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I been riding for about 3 years now and many century rides. But I notice that I can't seem to keep up with other riders when I go riding. I usually ride about 14-17 mph? I want to increase my speed. Should I upgrade to a race originated bike like the Look 585? My current ride is a Scattante CFR (bargin carbon bike). Should I start club riding? Should I just loose a lot of weight (easier said than done)?

Any input is greatly appreciated!
Thanks
 

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Moderatus Puisne
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Where can't you keep up?

On the hills -- Do more threshold training and lose weight
Sudden accelerations -- Do intervals
General speed of the paceline -- Work on your aero position, drafting technique
At the end of a group ride -- check your endurance and nutrition

Since you do centuries, your overall endurance can't be bad. It's likely you struggle to put the hammer down when it counts.

The difference between many racers and rec riders seems to be the racers are masochists and push themselves into the red a lot, whereas the rec riders back off when it hurts.

The main reason a nicer bike would make you faster is that it might make you train more... you gotta love your ride.

Have fun!
 

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naranjito
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if you only average 14-17 mph then the bike is not the problem. a better bike can be more comfortable to ride, put you in a better position, etc, but if you haven´t got the legs then it´s not going to make you any faster.
do you ride with a pulsometer? it´s generally better to train following your pulse than the speed you´re riding at because it gives a better indication of the work you´re doing. just going out and riding is always good, but to get better you need to push it a bit harder, and a pulsometer is a good way of knowing how hard you´re pushing. as argentius said - the difference between racers and rec riders is that the racers (and more serious riders that don´t race, like me) like to push themselves so that it hurts. many rec riders i know will just sit up and drop off the back if the pace goes up and their legs start to burn. everyone has their limits, but if you don´t push yours then you won´t get faster or gain more stamina. of course you have to take into account recovery, nutrition, and a whole host of other things, but the main thing is to make the effort to get faster, and not just think that your average is 14-17mph and that´s all you can do.

foz
 

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me too

I was having the same problem and I'd found that when the group sped up my legs started to burn so I backed off - lately though I've realized that the burn isn't a sign to slow up, it's something you can actually pedal through.
Lately I've jsut pedaled through it for as long as I can - sometimes I keep up, sometimes I still get dropped off the back. The length of time I'm able to keep up is definitely increasing.
(I've also been riding a lot more hills which seems to help)

-Rich
 

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What stops you from keeping up?

Burning quads, lack of oxygen, pain, losing the will to keep pushing?

The remedies are different for different problems. Hard sprints or weight training for burning quads; lactate threshhold work for improved aerobic fitness; riding fast or adjustments to your riding position for pain. If the problem is mental, which, imho, is often the case, some of all the remedies is probably the best course. Nothing like invested effort to make backing off less personally acceptable.
 

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There is another solution

Marcus75 said:
I been riding for about 3 years now and many century rides. But I notice that I can't seem to keep up with other riders when I go riding. I usually ride about 14-17 mph? I want to increase my speed. Should I upgrade to a race originated bike like the Look 585? My current ride is a Scattante CFR (bargin carbon bike). Should I start club riding? Should I just loose a lot of weight (easier said than done)?

Any input is greatly appreciated!
Thanks
Despite what this board might lead you to believe, many serious cyclists ride at 14-17 mph. Perhaps you could find a group that rides at your pace instead of trying to force your pace to keep up with a fast group. It takes a big committment of time and effort and pain to substantially increase your speed. If this reduces your enjoyment and makes you burn out on cycling, then you're better off cruising along at 14-17 mph and doing it for the rest of your life.
 

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The problem is that your current bike is TOO good.

Get yourself down to WalMart and drop no more than $99 on whatever fits (then take it into your LBS for them to fix all the assembly problems). Also put your current seat and pedals on the thing (comfort matters).

Then ride the heck out of your new POS for the next few months.

Don't cut down on your miles or back off on speed.

When summer starts hop back on your current ride.

You will be a stud for a whole lot less than dropping big bucks on some hi-zoot ride.

BTW don't laugh, this is guaranteed to work.
 

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Misfit Toy
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Gee MB, wouldn't it be even cheaper to load his current bike down with weights? :D Maybe add a giant saddle bag with 10-20 pounds of lead?
 

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Ride faster

Some wag once said that you have to ride faster to ride faster. IOW, you have to push yourself. There are plenty of people who ride lots of miles but never push the pace, and so they never get faster. That's fine if that's what they want. But if you want to be faster, you have to push yourself. Try doing 3x10 minute intervals (5 minutes easy spinning in between) where you push just about as hard as you can while keeping your cadence in the 90 rpm range. Do this 2x per week, with at least one day of recovery (normal riding) in between.
 

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Not a bad idea.

snapdragen said:
Gee MB, wouldn't it be even cheaper to load his current bike down with weights? :D Maybe add a giant saddle bag with 10-20 pounds of lead?
You can also inflate the innertubes with water.

Alas, it makes for a harsh ride and messy punctures.
 

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In simplest terms, to go fast, train fast.

I'm a big believer in slow, comfortable miles, but if that's all you do, that's all you'll do. NTTAWWT, but if you want to go fast, you have to pick up the pace in training. There's been a ton of stuff written about how to do this, and some systems no doubt are more efficient than others, but it all comes down to the same thing: If you ride 13mph all your life, you'll never go faster than 13mph.
 

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I'm working on the same thing...

You need to have a team. Some buddies you train with and do the ride with- people about your speed, with about the same goals. Riding in a pack, the group is using around 25% less energy- that's a huge margin! If you can average 16mph solo for a century... that's pretty good- you can find a group of really decent folks to ride with and all benefit.

Training in a pack, somebody should often be saying "maybe we can go 1mph faster,,,", "That hill kicked my butt- LET'S DO IT AGAIN!", "59 miles? Let's go out and back to make it an even 60!" "Crappy weather this weekend... BRING YOUR RAIN JACKET- we doin' the 100 we planned!"

There is plenty of good training advice in "The Cyclist's Training Bible" (Paperback, 3rd Ed.) by Joe Friel - $16 at Amazon. You do not need to follow all of it, but you should know what racers know.

Here is what I added this year-

1) really working on keeping off-season aerobic conditioning up- you are in SCalif, I'm in Wisconsin... you have some advantages. I got rollers- it improved my efficiency (I can feel it!) and it is a million times more fun than the stationary trainer. Got a Cyclocross bike- 40 miles in 6" of fresh snow--- more fun than rollers! I'm building up a fixed gear bike- I want to learn to be a smooth rider; people say these are fun and help build good form- why not?

2) cross-training for leg strength- I'm ice skating in a serious way... I can feel it! It's working! Ice skating convenience advantage on my side.

3) About this time of year, I've added one serious 4 hour long endurance workout per week. It's also time to start watching what I eat. Bummer. I love the summer, because I can eat as much as I want and still be losing weight... 200 plus miles a week, though. I read about periodic training in the "bible."

4) Hill climbing workouts as soon as the snow clears, which coincides with one of the periodicity schedules in Friel's book

5) Adding more centuries to my early season workout. Looking for more partners to form "Team Grupetto."Anybody in Madison Wi doing the Horribly Hillys?

6) Thinking seriously about racing- I think Cyclocross might be a good way to ease in to it and not show up as a total noob, plus it's next Fall, and it's got a bit of "fallin' down, rollin in the mud" sillyness that keeps people from getting too overly serious- despite the fact that the guys I sat in with on some training sessions last Fall were flat out amazing athletes and serious power riders! I get motivated by getting dusted... next year, those guys are gonna need to work a little harder as they blow my doors off.

So-- that's me. Hope it gives you some ideas.

'Meat

ps- new bikes are cool, too.
 

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Does your cyclocomputer have a cadence function? Do you know what your cadence normally is while riding 14-17mph? You can count your pedal revolutions for some fixed period of time to determine your cadence if your computer doesn't have that. If you don't normally ride at a fairly high cadence adding "spinning" to your toolbox of skills could possibly help raise your speed.
 

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The way the original poster worded the question, we are to assume he/she can keep up with the other riders. It's all about intervals if you ask me. I had the same problem when i first started riding, thought for some reason I could keep up with guys that had 10 years experience my first month on a bike. I killed myself for almost a year blowing myself up every ride. Finaly did some research, put together a trainign program and made more progress in 6 weeks than I did in over a year just hammering. Once you have done a training program you get a feel for what your body can do and what you should do. I can tell you one thing though, a new bike in itself won't make a bit of difference.
 

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snapdragen said:
Gee MB, wouldn't it be even cheaper to load his current bike down with weights? :D Maybe add a giant saddle bag with 10-20 pounds of lead?
Thats what I do on my commute to work 10 lb 10amph sealed lead acid battery in the trunk bag and 10 lbs in the back pack. :)
 

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MB1 said:
You can also inflate the innertubes with water.

Alas, it makes for a harsh ride and messy punctures.
Ball bearings in the seat tube provide many of the same benefits, without the increased flattage potential. I hear Campy made special bbs just for this purpose. They were called "frame pellets" and were clearly diffferent than regular bbs, ;). All the Italian pros used to use them in early-season training, or so the legends go...

- FBB
 

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If you can't keep up on that bike, you won't keep up on any bike, despite promises made in Bicycling Magazine.

Do what you suggest - lose weight and ride more. Do what others in this thread have suggested - ride more and ride more.

Get a snazzy new bike if you need a babe magnet. Otherwise, spend more time in the saddle, preferably riding with people who are faster than you and have established an effective training schedule. Get dropped, regularly. Gradually, you will go faster. Some day you will become the dropper, not the droppee, and it won't be because of the bike you are on.

Good luck!

- FBB
 

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I must agree with many of the other members. I started riding with a small group that averaged 14-17 mph with no interest in increasing the pace. I could maintain that pace comfortably, but that seemed to be my limit. The members of that group each went their own way and so I joined another group that averaged 20-22 mph. It was tough at first, but as the others have noted – if you want to ride fast, you have to ride fast.

After a winter of riding through the slush on my MTB with heavy studded tires, winter boots and clothes, I should be a little faster this spring on the road bike. :)
 
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