Short Burst Riding

pinguS Posts: 38
edited September 2011 in Road beginners
Hi All

I have just got into Road riding, well from Hybrid commuting 4 miles each way, to a road bike Specialized Allez Comp 2011 (also had BG Fit done in Ruislip). However on the hybrid, I was not confident riding on fast roads, just cycle route - (Maidenhead - Windsor UK, 4 miles - few months a year). But with the road bike, different story, fast roads and always pushing for more speed.
Also take the road bike out on the weekends, sometimes, nothing big, just around 10miles, when kids let me!!!

So here's my question requiring advice:
In the morning I have a bowl of porridge, a banana, water until I feel right. This is about half hour before I head to work (4miles). I do about 1 to 2 minutes of streches, and then jump on the bike. (workplace is a factory, so sweat smell is disguised!!!)
My best time is currently 14minutes. (around 17mph average) Route is fairly even with slight up and downs, nothing noticeable.
But I want to beat this time, but for some reason, 3 miles of peddling, I need to slow right down and drink water / isotonic from the bottle. Always at 3 mile mark, once I drink, I can peddle to a fairly fast speed, but not upto what I was on previous 3 miles.
For such a short distance, I would assume, well after reading alot of web pages, that I should hit the workplace before I even need to drink or start to feel energy loss?

Please help with any advice, if you can, training tips, anything



  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    Psychological probably.

    You'd not take a bottle on a ten mile TT or even a 25 for me. And you arent depleting your energy stores in 14 minutes. I happily run half marathons on no food.

    Have a drink before you leave the house and dont bother with a water bottle on the bike ?
  • Mettan
    Mettan Posts: 2,103
    If your'e having an issue, lower your riding intensity, and take small sips of fluid often - maybe your metabolism is not ready for 17 mph avgs? or maybe you need to just warm up on the first mile(s) before raising the intensity.
  • Anyone who's ever ridden in a time-trial giving 100% will have experienced exactly the same thing. After about a mile your body starts screming at you telling you to slow down, and you think you'll never cycle the 10 miles. If you've warmed up properly this only lasts about 20-30 seconds and then goes away. It's your body objecting to the effort your putting as it's struggling to provide the energy you need. If you were about to ride a time-trial you'd probably do 15-30 minutes warm up first. In the first 15 minutes make it a gentle pace then do 30 second sprints with 2 or 3 minutes gentle cycling in between.

    Your daily commute is only 14 minutes long so your not giving your body a chance to warm up before putting in some serious effort.

    Slow down, enjoy the commute and treat it like a gentle training run, increase the distances at the weekend when after a 15 minute warm up you can start some sprints or hill climbs etc to increase your power, strength and endurance. After around 12-20 weeks you'll be cycling to work faster but will feel like your just warming up. (Sports scientists recommend that 70-80% of your training should be done at level2 or 3 efforts, Heart rate 65-82% of Max)

    Hope this helps
  • Could it be I'm not hydrating properly the night before?

    I know in the morning, I could probably push more fluid in.

    What could I do on a weekly basis to improve the average, my aim is 20mph average over at least 10miles, but for now at least for the 4 miles., I'm 32years of age, so can't see this being a problem, can it?

    Could is also be the fact I'm doing this everyday, so the legs are not fully recovered?

    Ok, just read the previous post, maybe I'll do the weekend building.

    Fun either way!!
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    You do need recovery time. If you blast every ride then you improve fairly quickly, but then you never get fully recovered before the next ride so you plateau or go backward.

    Most of the rides you do should be steady rides and just build endurance and distance.
    Throw in some fast rides to challenge yourself - but not consecutively.
    Look into doing some intervals as well - so you ride for higher than your target speed, but for a shorter time. Then your recovery shouldnt be much more than your interval time, and you repeat.
  • Slack
    Slack Posts: 326
    You're only riding 4 miles - I'm not even warmed up after that distant, so you shouldn't be suffering with any hydration related issues.

    Sounds like you're going too fast for your body to cope, with that intensity for that duration. You need to work on your aerobic conditioning (longer steadier rides), to improve your general fitness condition.
    Plymouthsteve for councillor!!
  • Okay, maybe my childish approach to just get on and pelt it, is just not going to cut it.

    From this post, I will learn.

    1. Work / Commute at easy pace, just to build myself, I'll do easy pace, maybe not everyday, cut down to 3 days a week.

    2. At the weekend, do about 15minutes easy, then around 15 min interval of reasonable intesity, then do a 1 - 2 hour ride, maybe?
    Or should I 1 day do the interval type, and another day go for a long distance. Both of which after a 15min warmup?

    p.s. when it rains, I cheat and take a car for commute, (not that this is relevant)
  • There has just been an article in a cycling magazine that pre stretching is a waste of time unless you are going to be doing soemthing really hell for leather that stretches your joints , i did pre strecth for martial arts but i cant say i have ever needed it for cycling.

    For 4 miles you should not need any drink or energy as even on the hottest days you are not going to get dehydrated in 20 mins,Your energy should be ok as well as your muscles can store around 90 minutes worth of energy so your not going to need anything extra in the tank.I only take 1 water bottle of a club run , along with a coffe + cake stop at 30 miles i am good for 60 miles after a bowl of porridge + cuppa in the morning.

    I commute 10 miles each way to a "smelly" welding area of a factory and i have a similar breakfast to you, i do tend to have a small cereal bar when i get to work because i find that its a logn time from breakfast to 1st break when performing a manual job ( 4.25 hours ) and i find i prefer to east little and often as i do tend to have problems with blood sugar if i eat a big meal then nothing for hours.
    FCN 3/5/9
  • What are you wearing to ride to work in?

    You may be overdressed and getting yourself all hot etc and thus needing a drink during your short ride. I've done it myself enough times.
  • I wear cycling shorts and jersey.

    I think it is more overdoing it and partially psychological
  • danowat
    danowat Posts: 2,877
    Sounds purely psychological to me, leave the bottle at home and see how you go, you don't need a drink on such a short ride.

    My commute is 17 miles each way, I never take a bottle.
  • danowat
    danowat Posts: 2,877
    edited September 2011
    double post
  • Good idea, I'll ditch the bottle.

    Just out of curiosity, I know riding on the weekend, I can follow what ever training pattern I wish,

    but when you or many others commute, do you keep average speed slightly lower than what you are capable on the weekends.

    For example, if i can average around 17mph on a 20 miles ride, and if my commute was 20miles(for example), would I reduce speed, to help keep energy for the weekend, and reduce the need for a bottle?

    sound like a stupid question, i know, but just like to know how others play it...
  • danowat
    danowat Posts: 2,877
    pinguS wrote:
    Good idea, I'll ditch the bottle.

    Just out of curiosity, I know riding on the weekend, I can follow what ever training pattern I wish,

    but when you or many others commute, do you keep average speed slightly lower than what you are capable on the weekends.

    Depends what my coach has down for me in the way of training, and what I am racing that week.

    But generally speaking, my commutes (ones that aren't intervals) are aerobic / endurance level, speed is irrelevent, as it changes wildly due to weather conditions / fatigue / road conditions etc etc.
  • EarlyGo
    EarlyGo Posts: 281

    Dude, in 4 miles you'll barely be warmed up!'s post is spot on; you're hitting the point where the body says "wtf" but not going beyond. Treat your commute as a warm up, spin easy at 80+ rpm for a couple of miles then have a 30sec-1min max effort then spin easy again all the way to work. You'll arrive refreshed and not too hot and sticky! You'll be lucky to burn 250cals off in 4 miles and you won't need to hydrate during the ride.

    Enjoy! EarlyGo