Fast in the flats?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Fast in the flats?

    As you guys and gals already know, the worst thing about singlespeeding is not the hills, its the flats. Especially on race day. Looking for advice on how to go fast in the flats. Seems like the fastest approach is short bursts of pedaling at maximum cadence followed by coasting. Any other approaches?

  2. #2
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    When I'm on the edge of spun out I like to really focus on smooth pedaling, throughout the whole revolution, really helps improve speed... or I revert to my bmx days of standing burst/coast as you mentioned. Its just a matter of mood, I'd etc they are about the same in the end

  3. #3
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
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    tuck.

    like a roadie.

    and wear spandex with race cut jersey.


    it helps...fer reals....
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  4. #4
    AZ
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    Make sure you are not putting yourself at a disadvantage with your tire selection.

  5. #5
    CB2
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    Draft and wait for the hills.

  6. #6
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    Train on a fixed gear. That'll smooth your pedal stroke out like a boss.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB2 View Post
    Draft and wait for the hills.
    This and pushing a bigger gear is a good band-aid fix if you find yourself spinning out all the time.

    If you're spinning out, the reality is that your leg speed simply isn't good enough. The only way to fix that is to specifically train your legs to be functional and smooth at a high cadence.

    Of course, you need to strike that balance which will allow you to be strong in both high cadence situations as well as low cadence situations. The SS forces you to do both, which is one of the reasons that they are such great training tools.

  8. #8
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    Being much more a masher than a spinner, and have never been able to sustain a high cadence. Have found that pushing a bigger gear keeps me moving in the flats, and to build faster flow on the rollers. Know that my speed on many climbs suffer, as I more quickly slow to grind, mash, or hold on for dear life before dismounting.

    Leave the lycra shorts to the others, I'd rather grab a wheel than to enter the junk show.

  9. #9
    The need for singlespeed
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    Or gear tall and hike the hills. I've pushed my bike past granny gear wind suckers.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by zaskaranddriver View Post
    Or gear tall and hike the hills. I've pushed my bike past granny gear wind suckers.


    If you're in a race situation, the first person across the finish line wins. As long as you're staying on course, it doesn't matter how you got there. regardless of gear selecting, there are times when it is significantly faster on foot than it is on the bike.

  11. #11
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    I use fast rolling and big diameter tire Maxxis Ardent 2.40, still can't catch on the flat but at least I can catch up on uphill where I can depend on the momentum.

    It's good to make your opponent getting emotional and dry their energy, seeing those big fat tires in front of them might drop their fighting spirit or even provoke them to push harder.

  12. #12
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    I do the short burst, then coast method, especially if I want to conserve my energy so I don't die towards the end of the race. The thing that helped me on my last race was my bike computer. I noticed that with my gearing, it was a waste of energy to pedal if I was going more than 15mph, but that it was worth pedaling below 15mph. That helped me manage my energy.

    Managing my energy was important in this race because it was 50% longer than any ride I had done so far that year. It worked out well - I was totally dead at the end of the race, but the time for the last lap was pretty close to my time on the first lap.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by miatagal96 View Post
    I do the short burst, then coast method, especially if I want to conserve my energy so I don't die towards the end of the race. The thing that helped me on my last race was my bike computer. I noticed that with my gearing, it was a waste of energy to pedal if I was going more than 15mph, but that it was worth pedaling below 15mph. That helped me manage my energy.

    Managing my energy was important in this race because it was 50% longer than any ride I had done so far that year. It worked out well - I was totally dead at the end of the race, but the time for the last lap was pretty close to my time on the first lap.
    That's an interesting point. No matter how well you're prepared, there will be a point where pedaling really wont get you anywhere assuming that you're running a "normal" ss gear. I tend to soft pedal when I'm coasting on an extended downhill, just to keep my legs moving.

  14. #14
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    Try them all

    I use 4 different cogs. 32 x 19t - 22t on a 26 er. Currently sold on the 21t for the mostly steep climbing on my local haunt. Try a few different cogs on timed runs and compare times ? I ride both weekend days so by Sunday I find the easier gearing helps me hang in better.
    Suicide by single speed. Work in progress.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ancient rascal View Post
    I use 4 different cogs. 32 x 19t - 22t on a 26 er. Currently sold on the 21t for the mostly steep climbing on my local haunt. Try a few different cogs on timed runs and compare times ? I ride both weekend days so by Sunday I find the easier gearing helps me hang in better.
    Where did you get the 21t? I need one!

  16. #16
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    Don't use the brakes - EVER in flats. With the right tire pressure, and terrain of course, you can just stay off the brakes more than the other guys and you'll gain a lot of ground. At 32x18 I find I can run around 15mph pretty steadily - and if you can hold 12mph through the turns you'll make up some good ground on a lot of guys. I run rigid as well and find I get more feedback on my front tire grip around the tight corners, but this is Boise where we have dirt sidewalks and big hills - very little rough terrain.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    Where did you get the 21t? I need one!
    Best price is bike bling but I got the 21t surley from Trailhead. Bought the 22t from them and they had a 21t at the time. Came back for the 21t ... 5 months later... it was still there.
    Dion ... Maybe ... We finally meet this year.
    Suicide by single speed. Work in progress.

  18. #18
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    I also use the BMX style of sprint and coast - depending on where I am. I haven't raced SS (yet) but I feel it would depend on the course.

    I like the idea of using a taller gear and hiking some hills - it's no different than what we do in cyclocross. And, if you master the dismount/remount a la cyclocross style, you can be pretty quick - probably quicker than many spinning up in granny.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    Where did you get the 21t? I need one!
    White Bros. ENO. Online somewhere.

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