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Bike speed advise please...

Hi lovely tri folk

I hope everythings going well for you all. I have a question about bike power/speed. Here's my background......

....never had a road bike in my life before Feb this year, got a good second hand Trek 1.9, original spec i think, which includes full Ultegra and Bontrager wheels, so i guess the bikes not holding me back - rather the other way around! I've fitted clamp on tri-bars and love getting down on them - i would guess i spend 90% of the time down on them during my rides. I've been out on it twice a week since getting it and i imagine that means about 15 times, i have been covering a few different routes (including my first tri's route) and all of them are either 18-20k or 40-43k.

My question is about speed and power, and how best to get them! I have quite strong legs (what i mean is they are not thin nor do they have much in the way of fat on them), but i seem to fall apart quickly when faced with a hill/incline. I just don't seem to be able to attack the slope.....i have to drop the gears and even then, it still feels crap.

Next question is speed (even downhill), i have reached a max speed of 54kph on a downhill, pedalling like a madman. But this just isn't quick enough compared to others, is it? What's holding me back - its not power in this case as i could put down more if the bike would let me.....i'm guessing its the gearing - which i cannot replace yet as i'll get divorced - but I would like to know what a fast speed is, and how i might reach it someday.

My average speed over a 42k ride is 31kph, the ride takes me about 1:20. I know some of you are doing this distance in less than an hour, my question is what gives you this extra pace. Is it more to do with equipment or muscle/training. My guess is training, but i would like to hear your thoughts.


Would love to hear from you all.


  • iangriffiangriff Posts: 48

    I'm no biking expert but i know i'd be dead chuffed if i could average 31Kph on a ride.

    Try this link though which gives approx speeds with rpm and gearing, may be of some help!


  • MGMG Posts: 470
    To increase power you'll need to do some "big ring rides" (as it were). Do your normal routes but DO NOT change into your small front chain ring, even on hills. Yes it will hurt, but give it a few weeks with this method and you'll notice a difference. You can also do hill repeats, find a nice hill, not too steep but about 1-1.5 mile long then go up it in a gear you can just about pedal in. Do this until you get comfy in that gear then knock it down to a tougher cog.

    For spinning down hill you'll need to do some high cadence work, I find this is best done on the turbo trainer. Put the bike into the small chain ring at the front and about 15tooth for the rear and with some MINOR resistance on your turbo aim to get your cadence above 130rpm and hold it there for 45secs have 30secs rest and do x10, you'll be spinning those pedals like Lance in no time!!!!!!!!
  • garyrobertsgaryroberts Posts: 869
    a nice hill, not too steep

    Hello again

    Thanks for the feedback and advise, this may sound really basic but what do you class as a nice hill, not too steep? Is this a 'slope' more than a hill? I don't really have an idea about gradients etc.

  • Jelly legsJelly legs Posts: 278
    Mate i can offer some advise on the down hill bit, as its just happened to me.

    Basicly i need to change my front ring to a bigger one, when i go down hill even in top gear my legs still spin, but i have more power in them, so i'm faced with getter bigger GEARING.

    How i do this i'm not 100%, but ive looked about and you can buy just one ring for the front( the biggest one), to give you more power, or so thats my understanding of it anyway.

    But i'm not 100% which one it is CRANKS Shimano Tiagra 34/50 ( i think its this one)

    CASSETTE Shimano HG50 12-25
  • garyrobertsgaryroberts Posts: 869
    Seriously, I'm thinking about the whole 'Project Gary' thing.  Keep lashing info your way for 'nowt anyway.....

    Hey Coney, it must be all in the name.....

    ......i am available to act as your triathlon guinea pig at a moments notice. There's no lack of commitment and an almost infinite amount of self belief!

    seriously....thanks for the feedback, i know i'm just starting out....


    P.S. Saddle height increased another 10mm and rode 40K today, hamstring a little sore tonight :o(

  • shadowone1shadowone1 Posts: 1,408

    You are spot on with this topic, I'm totally the same a you mate. I live in a very hilly area and everytime I'm out I feel as though when it comes to hills, I might at as well pea into the wind....

    Interesting to read what people are saying. Bopo said in a prev topic that best to do the big ring ride (ahem!!) and I tried it yesterday and my legs were killing me but i guess time will tell with me.

    Anyone else got any other tips etc???

    How have others dealt with this? Very interested in this one as I feel this is one area where I'm really lacking.

  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    Keep up the training. You need to do more miles in order to improve and this takes time. The aero position is not optimal for hill climbing and so your legs will weaken on a climb simply because you are not in a good position for climbing. When you come to the base of a climb, get more upright and start laying down the power, most importantly keep it up until you've crested the summit and then go aero again for the descent.

    On the descent tuck in and get low and you'll not need to upgrade your gears
  • pippip Posts: 170
    When going up them hills just try pushing harder each time. It`s all about lactate tolerance and trying to increase it.Do some sets of squats when you`ve got a few minutes without weights,start at say 50 without a stop and try to increase your reps upto say75 to 80.This will take a few weeks but you`ll notice the difference when climbing.One more thing 31kmh for 40 k`s is pretty damn good so i wuldn`t worry too much that you`re going too slow
  • GGBGGB Posts: 482
    I find with hills that I must keep the speed up - I do try to stay in a higher gear as possible but as soon as I slow too much its very hard work - got to keep the legs spinning or ther HR rises too much. I, 99% of the time, stay seated on hills and as long as I am moving quick enough I am fine, but slowing for another rider and having to build up the pace again knocks me for 6.

    Downhill I get in Areo and just ease off the pedals - depending on the decline.

  • sfullersfuller Posts: 628
    get into the south of france for a week, then you will experience some hills.
  • shadowone1shadowone1 Posts: 1,408
    Trust me when I say this but I live in a really hilly area such so that one hill has a 20% gradient... or a 1 in 5 and its about 1.5 mile long and I always try to finish with this hill on my way home.

    reading a few prev comments is making me wonder, I obv need to improve my hill speeds and the best way is plank my bum on the seat and not to stand up???

    Is it then a case of training in the big cog and pedalling like mad and therefore increasing the lactate acid threshold? Does pedalling like crazy not increase the heart rate?????

    Ooo I need a training partner...who knows what they are doing....

  • pippip Posts: 170
    Plenty of deep breathes too help releave the lactic build up.When i`m climbing i find this works as good as anything but obviously it depends on your fitness level.Just get out and ride them hills that the best way
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