krispenhartung
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
krispenhartung's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 231

Bikes: S-Works Venge Dura-Ace DI2, KTM Strada 4000, Fuji Norcom Straight 1.3 (TT), Fuji Track Elite, BMC Trackmachine TR02

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 100 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
Originally Posted by datlas View Post
Get a book on training. The ones by Chris Carmichael are popular. Invest in a Heart Rate Monitor or maybe even a power meter.

You can get better and faster, but you will have to be willing to suffer more. Whether that is "worth it" is a philosophical decision based on your goals and values.
Well, that is a pivotal question, for sure. Why am I even doing this, and why do I want to get faster? It's not like I'm getting paid by the mile and mph...though I wish that were the case! You hit the nail on the head. I don't know exactly why...because I think I can...the thrill of personal achievement, pride, and the rest of the human emotions that motivate behavior. :-)
krispenhartung is offline  
Old 12-06-14, 09:44 PM
  #9  
caloso
Senior Member
 
caloso's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Posts: 39,738

Bikes: Ridley Excalibur, Gazelle Champion Mondial, On-One Pompino, Specialized Rock Hopper

Mentioned: 63 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2492 Post(s)
Liked 1,605 Times in 809 Posts
Riding fast is fun. That's all the reason you need.
caloso is offline  
Old 12-06-14, 09:57 PM
  #10  
krispenhartung
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
krispenhartung's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 231

Bikes: S-Works Venge Dura-Ace DI2, KTM Strada 4000, Fuji Norcom Straight 1.3 (TT), Fuji Track Elite, BMC Trackmachine TR02

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 100 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Riding fast is fun. That's all the reason you need.
That is also true!
krispenhartung is offline  
Old 12-06-14, 10:31 PM
  #11  
Oldbmxguy
Senior Member
 
Oldbmxguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Northern, ky
Posts: 81

Bikes: Orbea Onix, Diamondback, GT, kuhlahara

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Ride the nasty hills. It Improved my strength, speed, and endurance. I have them all around me, and I hated them. Now I eat them up. Some hills are so steep, I couldn't make it up them when I went to a road bike. I get on flat ground it feels like a cake walk. JMO
Oldbmxguy is offline  
Old 12-06-14, 11:02 PM
  #12  
Doge
Senior Member
 
Doge's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Southern California, USA
Posts: 10,222

Bikes: 1979 Raleigh Team 753

Mentioned: 153 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3278 Post(s)
Liked 242 Times in 176 Posts
You are at Altitude (4,000ft??) - correct?
Do weights, sleep more, ride hard less often. Then do 1X a week or so of real hard - like chasing a group up the hill.
Doge is offline  
Old 12-06-14, 11:59 PM
  #13  
Homebrew01
Super Moderator
 
Homebrew01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Ffld Cnty Connecticut
Posts: 21,611

Bikes: Old Steelies I made, Old Cannondales

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1040 Post(s)
Liked 435 Times in 317 Posts
Charmichael is a sleazeball. I would not give him my money.
__________________
Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike.

FYI: https://www.bikeforums.net/forum-sugg...ad-please.html
Homebrew01 is offline  
Old 12-07-14, 12:24 AM
  #14  
BigJeff
Senior Member
 
BigJeff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 563
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Wait.... What?

you average over 20mph casually (assuming alone) and you are a first time poster looking for Internet advice?

Knowing nothing about your bike or riding position, I'd assume the best advice is get more aero.

If if youare already over 23mph average your next goal should be TT riding at 25+mph average for 40km.

Buy it an aero tt bike.
BigJeff is offline  
Old 12-07-14, 12:40 AM
  #15  
Dave Cutter
Senior Member
 
Dave Cutter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: D'uh... I am a Cutter
Posts: 6,160

Bikes: '17 Access Old Turnpike Gravel bike, '14 Trek 1.1, '13 Cannondale CAAD 10, '98 CAD 2, R300

Mentioned: 62 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1571 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 10 Times in 7 Posts
Find a coach.

You can't advance beyond above your own perspective. All your doing now... is redirecting your time and energy to learning how to coach. If you've decided to halt your cycling improvement and switch to improving your coaching abilities... well then you're on the right track. But if improving your cycling abilities is still your goal..... find a coach (instead of becoming one).
Dave Cutter is offline  
Old 12-07-14, 02:46 AM
  #16  
MinnMan
Senior Member
 
MinnMan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 3,644

Bikes: 2020 Salsa Warbird GRX 600, 2020 Canyon Ultimate CF SLX disc 9.0 Di2, 2020 Catrike Eola, 2016 Masi cxgr, 2011, Felt F3 Ltd, 2010 Trek 2.1, 2009 KHS Flite 220

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2471 Post(s)
Liked 1,463 Times in 881 Posts
From what you describe, you are either immensely talented for a novice 47 y.o.with one year of riding experience or you are exaggerating your average speeds. 21 MPH on solo rides of 30 miles? How do you measure that? Unless you've got a Garmin or equivalent, there is some reason for skepticism.

I'll assume for the moment that your speeds are accurate, in which case, you are going to be a great rider. But 120 miles/week is a pittance. If you really want to be fast and strong:

Aim for more miles/week
Work on your pedaling technique.
Work on your position on the bike - get more aero.
Find a group to ride with that will push your limits.
Lose 15-20 lbs.
And like everybody else says, intervals and hills.
MinnMan is online now  
Old 12-07-14, 07:52 AM
  #17  
StanSeven
Administrator
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Delaware shore
Posts: 13,368

Bikes: Cervelo C5, Guru Photon, Waterford, Specialized CX

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 824 Post(s)
Liked 570 Times in 426 Posts
Originally Posted by datlas View Post
Get a book on training. The ones by Chris Carmichael are popular. Invest in a Heart Rate Monitor or maybe even a power meter.
This. Plus group rides where you work to stay up
StanSeven is offline  
Old 12-07-14, 08:03 AM
  #18  
Lazyass
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NC
Posts: 8,322

Bikes: Vintage steel, aluminum, modern carbon disc, single speed, MTB's, the works

Mentioned: 60 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2006 Post(s)
Liked 79 Times in 48 Posts
Originally Posted by krispenhartung View Post
On shorter rides and commutes (10-30 miles), my average mph is usually between 19 and 21 mph.
What does your computer read for an average speed at the end of your rides? Including stops and everything else? Because it isn't 21mph.
Lazyass is offline  
Old 12-07-14, 08:28 AM
  #19  
EvilWeasel
Senior Member
 
EvilWeasel's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Ft. Lauderdale
Posts: 269

Bikes: Trekalized 7.Sequoia Elite+

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Riding fast is fun. That's all the reason you need.
Lol. So true. I ride for fun, getting fit is just a side effect for me. I'd still ride if it was illegal and caused cancer.

Anyway. Back to the OP's question...
Group rides are your answer. I never push myself as hard as i do on fast group rides. Our little group has some seriously fast local racers and tri athletes... Trying to keep them in sight two or three times a week is how i got past my own plateau.

Also. You do seem to reach a point where time is the biggest issue. Most of us have day jobs that keep us pretty busy. It gets hard to find time to get the increased miles required to keep you improving. When i was out of work for a few weeks earlier this year i could do 300 miles a week. I improved by leaps and bounds. Now i struggle to get in 120... Even with my commute.

That leads back to my point about group rides. Done of the racer lead training rides are short but intense. Also, it doesn't hurt to have a pro or two around to advise on stuff like pedaling technique and gear selection.
EvilWeasel is offline  
Old 12-07-14, 08:48 AM
  #20  
Nachoman
well hello there
 
Nachoman's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Point Loma, CA
Posts: 15,196

Bikes: Bill Holland (Road-Ti), Fuji Roubaix Pro (back-up), Bike Friday (folder), Co-Motion (tandem) & Trek 750 (hybrid)

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 432 Post(s)
Liked 168 Times in 107 Posts
One word: Intervals.
__________________
.
.

Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.
Nachoman is offline  
Old 12-07-14, 10:22 AM
  #21  
achoo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 4,700
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Nachoman View Post
One word: Intervals.
Easier way to think about it:

1. When you ride hard, ride HARD
2. Rides EASY most of the the time
3. Take time off when you need it. Push too hard and you go nowhere fast - you know, you might even, ummm, "plateau".
achoo is offline  
Old 12-07-14, 10:33 AM
  #22  
TheRef
Senior Member
 
TheRef's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 465
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 122 Post(s)
Liked 13 Times in 8 Posts
I'm not an expert but I'd trade riding 6 times a week one hour at a time for 3 x a week 2 hours/ session.
TheRef is offline  
Old 12-07-14, 10:40 AM
  #23  
f4rrest
Farmer tan
 
f4rrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Burbank, CA
Posts: 7,986

Bikes: Allez, SuperSix Evo

Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2870 Post(s)
Liked 24 Times in 20 Posts
Originally Posted by krispenhartung View Post
I seem to have hit a plateau... 47 years old, ... averaging about 120 miles a week.... On shorter rides and commutes (10-30 miles), my average mph is usually between 19 and 21 mph.
Kris, you are riding too hard too often to allow your 47 year old body to recuperate. Think about it: commuting only allows 8 to 10 hours recovery between rides. I was in the same place a couple years ago, but broke through speed and mileage-wise by:

1. dialing it way back on the morning commute. Like 15 - 16 mph average. This requires a lot of self control.
2. having 150 calories of sugary drink or fruit after the ride in.
3. increasing mileage after work. high intensity only 2x / week though, otherwise stay in zone 2. Doing 30 to 50 miles on the way home.
4. riding with a fast group 1-2x / week after work (crit style fast ride at the Rose Bowl).

With this, i maintained over 200 miles / week regularly, and my power and fitness broke out of the plateau.

Goog luck.
f4rrest is offline  
Old 12-07-14, 10:57 AM
  #24  
thisisbenji
Senior Member
 
thisisbenji's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Wadsworth, IL
Posts: 466

Bikes: Motobecane Vent Noir, Specialized Crux, Specialized Carve

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Jeeze, how do you guys commute at 20 + mph?

I hit the top end of zone 2 (heart rate) at about 16-17 MPH, there's no way I could do 20+ MPH rides every day.

I guess I don't ride enough.
thisisbenji is offline  
Old 12-07-14, 11:19 AM
  #25  
f4rrest
Farmer tan
 
f4rrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Burbank, CA
Posts: 7,986

Bikes: Allez, SuperSix Evo

Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2870 Post(s)
Liked 24 Times in 20 Posts
Originally Posted by thisisbenji View Post
Jeeze, how do you guys commute at 20 + mph?

I hit the top end of zone 2 (heart rate) at about 16-17 MPH, there's no way I could do 20+ MPH rides every day.

I guess I don't ride enough.
I doubt he was accurate about 20 mph average. My commute ranges 15 - 19 mph (really pushing it), but I can maintain 20 mph in zone 2 for hours if it's flat and uninterrupted.
f4rrest is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.