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Why am I going faster?

vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
I have noticed I am doing 100km+rides faster this year.

I don't think I am doing anything much different except last year I commuted more

Full details of my bafflement on my blog

Given that "commuting more" isn't a recognised way of going faster, any ideas?

Posts

  • I think its simply down to the fact you are getting fitter. Cycling is one of those sports where muscular and cardiovascular developments continue to improve in the long term despite the fact that rapid increases in fitness are possible (interval training, hill repeats etc).

    There could also be a psychological factor involved. As you've gained experience in riding during the previous year, you have become more aware of your limits. It's possible that you've accustomed to riding at a higher pace over a fixed distance without being consciously aware of it while riding. A bit like how a top time-trialler paces themselves just within their limits so that they hit the wall 0.00001cm after they've crossed the finish line.

    Ignoring the myths - and I'm not 100% knowledgeable on this so maybe someone can correct - isn't possible to become faster by doing lower intensity rides anyway? At least to an extent?
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    Are they all solo rides?

    If you are commuting less then are you fresher going into the weekend rides?

    You say 'similar' routes - maybe they're not as similar in reality as the profile and/or your memory suggests?

    Are you wearing a HRM? Maybe you're just putting more effort into the rides now that you know you're comfortable with the distance?
    More problems but still living....
  • vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
    amaferanga wrote:
    Are they all solo rides?
    The faster rides are all solo. I did do one ride with someone else (an audax) and that was slower
    If you are commuting less then are you fresher going into the weekend rides?
    I am commuting more than last year. I also thought, am I doing less long rides overall? It turns out I am doing about the same number of long rides
    You say 'similar' routes - maybe they're not as similar in reality as the profile and/or your memory suggests?
    I checked the routes. One was identical, the others followed a similar path- without plugging both into bikehike I can't do the numbers. My impression is that the routes aren't that different between this year and last year. But you are right, memory does mislead. In the winter I tend to follow well known routes on good roads. However, closer inspection does make this look like the best candidate to explain most of the difference. The "identical" route I did backwards* last year.
    Are you wearing a HRM? Maybe you're just putting more effort into the rides now that you know you're comfortable with the distance?
    Unfortunately no, I have no HR data. I've been comfortable with these kind of distances since about 2005.
    It could be a psychological effect of the new bike. Carbon fibre does strange things to the over 40s ;D


    *No tedious pedants, I wasn't actually cycling my bike in reverse
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 60,997 Lives Here
    The same reason young pros improve year on year in their late teens and early 20s.
  • freehubfreehub Posts: 4,257
    I'm hoping this year I will be faster and I hope the trend continues for a couple more, I am 21, 22 in June, but for the past 4 years I have been improving year on year, I have been improving about 1.5mph per year.

    Started around 16mph avg on my own and last year, start of this year was around 21 for the same sort of rides. Around April/May I suddenly just randomly come into form and feel much faster than the year before, the opposite happens in October, I just randomly come out of form and just like perform censored for winter.
  • vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
    The same reason young pros improve year on year in their late teens and early 20s.

    ..and what is that reason? Given that I have nothing in common with a young pro!
  • you rode you bike more?

    Think that's your answer.
    "A cyclist has nothing to lose but his chain"

    PTP Runner Up 2015
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 10,111
    Quite off-topic, I was up your way today - came up to Taunton on the A38 so I could go back via Trull & Blagdon Hill and up over the top back to Honiton and Exeter. Nice area to cycle.
  • CrapaudCrapaud Posts: 2,483
    How far and intense is your commute, Vorsprung? On my old commute of 7 miles I'd go at quite a pace. When I lost the commute my speed and power dropped quite dramatically.

    Perhaps it's just regular short intense rides.
    A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject - Churchill
  • well faster is good...
    ride like the wind... with the wind... to the wind...
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    vorsprung wrote:
    I don't think I am doing anything much different except last year I commuted more

    vorsprung wrote:
    I am commuting more than last year

    Make your mind up :wink:
    More problems but still living....
  • vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
    amaferanga wrote:
    vorsprung wrote:
    I don't think I am doing anything much different except last year I commuted more

    vorsprung wrote:
    I am commuting more than last year

    Make your mind up :wink:

    sorry I am being a dork

    I commuted more in 2010 than in 2009, that is what I was trying to say
  • vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
    Crapaud wrote:
    How far and intense is your commute, Vorsprung? On my old commute of 7 miles I'd go at quite a pace. When I lost the commute my speed and power dropped quite dramatically.

    Perhaps it's just regular short intense rides.

    15 miles each way with a few hundred metres climbing. Do this in an hour-ish in the summer/spring, slower in winter

    Sometimes it's fast and sometimes it's a plod. Now spring is coming I do a "training" commute twice a week which takes the hills in the morning in a rush
  • vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
    I've done another blog post summarizing the feedback I got:

    "Faster: the Feedback"

    The main reasons seemed to be:
    1) You are trying harder. So in other words I am not any fitter but I am making more effort

    2) Your bike actually is a bit faster. Some physical aspects of the bike make it roll faster for less effort

    3) The riding you did last year has had some effect on your fitness, even though it was mainly low intensity

    4) Although the routes you follow are “similar” they are not the same and so must be a bit easier
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