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I want to get faster on the flat ...

stevea1stevea1 Posts: 9
I have just finished the Hampshire Hilly 100 and had a great time but it highlighted my weakness compared to other riders . I can hold my own on the hilly bits but I seem to find it harder than others to maintain a high speed on the flat .

Any suggestions on increasing my pace without destroying my knees ? Unfortunately most of my training is in groups of 2 or 3 as I havent got access to a local club .

If it makes a diiference I am 46 and finished the hhh in 6hours 12 mins

Appreciate any input



  • ToksToks Posts: 1,143
    Shock horror - you tend to get good at whatever you practise. It sounds like you give it some welly on the climbs, enjoy them or have a good power to weight ratio. But on the flats perhaps you tend to just ride them and not with an intensive sustained pace.To get faster on flats you could become more aeodynamic (ride in the drops); ride at a more intensive pace -perhaps 20-60mins. Check threads on 2 x 20's and 'sweet spot' rides
  • chill123chill123 Posts: 210
    as toks has suggested i find riding on the drops makes as much a difference as 1mph, depending on wind direction.

    Probably the best method to increase your speed is interval training. As toks says 20 x 2 are the tried and tested winners.

    It is worth thinking about gearing and cedence as awell. I know a few inexperianced riders that found they used to ride on the small cog up front (on a double) through habit. Simply switching to the big cog can produce greater speed without having to impact cadence and destroy your knees. Have a play around and consider pushing slightly higher gears on the flat.
  • I find riding on the drops adds more than 1mph! I suppose it depends on your position on the bike - but it certainly is a quick win.
    Put me back on my bike...

    t' blog:
  • ave_itave_it Posts: 16
    Hi Steve

    Just to add to what has been said about intervals, I would start off by riding for 5 minutes in a gear around 53x16 and try to fit 3 of these bursts into a 90 minute ride (you may well find them hard a first but after about 3 sessions it will get easier).

    The as you get more comfortable increase the gear and duration of the interval and you will see massive improvements in the speed you can hold on the flat.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    I find riding on the drops adds more than 1mph! I suppose it depends on your position on the bike - but it certainly is a quick win.

    I find riding on the drops sometimes makes hardly any difference, allthough when going down a hill I can tell they make a difference as I fly past the people who are not on the drops :P

    I tend to ride on the drops whenever I am going to go for it and in those scenarios might add more like 3-5mph? I find I can keep pushing on the streight at 27-30mph much easier on the drops than I can in the normal position, perhaps it enables you to get more power into the pedals too?
  • fizzfizz Posts: 483
    I've got the same problem, I pass loads of people on climbs and then when it flattens out then they all go steaming passed me and I can't get on the back of a group or sit in their wheels at all I just get dropped and on the next climb I catch and pass them again.

    I live in a hilly area so I have no choice but to practise climbing.

    I was planning on building my flat speed by pushing myself harder on the flats on my training rides and also doing intervals as has been suggested above.
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    Fizz - it could also be a case of just not knowing how to ride on a wheel - do you ride regularly in groups etc or do chaingangs? If not, it may be that you are simply riding too far from the rider in front (or on the wrong side if in a cross wind) to get any benefit and get dropped accordingly.
  • fizzfizz Posts: 483
    Oh it definately could be that I dont know what I'm doing especially in a big group.

    I regularly ride in a group of three so I know about sitting in and that kind of thing. I dont really know where to position myself when theres side winds though.

    I ride pretty much by myself most of the time. So I'm sure if I join a club I'm going to learn about it alot more and also get faster at the same time. Its something I'm considering TBH

    I really noticed it on the Tour of Wessex on Saturday ( the only day I did ) that a big group of riders would come by me. I'd then try and hop on on the back of their group and then I was riding what felt like to me flat out even just to stay in somebodies wheel and I'd gradually get dropped because I cant keep the pace up. Yet when we got a climb I'd pass alot of the people that had gone passed me in the group and then when it got flat again they'd go passed me again.

    I just dont seem to have any power, but I seem OK going up climbs and also descending as well.
  • sloboysloboy Posts: 1,139
    One of the things I've noticed in the last couple of years after swapping from an MTB to a road bike is that I'm relatively much better on the flats and much worse on the hills.

    I reckon this is down to a change in pedalling style - now higher cadence, smoother circles but lower peak force for a given power, compared with the choppier, high force downstroke of the climber.

    Ideally of course, you can apply different techniques in different situations, so I'd agree with the others that trying long intervals on the flat will give you more versatility
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    What would you say is a good inbetween?

    Like I can average 17mph on most routes now and on the big 70+milers 16-17mph, up the hills like 17% gradients I can get up at a speed of about 8mph whilst I have not managed to beat a 25% gradient hill yet surely I am not that bad? Maybe a good all arounder?
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