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.