Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

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Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby zill » Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:24 pm

I am based in Melbourne and ride the Kew Boulevard often. For those who don't know the course, it is a 13.1km loop which is relatively (but not overly) hilly.

My time over the course is decent but not fast by any means. Some people ride it by over 7 min less than me. I like to make substantial improvements in my time and had a sudden revelation of how do do it today. It is quiet simple - ride higher gears but maintain my current high cadence of between 80 and 100. It is off course much easier said than done. What is the best way to do this? Are there specific training for this? Is this also a little dangerous as I don't want to hurt by legs too much. But is sore legs a requirement to riding faster?
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by BNA » Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:54 pm

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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby SuperSix » Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:54 pm

The sore legs will go away in a few short years.
Start with small sections. Go hard up the first hill and then take it easy for a minute or so and then go hard again. Eventually you will be able to ride harder for longer and link it all together.
Yes there is plenty of formal training programs that will improve your performance over time. But if your just starting out, just ride more and smash it.
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby trailgumby » Mon Apr 07, 2014 12:10 am

Suggest you do a bit of reading. Cyclist's Training Bible by Joe Friel is one place to start, although it may be a bit overwhelming for a first timer.

The golden rule is not to up your load by more than 10% a week. You risk injury and burnout if you exceed this. YOu also need to allow for recovery both within the week and over the course of the month.

I'll leave you with a thought. Training actually makes you weaker .. in the short term. It's the recovery from the stress of training that makes you stronger and fitter.
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby Alien27 » Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:19 am

higher gearing worked for me as well. Went from a 12-27 to a 12-25 then 12-23 on the rear. Improved my hill climbing no end, it simply leaves you no option but to go faster (i find if there is a lower gear option i cant help but take it). You have to keep the cadence up or you will blow up, so its just push push push. Same thing with commuting fixed gear, worked a treat for me quickly building strength. once it gets easy up the gearing slightly.
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby kb » Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:37 am

Pedalling harder and pedalling faster will both help. The other side of the equation is using what you have more effectively. So position, pacing, equipment, weight etc.
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby g-boaf » Tue Apr 08, 2014 8:36 am

zill wrote:I am based in Melbourne and ride the Kew Boulevard often. For those who don't know the course, it is a 13.1km loop which is relatively (but not overly) hilly.

My time over the course is decent but not fast by any means. Some people ride it by over 7 min less than me. I like to make substantial improvements in my time and had a sudden revelation of how do do it today. It is quiet simple - ride higher gears but maintain my current high cadence of between 80 and 100. It is off course much easier said than done. What is the best way to do this? Are there specific training for this? Is this also a little dangerous as I don't want to hurt by legs too much. But is sore legs a requirement to riding faster?


Where I do my training they run sessions that they call strength endurance - long efforts at lower cadence mixed up with higher cadence bits (from memory of the last time I tried it) and each week, they pick up the cadence so you eventually start riding faster. That's run over multiple weeks (6 I think).

I'm going to put a disclaimer and say I'm not advocating that as the be all and end all, or if it is right or wrong.
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby zill » Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:03 am

g-boaf wrote:
zill wrote:I am based in Melbourne and ride the Kew Boulevard often. For those who don't know the course, it is a 13.1km loop which is relatively (but not overly) hilly.

My time over the course is decent but not fast by any means. Some people ride it by over 7 min less than me. I like to make substantial improvements in my time and had a sudden revelation of how do do it today. It is quiet simple - ride higher gears but maintain my current high cadence of between 80 and 100. It is off course much easier said than done. What is the best way to do this? Are there specific training for this? Is this also a little dangerous as I don't want to hurt by legs too much. But is sore legs a requirement to riding faster?


Where I do my training they run sessions that they call strength endurance - long efforts at lower cadence mixed up with higher cadence bits (from memory of the last time I tried it) and each week, they pick up the cadence so you eventually start riding faster. That's run over multiple weeks (6 I think).

I'm going to put a disclaimer and say I'm not advocating that as the be all and end all, or if it is right or wrong.


What other things did you do in the training sessions?
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby g-boaf » Tue Apr 08, 2014 10:00 am

Nothing tricky about it - you've just got to ride hard.

Push yourself to somewhere close to your limits and then hit it hard, do 6 to 8 short sprint efforts at really high intensity with very short breaks in between. Then rest for 3 minutes and repeat. Do that for about 1 hour. And make sure you don't ease off, give it everything you've got. That's different to before, but it is hard work.
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby zill » Fri Apr 11, 2014 10:55 pm

g-boaf wrote:Nothing tricky about it - you've just got to ride hard.

Push yourself to somewhere close to your limits and then hit it hard, do 6 to 8 short sprint efforts at really high intensity with very short breaks in between. Then rest for 3 minutes and repeat. Do that for about 1 hour. And make sure you don't ease off, give it everything you've got. That's different to before, but it is hard work.


I ride a course which has some hills along the way. What I tend to do is take it 80% on the flatter stages and rest on the down hills but really push hard on the hills. This to me is natural way of doing interval training. Is this good and effective?
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby zill » Fri Apr 11, 2014 10:57 pm

trailgumby wrote:Suggest you do a bit of reading. Cyclist's Training Bible by Joe Friel is one place to start, although it may be a bit overwhelming for a first timer.

The golden rule is not to up your load by more than 10% a week. You risk injury and burnout if you exceed this. YOu also need to allow for recovery both within the week and over the course of the month.

I'll leave you with a thought. Training actually makes you weaker .. in the short term. It's the recovery from the stress of training that makes you stronger and fitter.


Just got the book by Joel Friel. How should I read it? What is the most important sections of the book?
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby toolonglegs » Sat Apr 12, 2014 12:51 am

Get low and get aero ... if you are riding in the hoods/tops the whole way with then you are probably riding like a parachute :mrgreen: .
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby Xplora » Sat Apr 12, 2014 7:48 pm

Read the whole book. Friel is teaching periodisation. It's a method, not a set of tips.

I will weigh in that the basic notion of Spin the same speed, Use higher gears is wayyyy too hard to just do. If it was simple, we would all use 56 tooth big rings with 11-23 cassettes. You need to push a gear you are efficient in, holding good posture, and repeat lots. Allow time for recovery.

Everyone is different. Many prefer to spin fast, some don't. You might find low cadence to be really hard to generate power from. If I push 70 (climbing) I die really really fast ;)
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby zill » Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:26 pm

toolonglegs wrote:Get low and get aero ... if you are riding in the hoods/tops the whole way with then you are probably riding like a parachute :mrgreen: .


I find it too uncomfortable riding low and prefer not to use the drops too much. Use it only on big downhills.

There must be a reason Jan Urillich use to ride on the hoods so much!
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby zill » Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:30 pm

Xplora wrote:Read the whole book. Friel is teaching periodisation. It's a method, not a set of tips.

I will weigh in that the basic notion of Spin the same speed, Use higher gears is wayyyy too hard to just do. If it was simple, we would all use 56 tooth big rings with 11-23 cassettes. You need to push a gear you are efficient in, holding good posture, and repeat lots. Allow time for recovery.

Everyone is different. Many prefer to spin fast, some don't. You might find low cadence to be really hard to generate power from. If I push 70 (climbing) I die really really fast ;)


I know it's hard but at least I know how to ride much faster, which is to use bigger gears and spin fast.

One example was that Merxx was able to average 49km/hr in a velodrome for an hour and I can't even reach that speed on a flat section. To reach higher speeds, I must be able to pedal a higher gear (but that is very hard to do and will take time)!
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby Strawburger » Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:00 pm

zill wrote:
toolonglegs wrote:Get low and get aero ... if you are riding in the hoods/tops the whole way with then you are probably riding like a parachute :mrgreen: .


I find it too uncomfortable riding low and prefer not to use the drops too much. Use it only on big downhills.

There must be a reason Jan Urillich use to ride on the hoods so much!


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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby Strawburger » Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:02 pm

Alien27 wrote:higher gearing worked for me as well. Went from a 12-27 to a 12-25 then 12-23 on the rear. Improved my hill climbing no end, it simply leaves you no option but to go faster (i find if there is a lower gear option i cant help but take it). You have to keep the cadence up or you will blow up, so its just push push push. Same thing with commuting fixed gear, worked a treat for me quickly building strength. once it gets easy up the gearing slightly.


I've had more success doing the opposite. Pick your gear based on your power and muscular makeup!
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby Xplora » Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:59 pm

zill wrote:
Xplora wrote:Read the whole book. Friel is teaching periodisation. It's a method, not a set of tips.

I will weigh in that the basic notion of Spin the same speed, Use higher gears is wayyyy too hard to just do. If it was simple, we would all use 56 tooth big rings with 11-23 cassettes. You need to push a gear you are efficient in, holding good posture, and repeat lots. Allow time for recovery.

Everyone is different. Many prefer to spin fast, some don't. You might find low cadence to be really hard to generate power from. If I push 70 (climbing) I die really really fast ;)


I know it's hard but at least I know how to ride much faster, which is to use bigger gears and spin fast.

One example was that Merxx was able to average 49km/hr in a velodrome for an hour and I can't even reach that speed on a flat section. To reach higher speeds, I must be able to pedal a higher gear (but that is very hard to do and will take time)!

Mercx also had legs carved of stone and lungs taken from a horse.

The comments about getting aero aren't facetious in the slightest. If you can't get in the drops, you are wasting your time with this. The time trial bars were invented to stop elbows dragging wind onto the chest. We are talking bringing your hands 5cm closer to the chest. Many guys reckon that's worth 2kmh. Whether or not that is accurate, aerodynamics is crucial if you want to ride faster. It's not easy to hold the position, but it is FASTER. You mention Mercx, that era were in the drops a lot, and their bars and hoods aren't the same as the modern hoods and bars. Check out pics of him doing the hour record. It's a track bike, and his hands are LOW :idea:

The Friel book will explain the building blocks, and offer suggestions to achieve your goals. Be specific in your goals, if you want to push 50x16 at 100rpm for 20 minutes, then work towards that. Just remember that your muscles aren't the limiter, it's usually cardio. If it is muscles holding you back, make sure your goal is pushing that gear for 60 seconds; your joints won't forgive you quickly.

Take up racing. You get faster very fast when you've got to chase the breakaway every week.
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby g-boaf » Tue Apr 15, 2014 10:29 am

zill wrote:
toolonglegs wrote:Get low and get aero ... if you are riding in the hoods/tops the whole way with then you are probably riding like a parachute :mrgreen: .


I find it too uncomfortable riding low and prefer not to use the drops too much. Use it only on big downhills.

There must be a reason Jan Urillich use to ride on the hoods so much!


You just have to get used to it. That's it. No other way around it. When I started riding on the track for the first time I learn very quickly that this is what you did, there was no other way.

Going faster than 50km/h on the flat takes some aero and training. It isn't impossible. The training is quite enjoyable.

Take up racing - give it a go and if you don't like it, just don't renew your racing license. It isn't for everyone.
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby Big guy » Sun May 11, 2014 7:30 pm

Have you tried a power meter?

You are pretty much flying blind if not.
Pace yourself with it and once you know what wattage you can put out, you will drop time quickly.

I did, it works, there is a reason all the pros do it.
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby Derny Driver » Sun May 11, 2014 9:07 pm

Big guy wrote:... all the pros do it.

So we have a guy who cant ride on the drops, rides Kew Boulevarde, wants to improve his time (why), doesn't race, and the answer is do what the Pros do, use a powermeter?
So if I just got my learner drivers licence and wanted to learn to drive better, the answer is to do what the Formula One drivers do?
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby Xplora » Sun May 11, 2014 10:56 pm

Power meters are absolutely awesome, and I will pimp them to everyone, but I have to agree that there is a lot more that zill has to do before spending 800-1500 on a power meter. Even just spending that money on a coach would be more useful, combined with a HR monitor.
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby simonn » Mon May 12, 2014 8:58 am

zill wrote:I find it too uncomfortable riding low and prefer not to use the drops too much. Use it only on big downhills.


Pilates, yoga, gym etc and strengthen your core.
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby Big guy » Mon May 12, 2014 8:12 pm

Derny Driver wrote:
Big guy wrote:... all the pros do it.

So we have a guy who cant ride on the drops, rides Kew Boulevarde, wants to improve his time (why), doesn't race, and the answer is do what the Pros do, use a powermeter?
So if I just got my learner drivers licence and wanted to learn to drive better, the answer is to do what the Formula One drivers do?


Why are you so aggressive?

I gave a great explanation of how a PM gives prefect feed back, let's you track power output like no other device and instant unlike heart rate.

A power meter is the best purchase or aid to any bike, there be the day they come as option with all bikes from all shops and they be cheaper also.

Sure all the other comments help but essentially, you are flying blind.
Having had flight training on rotary wing air craft, instruments are everything and the more info you have, the better to gauge what is going on.
You will soon see how much power u can average, how your day is going as we all have off days and by staying at say 3watts per kg of personal weight you can set a great training schedule.
DR ferrari who we all know is guilty as sin with Lance Armstrong etc is a total addict to PM's.

Anyone read the Tyler Hamilton book?
power meter and weight is all they discussed.
How many watts per kilo is the key to speed, 5.7w per kg is regarded just enough for winning a grand tour stage.

I am a convert too, I used to laugh till I tried one and on 1st ride I dropped a very fast mate up our usual climb and went 90 sec quicker. Why, simple. 3w/kg which is 3x72kg= 216w which I maintained 95% of the climb and than gave it all I had as lactic acid was not build up.
Try it than knock it but perhaps not as aggressively as old mate above.

Happy riding mate
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby singlespeedscott » Mon May 12, 2014 8:28 pm

Why couldn't you do this without the meter? Obviously you had it in you already. The PM didn't give you more strength overnight.
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby Big guy » Mon May 12, 2014 8:47 pm

singlespeedscott wrote:Why couldn't you do this without the meter? Obviously you had it in you already. The PM didn't give you more strength overnight.


That's what I used to think, absolutely.

The PM let's you watch exactly the power and you can adjust cadence to keep up speed and keep power under control before one loads up with lactic and bonks.

It's not till I splashed out and got one that it all made sense.

Bike set up 1st and PM next is what did biggest difference for me. I can only speak from personal experience of course.
My bike weighs 6.6kg, it helps but so does loosing a kg of personal weight to get better power to weight.
It all helps I guess and I figured I air my experience.

Try it.
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