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Thread: What we talk about when we talk about speed

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    lordofthemark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judd View Post
    I should probably clarify that 14 mph average is while riding in places without a lot of stops and starts or where one has to negotiate traffic.

    You should sign up for 14 mph group rides. The best that will happen is that you'll be able to do it easily and have a great time. The worst that will happen is that you'll get dropped.
    I checked my Strava speeds on MVT, 4MRT to 14thStreet Bridge, which is long enough, no traffic lights,. not 100% flat My speeds
    this year (so all on the Cannondale, which is faster than the Dew was) range from a low of 11.2MPH to a high of 16MPH. I am rather inconsistent, I suppose. Partly because A. I try to be cautious and polite on the trails so the number and behavior of other trail users impacts my speed (yay for me!) B. I am still too inconsistent about checking my tire pressure so I am sometimes riding with way too low pressure (boo for me!) C. Wind speed and direction (effects everyone I guess, but upright riders more? and yeah, I should HTFU) D. I seem to be pretty sensitive to the temp.

    Note, in the reverse direction, its 10.8 MPH to 14.6MPH. hmm. More trail traffic in the evening, sure. Not sure about temps - more hot temp rides (in late afternoon in spring and summer) but more good tem rides in the winter? Probably more that I am just more tired, physically and psychologically, in the evening, and am just not pushing as hard.

    So I guess a 14MPH rider then. Though on the other hand, I am not sure I could do that for a full hour, let alone for a group ride longer than that. And of course my comparative advantage is best on flats.
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 06-29-2017 at 10:47 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    So I guess a 14MPH rider then. Though on the other hand, I am not sure I could do that for a full hour, let alone for a group ride longer than that. And of course my comparative advantage is best on flats.
    You'll always be faster on group rides, because of the aerodynamic advantage of being in the group. Also being in a group causes you to focus less on how hard you may be working, and more on what's going on around you. A good group ride will bring your best effort out without you even realizing it.

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    While I do not advocate riding recklessly on trails, time yourself around the Arlington Loop at an effort that is roughly as fast as you can go while still being able to make it home (and maintain PAL status, of course). That'll give you some idea of your true speed potential. So if you can do 14mph on the loop (which is pretty fast for the loop), you can probably hang with a 14mph group ride.

    That said, there are so many variables that using average moving speed as a primary gauge is almost useless. My average commute speed is something like 13.5mph over 12 miles. That seems pretty slow, but I have to average like 200 watts (a decent amount of power) for the last half to maintain that average speed because it's uphill and with some gravel. Also, distance plays a big role too. Riding 14mph for 30 minutes is a lot different than riding 14mph for 50 miles...not just because of the distance, but because of wind, hills, stops/starts, etc...

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkel View Post
    You'll always be faster on group rides, because of the aerodynamic advantage of being in the group. Also being in a group causes you to focus less on how hard you may be working, and more on what's going on around you. A good group ride will bring your best effort out without you even realizing it.
    Yes, I was gonna say something similar. Definitely sign up for the 14mph; you might find it to be too slow, but then you'll know!

    Aero is a huge factor, though. This AM the HP laps were running 27mph into the headwind (southbound) and 29-30mph on the inside stretch. That was really tough / I couldn't hang on so I dropped off after 4 laps. Similar output after that (by myself) would maybe push me to 22mph. I mostly just cruised and enjoyed the perfect morning, though

    OTOH, folks at HP are probably riding a lot closer together than those riding a 14mph group ride, but even just hanging out in the middle of a large group (and not right on a wheel) will be a lot easier than riding by yourself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoWheelsDC View Post
    While I do not advocate riding recklessly on trails, time yourself around the Arlington Loop at an effort that is roughly as fast as you can go while still being able to make it home (and maintain PAL status, of course). That'll give you some idea of your true speed potential. So if you can do 14mph on the loop (which is pretty fast for the loop), you can probably hang with a 14mph group ride.

    That said, there are so many variables that using average moving speed as a primary gauge is almost useless. My average commute speed is something like 13.5mph over 12 miles. That seems pretty slow, but I have to average like 200 watts (a decent amount of power) for the last half to maintain that average speed because it's uphill and with some gravel. Also, distance plays a big role too. Riding 14mph for 30 minutes is a lot different than riding 14mph for 50 miles...not just because of the distance, but because of wind, hills, stops/starts, etc...
    Yes, there are many elements that influence a ride, but at end of the day, it simply comes down to how long does it take to cover certain distance and that is "speed" by definition (average, of course).

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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    Yes, I was gonna say something similar. Definitely sign up for the 14mph; you might find it to be too slow, but then you'll know!

    Aero is a huge factor, though. This AM the HP laps were running 27mph into the headwind (southbound) and 29-30mph on the inside stretch. That was really tough / I couldn't hang on so I dropped off after 4 laps. Similar output after that (by myself) would maybe push me to 22mph. I mostly just cruised and enjoyed the perfect morning, though

    OTOH, folks at HP are probably riding a lot closer together than those riding a 14mph group ride, but even just hanging out in the middle of a large group (and not right on a wheel) will be a lot easier than riding by yourself.
    One point I like to make is that first priority in a group ride is knowing how to ride in a group, and not how fast to ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by f148vr View Post
    One point I like to make is that first priority in a group ride is knowing how to ride in a group, and not how fast to ride.
    True that. A 14 mph no drop type ride might be a good place to learn the in and outs of being a happy group rider too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vicegrip View Post
    True that. A 14 mph no drop type ride might be a good place to learn the in and outs of being a happy group rider too.
    I've learned that in even slower group rides

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