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Daily Archives: June 23, 2012

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A Big Time Sammich

Today was scheduled as a BIG workout day. I’m getting back into shape for our running club’s Olympic Tri’s and I had a little fire in me about two overheating blowups that I went through last week.

The weather this morning was perfect, not a cloud in the sky and about 68 degrees – and no wind (for once) as I wheeled my bike out onto the front porch. Yes, it stays in the house.

My wife was gathering the girls to head over to aunt Esther’s house to hang out with grandma so Mrs. BDJ could come down and run with us (YES!). Yesterday’s ride was a hard effort so I decided to take it easy on the ride down so I’d have some left for the run and ride home. The first twelve were done at 18.4 mph.

When I walked in the door my hunting buddy Bill was just getting ready to head out. He runs a crazy amount of slow miles, 70 a week at about a 9:30 pace. He was in for the 10 mile loop so I decided to run the 10k and hang with him to catch up on how things were going. He had just been through a crazy health issue that ended up with surprisingly good news. He was experiencing a lot of intense lower back pain so he went in to see his doctor. The initial diagnosis was stage three kidney failure so the doctor scheduled an ultra-sound. The results came back negative. It turned out that his diet was the problem. He was deficient of iron and potassium. The prescription was lots of steak and bananas – imagine that. It turns out his wife had him on a no red meat, turkey and chicken diet and that was the culprit (hint, hint). We did the first three at his pace and then I broke off and sped up mid-way through the fourth. That one went into the books at 8:40, the fifth in 7:54 and the sixth in 7:42 and I finished the last two tenths at a 6:30 pace. I was really happy with the 7:42 pace – I got that ‘I could run forever like this’ feeling and I was really digging it. I thought I’d slowed down a tick.

Afterwards, the guys and I sat down for a beef and bean chili lunch with a healthy serving of Frito’s – gotta have the carbs. ūüôā

I let lunch settle for a bit, suited up and headed down the road for my 18 mile ride home. I was a little tight after the run but I loosened up pretty quickly… I tuned my Endomondo chick out and just hammered the pedals the best I could. Before I knew it I was heading down the home stretch to a shower and a much needed nap. 19.5 mph average, into the wind.

36.2 miles, 2,400 calories burned. One Olympic length Triathlon minus a little dip in the lake…good to go.

Now that’s how we spend a Fun Saturday morning.

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How Much Faster Is A Road Bike Than A Mountain Bike… Part II – It’s Not Just The Tires

I spent some time looking back at some of my most read posts and at the top of the list was, How Much Faster Is A Road Bike Than A Mountain Bike? Initially I got the idea for writing the post as I was comparing results on Endomondo between the two after I put some miles on my 5200. The difference between the two bikes is profound, obviously, but I decided to click on some of the other links that show up on a search of the subject and came across this reply to the question:

“take it from someone who knows… the aero benefits of a crouched riding position @ 15mph for 20mins are miniscule compared to the gains you would get from slick tires on a mountain bike in less rotational inertia and rolling resistance.
This isn’t to say that the road bike isn’t going to be faster. It defintely will, but it won’t be because of the aero benefits of a different riding position (which equally apply on and off road… same air after all).”

Now this is an interesting take – and not without merit, though not exactly based on reality either… And it just so happens that I have data on changing to slicks as well, because I did exactly that for two Olympic Tri’s last year. I trained with standard knobby tires, and then two days before the first event I switched to the street tires (Specialized Nimbus Armadillo) and left them on for a month or so.

My average was 17.3-17.5 mph with the street tires on a hard tail (front suspension only) Trek 3700. I weeded out the slower, recovery ride, days because they skew the picture. The best I ever did on a mountain bike with street tires was 18.7 mph over 10 miles, on paved roads:

Cycling, sport
Start Time
Jul 28, 2011 3:08 PM
Distance
10.20 miles
Duration
32m:42s
Avg Speed
18.7 mph
Max Speed
24.2 mph

I can remember this ride – I wanted to see, specifically, how fast I could push it for 10 miles on my mountain bike. The weather was perfect, low 80’s and sunny, and those are my results. I’m in a little better riding shape today than I was back then, but I was still in Olympic Tri shape – in other words, I was in pretty good stinkin’ shape when I took that ride. If I deduct the two tenths I was at 31:35

To compare today’s results is a little skewed as well – I wouldn’t bother with a 10 mile ride anymore, I’m more about the longer distances now (16 being my easy days, 25 as my normal everyday ride and 50 for my longer days), but let’s take my best 10 mile performances from 25-30 mile rides (I left out my personal best of 26:33 which was due to a nice 15 mph tailwind) and I’m looking at 27:58.

But let’s do away with the bests and look at averages, because that’s what is important. Today, on my 5200, 18.7 mph is a little (a few tenths) better than a recovery ride over 25 miles (I had a 50 mile ride planned for the next day):

Sport
Cycling, sport
Start Time
Jun 15, 2012 1:48 PM
Distance
25.51 miles
Duration
1h:21m:55s
Avg Speed
18.7 mph
Max Speed
25.5 mph
Calories
1400 kcal
Altitude
650 ft / 860 ft
Elevation
381 ft ‚ÜĎ / 236 ft ‚Üď

So let’s look at averages:

My average with slicks was around 17.5 mph (1.5-2 mph faster than with knobbies). The average on my road bike over a distance double the mountain bike is 20 mph. The tires are obviously thinner on my road bike and offer less rolling resistance than the mountain bike with street tires, but aerodynamics has just as much to do with the increase in speed. Anyone who has ridden for any length of time will tell you there’s a big difference between riding with your head up and head down on a road bike, let alone riding upright vs. tucked.

Though the physics may not show much on paper, in reality the difference is huge – and we haven’t even discussed riding into the wind yet. I can hold a 20 mph average easily enough into a 5 mph breeze – there’s no way I’m maintaining 17.5 over the same distance into a breeze… But let’s go to the cycle computer app for the definitive power numbers on that, shall we?

Road bike, hands on hoods, 0% grade, 10 miles, 5 mph headwind, 20 mph: 303 watts

Under the same conditions, with a hybrid which has slightly better tires than the mountain bike with slicks, that same 303 watts produces a speed of 18.2 mph.

That 1.8 mph difference is mostly aerodynamics folks. Road bikes are meant to do one thing well, get your butt down the road fast – and they are exceptional at that task. Flat bar hybrids and mountain bikes with road tires are meant to increase your speed, but the notion that the average rider will keep up with the average roadie on a hybrid is silly – ain’t. no. way.

How Much Faster Is A Road Bike Than A Mountain Bike… Part II – It’s Not Just The Tires

I spent some time looking back at some of my most read posts and at the top of the list was, How Much Faster Is A Road Bike Than A Mountain Bike?  Initially I got the idea for writing the post as I was comparing results on Endomondo between the two after I put some miles on my 5200.  The difference between the two bikes is profound, obviously, but I decided to click on some of the other links that show up on a search of the subject and came across this reply to the question:

“take it from someone who knows… the aero benefits of a crouched riding position @ 15mph¬†for 20mins are miniscule compared to the gains you would get from slick tires on a mountain bike in less rotational inertia and rolling resistance.
This isn’t to say that the road bike isn’t going to be faster. It defintely¬†will, but it won’t be because of the aero benefits of a different riding position (which equally apply on and off road… same air after all).”

Now this is an interesting take – and not without merit, though not exactly based on reality either…¬† And it just so happens that I have data on changing to slicks as well, because I did exactly that for two Olympic Tri’s last year.¬† I trained with standard knobby tires, and then two days before the first event I switched to the street tires (Specialized Nimbus Armadillo) and left them on for a month or so.

My average was 17.3-17.5 mph with the street tires on a hard tail (front suspension only) Trek 3700.  I weeded out the slower, recovery ride, days because they skew the picture.  The best I ever did on a mountain bike with street tires was 18.7 mph over 10 miles, on paved roads:

Cycling, sport
Start Time
Jul 28, 2011 3:08 PM
Distance
10.20 miles
Duration
32m:42s
Avg Speed
18.7 mph
Max Speed
24.2 mph

I can remember this ride – I wanted to see, specifically, how fast I could push it for 10 miles on my mountain bike.¬† The weather was perfect, low 80’s and sunny, and those are my results.¬† I’m in a little better riding shape today than I was back then, but I was still in Olympic Tri shape – in other words, I was in pretty good stinkin’ shape when I took that ride.¬† If I deduct the two tenths I was at 31:35

To compare today’s results is a little skewed as well – I wouldn’t bother with a 10 mile ride anymore, I’m more about the longer distances now (16 being my easy days, 25 as my normal everyday ride and 50 for my longer days), but let’s take my best 10 mile performances from 25-30 mile rides (I left out my personal best of 26:33 which was due to a nice 15 mph tailwind) and I’m looking at 27:58.

But let’s do away with the bests and look at averages, because that’s what is important.¬† Today, on my 5200,¬†18.7 mph is¬†a little (a¬†few tenths) better than a recovery ride over 25 miles (I had a 50 mile ride planned for the next day):

Sport
Cycling, sport
Start Time
Jun 15, 2012 1:48 PM
Distance
25.51 miles
Duration
1h:21m:55s
Avg Speed
18.7 mph
Max Speed
25.5 mph
Calories
1400 kcal
Altitude
650 ft / 860 ft
Elevation
381 ft ‚ÜĎ / 236 ft ‚Üď

So let’s look at averages:

My average with slicks was around 17.5 mph (1.5-2 mph faster than with¬†knobbies).¬†¬†The average on my road bike over¬†a¬†distance double the mountain bike¬†is 20 mph.¬† The tires are obviously thinner on my road bike and offer less rolling resistance than the mountain bike with street tires, but aerodynamics has just as much to do with the increase in speed.¬† Anyone who has ridden for any length of time will tell you there’s a big difference between riding with your head up and head down on a road bike, let alone riding upright vs. tucked.

Though the physics may not show much on paper, in reality the difference is huge – and we haven’t even discussed riding into the wind yet.¬† I can hold a 20 mph average easily enough into a 5 mph¬†breeze – there’s no way I’m maintaining 17.5 over the same distance into a breeze…¬† But let’s go to the cycle computer app for the definitive power numbers on that, shall we?

Road bike, hands on hoods, 0% grade, 10 miles, 5 mph headwind, 20 mph:  303 watts

Under the same conditions, with a hybrid which has slightly better tires than the mountain bike with slicks, that same 303 watts produces a speed of 18.2 mph.

That 1.8 mph difference is mostly aerodynamics folks.¬† Road bikes are meant to do one thing well, get your butt down the road fast – and they are exceptional at that task.¬† Flat bar hybrids and mountain bikes with road tires are meant to increase your speed, but the notion that the average rider will keep up with the average roadie on a hybrid is silly – ain’t. no. way.