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Why am I slow on the flat??

crom7crom7 Posts: 83
I've been road riding for almost 2 years now and have noticed that while I seem to be pretty strong going up hill, when I get on flat sections my cycling mates seem to pull away with ease, even though I'm giving it all I've got.

1. Any idea why this might be the case?
2. Any suggestions as to how I could speed up?



  • ddraverddraver Posts: 20,365
    Power to weight is Vital for the Ups, but irrelevant on the flat - You need to develop more power basically. I'm sure someone better than me can suggest ways of doing that...

    For tomorrow though, try to settle into a nice cadence (approx 90rpm) and try to keep peddling constantly rather than peddling hard for 5 secs, then stopping, then peddling etc...which is what a lot of people do, often without realising it. Try to hide behind your mates as much as morally possible, check for crosswinds to see where you should be etc...
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • edhornbyedhornby Posts: 1,780
    check the obvious stuff like position on the bike, tyre pressure, cadence, also are you really close on the wheel if there is bunch riding ? this is the way to conserve the energy
    "I get paid to make other people suffer on my wheel, how good is that"
    --Jens Voight
  • crom7crom7 Posts: 83
    I tend to cycle at around 80 rpm so will have a go at increasing my cadence, was also thinking about doing some intervals. Not sure whether I should do longish intervals at a challenging pace or short intensive sprints though. Any suggestions regarding intervals or increasing power would be very welcome.

    I run my tyres at around 100-105 psi but as for position on the bike I really haven't altered the set up since I had the shop bike fit.

    Thanks again.
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 20,365
    I doubt position will help much - obviously getting low and out of the wind will help but I reckon it's more about your legs - perhaps look at the sort of intervals for TTing...? I'm really not an expert so i dont want to give you any specific advice as it ll probably be cr*p...
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,026
    Big ring... big gear give it a go
  • How much riding are you doing a week if you dont mind me asking?
    10 mile TT pb - 20:56 R10/17
    25 - 53:07 R25/7
    Now using strava
  • crom7crom7 Posts: 83
    I've been mountain biking over the winter months so my mileage had been quite low, probably around 30 - 40 miles per week.

    Aiming to get out and do some longish ride on the weekends (40-50 miles at the moment) and then two shorter mid week rides.

    Just had a quick 22 miler and tried to increase my cadence , seemed to work :D average speed (16.9 mph) was around 1 mph faster than usual on a moderately hilly route.
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 20,365
    It took me a long time to get used to riding over here, it's definitely a different sort of riding...
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • Im sure you would see some gains in just riding the bike a bit more, upping my riding time from 2-3 hours + 1 open tt a week to 7-10 hours a week has made a massive difference for me and my times are already up from last seasons.
    Get some time on the bike, simple solution :P
    10 mile TT pb - 20:56 R10/17
    25 - 53:07 R25/7
    Now using strava
  • alihisgreatalihisgreat Posts: 3,872
    You need to increase your FTP (functional threshold power -> which is max power that you can sustain for an hour)

    its probably not what you want to be doing as the weather improves a bit... but structured training on the turbo could be one direction to go in? (strength work -> maybe hard and short intervals.. as well as longer constant efforts at your FTP)

    But I like to go out and grind a big gear for 20-25 miles (i would usually go for 30-40miles on a normal ride -> grinding takes it out of you!)

    Its probably not the quickest way to increase power, but i don't really enjoy structured stuff as much.

    Also if you are quick on the Hills, put it in the higher gear and go up at a lower cadence (unless this is how you go up already)
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    A lot of people find they can put out more power on hills than on the flat. You may feel like your giving it everything on the flat, but it could be that your down on power compared to what you do on hills. Increasing your FTP will help, but riding on the flat more often may help you just as much. Also, a lot of people go too hard on hills such that flat bits of a ride end up as recovery riding.
    More problems but still living....
  • crom7crom7 Posts: 83
    Thanks for some really good advice folks!

    I do have a turbo in the garage but think i'll do some 1 hr rides on the road, grinding a bigish gear. Also, amaferanga you're probably right in that I go to hard on the hills and use the flat ar a recovery to some extent - will try to work on this.

    Hopefully i'll get out on the bike more often too, as you say RoadMeridaBen more time on the bike will probably make a big difference.
    Thanks again guys.

    ps: cadseen, not a lightweight unfortunately. I'm about 13 st and 6 ft. Stil have a belly from some beer drinking days in my 20's but i'm working on that.
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