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Racing & Competitive Top Speed - How fast

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Racing & Competitive Top Speed - How fast

Old 06-22-04, 01:33 PM
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Corsaire
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I'm considering getting into racing but I'm wondering how fast is FAST in order to be competitive and have a decent race; never, ever done this so this is a question for you guys who have racing experience.

In other words, I can ride between 19.5 - 20.5 on the flats for over 15 miles - Can I be competitive at this speed ? or better start training to be faster and be able to be more competitive?

Thanks for the feedback,

Corsaire

Last edited by Corsaire; 06-22-04 at 01:39 PM.
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Old 06-22-04, 02:00 PM
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Laggard
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I suppose it depends on the race. If it's a crit you've got to be able to come out of a corner and accelerate fast enough to stay with the guy in front of you.

On the other hand, riding a road race in a large pack on a flat course is much easier. I've been in packs of 100 that were moving along at 26 mph but I was hardly doing any work at all.

The bigger question is have you ridden with groups enough that you feel comfortable and are not a danger to those around you? You really need to find a mid-tempo group ride and see if you can hang with them. I used to do a weekly group ride that was almost always harder than any race I ever did.
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Old 06-22-04, 02:09 PM
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A little off-topic but I recently read an article in Cycle World America in which they interviewed Baden Cooke and three other Aussie FDJeux teammates including McGee. It seems they had a little "sprint for the road sign" game they liked to play on their typical training ride. Sometimes they would compete against one another and other times the three guys would lead out Cooke in an attempt for him to break his fastest speed on a flat ... that speed ... 45MPH!!!

sick.

-mark
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Old 06-22-04, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Laggard
The bigger question is have you ridden with groups enough that you feel comfortable and are not a danger to those around you? You really need to find a mid-tempo group ride and see if you can hang with them. I used to do a weekly group ride that was almost always harder than any race I ever did.
I second that! Find a club ride in your area and hang on

Generally, our weekly club rides are more difficult than citizen races.

-murray
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Old 06-22-04, 02:27 PM
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I'm no expert here, but I think spinters can hit over 40 at the finish (I know I used to do that during club training loops), can you? On a flat course, I don't think 19.5-20.5 is going to cut it. Can you ride in a pack and are you comfortable bumping into other riders? Take the advise of Mr. Laggard and find a fast group ride and see if you can hang with them.

Good Luck.
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Old 06-22-04, 02:32 PM
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Corsaire
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40 mph !!! you're talking world class/olympic level.

Never ridden in a race pack, only in club rides but not the fast ones, not yet. I just joined one 2 weeks ago, but it's a good idea I'll join one of the B+ or A rides to see how I hold up.

Corsaire
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Old 06-22-04, 02:40 PM
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I hit 38mph the other day, little or no wind, and a good leadout. This was after 60 miles though. I know I could go faster, but I never really practice my sprinting, I'm more of a diesel tractor-trailer kind of rider, closing down breaks, or pulling ones along.

I motorpaced a friend of mine up to 52 mph, he was spinning about 140 rpm which is pretty much his max, he used to race six-days on the velodrome, so he has amazing leg speed. I could only get to 45 or so, I could have gone faster but needed an 11 cog to do it. I'm a bit of a grinder.


20.5 is what you ride on the warm up before the race, Mate. Cat 5 crits will average over 25mph sometimes, and those clowns are slowing down way too much on the corners, so plan on standing up outta every corner and sprinting a bit to stay with everyone. muliply the number of laps by how many corners on the course, and you see the dilema. Practice riding along at 20.5 and ramping it up to 28 or so every 30 to 40 seconds.

Last edited by Smoothie104; 06-22-04 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 06-22-04, 02:50 PM
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Hey mate! so I'm slow alright but I just got into this, so I think I'll get there, I have a running background at 37'55" a 10K, so I think is just a matter of training on my cadence and leg power...the next time you go out on a ride and get passed, thinking it was a breeze, that was me passing you

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Old 06-22-04, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Corsaire
40 mph !!! you're talking world class/olympic level.

Never ridden in a race pack, only in club rides but not the fast ones, not yet. I just joined one 2 weeks ago, but it's a good idea I'll join one of the B+ or A rides to see how I hold up.

Corsaire

Not if you have a good leadout and a little help from the wind.
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Old 06-22-04, 03:06 PM
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All I have to say is: "you have to start somewhere"
When I was racing 20 mph really wasnt fast, the pack would ride at between 25 and 30mph (give or take a few) and that was basically on flats until someone made a break or attacked, then we would pick up our speed. (you have some guys that ride 20 mph for 50 miles non stop, then you have some that ride 30 mph for only 10 miles, each rider is different and each race is different)
Also look at your time trials, you will definately have to maintain an average speed of over the 20 mph in order to stay in the running, and like it was also said about crits, crits are defiantely fast with a bunch of maniacs. So Corsaire ride ride ride (ride in groups, ride solo, just ride) till you think you cant ride anymore and then ride that few extra miles, your speed will definately pick up and you will blow by a bunch of riders. and like I said you have to start somewhere and you are definately on the right road, so keep it up and best of luck to you, just be safe.
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Old 06-22-04, 03:09 PM
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i usually average right around 20 mph on flat to hilly terrain. i did my FIRST (so take my advice for whatever it's worth) race recently as a cat 5 and was completely blown out of the water! i was very suprised at how fast the pack was.

however, don't let that discourage you: riding in a pack will bring your speed up anyway, and you'll ride much faster than you can on your own. so, you're not totally out of the ball park....just need a bit more training.
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Old 06-22-04, 03:35 PM
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Why does everyone use MPH here? I find myself converting all of your numbers to KM/H

As for speed...I think you can only get it through the long and painful process of riding with people faster than you are. When I first found out what "race speeds" where...I was very surprised because I thought I was fast (yea right!).
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Old 06-22-04, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by KennethToronto
Why does everyone use MPH here? I find myself converting all of your numbers to KM/H

As for speed...I think you can only get it through the long and painful process of riding with people faster than you are. When I first found out what "race speeds" where...I was very surprised because I thought I was fast (yea right!).
Thats because the originator of the thread was in New Jersey and you know how we Americans think.
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Old 06-22-04, 04:07 PM
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I use MPH because when people use km/h I find myself converting, not to mention all the speed limit signs in the USA are MPH
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Old 06-22-04, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Smoothie104
20.5 is what you ride on the warm up before the race, Mate. Cat 5 crits will average over 25mph sometimes
I usually average between 18 & 20 mph door to door (no warm up) on moderate hills, yet I don't have much trouble hanging with a pack doing 50 miles in 2 hours. I'm a little guy who can't push much wind. Drafting adds quite a bit of speed in my case

You won't know until you try!

-murray
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Old 06-22-04, 06:11 PM
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If you want to know. Right now, right smack in the middle of the racing season, even cat 5 can sustain 30 mph for several miles. If you haven't ridden that fast in any other ways during your training, you will get dropped during the race.


Originally Posted by Corsaire
I'm considering getting into racing but I'm wondering how fast is FAST in order to be competitive and have a decent race; never, ever done this so this is a question for you guys who have racing experience.

In other words, I can ride between 19.5 - 20.5 on the flats for over 15 miles - Can I be competitive at this speed ? or better start training to be faster and be able to be more competitive?

Thanks for the feedback,

Corsaire
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Old 06-22-04, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by R600DuraAce
If you want to know. Right now, right smack in the middle of the racing season, even cat 5 can sustain 30 mph for several miles. If you haven't ridden that fast in any other ways during your training, you will get dropped during the race.
Is this 30 mph solo breaking the wind or in a pack or paceline? I find I can sustain 25-27 on the flats by myself for a period of a few miles depending on the terrain and the direction of the wind, but can easily keep to 30+ in a pack under the same conditions. Course I won't be the guy in front....

55/Rad
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Old 06-22-04, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by 55/Rad
Is this 30 mph solo breaking the wind or in a pack or paceline? I find I can sustain 25-27 on the flats by myself for a period of a few miles depending on the terrain and the direction of the wind, but can easily keep to 30+ in a pack under the same conditions. Course I won't be the guy in front....

55/Rad

Well, of course, pack speed. If you can sustain 25+ mph plus for several miles, you should be fine riding with the pack speed. That is, when the pack decided to turn up the heat.
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Old 06-23-04, 06:04 AM
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Thank you guys, each and every one of you, for all the advise, specially BianchiRider, you put it all in a nutshell.

Thanks,
Corsaire
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