Average mph for college road racers?



CU Cyclist

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Jan 20, 2007
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Hello everyone! I am curious as to what speed college road racers average over 50 mile and 75 mile courses. I know that it would be impossible to give an accurate speed over hilly, mountainous terrain. So considering the race is over flat terrain, what average speed would the top guys be at? I tried googling but didn't have any luck.

~thanks
 

Eldron

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Jan 24, 2002
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CU Cyclist said:
Hello everyone! I am curious as to what speed college road racers average over 50 mile and 75 mile courses. I know that it would be impossible to give an accurate speed over hilly, mountainous terrain. So considering the race is over flat terrain, what average speed would the top guys be at? I tried googling but didn't have any luck.

~thanks

I'm not sure about elsewhere in the world but the pace for college racing in South Africa on flat terrain would be around 25mph.

Most races in SA are 100km (60 miles) and flattish/rolling courses would yield a time of ~2:30. Super flat would be around 2:10 - races with classified climbs ~2:50.

Hope that helps.
 

fscyclist

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Jul 30, 2006
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CU Cyclist said:
Hello everyone! I am curious as to what speed college road racers average over 50 mile and 75 mile courses. I know that it would be impossible to give an accurate speed over hilly, mountainous terrain. So considering the race is over flat terrain, what average speed would the top guys be at? I tried googling but didn't have any luck.

~thanks
My experience if from 10+ years ago so take it for what it's worth.

A large Category A collegiate race is equivalent to a Cat 1/2 race except there is a wider gap in ability level. So there is generally a lot more people getting dropped, more breakaways and field splits. But if you want to finish near the top, you will be racing against Cat 1/2 competitors and the speed is what you would expect from them...fast! Look at the list of past national champions and that should give you an idea of the competition. The smaller Cat A races are the same just on a smaller scale. You will always have a few hammers that drive the pace up and shed the rest. I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you want to just finish the race somewhere in the field, it is easier than finishing a Cat 1/2 race, but if you want to place, it is at the same level.

The other categories are/were a lot slower and more equivalent to Cat 4 or below.

I never found average mph to be of any use in describing a race, even on flat courses. Sometimes the speed is 35+ mph and other times it's 15 mph. Bike racing is so dynamic that the average doesn't mean much during a one day race. Sitting in a large field cruising at a constant 25 mph is effortless, but having to reel in breaks or undergo constant changes in pace will kick your butt real quickly even though the average speed may be lower.
 

hockinsk

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Jun 23, 2005
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I would say 25mph is about what you should be thinking of. I don't race in the US, but when racing in the UK for a few seasons I always used to make sure I could hold about 20mph when training on my own for 40-50 miles or so. My reasons for doing this, was you save about 30% of your energy riding in the wheel of another rider and maybe a bit more in the bunch. So, if you can hold 20mph solo, then 30% faster is 26mph which is about the speed of the average road race I was competing in at the time. Obviously it's not very scientific, but it worked for me and your actual racing then becomes the measuring gauge to measure how well you are going.
 

TrekDedicated

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Jun 17, 2004
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CU Cyclist said:
Hello everyone! I am curious as to what speed college road racers average over 50 mile and 75 mile courses. I know that it would be impossible to give an accurate speed over hilly, mountainous terrain. So considering the race is over flat terrain, what average speed would the top guys be at? I tried googling but didn't have any luck.

~thanks


All dependes on what field you are racing in.

For example, "C" races vary so much. The 'yo-yo' effect is ridiculous. You can be going 40 mph, and then you'll be going 13mph. So it can be frustrating. When I did C races I topped out at 52.1 mph (my highest speed to date). But that was a freak thing I believe. One probably averages 20-24mph

"B" races are more concrete. A lot faster. People like to bring the pain to other riders. B's don't have as much yo-yoing. The avg speed is 22-27mph.

"A" cannot tell you b/c I am not at that level......... yet
 

Frigo's Luggage

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Sep 16, 2006
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Average speed is a useless statistic in road racing. Its the accellerations that matter. Average speed only matters in time trials and, god forbid, triathlons.

Are you asking because you want to give racing a try? If so, I suggesst that you just jump in. The worst thing that could happen is that you get dropped like most people do in their first race. However, after a few races, you will get used to it.




TrekDedicated said:
All dependes on what field you are racing in.

For example, "C" races vary so much. The 'yo-yo' effect is ridiculous. You can be going 40 mph, and then you'll be going 13mph. So it can be frustrating. When I did C races I topped out at 52.1 mph (my highest speed to date). But that was a freak thing I believe. One probably averages 20-24mph

"B" races are more concrete. A lot faster. People like to bring the pain to other riders. B's don't have as much yo-yoing. The avg speed is 22-27mph.

"A" cannot tell you b/c I am not at that level......... yet
 

hockinsk

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Jun 23, 2005
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If you US boys at college level aren’t simply going flat out for the whole race like most of the amateur racing in the UK typically does, you ain’t trying hard enough Frigo's Luggage : ) In all the racing I’ve participated, it's normally full-on be there a breakaway or not, lap after lap! My computers average speed fluctuated just 2 mph per race, for the whole season, which is why for me, it’s a good performance measurement to use I found. Map your heart rate onto this during training and it’s a very useful, accurate training tool too!
 

Frigo's Luggage

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Yep, either we are wimps here in Philly or you guys in the UK are just not accellerating fast enough. Maybe a little of both.

I still think that the number one difference between racing and recreational rides is the accellerations, particularly out of the turns. This is where people get dropped. Not because they cant handle 60 minutes at a constant x mph. Do you guys have turns in the UK or do you just go straight for 30 or so miles?
 

hockinsk

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Jun 23, 2005
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UK has corners too like you guys do I guess. Most UK amateur races are around circuits either on public or private road circuits. All I’m trying to get at, is if you can comfortably hold 20mph average while out training on your own for 40-50 miles (much easier said than done by the way), then you have a good chance holding onto the back of the bunch. No science, just a bit of practical advice from my experience and perhaps some basic assumptions that you've included some sprinting and interval work within your training miles to simulate race conditions. I was just trying to give a simple answer to CU Cyclist's average speed question, which was the topic of this thread after all?

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Las Montanas

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Dec 19, 2005
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hockinsk said:
UK has corners too like you guys do I guess. Most UK amateur races are around circuits either on public or private road circuits. All I’m trying to get at, is if you can comfortably hold 20mph average while out training on your own for 40-50 miles (much easier said than done by the way), then you have a good chance holding onto the back of the bunch. No science, just a bit of practical advice from my experience and perhaps some basic assumptions that you've included some sprinting and interval work within your training miles to simulate race conditions. I was just trying to give a simple answer to CU Cyclist's average speed question, which was the topic of this thread after all?

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I can roll 20mph till the end of time, but to say that a race will only fluctuate 2mph is a gross, terrible understatement. Our A races will go from 25mph to 40mph in a couple hundred meters for a prime, then settle at 30mph when someone tries to break off the front, rocket back up and slow down.

Collegiate A's will have a variety of dudes, from Pros to Cat3s. The crazy thing is, after a while, a couple weekends maybe, those 3s will stop hanging at the back and become a factor in the race. Which is why I love college racing. It's a great time, both during and after the races (parties, anyone?), as well as teaching the less experienced 3s what a higher level race is like, both in terms of positioning and physically. I'm going to be an A for the first time this year, and have learned everything I know from the guys on my college team. I'm going to get my ass kicked, and enjoy every minute of it. Average speed is not the problem, the accelerations are.

B's, which is where I was my first year (last spring), can have some pretty capable people as well. Lots of these guys are strong 4s or 3s. The main problem that I had with the B's was the amount of utterly idiotic moves some people made. Guys were too eager to be the prime lap hero and ended up making some pretty poor choices, one of which put two of us (myself and another dude) in the hospital. The guy who caused it, of course, walked away from it. In terms of pace, it's generally pretty decent, but, as others have mentioned, the accelerations are the killers at all levels.

C's and D's are Cat 4s and 5s, or completely new racers. The D's scare the sh!t out of me, to be honest. If I were to ever be in a crit with them, by some cruel twist of fate, I would go straight off the front, and if/as soon as someone caught me, I'd drop out, because I KNOW I would go down in a crash.
 

hockinsk

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Jun 23, 2005
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Las Montañas you’ve misunderstood what I’ve typed. It reads: “My computer’s average speed fluctuated just 2 mph [per] race”. Not “my speed fluctuated by only 2mph [each] race”.

I don’t know why people have such a problem saying most races average out at about about 25mph? Even the Tour de France has averaged out at around 25mph for years!
 

PartisanRanger

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Dec 1, 2005
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For all you collegiate racers, what conference and team are you in and what category are you racing this season?

I'm racing for the first time with the University of Virginia in the ACCC in the C's.
 

bobke

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Oct 3, 2004
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CU Cyclist said:
Hello everyone! I am curious as to what speed college road racers average over 50 mile and 75 mile courses. I know that it would be impossible to give an accurate speed over hilly, mountainous terrain. So considering the race is over flat terrain, what average speed would the top guys be at? I tried googling but didn't have any luck.

~thanks
Go online for your college's website and ask team members about which races they did and what their training rides were done at in terms of mph.

The bigger races generally have results online through the conference. Up here in ECCC the big races all have results posted and times and stuff.

But I agree with what others have posted. The A races are Cat 1-3 and are flying. The B races are also hard but very a lot. The C races are incredibly unpredictable and if you have much or any experience racing in a pack should be avoided dur to rider inexperience and CRASHES.

Most collegiate races are not 75 miles, I am not even sure if the Nats road race is that long. When the College Nats were up here they used the Green Mountain Road Race course which is 62 miles and very mountainous. The ECCC now has course profiles up for the big races and I bet the conference you will be in does too.

Good luck.

You will be in Rocky Mountain if you are at CU.

http://www.usacycling.org/rmccc/