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Coasting vs applying power

Old 06-12-22, 07:41 AM
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KC520
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Coasting vs applying power

Hey everyone
I just recently completed my 1st century on gravel. I did the 100 Mile course of Unbound. While examining my power data, I notice that I coasted about 30% of the time. No power. This has to have affected my completion time. How fo I break the habit of coasting?
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Old 06-12-22, 08:14 AM
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It's not unusual if you're coasting on descents.

Breaking the habit of coasting is easily done with indoor training with resistance trainers or finding a route with very long continuous climb without any flat nor descending sections.

Using resistance trainer from 30 minutes to 1 hour continuously without reducing resistance to 0 would be good enough.
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Old 06-12-22, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by KC520 View Post
How fo I break the habit of coasting?
Get yourself a fixed gear bike.
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Old 06-12-22, 09:00 AM
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I haven't ridden much gravel but my guess is that you really don't want to pedal until you spin out on gravel. Is 40 a little scary? If that's the issue and this is in hilly terrain, maybe you're doing it right? If not, then simply focus on shifting and turning the cranks. On pavement, even on descents, I like to see at least 50w on the meter, indicates that I'm at least making some effort at a good finishing time. And as in post 2, a trainer or rollers are nice for getting used to continuously turning the cranks. On many roller rides, I set my resistance so that I'm just below VT1 - where breathing rate increases - and just sit there and pedal at that resistance for an hour or two.
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Old 06-12-22, 09:11 AM
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Rollers

With nothing around to hold on to.
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Old 06-12-22, 09:52 AM
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Partly it's just a commitment you have to make with yourself to keep your legs moving. Also you might be pushing so very hard on climbs and cruising that you simply need to give your legs a rest.

I don't like coasting either. Unless I've gotten to a speed where I'm spinning a uncomfortable high cadence, I like to keep my legs moving. But when I am dead tired on a ride you will see me coasting more.

That said, I've found myself coasting more this year. So hopefully age isn't making me weaker.
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Old 06-12-22, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by KC520 View Post
Hey everyone
I just recently completed my 1st century on gravel. I did the 100 Mile course of Unbound. While examining my power data, I notice that I coasted about 30% of the time. No power. This has to have affected my completion time. How fo I break the habit of coasting?
​​​​​​For sure. How much gas did you have in the tank at the end of the century? Those periods of coasting allowed you to rest during the event, which you may have needed, or maybe not. They may have been imposed on you by the terrain or traffic (other riders). We don't know. Any thoughts on why you coasted that much?
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Old 06-12-22, 04:23 PM
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If you're coasting because you're uncomfortable, like your butt or hands, then fix that issue. If you're not comfortable at the speed, address that with practice or better tires or even bike geo. If you're tired and using coasting to recover, back off the pace so you can put out more consistent power. If it's terrain maybe it's ok.

Personally I prefer to soft pedal rather than coast on long easy descents, more to keep limber than for speed.
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Old 06-12-22, 04:30 PM
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Nobody can say, we don't have enough info

Personally, I coast on long rides once I hit around 30 mph. I get down on the TT bars and rest, maybe eat or drink or scratch or open my jersey to cool down if it is hot. If you are coasting when going slow, I wonder if you are not comfortable?
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Old 06-12-22, 07:02 PM
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As GhostRider62 said, we don't have enough info.

But coasting for 30% of the time on gravel sounds extreme. Except for descents, you can't coast for extended periods of time on gravel b/c the rough surface eats all of your momentum and forces you to add more juice.

You can clarify some of what might be going on by giving us some more information. Is your general technique something like pedal-pedal-pedal-coast-pedal-pedal-coast? If that's the case, you need to work on your technique. Apart from hills, turns, and momentary bike handling maneuvers, you basically never want to stop pedaling.

Doing the Unbound 100 is a heck of a way to begin with gravel centuries.
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Old 06-12-22, 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
​​​​​​For sure. How much gas did you have in the tank at the end of the century?
On a mile century, I would have brought two 6L pannier bags. One bag full of ice cold water bottles and the other bag with one bottle of water and the remaining space with rice cakes. Over 20 lbs of weight in water and food I think. Typical in over 90F riding temperatures.

I can also bring less food and water but I'll have to slow my pace down, take it easy to make sure I get back home in good shape. If I didn't want to worry about pacing, then I'll bring as much food and water that I can. Pacing and adequate fueling can make the big different in long rides and may even improve your average speed despite bringing more load in food and water or simply taking the ride easy, no hard efforts unless absolutely necessary.
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Old 06-13-22, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by koala logs View Post
On a mile century, I would have brought two 6L pannier bags. One bag full of ice cold water bottles and the other bag with one bottle of water and the remaining space with rice cakes. Over 20 lbs of weight in water and food I think. Typical in over 90F riding temperatures.

I can also bring less food and water but I'll have to slow my pace down, take it easy to make sure I get back home in good shape. If I didn't want to worry about pacing, then I'll bring as much food and water that I can. Pacing and adequate fueling can make the big different in long rides and may even improve your average speed despite bringing more load in food and water or simply taking the ride easy, no hard efforts unless absolutely necessary.
That's about a dozen 24 ounce bottles (at 8 lbs/gallon). That's about a bottle every 8 miles, which is a lot for even a hot century. Also, most people would carry far less and stop to obtain more along the way. You must be riding in some remote places.
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Old 06-13-22, 07:40 AM
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It's a combo of aerobic fitness, bike handling skills, and gearing.

If you don't have the gearing to do it, none of it matters. If you don't have the bike handling skills, having the gearing to do so will simply get you in trouble. If you've got the gearing and bike handling skills but not the aerobic fitness or pacing strategy ........you might over do it.

I have a 36 and 10-33 on my cross bike and ride gravel with that fine. I'll pedal until over 100rpm in the 36/10 combo then tuck.

Some gravel routes for events with lots of elevation very well may have significant portions where you coast down at no real time penalty.

In events like that, it would benefit you to work on how many sets of 20ish minute or so sweetspot intervals you can do in a ride. Zwift has the "steady state" short medium and long workouts. The "long" is 30min, rest, 30min, rest, 40min. Pretty much simulating riding at a high aerobic level repeatedly for long amounts of time.

That's how I would improve a time where coasting down is inevitable.

I did the "fake" Rouvy simulation of Mt Mitchell just under 2 hours, 2 hours of non-stop sweetspot power at a hair over 90% of ftp. In real life, that would be a LOT of time coasting back down from the top. Only way to optimize that time is the "up" portion.
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Old 06-13-22, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
That's about a dozen 24 ounce bottles (at 8 lbs/gallon). That's about a bottle every 8 miles, which is a lot for even a hot century. Also, most people would carry far less and stop to obtain more along the way. You must be riding in some remote places.
I sweat a lot. I used to drink less and sweat less in the past but now with harder training sessions, seemed to have opened up my pores and sweating like rain ever since. This is one reason I prefer to ride in very low temperatures to keep sweating to a minimum so I don't have to bring a lot of water.

On the subject of stopping for supplies. I prefer doing non-stop rides. I enjoy the challenge! And I have racks and panniers, might as well use it.
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Old 06-13-22, 12:48 PM
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Have you been diagnosed with hyperhyrosis? I've done a good bit of organized long distance riding. Even the heavy sweaters with whom I've ridden don't carry more water than do I: one bottle and a 70 oz. Camelback or only 2 bottles, even in hot weather. One has to stop about every 50 miles to pee anyway, so there's no reason to carry more water than 50 mile's worth. The hottest pass climbs I've done were 105 at the bottom.
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Old 06-13-22, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Have you been diagnosed with hyperhyrosis? I've done a good bit of organized long distance riding. Even the heavy sweaters with whom I've ridden don't carry more water than do I: one bottle and a 70 oz. Camelback or only 2 bottles, even in hot weather. One has to stop about every 50 miles to pee anyway, so there's no reason to carry more water than 50 mile's worth. The hottest pass climbs I've done were 105 at the bottom.
That's interesting. I never felt the need to pee on long rides. My bladder just never fills whenever I'm doing hard exercise. I'm probably "sweating" my pee already through my skin! That's why I don't stop if I can help it and mostly, it would be due to mechanical problems.

I don't think I have hyperhidrosis. I only sweat slightly above average on a hot summer day if I'm only doing day-to-day activities, no exercise. Same thing if I'm doing recovery rides. The moment I hit zone 3 or zone 4 that's when I begin to sweat like rain. I think it's a good thing for me, at least I don't have to wet my shirt with water on a hot day. I happen to hate hot climates so the extra sweating helps.

My ancestors lived ~4000' above sea level in the mountains. We've visited our ancestral place and it never gets hot there even in the summer (temperatures can still drop to 50F even in June / July). One of our national tour champions lived in the same region. In fact, it feels like the climate is perfect for me. I suppose that would explain why several in the family sweats a lot in exercise like I do and also hates the heat.
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Old 06-13-22, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by koala logs View Post
That's interesting. I never felt the need to pee on long rides. My bladder just never fills whenever I'm doing hard exercise. I'm probably "sweating" my pee already through my skin! That's why I don't stop if I can help it and mostly, it would be due to mechanical problems.

I don't think I have hyperhidrosis. I only sweat slightly above average on a hot summer day if I'm only doing day-to-day activities, no exercise. Same thing if I'm doing recovery rides. The moment I hit zone 3 or zone 4 that's when I begin to sweat like rain. I think it's a good thing for me, at least I don't have to wet my shirt with water on a hot day. I happen to hate hot climates so the extra sweating helps.

My ancestors lived ~4000' above sea level in the mountains. We've visited our ancestral place and it never gets hot there even in the summer (temperatures can still drop to 50F even in June / July). One of our national tour champions lived in the same region. In fact, it feels like the climate is perfect for me. I suppose that would explain why several in the family sweats a lot in exercise like I do and also hates the heat.
Well, get out and ride in the hottest part of the day for an hour or two whenever you can. Riding in the heat helps more than anything else. Be sure you take electrolytes with your water, I use Endurolytes because they have a spectrum of electrolytes, not just salt. Like 100mg of sodium/hour something like that, maybe even more. I keep a coin purse of Endurolytes shoved up my shorts leg. Hammer also makes an extra-strength version to cut down on the number of capsules. Or you could move to the PNW and enjoy 60 like I had for my birthday ride yesterday.
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Old 06-14-22, 01:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Well, get out and ride in the hottest part of the day for an hour or two whenever you can. Riding in the heat helps more than anything else. Be sure you take electrolytes with your water, I use Endurolytes because they have a spectrum of electrolytes, not just salt. Like 100mg of sodium/hour something like that, maybe even more. I keep a coin purse of Endurolytes shoved up my shorts leg. Hammer also makes an extra-strength version to cut down on the number of capsules. Or you could move to the PNW and enjoy 60 like I had for my birthday ride yesterday.
I often ride in the hottest part of the day where traffic and air quality (pollution) is the least. Been doing that for years and I still sweat like rain! Thanks for the advice on the electrolytes. I'm definitely getting some, getting tired of mixing Himalayan salt on my drinks in precise amounts every time!
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Old 06-14-22, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Have you been diagnosed with hyperhyrosis? I've done a good bit of organized long distance riding. Even the heavy sweaters with whom I've ridden don't carry more water than do I: one bottle and a 70 oz. Camelback or only 2 bottles, even in hot weather. One has to stop about every 50 miles to pee anyway, so there's no reason to carry more water than 50 mile's worth. The hottest pass climbs I've done were 105 at the bottom.
I regularly do century rides without peeing (although not guaranteed!). I did one at the weekend. It was fairly hot and I got through 2L of water/energy/electrolyte mix. I was a little short actually, could have done with another 0.5L, but wasn't critical. I ran out with about 15 km to go. This was a hard tempo ride at just under 5 hours.
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