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Thread: How so fast?

  1. #1
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    How so fast?

    How do these people get so fast? In todays' race, I got passed again and again. Frankly, it was embarrassing. I just keep wondering - is there something about my bike that makes me slow? Or do these people ride like two hours a day? With a wife and two kids and one more on the way, I don't have much time to train - but I would like to be at least somewhat more competitive. I guess I could start to ride my bike to work, but then all of the Judges I work with would think I was crazy. But, I still love racing - I love having people watch me ride and having photos taken of me riding - even if I do finish back of the pack. What to do to get faster?

  2. #2
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    How to get faster?

    Ride more.
    Ride harder.
    Ride more. Did I already mention that?

    I went on a group ride with my team a few weeks back. One of them, as he put it, is fat. He knows he's quite a bit heavier than anyone else on the team, but he has no problems with it. I was fully expecting to at least pass him on the climbs, even if I couldn't hold the wheels of the guys who race for Team ClifBar and stuff. But I couldn't hold his wheel, not on the climbs, not on the flats, and not even on the descents. I put it this way: this guy (the fat one) is at least five to six years older than me. That's probably five or six more years riding than I've been riding, too. So he has a lot more base riding than me, and he's obviously got much better technical skills than me.
    I've made some bad decisions like taking the gears off my bike. So here's the warning: Do not as I say, nor as I do.

  3. #3
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    Ride everyday at least 1 hr and then mix in a couple of 3 hr rides a week. This after a year or 2 will vastly improve your speed.

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    15 hrs. a week done right for 3 or 4 years will make you fast if genetics are on your side.

  5. #5
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    Losing 10 lbs. anywhere (bike, bag, or body fat) will make you noticeably faster. After a certain age, nothing will.

  6. #6
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    The cyclist training bible (or mountain bikers training bible if you must) and training and racing with a power meter.

    Then you can come back and ask your questions. But you won't have any.

    The simplest answer is "ride your bike a lot" (E.M.) but its not a real answer.

    The time crunched cyclist has many people claiming it helped them and might be your best bet.

    Bottom line, lack of time to train is a big limiter and many a parent has had to come to terms with being a certain kind of fast. Reality Check, there will always bs someone faster. The whole point of the racing hierarchy is to raise competitors to the level at which they suck.

    There is no secret. Go read a book so that you can filter through the heaps of ******** information and people protecting their egos you will be wading through on the Internet.

    The fat fast friend of some guy doesn't exist. You can't be fat and fast. Get thin.

    Lose weight. Get used to suffering. Ride your bike instead of doing all the other things you enjoy.

    Or quit complaining about being slow and fold into society like the rest of the quitters out there.
    Stand For Something.

  7. #7
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    The guys who are passing you don't care what their coworkers think about them riding to work.

    If you want to get faster, you shouldn't either.
    Race Reports, PreRide Reports, and General Rambling:

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gazelem View Post
    I guess I could start to ride my bike to work, but then all of the Judges I work with would think I was crazy.

    What to do to get faster?
    Well you have one good idea there. All my colleagues think I am insane for riding to work nearly every day no matter the weather, even though it is only a half hour ride along a nice bike path. They literally ask me every other day if I rode my bike to work again (!?) when I walk in with my helmet in my hands, even after 8 months they haven't wrapped their heads around the idea.

    Will riding to work make me a great racer though? No way, but it does get me five to six hours of ride time per week, which I can then build proper training time off of.

    You gave us no info about your current training (or lack of). Are you just showing up at races and expecting to do well with just because you know how to ride a bike? This is like signing up for a half marathon trail run because you go hiking for a few hours every weekend, it just doesn't work.

    As for MisterC's "hardcore" advice...no you don't need a power meter to be a decent amateur racer, plenty of people have done without it.
    "ride your bike instead of doing all the other things you enjoy." I thought we did this BECAUSE we enjoyed it. If riding and racing become just another chore, you're either doing it wrong as an recreational rider or you've gotten so damn good at it that it actually is your job and you make money doing it (not many people here).

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    Oh, and it is not about the bike. A superfast cyclist is superfast on anything. 26, 29, gears, SS, etc. It does not matter.
    Thanks to www.weavercycleworks.com for my awesome bike frames!

  10. #10
    Clyde on a mission!
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    Get mad at something.

    I was doing my regular 15 mile round trip in roughly 1 hour 40'ish, some days a couple of minutes faster, some days a couple of minutes slower. Then one day I was treated unfairly at work and got home pretty steamed, got on the bike, yelled "to hell with them" and rode balls out (not literary ). Every time I started thinking about the idiots at work I rode harder and before long I could think of nothing but my heartbeat and breathing. I didn't care if I didn't conserve enough energy to make it the whole way round, used heavier gears, stood up more, gritted my teeth and kept pumping. I finished the trip in 1 hour 23 minutes, then had a laugh at that crazy way of riding.

    The upside of going all out in a mad rage was that I discovered that I was able to ride a lot harder without hitting the wall too soon, so I started riding that way even on days where I wasn't angry. A couple of months later and I'm doing my round trip in 1 hour 12-15 minutes and still improving.

    Sometimes a good hissy fit is needed to set the bar a bit higher..

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gazelem View Post
    How do these people get so fast? do these people ride like two hours a day?
    Yes. Depending on what you consider fast, 14 hours a week isn't out of the ordinary.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazelem View Post
    I could start to ride my bike to work, but then all of the Judges I work with would think I was crazy.
    I doubt it. Most of the lawyers I know ride, and they work for firms and large corporations (I know a judge who rides too). Because professionals can afford a sport like cycling I doubt you'll be ostracized. Commuting is a great way to get a base if you have family commitments. When you subtract out how long you would be driving, you really aren't taking much more time away from your family by commuting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gazelem View Post
    How do these people get so fast? In todays' race, I got passed again and again. Frankly, it was embarrassing. I just keep wondering - is there something about my bike that makes me slow? Or do these people ride like two hours a day? With a wife and two kids and one more on the way, I don't have much time to train - but I would like to be at least somewhat more competitive. I guess I could start to ride my bike to work, but then all of the Judges I work with would think I was crazy. But, I still love racing - I love having people watch me ride and having photos taken of me riding - even if I do finish back of the pack. What to do to get faster?
    I'm an attorney and work for the highest criminal court in my state, Texas, and ride to work maybe twice a week. The judges don't think I'm crazy; they probably don't even know I commute. Now if the stench of BO was obvious everytime I talked to them in chambers that would be a serious problem. You might as well get used to being embarrassed, as you call it. It happens. I race Cat 1 and have had my fair share of terrible races, especially lately. You could call them embarrassing.

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    I was watching this goofy video where 2 regular cyclists win a chance to ride a mountain stage of the TdF and get support from Discovery channel team back in 2009. They are talking to Johan Bruynel about their traiing. One guy did about 60-100 miles a week, he was a skinny endurance type who did some local racing. The other guy was overweight and did about 30 miles a week commuting to work.

    Bruynel was like, skinny guy, you don't ride enough to be fast, but you'll make it up the mountian.

    Then he was like, overweight guy, you don't ride enough and you're fat, you're not going to make it up.

    He was right, the big guy didn't make it.

    I'm overweight and don't ride enough, but in the last couple years I've ridden alot more and lost 45 pounds and I'm alot faster, still way to slow to race though.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gazelem View Post
    Or do these people ride like two hours a day?
    If they are training 2 hours a day, How much more training is it than you are currently doing ?
    I'm sure most of them have wives, kids, and jobs just like you. If you only did half that, is it still more than you're doing now ?

    Bottom line is you need to ride more. The more you ride the better you'll do. Pick up the Training Bible. If you don't have a lot of time you'll at least learn how to make the most of it.

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    Gazelem, stick with it, train hard when you can, and set yourelf do-able goals.
    I always measure the winners time against mine as a percentage, every year i try and get the difference smaller, and i do.
    Mountain bike racing is an indivual sport. Enjoy it and the rewards will come!
    You dont have to train 15 hrs a week to be happy with your results.

  16. #16
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    people are right about riding a lot. Having family etc makes it hard though.

    Trying to ride every day is not practical with other responsibilities. I find 2 days a week will maintain conditioning. 3 days I'll get stronger, somewhat. 4 is better. Try to have a long day each week. I have a standing monday night ride. I go after work and come home late. I get 2-3 hours of ride time and that does a lot to build/keep endurance. On your shorter rides, push your intensity. Go hard, recover, go hard, recover. (intervals)

    Time Crunched cyclist is probably a good option for your limited time. But, a lot of structure is challenging when beginning.
    Oh sh!+ just force upgraded to cat1. Now what?
    Best thing about an ultra marathon? I just get to ride my bike for X hours!

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    There's 2 distinct populations of mountain bikers: People who just sorta ride around and those who race.

    I have friends who just sorta noodle around a few times a week and compared to them Im a world champion when it comes to speed and endurance. I can ride circles around these people!

    But when it comes to racing Im lucky not finishing last (usually I dont finish last but Im certainly not in the top half of the field). The racing population are on a whole other level of fast......

    Also, you have to consider that most people who race have been doing it for a few years. Most started off like you and I wondering what the h@ll was wrong with themselves and how everyone else was so fast.

    Another thing to remember is what was said above, "There's always gonna be somebody faster than you."

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by matty.g View Post
    I was watching this goofy video where 2 regular cyclists win a chance to ride a mountain stage of the TdF and get support from Discovery channel team back in 2009. They are talking to Johan Bruynel about their traiing. One guy did about 60-100 miles a week, he was a skinny endurance type who did some local racing. The other guy was overweight and did about 30 miles a week commuting to work.

    Bruynel was like, skinny guy, you don't ride enough to be fast, but you'll make it up the mountian.

    Then he was like, overweight guy, you don't ride enough and you're fat, you're not going to make it up.

    He was right, the big guy didn't make it.
    .
    I remember seeing that show......The super light custom team bike didnt help the dough boy much if at all....

  19. #19
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    I have a family, a 4 month old daughter, and I still get in as much riding as I want. Trick is ride first thing in the morning before work on the trainer, and then smother the wife and daughter and give them your full attention in the evening. Been getting in 9 hours a week and could get more if I wanted but I've only been riding a year. Did 300 hours last year, and per the MTB training bible I'm shooting for 350-400 this year. So far on track for a little over that actually.

  20. #20
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    Ride with people who are faster than you.....seriously!!

  21. #21
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    My take on it... and I'm no mtb racer, just my experience from my military days, running days, swimming days, and the one race I have done so far on a mtb ...

    You have to understand your body.
    You need to know what is hard work that will help you increase your fitness... and what is hard work that will injure you - your joints, connective tissue...

    You need to understand that some days you will be loving pushing yourself really hard, somedays you think you've seriously lost significantly in your fitness.
    Those days when you fall short of your plans... maybe you'll figure out why, maybe you won't.
    Don't let them take you down psychologically though.
    Some days you just need to bag it all and head back home, or do something else for training that day instead of riding. For those disappointing days... I take what I can get, then concentrate on tomorrow being a better training day.

    You can get real involved in your diet, or just eat what is considered basically healthy.
    Understand what certain foods (and non-food junk stuff) do to you and your ability to work hard and increase your fitness.
    Find what works best for you for morning meals, afternoon meals/snacks, and dinners.

    Figure out how your sleep patterns affect the next day and your ride.
    Definitely understand how stress from everyday life can affect your mental and physical being.
    Some people do find they ride really well sometimes if they are just blowing off steam from a bad day at work... but that isn't a real good workout pattern for me to do on a consistent basis. Anger is a negative for the most part. If I can't focus on my ride, I definitely don't gain as much, if at all.

    Learn about your bike and what makes it run smooth. Understand gearing and the terrain you ride.

    Speaking of the places you ride...
    Find the easy, moderate, and difficult trails you can access for riding.
    Use them all... judiciously.
    Familiarize yourself with one particularly difficult or technical (but not necessarily difficult for you) trail that you can ride over-and-over until you know so much about the trail, that you can start concentrating on your skills.
    You can pump out all the miles you want just making it to the end of the trail, but if you are not sensing what makes the ride smooth, what gets you through those turns quickly and smoothly, what keeps you upright through the rocks and roots, and what gets you uphill without spending so much energy you're sapped when you do reach the top... then you probably won't advance as much as you could.

    It's not just about being fast because you ride a lot... it's about understanding as many of the variables affecting you riding performance as possible.

    Try different training tactics, toys (monitors, music...), a 'lucky' item, until you find ones that you really get something from.

    Every once-in-a-while, take some time off. Take a week off.
    I mean from working hard on your riding.
    Let your body recover, your mind relax, and let your life experience something new for a change.

    Far as I know... the only people who train full-time are the people who are truly dedicated to the sport enough that they do compete at higher levels, or just really want to be in that kind of shape.
    Professional athletes are a mixed bag... some are sponsored and have resources available to them such as mechanics and trainers, along with higher caliber medical professionals to deal with minor and major injuries.
    Some still work jobs outside of racing (sometimes outside the sport they compete in).
    If you are racing for your own pleasure... don't beat yourself up over not being in the elite class of racers. Definitely enjoy what you are doing.

    If you are letting your fantasies of what other people may think of you if you ride to work, bother you... you should really take a look at that obstacle.
    It is an obstacle... one that you are placing directly in your own path.
    I've done it, and still do it from time-to-time until I recognize it and deal with it.

    If riding better is what you really want... you can turn it into a positive event in your life that you can be proud of, relish in, and not give a rat's asp about when other lesser minds try to shoot you down about it... even if in jest.

    These are my own beliefs... not necessarily anyone else's... and not what I believe everyone should follow, unless they've fallen to my madman doctrine! bwahahahaha

  22. #22
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    Sounds like you care more about what people think than anything. Whether it be your judges or the people taking the photos.

    If you are racing threes expect to be lapped by the elites. Its just inevitable.

    You need more saddle time. Kids are gonna make it hard but you gotta ask yourself what its worth to you.

    The truth is that you have given us no info about yourself to work off of so we cant really give you any sound advice at this point.
    Raised in a Chicken-Coop by Chickens

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheepo5669 View Post
    Sounds like you care more about what people think than anything. Whether it be your judges or the people taking the photos.

    If you are racing threes expect to be lapped by the elites. Its just inevitable.

    You need more saddle time. Kids are gonna make it hard but you gotta ask yourself what its worth to you.

    The truth is that you have given us no info about yourself to work off of so we cant really give you any sound advice at this point.
    Exactly. And furthermore, this is why I think these training threads are for trolling. Yes, my advice might be "hardcore" but I don't think it's wrong.

    So many threads where someone "wants to be fast". Well what the hell is fast? Where I'm at, "fast" is a commitment. It's giving up the late night drinking and sitting around doing nothing watching tv as well as the gardening and racquetball and writing down an aggressive plan and doing it.

    "need" is a ridiculous word in cycling. But bike shops are full of things you don't "need" but sure do help. Power meters get a lot of disdain for whatever reason but then so should training books and anything else that purports itself training aide.

    But whatever, forget power meters. I like giving advice and do try to help but I realize it's through my own lens of what it takes to be fast. Or to put it another way, what it would take to be faster than me.

    The first question any coach would ask is, what do you want to get out of riding your bike? So that's THE question. Without an answer, what the hell are we talking about except what we all do to get the kind of fast that we either are or were.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manicmtbr View Post
    Oh, and it is not about the bike. A superfast cyclist is superfast on anything. 26, 29, gears, SS, etc. It does not matter.
    I couldn't agree more, to many people are thinking "The reason I'm slow is due to my bike" and then spend tons of $$$ and they are still slow. No 29er, full suspension, tire,... is going to make up for training!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gazelem View Post
    How do these people get so fast? In todays' race, I got passed again and again. Frankly, it was embarrassing. I just keep wondering - is there something about my bike that makes me slow? :
    Yeah, it is probably all about the bike.
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