The 14 Mile Per Hour Club

So, here I am a couple of weeks into my easy riding phase, where I am concentrating on not pushing the speed when I’m out on rides. I’m doing it because it will allow me to rebuild my base (and easy exercise is a good way to burn fat!) and get ready for more strenuous riding in another month.

I noticed after an easy ride Saturday that I seem to be accomplishing my goal. I rode 25 miles at a whopping 13.8 mph average. Okay, there were some hills in there, and I did have to work a little harder to climb them.

But then I looked at my average speeds since the beginning of the year. On only two rides out of nine have I averaged more than 15 miles per hour.

Okay, that means I’m doing a good job at riding easy. But I’ve also noticed in the past that easy riding can lead to good average speeds. It got me to thinking — have I been losing speed over a longer period of time?

Way back when I started riding — about 2007 — my friend David observed, “You’re pretty even with me — in the 15 mile per hour club.” That seemed like a reasonable average to shoot for at the time, and since then, I’ve often gauged my rides based on whether they achieved that 15 mph average.

So I looked back at my riding stats — I enter my times on a simple spreadsheet — and came up with these numbers:

  • 2008: 15.09
  • 2009: 14.91
  • 2010: 15.06
  • 2011: 15.03
  • 2012: 14.69

Those are the average speeds of all my rides for each year. A very slight falloff in 2009, but for the most part, David is right. I’m a 15 mph rider. Until last year. That dropoff seems to be significant.

I’m trying to figure out what caused last year’s speed to fall. At first, I thought it was because I had increased the number of rides I take with my wife. These tend to be much slower than my usual pace. But a quick comparison of 2012 with 2011 and 2010 shows that i rode about the same number of rides with her each year. It also appears that my longer rides average a slightly higher overall speed.

More hills? Not so much. I do some rides that involve steep hills, but they’re mostly short. They pull down my average speed, but I’m riding about the same amount of hilly rides each year, so it’s not a big contributor to going slow.

Am I getting older and slower? Is it just a natural part of aging? Sure, I’m getting older. But several guys in my club are older than me, and they’re all a lot faster. I know there’s room for improvement on my part.

Well, I’m not going to dwell on it. I just noticed that last year, I migrated from the 15 mph club to the 14 mph club. As I said, in a month I’ll start some speed building exercises and see if they pay off. In the meantime, if anyone wants to ride slow, get in touch. It looks like I’m your guy.

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8 thoughts on “The 14 Mile Per Hour Club

  1. Ok … ok … you have twisted my arm to go and take a quick look at my overall yearly averages (and also because now I am curious as heck):

    2009: 14.32
    2010: 14.81
    2011: 15.14
    2012: 15.21

    I am slowly getting out of the 14 mph club and slowly creeping into the 15 mph one :D

  2. At age 68 years and 11 months, I am pushing really hard to average over 15 MPH on a short 15 miler on a consistent basis. On rides in the 30-35 mile range 14 MPH is my current top-end and I recently rode 68 miles and ended up near 13.
    My averages have been rising as conditioning, technique and equipment improves ( in October I moved to a Catrike 700… faster ). Oh yeah, as weight drops I go faster. The better machine had a large impact and I notice that me losing more pounds seems to be a huge factor.
    In our group, a guy who is 70, 140-150 pounds, is hands-down our fastest rider. Looking at how 5 of us who rode The Real Ale 65-miler did, the factor which correlated best to our relative performances was weight. Being in good shape and weighing 210 pounds is MUCH slower than being in good shape and weighing 150 pounds. Age was not a biggie, though we ranged from 65 to 75.

  3. HEY!!! Slow Down!!!, geeze complaining about 14-15 mph., I WISH I was that fast! My yearly avg. according to Bike Journal is just under 11 mph. so your “screaming” fast next to me my friend. Now I’ve noticed I’m 11-12 by myself but 8.5 to 9 when I ride with the wife so ya, she’s bringing me down, LOL! Oh well, it’s way more FUN to ride, SLOW with her than faster by myself! :)

  4. I second the sentiment, my averages would be oh-so-much-faster if they weren’t weighed down by all those wifey-training rides *DUCKS in case the wife reads this* :D

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