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so how did I do?(12 posts)

so how did I do?Stan_B
Dec 6, 2001 1:13 PM
I've had a goal of completing a 30 mile course solo averaging over 20 MPH. Yesterday, thanks to the warm weather here in New England I was able to accomplish this:
30.36 miles in 1:30:53 for an average on 20.04. It was a relatively flat course, just a few decent hills.

I'm curious where does this put me in the range of cycling ability? I've been cycling for 16 months. I just turned 30. How much should I expect to improve upon this time?
re: so how did I do?surf
Dec 6, 2001 1:32 PM
Apparently your doing very good. When i wrote in a few days ago asking about speeds("how fast is fast") and said im new to the sport and can average about 20mph on a 25 mile flat course, most of the responders thought i was lying. A few guys said around 21-22mph is very good. Someone said that he did not believe me because he can barely do 18mph. You gota read the post but it sounds like your doing good.
time for that Tour day France thing!Bo
Dec 6, 2001 1:39 PM
Well, since you asked...mr_spin
Dec 6, 2001 1:53 PM
The range of cycling ability? Hmmm.

Well, the upper end would have to be Lance, who can do 30 miles or more at 34mph. You're not even close!

The lower end is probably around 18 or so. You're much closer to that.

Now before you take this as an insult, keep in mind that there are plenty of riders out there who just don't care about going fast. That's fine, but it seriously skews the range of cycling ability. So eliminate them from the discussion.

Now you are left with a group of "serious" cyclists, most of whom can easily hold 18 mph for 30 miles on your relatively flat course. A large percentage can probably hold 20mph. Maybe one-third to half can do 25. After that, I'd say the percentage falls dramatically with each mph increment. Holding 30mph for 30 miles is very, very hard to do. I can do it on rollers, but in the real world, I'm in the 20-22 mph range.
Well, since you asked...Tig
Dec 6, 2001 3:13 PM
These are generalizations I have found over the years, and reflect only what I've observed.

I'd say a fair percent of riders are in the 15-18 MPH average range. There are quite a few riders who are not serious about speed, a little new, and don't train to improve at a fast rate. They usually don't ride more than 3 times a week.

A larger chunk falls within the 18-21 range. These riders have been around a little longer and ride more frequently. They are not super serious, but enjoy watching their fitness gains.

"Testosterone" level riders average 20-24 and race cat 5 or 4. They have learned to ride fast and can keep up with higher speeds if in a decent sized group.

After that the percentages drop dramatically as the speed increases, like you said. I doubt that 1/2 of the riders who ride at least twice a week can maintain 25 MPH for 30 miles though. It also depends on conditions.
re: so how did I do?McAndrus
Dec 6, 2001 1:56 PM
Pretty well, actually.

My times depend a lot on terrain and condition. When I lived in Michigan, in gently rolling terrain, I could average 20+ mph on a 20 mile loop if wind and temperature were right: warm, humid days with no wind.

Now in South Carolina, with many more hills, I'm lucky to hit an 18.5 average on a similar distance. I can do a local 10 mile time trial at 23+ mph. I know Cat 3 racers who get up around 26 mph on the same course.

So, I'd say at your experience and age you're doing nicely. If you keep at it, you'll get even better.
re: so how did I do?morrison
Dec 6, 2001 2:13 PM
I dramatically increased my average speed this week by including the travel distance, speed, and time that it took me to transport my bike (on my car, of course) to the start of my ride. On Tues., I averaged 48.7 mph over a 50 mile course, approximately 30 miles of which were on the interstate HOV lane.
If you beat your previous best.......Len J
Dec 6, 2001 3:24 PM
you did good.

We all want to "Know where we stand" in the cycling pecking order, and we all use speed to determine it. The problem is that no two rides are the same. Some are hillier, some are windier, and everyone seems to measure average speed differently. At the end of the day, the only thing that truly tells how well you did is how your time/speed compares to your own personal best.

Cycling is one of those things in life where you can always count on two things; 1.) That the more effectivly you work at it the better you will get & 2.) That you can always be sure at the end of a ride that it was all about you. (You can't blame anyone else, you can't hide & you don't have share the victories).

As Far as where you fit in the range of cycling ability, your not at the top & your not at the bottom, plenty of room to grow. (& at 30, plenty of time to do it).

How much you should expect to improve is a very individual thing. Without an understanding of how much & what type of traing you have been doing, it's really hard to say. (For example, if you did this in 16 months riding 25 miles a week 9 months a year I would say your upside is hugh, conversly, if you have been training under a coach and riding several hundred miles a week on a formal training program for the last 16 months, I would say that your upside is more limited.). Additional factors are genetics, disposition, discipline, time etc.

There are all kinds of ways to measure this accomplishment. I would suggest that you did a good thing, you set a goal & then beat it!

Congratulations on reaching your goal!
What's your next goal?

If you beat your previous best.......Stan_B
Dec 6, 2001 6:21 PM
Thanks everyone for the feedback. When I took up cycling in August 2000, I rode till December. I then started again in March. I cycle twice a week for a minimum of 30 miles per ride. I did a solo long of 71 miles averaging 18.5. I did a group century in September averaging 17.8.

My long term goal is to do a century averaging 20 MPH. I've always only hoped to do this with the help of a good paceline. I'm wondering if there is any chance I could ever do this solo??? I have thought about racing next season although the group dynamics are still relatively new to me.

I'm curious how there can be different methods of calculating average speed. I don't touch my computer for the entire ride. When I slow down at intersections, I know this is hurting my average but I always view that as part of the challenge. Do some riders actually stop their computers as they approach a stop?
Avg speed.Len J
Dec 7, 2001 4:08 AM
Lurking on this site, I heave learned that avg speed is determined in the following different ways (Some are because of how different computers work):

1.)Turn comp on at start & leave it on till finish. Some computer clocks stop when you stop, some don't. diff avg speed. some rides have lots of lights some don't... different avg speed.

2.)Turn computer on only after warmup when you start hammering. Leave on entire ride.

3.) Turn computer on after warmup & turn off at every light (sometimes when you start slowing down for a light).

4.) Some people don't have a computer. They know the ride distances from experience (Riding buddies, driving) and they just compare distance to how long they were out there to get a sense of avg speed.

5.) There are some posters here who confuse average speed with the speed they maintain for a period of time (sometimes in a paceline). Obviously the "avg" they quote is inflated.

As you can see the "speeds" would vary dramatically in the above "clculations".

To give you another frame of refrence for how your speed compares (since only you know what you can really do) consider the Tour de France. This past year, I think it was close to 2100 miles over 20 stages with several mountain stages, & time trials. I think the Avg speed of the winner (Lance) was over 25 mph (I could be wrong but I think I'm close. Realize that a peleton can move along a t a pretty high clip for sustained periods because of the effect of group drafting, but nontheless, this is an amazing speed. over this many days.

Good luck in your 5 hour century, if you pick a flat one (like the seagull century in Salisbury Md in Oct) and you prepare adequatly & eat & drink correctly, there is no reason you couldn't break 5 hours, maybe even alone.

re: Well!allervite
Dec 6, 2001 4:17 PM
You did well, but the worse thing you can do to improve is worry about average speed.
Having said that, I would expect you to be able to do OK in most CAT 4/5 races. Maybe even win one with a bit of luck. Most riders who ride regularly can handle 18-19 mph. 20 mph for thirty miles is pretty respectable, even on the flat if your outdoors, but you are not ready for the Tour de France thing. At the National Championships Trent Klasna said he averaged 27 mph on the leg out and it was a gradual uphill. Trent would get whooped in the TT at the tour. No offense Trent.
bravoDuane Gran
Dec 7, 2001 7:53 AM
I remember when I crested that coveted 20mph mark. It was a great feeling. I did a routine tempo ride, which for me is about 45-75 minutes at 80% max HR. My early averages were around 17mph, but gradually it rises. Once you get over 22mph it becomes *very* hard to improve as wind resistance increases and it becomes hard to eke out small performance gains, but that is all part of the fun.

The sub 5 hour century is a nice goal. I did one this year and it was a great feeling. It is quite a bit harder solo than with a group, but either is a good accomplishment.

Regarding average speed, some others made good points about this metric. Terrain and recording methods make it hard for people to have a discussion about it. Measuring power (watts) is better, however few cyclists have this sort of equipment. As others stated, your best competitor is yourself, however you might consider getting into racing if you really want to kick it up a notch.