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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been mountain biking for about 5 years now and this year started adding the road bike into the mix. I've been riding on the road regularly since March. The problem I have is on the flats. I don't have the power the flats to really push the pace and hurt the guys I'm riding with, and it's all I can do to usually hang on to them in the draft. When it turns uphill, especially the longer and steeper the climb I can ride them all off my wheel. So my question is how do I get better on the flats? I go out and just ride flat roads to focus on maintaining a high speed, but I can rarely get and keep it over 23 mph for any length of time. By the way, I'm 31 and 150 lbs. Thanks for any advice you guys can give me.
 

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Don't go on flat group rides :D

Srsly, though- the best way to get better is to train your weak point. Do intervals of all sorts into a headwind. Don't worry too much about speed- watch heart rate (or power if you're so inclined). You'll never be a time trial king, but you can improve on what you've got.
 

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uberalles covered it pretty much. No real secrets here.

And even though we're not talking about TT aerodymamics start to matter quite a bit when you're trying to get from 22.5 to 23, for example. I'm not suggesting you ride in a tuck all the time or anyting like that but just take a look at your position to make sure your arms aren't hanging out there or something like that. Minor stuff, but at the top end small improvements are hard to come by so take what you can get.
 

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I would say do a weekly TT. You might be surprised at what you can learn about increasing your overall power and aerodynamic positioning.

Not to mention TT's are an interval, but more fun because they are competitive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the advice! I've been trying to ride flats more often, but when I first started I would just go out and climb and for some reason I thought that would take care of me on the flats. I'll definitely have to add intervals into my riding. I did a time trial last Sunday that was 36 miles, and pretty flat. I came home with a 20.0 average so I was sort of satisfied with that. I'm also trying to stay in the drops more when I'm on the flats to help with wind resistance. I'll keep it at it though. Thanks again for the tips.
 

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Any local training crits near you during the week?
I started out the same way as you. I came from mtb and when I started road riding I had no sustained power or speed on the flats, but I could shell almost everyone on a climb. Then, I started doing my Tuesday night training crit. At first I couldn't hang for even a lap, but I kept at it and at the end of the summer I could hang.
 

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josh26 said:
I've been mountain biking for about 5 years now and this year started adding the road bike into the mix. I've been riding on the road regularly since March. The problem I have is on the flats. I don't have the power the flats to really push the pace and hurt the guys I'm riding with, and it's all I can do to usually hang on to them in the draft. When it turns uphill, especially the longer and steeper the climb I can ride them all off my wheel. So my question is how do I get better on the flats? I go out and just ride flat roads to focus on maintaining a high speed, but I can rarely get and keep it over 23 mph for any length of time. By the way, I'm 31 and 150 lbs. Thanks for any advice you guys can give me.
A nice dose of 2 x 20 in Zone 4 for several weeks couldn't hurt.

Do you own a Power Meter or HRM? If so do some tests and get some Zone 4 work in to up your FTP.


On another note... Are you friends heavier than you? You said you could drop them on climbs. Climbing is more dependent upon Watts/KG because of gravity, where riding on the flats is more about aerodynamics and absolute power. Here is an example...

Your friends weigh 180lbs (82kg) and can put out 240w comfortably. Your friends have a Watts/KG ratio of 2.9. You weigh 150lbs (68kg) and can comfortably put out 220w. Your Watts/KG ratio is 3.25.

So on the flats (where absolute power is more important) 240w will beat 220w. However, on the climbs (where Watts/KG matter more) your 3.25 beats there 2.9.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
ridenfish39 said:
Any local training crits near you during the week?
I started out the same way as you. I came from mtb and when I started road riding I had no sustained power or speed on the flats, but I could shell almost everyone on a climb. Then, I started doing my Tuesday night training crit. At first I couldn't hang for even a lap, but I kept at it and at the end of the summer I could hang.
Unfortunately there are no crits in my area.

A nice dose of 2 x 20 in Zone 4 for several weeks couldn't hurt.

Do you own a Power Meter or HRM? If so do some tests and get some Zone 4 work in to up your FTP.


On another note... Are you friends heavier than you? You said you could drop them on climbs. Climbing is more dependent upon Watts/KG because of gravity, where riding on the flats is more about aerodynamics and absolute power. Here is an example...

Your friends weigh 180lbs (82kg) and can put out 240w comfortably. Your friends have a Watts/KG ratio of 2.9. You weigh 150lbs (68kg) and can comfortably put out 220w. Your Watts/KG ratio is 3.25.

So on the flats (where absolute power is more important) 240w will beat 220w. However, on the climbs (where Watts/KG matter more) your 3.25 beats there 2.9.
I've got a Heart rate monitor that I use and will definately start doing some 2x 20 in zone 4. Yeah, I'm the smallest guy in my group the others weight between 165lbs and 180lbs, so I know that is my big advantage on the climbs. I've really been working on riding flats and getting my speed up. I feel like I've been making progress, but I am always open to advice on how to get faster.
 

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josh26 said:
Unfortunately there are no crits in my area.



I've got a Heart rate monitor that I use and will definately start doing some 2x 20 in zone 4. Yeah, I'm the smallest guy in my group the others weight between 165lbs and 180lbs, so I know that is my big advantage on the climbs. I've really been working on riding flats and getting my speed up. I feel like I've been making progress, but I am always open to advice on how to get faster.
I really think putting some threshold specific training in there will help. It has helped me immensely. Don't forget your VO2 (Zone 5) and Tempo (Zone 3) work either. One last point I'd like to make is that you should retest your lactate threshold every 6 weeks or so. As your fitness increases your zones will change.

Good luck,
 

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I'm also 31 and weigh 150#

I found that doing a regimen of intervals twice a week from late winter to early spring helped my riding a lot. I had all the same issues you have. This season being my 4th, I'm riding faster than I ever have and feel great, no longer being dropped on the flats when the power gets put down and I still leave em in the dust uphill.

I wish I would have got some power numbers before and after etc.

basically I did max RPM for 30sec - 1 min bursts, for something like 10 mins, rest and repeat.

and on the other day I would do Low RPM sustained effort for 2-3min. 60-70 RPM range. I found this one really helped my overall power. I tried this after reading in a magazine that Low RPM work induces more testosterone and growth with cyclist doing intervals.

You also have to consider that you've only been riding a Road bike for a short while. specific muscle development takes time.

Good luck!
 
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