Viewing 33 posts - 1 through 33 (of 33 total)
  • Why am I getting slower?
  • Premier Icon JonEdwards
    Free Member

    So this time last year, I was averaging 17-18mph for a typical 20-30 mile mid-week road ride in the Peaks. Over the summer I managed a couple in the high 18s, but then as autumn & winter came it’s all gone rather downhill.

    Despite riding at least once a week on road (plus a good solid Sunday MTB ride – 4-7 hours, weather dependant, some commuting stuff and some dicking around stuff), I just seem to be going backwards. I’m just back from a 35miler, which was bloody hard work (I can barely walk now) – average 16mph, and the only one that’s broken 17 was a very short sprint when I absolutely nailed it start to finish and ended up in bits again. There’s been a couple of rides in the 15s, and that’s just downright embarassing!

    So what’s going on? Bike is in good nick. I’m eating well (3lb over my 10stone “racing weight”, so a bit porky but not too bad), sleeping like the dead – really struggling to get up most mornings. I did have a cold 6 weeks back that took longer than normal to go, but otherwise I’m in good health. Did 3 hrs on the big bike yesterday afternoon and went bouldering in the evening, neither of which should leave my legs feeling anything like as bolloxed as they felt when I started riding this afternoon – felt more like I’d done a century.

    It’s really disheartening to be beating myself up like this just to end up going slower, and I really have no idea why…

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Full Member

    Well, you could have a low-level virus or be post viral. You might need a rest. You could have some sort of deficiency – I had a similar thing and turned out to be low on Potassium, which showed up in drug tests courtesy of a sympathetic, triathlete GP.

    Have you tried taking a week off and seeing what happens? Do you have rest days and easy weeks built into your schedule/life?

    You sound quite driven so it may be that your response to going slower because you’re tired is to train harder rather than backing off and giving your body a chance to recover, which is classic and ends up in overtraining.

    I’m far from being an expert, but if I were in that scenario, those would be some of the possibilities I’d be looking at.

    Premier Icon MrSmith
    Free Member

    do you really expect to be as fast in winter?
    too fast for short periods of time, rest days, base miles (measured in hours not miles) and not caning it.
    you will be flying in a month or 2.

    Premier Icon crikey
    Free Member

    How old are you?

    Premier Icon lazybike
    Free Member

    This time last year was 15+ degrees….I was dodging icy patches this morning. Don’t underestimate the effects cold weather has….

    Premier Icon grum
    Full Member

    Maybe you’ve lost sight of what’s actually enjoyable about cycling and your body is trying to tell you something?

    Unless you’re racing on a serious level, why does it matter?

    Premier Icon ktmblag
    Free Member

    3lb over 10 stone……only me notice that

    Premier Icon JonEdwards
    Free Member

    rest days

    Knew that would come up soemwhere. For a pro-elite athlete, training hard 5 or 6 days a week? Makes perfect sense. For a knob *desk* jockey dwelling forumite, who only rides hard a couple of days a week – absolutely not necessary – more MTFU needed instead. I’m actually getting far more rest now (although the riding is harder) than I was a couple of years back where I was riding a bare minimum of 6 days a week, all year.

    do you really expect to be as fast in winter?

    No, but I expect to be at least as fast as I was this time last year, and with another year’s worth of riding and experience, I *should* be a wee bit faster.

    base miles

    What…? I ride for fun, not training for anything – most of my roadie stuff is an hour blast at lunchtime to clear the cobwebs out. Go out, ride hard, come back, sit down and carry on with work. To be honest I barely know what base miles are…

    So why the concern with average speed?

    what’s actually enjoyable about cycling

    Unless you’re racing on a serious level, why does it matter?

    It’s a way of keeping track. For me riding – especially on road – is about going fast (off road, I’d rather save energy for the tech climbs and the DHs). Secondly, a large part of the fun of doing anything, at all, is to do it right, and that means to improve. If you’re actively going backwards, hell, even staying stationary, then you need to find something else, because you’re just wasting time, money & effort. Gains only need to be marginal, but they do need to be persceptible.

    Yes I could take the ‘pooter off the bike, but that act in itself is an admission of defeat.

    How old are you?

    38

    3lb over 10 stone……only me notice that

    …which gives me absolutely zero excuse for being slow up hill…

    Premier Icon neilsonwheels
    Free Member

    Am I right in saying that the body is less efficient in the cold weather.? Last week during the mini spring we had I managed 18.4 over 80 miles, yesterday I struggled to do the same over 30 miles. I am always slower in the winter.

    Premier Icon crikey
    Free Member

    I asked how old you were because I found age killed me off like a bullet…

    If you have been riding for a while, I’d take time to start again properly; do lots of easy, steady, gradually increasing miles, with very little emphasis on performance. Aim to become a ‘cyclist’ again, rather than aiming for times and averages.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Full Member

    At the op: I’ve hinted at this here previously and on the other channel only today. Same thing applies to me.

    I’ve noted BWD’s comment – I was taking probiotic multivitamins before Christmas and not now so might try those again. Also the winter thing – I think there’s some backing of on damp unsighted corners and downhills too.

    Premier Icon JonEdwards
    Free Member

    do lots of easy, steady, gradually increasing miles, with very little emphasis on performance

    Y’see, I understand the theory, but I genuinely cannot work out how you do that in practice.

    How do you ride slowly when you know you can ride quickly?

    How do you not chase the guy in front of you?

    How do you let yourself get overtaken and dropped by the guy behind you? (he might not be there yet, but if you ride slowly enough, he surely will be)

    How do you justify owning an expensive bike if you’re only going to bimble on it? All The Gear, No Idea in my book…

    …and simply, as soon as I start riding, the red mist (it’s not, but I’m sure you know what I mean) comes down and I HAVE to perform, because otherwise it’s/I’m worthless. (I work in the entertainment industry, and you’re only as good as your last gig. The same is true of riding, IME – all about self confidence)

    Premier Icon lazybike
    Free Member

    I HAVE to perform, because otherwise it’s/I’m worthless. (I work in the entertainment industry, and you’re only as good as your last gig. The same is true of riding, IME – all about self confidence)

    I would start by adressing your self esteem issues… 🙂

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Full Member

    About rest. It’s not volume or frequency that knocks you over, it’s intensity. Anyway, it doesn’t sound like that’s an issue for you.

    Premier Icon dirk_pumpa
    Free Member

    lighten up love :S

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Full Member

    JonEdwards, buy something with an HRM (garmin 500 for example) and research low intensity / zone 2 workouts which will explain why it is that “bimbling” will help you.

    That’s how you stick to it, and it works.

    Premier Icon jameso
    Full Member

    Y’see, I understand the theory, but I genuinely cannot work out how you do that in practice.

    It’s hard .. for once I started training with an aim this year, starting with solid base miles. Z2 road work with a HRM (ie limited by that bleeping gremlin on the bars) is so difficult at first, I’ve been told you ‘need to slow down to speed up’ but didn’t get it. Read that you need this work to add the little capillaries and connections that the harder training then maximises. After 2 months or so of base miles and focus on that I did notice a difference – I’m going faster for that same low effort, when I raise the effort I’m going a fair bit quicker and can maintain it for longer. Same age and similar riding pattern as you before this training period. It works but it felt like a leap of faith at first. Quite enjoy my brisk touring-pace pootles / Z2 road rides now.

    Premier Icon RoterStern
    Free Member

    If you do a Vo2Max test you will see in black and white what the low intensity training does and how it helps especially with fat burning. Getting a HR monitor would be a good start if you haven’t already got one with an alarm if you go over your set HR zones will annoy you enough to ride at a lower intensity. Like anything it takes discipline to let the guy ride past you while you are doing low intensity stuff and not try to ‘own him’. You always have to think of the bigger picture if you want to go faster.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Full Member

    And colder air is denser… Right?

    Premier Icon JonEdwards
    Free Member

    And colder air is denser… Right?

    Yup, so more oxygen/breath=faster. 😉

    Certainly my car is faster when it’s cold than when it’s hot… (turbo gulps more oxygen in, intercooler works better)

    Premier Icon grum
    Full Member

    What…? I ride for fun, not training for anything

    …and simply, as soon as I start riding, the red mist (it’s not, but I’m sure you know what I mean) comes down and I HAVE to perform, because otherwise it’s/I’m worthless.

    Does not compute for me. Seems like a very mentally unhealthy way of looking at what’s supposed to be an enjoyable hobby. I want to keep progressing too but in terms of technique/enjoyment mainly not really average mph, and I are no sense in beating myself up if I don’t always achieve it.

    Premier Icon ashleydwsmith
    Free Member

    Forgive me op, whilst I agree that yes it is good to have performance increases in riding but it’s not the be all and end all of riding. I have just got back from an mtb ride with my mate, this is after riding in some form or another every night over the last week, and I had to cut it short. My thighs were killing me and were limiting my enjoyment of the ride.

    I dont see that as admission of defeat more of an understanding of how my body works and that I need to protect it. By stopping I know that I can rest up now ready to hammer it at the weekend. Then I will notice my performance gains.

    JUst my two pence worth.

    Premier Icon MrSmith
    Free Member

    Y’see, I understand the theory, but I genuinely cannot work out how you do that in practice.

    How do you ride slowly when you know you can ride quickly?

    How do you not chase the guy in front of you?

    How do you let yourself get overtaken and dropped by the guy behind you? (he might not be there yet, but if you ride slowly enough, he surely will be)

    How do you justify owning an expensive bike if you’re only going to bimble on it? All The Gear, No Idea in my book…

    It sounds like you ride on your own a lot? If you ride further in a small group of like minded individuals you might get somewhere, conversational pace needn’t be slow and there will always be people smarter/stronger than you who will dish out a pasting saving you doing it to yourself 😀
    Those 30mile blasts aren’t really doing you any favours, if you can learn to ride 60-70 miles at an even pace rather than caning it from the off your fitness will improve.
    Loose the MTB’er mentality and start thinking like a roadie if you want to get fit 😆

    Premier Icon patriotpro
    Free Member

    Sounds like you need to get laid and a holiday and forget about cycling for a week or 2. Just saying.

    Premier Icon vickypea
    Free Member

    To add to what Mr Smith said about riding in a group: you’d get a better perspective on the conditions and whether you’re just having a ‘trough’ or if it’s the weather slowing you down. I do some road riding in my club, and I can usually tell if I’m having an off day or everyone’s struggling because it’s cold.

    Premier Icon solarpowered
    Free Member

    sleeping like the dead – really struggling to get up most mornings

    Long shot, but, if you’re really struggling to get up in the morning….. What about something like sleep apnoea? My dad had this diagnosed years ago and quite simply didn’t realise he wasn’t having a good sleep until he got something to help him get a ‘clinically’ good sleep. You may NOT be getting a very good sleep???

    Good luck

    Premier Icon vickypea
    Free Member

    Or maybe you are a bit depressed? Feeling more lethargic and change in sleeping patterns are symptoms.

    Premier Icon JonEdwards
    Free Member

    I do ride on my own the majority of the time; roadieing especially, I have absolutely ZERO desire to do with other people. The whole point is to get away from other people – I like being on my own! Means I can stop and look at the scenery when I want, go where I want and not have to try and make polite conversation. (mountainbiking with the right group on the other hand can be highly beneficial)

    if you can learn to ride 60-70 miles at an even pace

    That’s hardly a challenge, now is it? If I’ve got a 1/2 day free and I fancy a road ride, then I’ll just knock a dsitance like that out. Not done a Peaks century yet, but it’s on the To-do list for this summer – shouldn’t be overly challenging.

    Based on the way I felt this morning, I do wonder if I’m mildly ill, as based on the last week’s activities, there’s no way I should feel this grim. Arms, legs & shoulders all feel like they’ve been beaten with iron bars – I had to do a fair amount of stretching & groaning before I could move comfortably after crawling out of bed.

    Premier Icon freeagent
    Free Member

    JonEdwards – Member

    And colder air is denser… Right?

    Yup, so more oxygen/breath=faster.

    Certainly my car is faster when it’s cold than when it’s hot… (turbo gulps more oxygen in, intercooler works better)

    There is some truth in the car analogy, but it isn’t as simple as that with people.
    Your body will effectivly ‘pre-heat’ the air before it gets to your lungs (as the air passes through your body it will rob heat from its surroundings) which uses energy.
    The fact you are using N% of available energy to condition the air before it gets to your lungs, means N% of energy is not availble to you heart/legs/etc.
    Also your muscles need to be at a certain temp in order to work properly (have you seen track cyclists wearing heated trousers before their ride?) when it is really cold out, you will loose heat, which in turn leads to lesser performance, because your muscles are being asked to work harder when they are using some of the available energy to keep warm.

    ever wondered why pro athletes go to winter training camps somewhere warm? – If your theory above was correct, Wiggo would be better off slogging through the peaks in frost all winter.

    So in short, you will be slower in winter, despite the possible increased oxygen concerntration in the air.

    Premier Icon Trekster
    Full Member

    to do it right, and that means to improve. If you’re actively going backwards, hell, even staying stationary, then you need to find something else, because you’re just wasting time, money & effort. Gains only need to be marginal, but they do need to be persceptible.

    What you seem to be saying to someone like me as I approach retirement age and a cyclist for over 30yrs is that I should give up and take up something like bowling?
    As long as I can grip the bars and turn the pedals I will ride my bike as slowly as I can for as long as I am able.

    I know quite a few guys like you and they are mostly anti-social, miserable sods. Especially the ones around your age who cannot keep up with me 😉

    Sounds like you may have a post viral infection. I had the nasty flu thing at Xmas which floored me for 2mths with the same symptoms you are talking about. You do sound as if you need to relax a bit and get your head sorted and get back to enjoying riding your bike.

    Premier Icon Andy-R
    Full Member

    JonEdwards – Member
    there’s no way I should feel this grim. Arms, legs & shoulders all feel like they’ve been beaten with iron bars – I had to do a fair amount of stretching & groaning before I could move comfortably after crawling out of bed.

    You should wait until you get to sixty, yessir. I feel like that most days in winter, especially all last week when I’d been felling and logging up a load of trees. Do you think I was exactly up and jumping for joy?
    I am an old duffer, mind.
    I think you should lighten up on yourself a bit and do what you enjoy and don’t think that you always have to suffer for your enjoyment. Life doles out enough of that as it is (suffering, I mean).

    Premier Icon MrSmith
    Free Member

    Give up cycling.
    If you are constantly looking for improvements you will be wanting to average 25mph over 60-70 miles when you are 45. That isn’t going to happen and will probably leed to clinical depression/suicidal thoughts/self harm.
    Quit while you are ahead.

    Premier Icon Gary_M
    Free Member

    Based on the way I felt this morning, I do wonder if I’m mildly ill, as based on the last week’s activities, there’s no way I should feel this grim

    I can sympathise with you as I’ve been feeling the same pretty much all the way through winter. For me I’m pretty sure its because my mum passed away at the end of October and I guess grief is making me lose my focus. I also had some horrible virus a couple of weeks ago and I pretty much feel like shit.

    My commute is 20 miles each way and try to ride it at least three times a week, I had a headwind last night and was knackered for the last 10 miles. A guy caught and passed me – that generally doesn’t happen. I let him go but I did catch and pass him again but I was ****. (Edit: I should explain that I didn’t up the pace to chase him down, just kept a steady tempo, and I guess he hammered it to catch and pass me then died a death after that) I do feel age has started to take its toll though, I’m 45 and the old bones are aching. I’m also taking it easy on the bike way to often.

    So to summarise I would put it down to some nasty virus that you’re still recovering from.

    Still I know when the summer comes and I can start to get out for long early morning weekend rides then I’ll feel good again.

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