Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

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Derny Driver
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby Derny Driver » Mon May 12, 2014 9:19 pm

Big guy wrote:Why are you so aggressive?

Not aggressive, just coming from a different place. Possibly a place of frustration at seeing every newbie poster being told the answer to learning how to ride a bike is to buy high tech equipment.
If I buy myself a ladder, a set of screwdrivers and a voltage meter, does that make me an electrician?

Your reference to Tyler Hamilton is irrelevant. Tyler and his buddies have spent years skilling up, practising wet descents, cornering, riding in the drops, big bunches, experiencing everything the sport can throw at them. Like the final 8 in an Olympic 100 metre sprint, the difference between winning and losing at the top of the tree can be all in the head, or in half a watt of power somewhere. So yeah, its all about power for them.

The OP just wants to improve his strava time.

zill
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby zill » Mon May 12, 2014 9:39 pm

Big guy wrote: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.


What about the pro racing days when power meters weren't invented?

Depending on the day, I am more or less tired and tend to ride accordingly. So I try to let my body do the tempo making (in a rough way and in a general sense e.g will this be a smashing session or a grinder with tired legs).

On specific hills, sometimes I smash myself early but then try to maintain the cadence going for as long as possible. Usually, I am not able to near the top of the hill but I think this is actually a positive thing as I am pushing myself to my absolute limits. However, if I was to use a power meter, I may be limiting myself a bit in following a set of numbers and hence not push myself to my absolute limit?

zill
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby zill » Mon May 12, 2014 9:44 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?


I would like to race but not at this stage as I am just getting base mileage in my legs and also trying to lose 10kg or so. At the moment my 20 minute watts/kg is 4.7 (on a watt bike) but I like to get it to around 5.7 in 5 months (by losing weight and gaining strength and endurance in the legs). Is that possible ( I do ride at least an hour every day)? I do like to race this summer no matter what though.

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Derny Driver
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby Derny Driver » Mon May 12, 2014 10:34 pm

zill wrote:I would like to race but not at this stage as I am just getting base mileage in my legs and also trying to lose 10kg or so..

That seems to me to be sensible. My advice would be to just ride your bike lots. Join a club, race a bit, learn from other good riders. I don't know anyone who became a champion by reading a book. Experience is everything in cycling, every day you ride, you gain it.

Getting faster on a bike is a gradual process of skilling up, getting stronger and fitter, learning and adjusting ...it takes time. If it were a simple scientific equation X + Y = faster, then it would be easy. But being a good bike rider is not like that. There are numerous examples of people who regularly win races with inferior power numbers, and I have a lot of friends with enough power to be a champion but cant win even a club race. Ive seen the local Academy of Sport do the watt bike tests every year and choose their squad based on those numbers ... and the rejected riders go on to become way better cyclists and outperform the "chosen ones' week after week, year after year. Most of the Academy of Sport riders in my area drop out of the sport as soon as their tenure is finished. They are led to believe they have some sort of potential and when it is unrealised, they quit.

Nothing helps you get better quite like riding your bike. My dad was a well respected cyclist, multiple State champion, and coached an Australian road champ and an Olympian among other things. Our house always had cyclists dropping in. I used to sit and listen to all the tactical advice, training tips, watch the bikes get pulled apart and rebuilt ... when I decide to take up the sport aged 30 something, I knew more about the history and the theory than anyone. But none of that helped me one little bit. I started at the beginning, at the back of the bunch just like everyone else.

Just ride your bike mate. Enjoy it. Every time you ride you will improve.

g-boaf
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby g-boaf » Mon May 12, 2014 10:45 pm

Big guy wrote:
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.


You can sort of get around without one. The place where I do some training (partially because they are near my work) does have power meters though so I understand what they are about and why they are useful. Would I like one, yeah of course. Same reason I'd like a Nikon 800mm F/5.6 camera lens. Don't need it though.

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toolonglegs
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby toolonglegs » Tue May 13, 2014 1:51 am

I think the simple answer is the OP "needs" a power meter. Why?... Well after all the threads and questions that he has posted it is pretty obvious he is numbers geek and won't be completely satisfied until all boxes are ticked :-) .
Whether that makes you any quicker is another matter, I think Coogan's book and a power meter will give some insight into training the modern way as opposed to the Eddy Merckx 300 kms per day etc .
But the pure and simple requirement in competitive cycling is your ability and willingness to suffer ... You don't need any gadgets to work out whether you enjoy that or not :lol:

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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby zill » Tue May 13, 2014 8:26 am

Derny Driver wrote:
zill wrote:I would like to race but not at this stage as I am just getting base mileage in my legs and also trying to lose 10kg or so..

That seems to me to be sensible. My advice would be to just ride your bike lots. Join a club, race a bit, learn from other good riders. I don't know anyone who became a champion by reading a book. Experience is everything in cycling, every day you ride, you gain it.

Getting faster on a bike is a gradual process of skilling up, getting stronger and fitter, learning and adjusting ...it takes time. If it were a simple scientific equation X + Y = faster, then it would be easy. But being a good bike rider is not like that. There are numerous examples of people who regularly win races with inferior power numbers, and I have a lot of friends with enough power to be a champion but cant win even a club race. Ive seen the local Academy of Sport do the watt bike tests every year and choose their squad based on those numbers ... and the rejected riders go on to become way better cyclists and outperform the "chosen ones' week after week, year after year. Most of the Academy of Sport riders in my area drop out of the sport as soon as their tenure is finished. They are led to believe they have some sort of potential and when it is unrealised, they quit.

Nothing helps you get better quite like riding your bike. My dad was a well respected cyclist, multiple State champion, and coached an Australian road champ and an Olympian among other things. Our house always had cyclists dropping in. I used to sit and listen to all the tactical advice, training tips, watch the bikes get pulled apart and rebuilt ... when I decide to take up the sport aged 30 something, I knew more about the history and the theory than anyone. But none of that helped me one little bit. I started at the beginning, at the back of the bunch just like everyone else.

Just ride your bike mate. Enjoy it. Every time you ride you will improve.



Thanks for that. I've only started riding seriously in the last 6 months so still a lot to improve.

zill
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby zill » Tue May 13, 2014 8:50 am

toolonglegs wrote:I think the simple answer is the OP "needs" a power meter. Why?... Well after all the threads and questions that he has posted it is pretty obvious he is numbers geek and won't be completely satisfied until all boxes are ticked :-) .


True. :wink:

I do like to get one eventually but possibly not right now as I am only training and getting base mileage.



toolonglegs wrote:Whether that makes you any quicker is another matter, I think Coogan's book and a power meter will give some insight into training the modern way as opposed to the Eddy Merckx 300 kms per day etc .
But the pure and simple requirement in competitive cycling is your ability and willingness to suffer ... You don't need any gadgets to work out whether you enjoy that or not :lol:


I heard in a documentary that in the most important and dramatic time trail in 1989 Lemond vs Fignon, Lemond refused to receive radio information about Fignon's time checks. I wonder if he also refused a speedometer on his bike? Maybe Derny Driver knows the answer to this one? That would have been very romantic if it was true.


Also, swimmers don't really get information about power or any numbers when they are competing right? So they have to pace themselves even in big races?

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Xplora
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby Xplora » Tue May 13, 2014 9:22 am

Swimmers spend a lot of time under the "ride lots" mantra that many cycling coaches are trying to get away from. They learn to pace themselves because they have no other choice. You can't read an HR monitor or speed tracker in the water, yet. It wouldn't be hard to put an LCD screen inside the goggles though.

Cycling is somewhat unique amongst the three triathlon disciplines in that you can use power, instead of the lesser HR or pace or "feel" measurements. But the PM only tells you what you can learn by simply pushing yourself. If your legs are burning, you are in the anaerobic zone. Back off unless you are trying to make a break or getting ready for the sprint. The power meter will help you push the limit - the difference between blowing up and holding it together is only a couple rpm of cadence, and the power meter lets you know how long you have left. But this isn't that useful if you are pushing 240W over an hour maxed out, and your riding pals at the same weight can do 280. The big mate hiding up the back until the sprint does 270, but goes up to 1500W just before the coffee shop. Your power meter doesn't help you in this situation!

If you want to suffer, just get out there and punch out 10 minute intervals at the hardest pace you can manage. You'll blow up, that's OK. Slow down if your legs are burning. A tiny bit. :mrgreen: TLL is completely right, you have to be interested in suffering in the saddle, and a PM doesn't make you suffer. Your legs do. OBEY YOUR LEGS. :idea:

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RonK
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby RonK » Tue May 13, 2014 9:32 am

zill wrote:I heard in a documentary that in the most important and dramatic time trail in 1989 Lemond vs Fignon, Lemond refused to receive radio information about Fignon's time checks.

Fignon had a 58 second lead. Lemond had no choice but to give it absolutely everything for the entire distance. Lemond felt time checks were more likely to discourage him. Such was his psyche.

Lemond had aero bars, Fignon did not. Fignon had a nasty saddle sore, Lemond did not.

I often wonder about the constant stream of amplified advice coming from the team car durinng TT's - whether it really helps. Personally I think I would find it very irritating. Some riders report that it does help, but others have said they've told the DS to shut up.
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...

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simonn
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Re: Sudden insight into how to ride much faster!

Postby simonn » Tue May 13, 2014 10:00 am

Xplora wrote:Even just spending that money on a coach would be more useful


+1

Friends of mine who only started riding 3 years or so ago have a coach. They now race A grade, and she wins national events and stuff, and he places quite highly. I have had to find new cycling friends as I cannot keep up :( :lol:. I'm not easily impressed, but I was as good as or even a better climber than them ~2.5 years ago and I would not call climbing my strong point (at all). So, that is what focused training (and quite a bit of talent) can do. I am very impressed - 0 to A grade in 3 years or so :shock:.

IMHO, it would also be worth finding an indoor cycling class (not a spin class, a proper indoor cycling class.). It is really the only way you can focus just on power and cadence as you do not have to worry about being run over or running into things. I have been doing this for a while and it has certainly improved my riding - mostly shortish climbs, the kind I can just get out of the saddle and hoof up, and sprints. Not endurance so much. I need to lose weight though and don't have time to train properly.

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