Faster Please

jempi
jempi Posts: 58
Hi,
My name is Jempi, i'm a dedicated commuter and a bit obsessed with my personal bests.
I would love to improve my average time with 1,5 km/h (1 mph).
Can you help me?
Currently my average speed for my commute is 28,5 km/h (17,7mph), my goal is to set this average at 30 km/h (18,5mph)
My top speed that I can mantain for long sections varies between 32 km/h & 37 km/h (20 to 23 mph). I would love to set this at 35 to 40 km/h (21,5 to 25 mph).
How can I train and what can I do to achieve this?

My stats:
male / 36 / 184cm - 6ft / 91 kg - 200lbs
My bikes:
Steven Vapor, cyclocross bike with discbrakes for bad weather / rough roads, with 53-39 / 25-14 cassettes.
Cannondale CAAD12 105, race bike for good weather / smooth roads, with 50-36 / 25-12 cassettes.
On the two bikes I use the same kind of cadence meter, currently I ride at 90rpm (85 overall avg).
My route:
in total I have 10 variations of my commute. The commute is about 18km - 11mi long, twice a day.
The terrain is flat and open, with 1 to 3 long bridges depending the route I choose and a combination of silk smooth roads, offroad & gravel, and everything in between.

Greetings Jempi.
«13

Comments

  • Firstly, it's very inaccurate to use average speed as a gauge to fitness as there are so many things that can affect it, wind, traffic and so on. Is that your only goal or are there other things you'd like to do, like a sportive etc?

    How long have you been riding for? Maybe just do some googling about interval training. This is hard to do without a heart rate monitor or power meter but can be done.

    You could also afford to lose 10 kg or more, that would absolutely be the best thing to make you faster.
  • fenix
    fenix Posts: 5,437
    Whack a set of tribars on and you'll be faster.

    You're also increasing the risks of crashing though. Personally I'd chill out and enjoy the commute in. Save the energy for a test that would make sense to do. TTing or crits.
  • As has been said, don’t set your stall out by average speed. You can increase that by choosing your route more carefully, it won’t be bringing anything to the physical improvement party. If you’re really keen to up your performance stats, get a functional threshold power test done ( do it yourself or go somewhere with a Wattbike studio or similar ) then beg borrow or steal power meters, a heart rate monitor and a device that displays your dynamic power readings. Aim to increase your Normalized power to weight ratio. Your biggest limiting factor will be your fitness level, but as the various parameters of your fitness increase, your ability to pedal harder, faster, for longer, up steeper hills, in a higher gear, will improve. If you drop a bit of weight in the meantime, that will increase your power to weight numbers slightly. Upgrading certain bits of your bike could help, but not as much as sorting out the engine ( you ).
  • if you want to go faster....as one off....wait for tail wind! more seriously, structured training plan, or just ride more miles. if you want to go fast thru technology alone, a really expensive aero bike and wheels will gain you about 2-3kph. As for what exactly to do, best to ask one of those aero experts like aerocoach/digdeepcoaching/wattshop/fastfitnesstips etc.
  • Draft more traffic on your commute.

    That'll either increase your average speed, or drastically decrease it...
  • super_davo
    super_davo Posts: 1,186
    I suppose the question is whether you just commute or whether you ride outside of that.

    I have a similar length commute and I do it every day. But I also ride with a club and race. My commuting now tends to support the riding I do in my leisure time rather than the other way round. I definitely couldn't go balls out every day, it would kill me and I'd be too tired to ride really hard when I need to. I always take Monday easy as a recovery ride from the weekend, and other days I'll see how I feel. I tend to take it easy in the morning then pick up the pace on the way home, using a longer more scenic route. In the summer when it is evening TT season, I'll take the commute very easy most days.

    In the winter, you lose 2 mph due to what I call the winter "aggregation of marginal losses" so don't beat yourself up that the speed goes down. I switch to riding fixed which loses further speed but saves loads of time on maintenance, and helps with pedalling technique and cadence.

    Take commuting out of the equation and the general rule to getting fitter and faster is to go hard then recover. If you attempt to go hard twice a day every day, you won't recover enough to get faster. If you can recover in that time then you're probably not going hard enough.
  • As above, learn to train properly.
    For a quick fix break your commute down into shorter sections and do say 10 minute sections as fast as you can, flat out, then recover for 10 minutes. Your average will be slower but after a few weeks go for the average again and see if its improved.
    Then break it into 5 minute intervals and ride even harder etc etc.
    As others have said, too many variables in a commute though, but fun nevertheless
  • jempi
    jempi Posts: 58
    First off all; thanks for the big response ! Some realy helpfull info here, super !!

    A bit more info about myself is needed i guess:
    My job is phiscaly verry demanding. I'm a AV-technician, every day i'm constantly dragging large & heavy stuff, loading & unloading trailers by hand, building stages, ... have long days up to 16h, sometimes for several days so I did not have much time and energy left to sport a lot. (And I have a 6 yo son :p)
    I used to cycle every day from my childhood till is was 22, then I had a car, did not cycle verry much, but I did taekwondo + physical training for 5 years in that time. When I became AV-techician I only did physical training (running, power exc.) after working hours.
    When the speedpedelecs (45 km/h) started to come out, i wanted that to. Tried to make a deal with my boss, did not work out but in the meantime I started to come to work with my 10 yo citybike. LOVED IT.
    So instead of the speedpedelec I bought a racebike (and 9 months later a second one :p) and made my commute my sporting time. It's 13 months I cycle to work.
    I don't ride outside my commute, i don't do group rides or TT's or crits. But when I'm on leave or couldn't ride for a while (sometimes I'm on a job for week) I train.
    I do cadance drills 3x1minute - 2 minutes rest - 3x2min. - 4 min. rest - 3x3m - 8m R - 3x2m - 4m R - 3x1m at RPM 90-100-110 or at RPM 90 and gear up 3 times. In longer hollidays I combine cadance drills with longer trips at 90rpm (around 40mi / 60km) and short rides, just a bith longer than my commute where I go full out.

    On my commute I start at gear 50-21 or 53-23 and wait till I reach 93 rpm. When I'm warmed up I build up from there always +1 tooth and gear down when I'm spinning lower than 88 rpm. For the rest i try to ride just below my tresshold and at bridges or small hills I go full speed ahaed.

    I have some other remarks, that I will post soon.
    Jempi.
  • fenix
    fenix Posts: 5,437
    Do you have any easy rides in there ?
  • jempi
    jempi Posts: 58
    Fenix wrote:
    Do you have any easy rides in there ?

    Nope, only when weather is extreme like heavy rain, snow, storm or so I have to hold back. And then I am frustrated like hell :p
    But I don't ride 5 days a week, I do about 450km / month, what's about 25 rides. It happens that I do 1 ride a day also.
    Like riding to work, leaving with a van, come back two or three days later, and than ride bike home in the evening. That happens reguraly. Those days are my recuperation days, and in the weekends in don't do sports. Sometimes I go swimming with my son in the weekends, thats all.
    But in the last three weeks I had 30 rides in 21 days without an easy ride. And I'm building up my avg.
    first week 28,4, second week 28,8 and this week I'm at 29,1, but still 5 rides to go :p
    I know the avg speed is no good parameter, but i come back to that later !

    Jempi.
  • jempi
    jempi Posts: 58
    As has been said, don’t set your stall out by average speed.

    I know wattage is the only reliable measurment but I don't feel that its loony to set up an average speed as a goal.
    And I don't agree with it for 100%. I think avg speed can be a usefull indicator if it's based on 1 rider / the same route / the same bikes / long term. When you cut down the variables.
    As ik speak about averages I mean long time averages. The 28,5 km/h average is based on 1 week, and also monthly.
    I started with my city bike 1 year ago with monthly averages around 24,5 km/h a month. When I bought the race bike that became 27 km/h a month. In May I bought the cadance sensor, raised my rpm from 75 to 90 in 5 months with the cadance drills and raised my monthly average with 1,5 km/h. So now I would love to add another 1,5 km/h but this time I don't have a real answer how. Only a feeling it has to be possible.
    In practice i see that the averages (daily, weekly & monthly) are verry balanced.
    Weak days are followed by good days, rapid starts means slower at the end of the ride and vice versa, a slow morning ride means a fast evering ride and vice versa, and so on...

    Jempi.
  • You are honestly barking up the wrong tree looking at average speeds.
  • On a flat route, you want to get as aero as possible while keeping your average power up. What speed that produces will be down to factors outside your control, such as terrain gradient; wind direction; traffic lights; junctions etc.
    ================
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
    2017 Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc 2016
    2016 Voodoo Wazoo
  • Pithy Power Proverb:
    Maximise the power you can produce. Minimise the power you must produce. - Jim Martin
  • robertpb
    robertpb Posts: 1,866
    Better diet, loose weight, proper training = go faster, pick one or all three you go faster.
    Now where's that "Get Out of Crash Free Card"
  • philbar72
    philbar72 Posts: 2,229
    Average speed is meaningless. You should try for easy days as well as hard days otherwise you’ll hit a metaphorical brick wall. On your harder days get aero, and concentrate on maintaining speed. On your easy days chill out.
  • I think average speed is fine as a goal. It's worked for me over the years.

    However, to improve your average speed you will do better to train with a more reliable indicator than just speed.
  • jempi
    jempi Posts: 58
    Ok, that's clear!!
    I will set up a 20 weeks training plan (from october til march, the time between lombardia & de omloop :D ) to improve my power. With enough recovery build in. After the 20 weeks I will see how it goes, set goals, but thats for later.
    All help is welcome cause I don't have a clue :shock:
    Existing plans / good websites or blogs / clever apps / excellent books / ... please share !!
    For the moment I'm checking my routes to see on wich sections I can train hard and safely and where its better to recover.
    I browsed some examples of trainingplans but it's a bit overwhelming. A lot of data, but what is best for me?

    My main goal is to achieve more power so I can ride faster, not further!

    And I wondered, would it be a good idea to by a single speed for recovery rides so I don't get tempted to put the afterburners on..? I realy, realy hate it to ride slow, hold back...

    Jempi.
  • Jempi wrote:
    My main goal is to achieve more power so I can ride faster, not further!

    And I wondered, would it be a good idea to by a single speed for recovery rides so I don't get tempted to put the afterburners on..? I realy, realy hate it to ride slow, hold back...

    Jempi.
    How about investing in quality support and advice from an experience coach?

    At least that way you can get plans tailored to meet your needs, aspirations, circumstances and capacities, as well as ongoing monitoring and support.
  • Jempi wrote:
    My main goal is to achieve more power so I can ride faster, not further!

    And I wondered, would it be a good idea to by a single speed for recovery rides so I don't get tempted to put the afterburners on..? I realy, realy hate it to ride slow, hold back...

    Jempi.
    How about investing in quality support and advice from an experience coach?

    At least that way you can get plans tailored to meet your needs, aspirations, circumstances and capacities, as well as ongoing monitoring and support.
    Well a coach is fine but perhaps a bit OTT for a commuter who only wants to up his average speed?
  • Just because it's not a race does not make someone's goal any less worthy.

    There are of course a range of things one can do in such circumstances along with some sound advice about the nature of one's goal(s) and perhaps some guidance on alternatives or other things to consider (e.g. the impact of such desires on safety, enjoyment, rest of life factors).

    The OP talked about buying another bike specifically to slow themselves down at times. That suggests to me they could use some sound personalised advice on how to train for their objective rather than wasting resources on something unnecessary.

    Coaches are not always about racing performance, we are about helping people achieve their goals as well as providing an objective sounding block to discuss the suitability of goals and how one might best use their time, resources and take into consideration all of the factors unique to the individual concerned.
  • jempi
    jempi Posts: 58
    To be honest I'm quite disapointed.
    When I explained my goals set I recieved a reaction of ten that it's stupid or impossible to achieve a goal set on average speed.
    When I translate my goals in to your guys hipstertalk, talking power instead of average speed (what's to me the same, higher power = higher speed = higher average) cause the world tour peloton all have a powermeter I get 1 advise, go to a personal coach.
    It's not a bad advise on itself, but I realy ain't gone a take a coach for my commute. I'm doing this for fun and if I fail that's no problem either. I just do my best and try to find good basic trainings and ideas that I can emplent in my commute.

    So I did it my way, found some realy interesting things on Cycling weekly like this training plan:
    https://www.cyclingweekly.com/fitness/training/cycling-training-plan-speed-winter-153285
    I started with this plan, just checking out what & where to do. In a week or 2 I will follow it more strict.
    And I even found this article:
    https://www.cyclingweekly.com/fitness/training/13-ways-increase-average-cycling-speed-144937
    that proofed that my goals are not so looney after all.

    Jempi.
  • To be fair there is some great advice in that cycling weekly article about how to go faster. Some of the highlights for me were: "Brake less" "Pump up your tyres" and "Build muscle".

    Have you tried those?
  • I guess it's a strange thing to want to increase average speed, just for a commute, to save one or two minutes.

    Depending where you live, there could be masses of traffic lights which make any meaningful comparison impossible, and the different surfaces mean that it will vary hugely depending on the weather I would imagine.

    Why do you ride your bike at all?
    Do you ride recreationally at all outside of your commute?
    Is there someone you want to compete against (colleague, sibling, someone who you often see and want to overtake)?
  • I guess it's a strange thing to want to increase average speed, just for a commute, to save one or two minutes.

    Depending where you live, there could be masses of traffic lights which make any meaningful comparison impossible, and the different surfaces mean that it will vary hugely depending on the weather I would imagine.

    Why do you ride your bike at all?
    Do you ride recreationally at all outside of your commute?
    Is there someone you want to compete against (colleague, sibling, someone who you often see and want to overtake)?

    I don't think it is strange at all, very natural in fact to try and up your average, meaningless to anybody except yourself perhaps but if you are not racing why not. Variables yes but the OP may not have any traffic lights or much else to contend with, wind and weather yes but there are the good days and bad.
  • I guess I would come at it from a London-centric perspective where for me the holy grail would be a 15mph average (including stops) for my 10 miles due to the frequent traffic lights.

    I once hit a 20mph average with very favorable conditions, one skipped red light and a tailwind.

    Averages were pretty much meaningless, just a 40 min time target door to door.

    Broadly speaking, if you want to get faster over a short distance, do short intervals.
  • Jempi wrote:
    To be honest I'm quite disapointed.
    When I explained my goals set I recieved a reaction of ten that it's stupid or impossible to achieve a goal set on average speed.
    When I translate my goals in to your guys hipstertalk, talking power instead of average speed (what's to me the same, higher power = higher speed = higher average) cause the world tour peloton all have a powermeter I get 1 advise, go to a personal coach.
    It's not a bad advise on itself, but I realy ain't gone a take a coach for my commute. I'm doing this for fun and if I fail that's no problem either. I just do my best and try to find good basic trainings and ideas that I can emplent in my commute.

    So I did it my way, found some realy interesting things on Cycling weekly like this training plan:
    https://www.cyclingweekly.com/fitness/training/cycling-training-plan-speed-winter-153285
    I started with this plan, just checking out what & where to do. In a week or 2 I will follow it more strict.
    And I even found this article:
    https://www.cyclingweekly.com/fitness/training/13-ways-increase-average-cycling-speed-144937
    that proofed that my goals are not so looney after all.

    Jempi.
    Well I did offer some ideas but you chose to ignore that and focus on the negative.
    I will repeat, you need to break down your ride into shorter sections and forget the overall average whilst you do that, try doing 10 minute intervals as fast as you can 2 or 3 days a week for a while then go to 5 minute intervals, ride as fast as you can to complete the interval without fading but at the end of each interval you should be spent.
    Then after a few weeks try ladder intervals. Roll along steady and then jump hard up to speed and ride 1 minute flat out, recover until heart rate is steady again then jump again, repeat, repeat repeat, when you cant do 1 minute go for 50 seconds then 40 then 30, you should be feeling pretty sick if you do it right. Then ride home easy.
    Next time start at 1 minute 15 seconds and do the same, each session do another 15 seconds until you can manage 2 mins for your first intervals. Probably only do these intervals once a week.
    If you can afford a heart rate monitor on the bike then this will make it easier to do as you will see how hard you are working and exactly when you are ready to jump again.
    Buy a good book on the subject
  • I guess I would come at it from a London-centric perspective where for me the holy grail would be a 15mph average (including stops) for my 10 miles due to the frequent traffic lights.

    I once hit a 20mph average with very favorable conditions, one skipped red light and a tailwind.

    Averages were pretty much meaningless, just a 40 min time target door to door.

    Broadly speaking, if you want to get faster over a short distance, do short intervals.
    You are right they are fairly meaningless but if that is what the individual wants to do....
    For me they are but I still can't help but try and keep the average above 20mph on a flat ride even when there are variables. I know I shouldn't but its nice to see on Strava ;)
  • Use Strava and aim to break two segment PBs per day with overall time within 5%. Then aim to get 75% of all segment times within 5% of pb. Ramp it up and keep the pressure on. Find a longer route home with fewer lights/delays.
  • jempi
    jempi Posts: 58
    Well I did offer some ideas but you chose to ignore that and focus on the negative.
    I will repeat, you need to break down your ride into shorter sections and forget the overall average whilst you do that, try doing 10 minute intervals as fast as you can 2 or 3 days a week for a while then go to 5 minute intervals, ride as fast as you can to complete the interval without fading but at the end of each interval you should be spent.
    Then after a few weeks try ladder intervals. Roll along steady and then jump hard up to speed and ride 1 minute flat out, recover until heart rate is steady again then jump again, repeat, repeat repeat, when you cant do 1 minute go for 50 seconds then 40 then 30, you should be feeling pretty sick if you do it right. Then ride home easy.
    Next time start at 1 minute 15 seconds and do the same, each session do another 15 seconds until you can manage 2 mins for your first intervals. Probably only do these intervals once a week.
    If you can afford a heart rate monitor on the bike then this will make it easier to do as you will see how hard you are working and exactly when you are ready to jump again.
    Buy a good book on the subject

    That's true, you did gave me this advice before, thank you for that.
    What I find odd, is that you build down instead of up. Most plans / schemes work up.
    You go from long 10 min. blocks to 5 min. blocks where I mostly see people start with 1min. to 5 min. blocks and work up to 10 min. blocks. What is the reason?

    Love those ladder intervals, I saw the extremer version the tabata (10sec. sprint / 20sec. rest / 10sec. sprint / ...) what's yours opinion about that?

    the good books... some favorites?

    Jempi.