How do the pros hit those top speeds?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Raptor, Jun 4, 2003.

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  1. Raptor

    Raptor Guest

    I'm pretty sure this is a pseudo-faq, but a quick google didn't turn it up.

    Best I've ever managed, in prime conditions (steep, straight road, tailwind, strong spin-out of the
    top gear, tuck) is 55-56 mph. Paul Sherwen said last year during one of the tours that Sean Kelly
    hit 72 mph once, and the pros are frequently claimed to be hitting 65 mph.

    Their gears aren't that much longer than mine, and the downhills over there aren't THAT much steeper
    than our are here. Are they? How can they go 15+mph faster than I can, trying my best? Every
    additional mph is so much harder to achieve.

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  2. "Raptor" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    > Best I've ever managed, in prime conditions (steep, straight road, tailwind, strong spin-out of
    > the top gear, tuck) is 55-56 mph. Paul Sherwen said last year during one of the tours that Sean
    > Kelly hit
    72
    > mph once, and the pros are frequently claimed to be hitting 65 mph.

    > Their gears aren't that much longer than mine, and the downhills
    over
    > there aren't THAT much steeper than our are here. Are they? How
    can
    > they go 15+mph faster than I can, trying my best? Every additional
    mph
    > is so much harder to achieve.

    I don't think they do hit those speeds -- the commentators are exaggerating.

    JT

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  3. IIRC, Armand De Las Cuevas claimed an 120+ km/h maxspeed readout on his computer after a Giro
    descent, defending the pink he was wearing at the time.

    Alexander

    "John Forrest Tomlinson" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "Raptor" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > > Best I've ever managed, in prime conditions (steep, straight road, tailwind, strong spin-out of
    > > the top gear, tuck) is 55-56 mph. Paul Sherwen said last year during one of the tours that Sean
    > > Kelly hit
    > 72
    > > mph once, and the pros are frequently claimed to be hitting 65 mph.
    >
    > > Their gears aren't that much longer than mine, and the downhills
    > over
    > > there aren't THAT much steeper than our are here. Are they? How
    > can
    > > they go 15+mph faster than I can, trying my best? Every additional
    > mph
    > > is so much harder to achieve.
    >
    > I don't think they do hit those speeds -- the commentators are exaggerating.
    >
    > JT
    >
    > --
    > *******************************************
    > NB: reply-to address is munged
    >
    > Visit http://www.jt10000.com
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  4. Robert Chung

    Robert Chung Guest

    "Alexander Lackner" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > IIRC, Armand De Las Cuevas claimed an 120+ km/h maxspeed readout on his computer after a
    > Giro descent

    So? A couple of weeks ago I got a maxspeed readout on mine of 280 kph, and that was on the flat.
     
  5. Wade Summers

    Wade Summers Guest

    "John Forrest Tomlinson" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "Raptor" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > > Best I've ever managed, in prime conditions (steep, straight road, tailwind, strong spin-out of
    > > the top gear, tuck) is 55-56 mph. Paul Sherwen said last year during one of the tours that Sean
    > > Kelly hit
    > 72
    > > mph once, and the pros are frequently claimed to be hitting 65 mph.
    >
    > > Their gears aren't that much longer than mine, and the downhills
    > over
    > > there aren't THAT much steeper than our are here. Are they? How
    > can
    > > they go 15+mph faster than I can, trying my best? Every additional
    > mph
    > > is so much harder to achieve.
    >
    > I don't think they do hit those speeds -- the commentators are exaggerating.
    >
    > JT

    I'd agree that the commentators exaggerate, but I would routinely hit 44-46 mph on the Fitchburg RR
    decent, which is short compared to Grand Tour mtn descents. And because that descent is loaded with
    frost heaves, I've never let it all hang out there, for much of it I would just coast. I would think
    that if I put it in the 11 and really let it go I could add a few more mphs. I think Paul Sherwin's
    phrasing - the riders can touch speeds of 60 mph - is accurate, but not applicable to every descent.
    They aren't going to be cruising at those speeds, but at some point, on one of the more wide open
    descents, they could hit those speeds.

    Wade
     
  6. "Wade Summers" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    > I think Paul Sherwin's phrasing - the riders can touch speeds of 60
    mph - is
    > accurate, but not applicable to every descent. They aren't going to
    be
    > cruising at those speeds, but at some point, on one of the more wide
    open
    > descents, they could hit those speeds.

    I'd believe that. We've got a straight, well-paved descent at Harriman State Park where hitting the
    low 50s is no problem at all. I believe up to about 60mph is possible in the right place and
    conditions. Beyond that (mid 60s and up) I don't believe.

    JT

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  7. Wade Summers

    Wade Summers Guest

    Ahh, the Bear Mtn descent. That probably is faster than Fitchburg, and only slightly less scary. My
    first experience with that was in the rain.

    Wade

    "John Forrest Tomlinson" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "Wade Summers" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > > I think Paul Sherwin's phrasing - the riders can touch speeds of 60
    > mph - is
    > > accurate, but not applicable to every descent. They aren't going to
    > be
    > > cruising at those speeds, but at some point, on one of the more wide
    > open
    > > descents, they could hit those speeds.
    >
    > I'd believe that. We've got a straight, well-paved descent at Harriman State Park where hitting
    > the low 50s is no problem at all. I believe up to about 60mph is possible in the right place and
    > conditions. Beyond that (mid 60s and up) I don't believe.
    >
    > JT
    >
    > --
    > *******************************************
    > NB: reply-to address is munged
    >
    > Visit http://www.jt10000.com
    > *******************************************
     
  8. Roger Bogda

    Roger Bogda Guest

    They are giving the speeds in kilometers........oh, milecentric nation.....going down hill at 120k
    is not unrealistic, that's 74 mph. I have gone well over 50mph downhill and could have gone much
    faster if it was a matter of winning a race.

    Roger Bogda

    "Raptor" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I'm pretty sure this is a pseudo-faq, but a quick google didn't turn it
    up.
    >
    > Best I've ever managed, in prime conditions (steep, straight road, tailwind, strong spin-out of
    > the top gear, tuck) is 55-56 mph. Paul Sherwen said last year during one of the tours that Sean
    > Kelly hit 72 mph once, and the pros are frequently claimed to be hitting 65 mph.
    >
    > Their gears aren't that much longer than mine, and the downhills over there aren't THAT much
    > steeper than our are here. Are they? How can they go 15+mph faster than I can, trying my best?
    > Every additional mph is so much harder to achieve.
    >
    > --
    > --
    > Lynn Wallace http://www.xmission.com/~lawall "I'm not proud. We really haven't done everything we
    > could to protect our customers. Our products just aren't engineered for security." --Microsoft VP
    > in charge of Windows OS Development, Brian Valentine.
     
  9. Brad W.

    Brad W. New Member

    Joined:
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    As a junior in the Wachussett stage of Fitchburg our pack topped out at 60. It was DAMN scarry, and I don't think I'd even want to do it again, but it is definately possible. If you slap on a 53x11 or 12, you'd be amazed how long you can keep pedaling (especially if you have a good, smooth pedal stroke) -- even at very high speeds.
     
  10. Brad W.

    Brad W. New Member

    Joined:
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    0
    Yeah, not saying that I was using that kind of a gear as a junior.
     
  11. Bob Schwartz

    Bob Schwartz Guest

    Roger Bogda <[email protected]> wrote:
    > They are giving the speeds in kilometers........oh, milecentric nation.....going down hill at 120k
    > is not unrealistic, that's 74 mph. I have gone well over 50mph downhill and could have gone much
    > faster if it was a matter of winning a race.

    120kph is not realistic.

    Years ago Jobst made the strongest argument against this by determining that max speed was achieved
    in a tuck. That is, the extra aerodynamic drag from getting out of a tuck in order to pedal was
    greater than the power generated by pedaling. So once you get into the higher speeds the only way to
    go faster is through tailwinds or steeper roads.

    I don't believe 120kph at all. And I miss Jobst during threads like this.

    Bob Schwartz [email protected]
     
  12. Tom

    Tom Guest

    Brad Wrote:
    > As a junior in the Wachussett stage of Fitchburg our pack topped out at
    > 60. It was DAMN scarry, and I don't think I'd even want to do it again, but it is definately
    > possible. If you slap on a 53x11 or 12, you'd be amazed how long you can keep pedaling
    > (especially if you have a good, smooth pedal stroke) -- even at very high speeds.

    I am 73 and just happen to have a 53/11 gear; and, I routinely hit close to 50mph coming down 9%
    grades here in the Davis Mountains. The 'younger' guys with 52/39/30 12/25 are surprised when I
    pass them.

    Tom

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  13. Bob Schwartz

    Bob Schwartz Guest

    I wrote:
    > 120kph is not realistic.

    > Years ago Jobst made the strongest argument against this by determining that max speed was
    > achieved in a tuck. That is, the extra aerodynamic drag from getting out of a tuck in order to
    > pedal was greater than the power generated by pedaling. So once you get into the higher speeds the
    > only way to go faster is through tailwinds or steeper roads.

    > I don't believe 120kph at all. And I miss Jobst during threads like this.

    http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&threadm=31C80FAD.178E%40ena-est.ericsso-
    n.se&rnum=1&prev=/groups%3Fsafe%3Dimages%26ie%3DUTF-8%26oe%3DUTF-8%26as_ugroup%3Drec.bicycles.racin-
    g%26as_usubject%3DHow%2520fast%2520have%2520you%2520gone%2520honestly%26lr%3D%26hl%3Den

    There are a number of informative posts in that thread on this topic. Look for the ones from Jobst.

    Bob Schwartz [email protected]
     
  14. Tim Zlogar

    Tim Zlogar Guest

    I would say that even if the descents are no steeper than here that the fact that the road is
    totally closed and the descents are much longer than almost anything here would have something to do
    with it. Plus I'm sure the pros no all kinds of little adjustments to make to add a few MPH.
     
  15. Jeff Jones

    Jeff Jones Guest

    "Brad W." <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > wrote:
    >
    >
    > As a junior in the Wachussett stage of Fitchburg our pack topped out at
    > 60. It was DAMN scarry, and I don't think I'd even want to do it again, but it is definately
    > possible. If you slap on a 53x11 or 12, you'd be amazed how long you can keep pedaling
    > (especially if you have a good, smooth pedal stroke) -- even at very high speeds.
    >
    I've hit 60 (96 km/h) in a race, and 93 km/h in a training ride with a pack (it's a lot easier with
    a bunch). The descents were < 3 km, but quite steep. The road surface was pretty bad in the race I
    remember, but a few of us were chasing to get back on, after having gone *up* that hill.
    Australians who are reading might be familiar with the hill: Fitz's Hill in the Canberra Two Day
    Tour. It's a mongrel.

    As for 120 km/h, I think that's stretching things a bit...

    Jeff
     
  16. Raptor

    Raptor Guest

    Bob Schwartz wrote:
    > http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&threadm=31C80FAD.178E%40ena-est.erics-
    > son.se&rnum=1&prev=/groups%3Fsafe%3Dimages%26ie%3DUTF-8%26oe%3DUTF-8%26as_ugroup%3Drec.bicycles.r-
    > acing%26as_usubject%3DHow%2520fast%2520have%2520you%2520gone%2520honestly%26lr%3D%26hl%3Den
    >
    > There are a number of informative posts in that thread on this topic. Look for the ones
    > from Jobst.
    >
    > Bob Schwartz [email protected]

    Thank you very much. I vaguely remember that thread, but didn't feed google right to bring it back.

    --
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    Lynn Wallace http://www.xmission.com/~lawall "I'm not proud. We really haven't done everything we
    could to protect our customers. Our products just aren't engineered for security." --Microsoft VP in
    charge of Windows OS Development, Brian Valentine.
     
  17. jopp

    jopp Guest

    >I don't think they do hit those speeds -- the commentators are exaggerating.
    >
    >JT

    I remember a few times during last years Tour when the peleton was on the flats and the camera shoed
    the motorcycles speedo and it indicated 70-80 km/h while it was beside the group.

    That seems pretty fast for flats.
     
  18. Precious Pup

    Precious Pup Guest

    Wade Summers wrote:
    >

    > I'd agree that the commentators exaggerate, but I would routinely hit 44-46 mph on the Fitchburg
    > RR decent, which is short compared to Grand Tour mtn descents.

    It doesn't have to be that long to reach terminal velocity. So yes, the commentators "exaggerate."
    On a bike the top speed is determined by grade and wind. It has nothing to do with being a pro.
     
  19. "Precious Pup" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    >
    > Wade Summers wrote:
    > >
    >
    > > I'd agree that the commentators exaggerate, but I would routinely hit
    44-46
    > > mph on the Fitchburg RR decent, which is short compared to Grand Tour
    mtn
    > > descents.
    >
    > It doesn't have to be that long to reach terminal velocity. So yes, the commentators "exaggerate."
    > On a bike the top speed is determined by grade and wind. It has nothing to do with being a pro.

    Conversely, it may be detrimental to be a pro.

    A 250 lb. Masters Fattie has marginally more frontal area, but 80% more gravitational force.
     
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