20mph moving avg a natural hurdle?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by sitzmark, Jul 28, 2010.

  1. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    Fairly inexperienced cyclist here... about 1 year's road riding under my belt right now (very little riding Dec-Feb). Started training for a charity century last Jun/Jul and rode about 2,500 miles in trianing before the early Oct 2009 century. Finished the year in Nov at around 3,500 total miles.

    Was riding a converted Trek 930 rigid mtb with 1.4 slicks, larger rings, NOS suntour xc pro hubs (xc version of Suntour Superbe - really smooth hubs)/handbuilt DT Swiss wheels, lightened to 25lbs even. ... not a road bike, but a good ride for what it was. Upgraded that to a project Scott CR1 in May this year - NOS 06 CR1 frame/fork with SRAM Force/Red components, Ksyriums, carbon cockpit- 15lbs, so chopped 10lbs overnight.

    Anyway, had 18.5 mph moving average in the bag with the old bike at the end of season last year. My bread and butter daily training ride is 25-35 miles with approximately 500 feet of vert gain per 10 miles. I estimate my input to be about 85-90% of max. - no stopping, no out of saddle riding ... just bang it out.

    Was a bit shocked with first few rides on new bike when I struggled over the same courses to reach 18mph. As I made ride position adjustments and became more comfortable with road bike vs "the thing", I now seem to be roadblocked at 20mph for a moving average.

    I'll go out one day and think I'm making great time - lots of 24/25mph flat land pavement eatten up and come back with a 19.9mph average. A day latter, same ride feeling just OK and it's a 20.3 avg. Ride 40 miles- 20.1 avg . Ride 60 miles19.8. Ride 50 miles with demo Zipp 404 wheelset - 20.7 moving avg on a windy day. And so on ...

    Been stuck here for a while now. So is a 20 mph moving average a natural hurdle when riding solo? Is it reasonable to expect that jumping the 20 hurdle will take max effort and out-of-seat climbing, etc.? Is this aerodynamics at work, or am I just not a strong enough rider to move to the next level?

    The actual miles per hour isn't a big deal to me, but it is the unit of measure that I'm tracking to gauge performance and improvement. Too long now with no improvement. Thoughts?
     
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  2. quenya

    quenya New Member

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    Not an expert here at all but I also just trained for a challenge ride. While I was training it was all about build up the mileage, climb LOTS of hills and learn to suffer. I hadn't improved my flat land speed at all. I really had to challenge myself to average 20mph. since the big ride on 6/26/10 Ive been doing 2x20s, that is 2 20min intervals at lactate threshold, 2-3/week now my recovery rides are averaging 20 easy, my tempo rides in the foothills that used to average 16-19mph are 21-22.

    So I would be tempted to advise separating your rides in to harder rides that are maybe shorter/faster or include harder intervals and easy rides to recover that are really easier. I don't think hammering away a 20 mph will help you go much faster than 20 mph.
     
  3. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    Your results sound really good to me. You may be over training and need to incorporate a disicplined program designed to achieve your goals. Also keep in mind that what worked on the mountain bike may not transfer over to road cycling. "Just bang it out" sounds like you are pushing large gears when you would be better off in lower gears cranking at a higher cadance. :D
     
  4. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    Thank you. Good thoughts. Certainly plays into the "do the same thing you've always done and get the same results" logic.

    I don't have major hills in the area of any length - a 12% grader for .25 miles, a short 9% that basically has to start from a rolling stop intersection, and a number of gradual 3-5%'ers that I've woven into each course. I am improving on gradual hills - 14-16mph on a 4-5% grade (as measured on garmin edge 305). Basically sit and power it out in 50x21 or 50x19 gearing.

    Maybe power up, coast back down, and do it all over again a number of times to get the hurt?? I'm definitely not bursting with break away energy when I crest the hills on my average ride, but I'm not sucking wind either, so I can definitely work harder on the hills. Maybe it's time to work on out of saddle climbing skills, too.

    I am skipping at least one day/week for recovery time - usually 2. Obviously I'm not following any kind of scientific training program, so lots of room for improvement there.

    I did have to wedge in a curtailed ride the other day, so I cut a standard 35mi route into a 22 mile ride. I thought I could surely hammer out a 20+mph moving average out of the shorter, much flatter distance. ... you guessed it 19.9. :)

    That's what really initiated my thoughts about how much this involves aerodynamics and the sliding scale of energy needed to deal with resistance. But then I look at my climbing speed and that says a lot right there. More likely it's the engine. :) :)

    Thanks!
     
  5. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    That could be a big part too. Running a 50/34, 11-23 compact. To build leg strength I had been trying not to drop off the 50 ring, which kills 50-23 for cross chain reasons. Lately, however, I have started to drop to the inside ring to keep cadence up when going over 5% grades (again measured by garmin edge... accuracy unknown).

    Smooth flat pavement, no headwind I am usually riding in 50x13 or 50x12 at around 24-25 mph. Try to gear it so I can realistically add strong pull around the pedal stroke as well as push. Focused on spinning circles, but may not always get it done.

    Thank you.

     
  6. tonyzackery

    tonyzackery Well-Known Member

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    Agree with the aforementioned that it's time to incorporate some structure into your training via adding some intervals - twice/week is enough. Suggest you do two interval workouts per week consisting of one long (start with one or two 10-20min @ 85-90% intensity) and one short (start with two or three 3-5min @ 100%) session. Don't do them back-to-back; a day or two between is good. Other rides should be recovery and/or steady (below "tempo" level)...this rx should help you break through your plateau...test every 4 weeks or so...

    Since you don't have to stop along your route, suggest you use time as the preferred metric to gauge your improvement/progress rather than speed as it is a more precise measurement, presuming you can measure down to the tenth of a second with timing versus tenth of a mph with average speed...
     
  7. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    If you want to go fast for an hour you gotta start with going faster for a shorter period... And it's that nugget of info that's the premise behind long interval training - with long being 5 minutes or more.

    If you can't do 22mph for 5 minutes then don't expect to be doing that for an hour anytime soon. But... What you might struggle at now for 5 minutes may be what you can hold for 20 minutes in a few months...

    But nothing really beats the bread and butter stuff of several reps of 20 to 30 minute intervals. There's a lot written about 2x20s already but just concentrate first on pacing it consistently hard before killing yourself and don't worry if you need a 20 minute rest in between... It's not the most exciting but hugely effective.

    You don't need 404s. You've already seen that dropping 10lbs off the bike didn't get you much... But the wheels with get you a little ore but nowhere close to the improvement you'd get if you spent less money on a power meter and got your training ( and the charity rides etc) down to a fine art by riding to a defined power level.

    20mph ain't too too bad for a 40 mile training ride.
     
  8. gman0482

    gman0482 Member

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    I gotta say, that's a pretty damn good average. That's exactly what I average out and even the same distances for my regular training rides. Naturally everyone wants to always go faster and stronger, but sometimes there is just the fact of time, that it will come with just more and more riding. Be patient and keep training, plus add what these guys just mentioned. Some intervals. (As that's what I need to do as well.) :)

    I also practice higher cadence, and keep around +/-95 rpm.

    BTW, where in NE are you from ??
     
  9. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Don't bother trying to use the 'pull up' to produce meaningful power. The best you will ever do if provide enough force to unweight the pedal. Think more about pushing across the top and down.

    Thinking circles is overrated. I found training with power cranks very beneficial - now I don't think about shaw happening on the upstroke (I know that happens because otherwise the crank wouldn't go up) but it's all about staying relaxed and getting the pedal across the top and down.
     
  10. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    Poor choice of wording on my part ... should have said without intentional resting. My primary routes do involve a stop light or two and crossing a few intersections. On a good day everything rolls up and my elapsed time is 10 sec greater than my moving time, but on other days there can be a 30 - 60 second differential. Thus, my focus on moving average.

    All of my routes are big loops iu a suburban/rural setting, but I'm sure I can find some shorter "out and back" sections or smaller sub loops that would factor most forced stopping/slowing from the equation. Enough to allow me to measure performance to 1/10th of a second - not sure.

    The revised routes could give me the courses to work on the interval training that you and others are suggesting. So I will go to work on that.

     
  11. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    I hear you. I did notice a difference with the 404's - less effort needed to hold the same or slightly more speed (1-2mph) through flat sections of known routes than normal. Nice spin up.

    The biggest impression was the improvement in ride quality - factored out sooo much more vibration and pounding hits. Much less "road fatigue" at the end of the ride. A lot of the roads I ride are heat cracked and repaired surface.

    Will focus on the intervals. Thank you.

     
  12. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    SW metro Boston. ... Franklin/Wrentham area.
    On occasion I jump in with CRW rides ... maybe have crossed paths?

    No cadence module now to measure rpm, but probably should add so I can find out where I'm at and track it.
     
  13. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    OK will experiment with that.

    In general, I have started my "power boosts" with a pull rather than a push. I can feel the bike surge forward. I try to use that little burst to set a slightly higher cadence. If I can hold it I keep building ... if not I drop a gear.

    That's basically how I start a climb also.

     
  14. tonyzackery

    tonyzackery Well-Known Member

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    Small world; I lived in Wrentham when I was with the Pats...where I lived it was so quiet it drove me nuts - found myself driving into Boston just to hear a siren or see a person walking down the street...LOL!

    Wasn't on the bike at that time but I can envision some good riding on those back roads; however, those roads are pretty narrow as I recall though...
     
  15. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    Ha – worlds are even a little more connected … born in Colorado, moved to Atlanta for high school and 1st two years of college. Moved to Wrentham in 1990, which is when you played for the Pats. My Parents lived in Cohasset for a short time before my wife and I moved to Boston, and now they live in Seattle.

    Yes- Wrentham is a sleepy little town. Not the 1- blinking caution light town it was in 1990, but still very quiet. Franklin exploded in the 90’s (fastest growing town in MA), but after a moratorium on building, development moved into Wrentham. So now subdivisions are interspersed between apple orchards, horse farms, family farms, state forests, and conservation lands. A very busy outlet mall now resides at the Wrentham I-495 exit. .

    The back roads are squeaky narrow, but the limited traffic helps. Heavier traffic exists during commute times and stadium events, but otherwise not. Lots of tight windy tree lined roads, so relying on approaching drivers to be alert - not even as much as a close call yet. Always keep a sharp ear for cars back.
     
  16. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    A little traffic around the outlets during the holidays I bet. I live and ride in Swansea Ma. My usual loops include Rehoboth, Seekonk, Attleboro and Taunton. My favorite time of year to ride is during football season from one to four I know where all the drunks are...:D
     
  17. Yojimbo_

    Yojimbo_ Well-Known Member

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    If you have a number of stops and slowdowns on your route it'll be almost impossible to maintain a high average. Just think how long you have to ride at 22 mph to make up for spending 1 minute at close to 0 mph and still have an overall average of 20 mph.

    Maybe that's why your average isn't really changing.
     
  18. cyberlegend1994

    cyberlegend1994 Moderator

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    Welcome aboard. :cool:
     
  19. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    Your point is correct - there are a number of 90* direction changes that require slow down or stop (rarely). Stops are factored out by my tracking device (garmin edge) and I could factor out any speed below a set amount to factor out the slow downs too. But then I'd just be stagnated at 20.5 or 21.0.

    My primary concern is the extened plateau that I've hit on all my courses (all have similar topography - about 500ft of vert for every 10 miles). Previously I've experienced sporadic "breakout days" in the mix that indicated progress was possible. Over time my breakout would slowly become my new norm.

    Was just wondering if there was something around the 20 mark that made for a natural hurdle. Something I could blame it on other than my engine.:) ... it's the engine.
     
  20. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    Thanks! Maybe we'll all meet up one day. Amazing so close and meet in cyberspace...
     
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