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The Secret to Cycling Fast – 20 mph Plus – Revealed… And It’s Not What You Think!

April 2014
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I was working on another post when, just by happenstance, I stumbled onto something big.  The real reason I can ride as fast as I do.  Now, please don’t misconstrue that statement – I am faster than the average cyclist, but I’m not all that fast.

Beyond the pedaling tips, pedal in a circle, scrape mud, pull on the backstroke, high cadence… Beyond the nutrition (which is absolutely critical to cycling with any speed btw)… Beyond the training tips, Attack the hills, intervals… Beyond the bike and the gear. Beyond the daily rides and the workout schedule…

All of that stuff is great, most of it a necessity, but there’s one thing missing in all of that stuff one thing left out of the equation. Want to. All of this time, it was right under my nose:

I can ride faster than most because my enjoyment of cycling is the sheer childish pleasure of going fast.

The enjoyment of speed is a driving force greater than any mental whip I can use to drive my legs just a little harder. The enjoyment of the sport explains all of the toys, the expensive bikes, the wheels, the weight weenie measures, the matching kit and the incessant drive to push that bike just a little faster.

I love going fast because it makes me feel like a kid.

We’ve all heard the axiom that living life through a child’s eyes is a goal to seek out.  That this joy, this zest for life, should be cultivated – nurtured even.  Being fast, taking corners in the drops, at top speed, climbing hills and mountains at speeds that would make others puke, riding with a dozen friends who feel the exact same way, with form, grace and precision, in an aerodynamic double pace-line to push ourselves as a group to greater heights that we could accomplish by ourselves, makes me see the world as a kid does – with glossy-eyed delight. Every. Single. Day.

This also explains why I will eventually plateau as well.  Eventually, once the training reaches an intensity that is no longer fun, where it breaks my delicate life balance and intrudes on the extension of my youth, my enthusiasm – the second it becomes work, I will push no further.  That wide-eyed love of cycling is the most important thing I can preserve for one simple reason:  It makes me happy.

This is why I can ride fast. This is my secret.


15 Comments

  1. […] The Secret to Cycling Fast – 20 mph Plus – Revealed… And It’s Not What You&n… […]

  2. bpangie says:

    Hahaha. Yes! That’s a good chunk of why I run. Nothing beats whipping around a track. Sure I could go faster on a bike, but my backside doesn’t hurt as much just running. Probably need a better bike seat…

  3. Kecia says:

    This is exactly why I do triathlon, Jim…I love getting to play and feel like a kid again 🙂

  4. PedalWORKS says:

    Good post. I think it is the reason we love cycling – it takes us to a simpler time, a time when we lived to play, a time before responsibilities, kids and mortgages.

  5. Tony says:

    Fascinating post. I agree with everything you said about cycling fast, but I don’t. I guess it depends on how you define fast. I can tell you that when younger I used to ride very fast (for me) and had some horrendous (broken bones) falls. I don’t do that any more. I ride fast enough to elevate my heart rate, probably around 11-12 mph. Nonetheless, I do it every day and love it as much as you love your rides. Freaky fast to me only means an increased chance of a bad injury. Maybe it’s the old man in me talking. All I can say is every time I get on the bike … I feel like I am flying. Have a great day!

    • bgddyjim says:

      There’s no doubt that the way I ride isn’t for everybody. In fact, my prediction in that post, where I’d plateau at a point that would take too much work to bust through without losing the fun, so I’ve accepted where I’m at… This doesn’t change the fact that riding as you do isn’t for me – at the same time, I’d never suggest that everyone should ride the way I do to garner the most fun out of their bike… I’d never be so foolish. I’m a firm advocate of cycling as exercise, fun and transportation however each individual is suited. The point of my post was to help those who struggle to get to a level of “fast” understand that the only thing standing between a cyclist and a sub-five hour century is air and want to. I get between 60,000 and 90,000 hits a year on posts that pertain to cycling fast on a bike, so I tend to cater to that crowd when I can. Also, in context, that was only my second season of serious cycling so I was a bit geeky about it.

      • Tony says:

        Cool. No question about it: everyone has their own definition of pleasure. As long as it doesn’t injure them or anyone else, go for it.

      • bgddyjim says:

        Ah, not so fast… I ride with an experienced group, we all know the dangers in cycling at speed and are quite okay with that risk.

        I think what you meant was intended in the broader sense, but I just wanted to clarify. 😉

  6. Tony says:

    Funny that you said “not so fast …”

  7. I know this is an older post but it needs to be reposted. Wanting to challenge yourself to get better is vital to change. You have to want it bad to go and get it. Me likie.

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