Competitive bicycle riding. Trying to go faster.

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45
votes
24answers
33k views

Why aren't Tour de France riders going any faster?

I was having a look at the average speeds of the winner of the Tour de France over the years on this page. To help things along I put the data into LibreOffice and produced a plot: I put on the ...
27
votes
7answers
4k views

Why is it easier to follow a cyclist up-hill

Watching the Tour de France on TV I notice that the riders like to ride close behind other riders when going up a steep hill. I understand that rider can benefit from a slipstream on the flat ...
22
votes
4answers
14k views

How are the categories for climbs decided?

In cycle racing, there are five grades or categories for climbs - Category 4, 3, 2, 1 & Hors (Above Category or HC). How do they decide what is category 1 and what makes it so hard it is a HC?
16
votes
5answers
3k views

What type of brakes are best for mountain bike racing?

Disc brakes are more expensive than v-brakes, but in a heavy rain they will break down. V-Brakes are becoming harder to find, but they're much easier to maintain and don't break down as easily. What ...
15
votes
2answers
4k views

Why don't Tour de France riders always ride their TT bikes?

When the tour riders are doing time trials, they ride their super aerodynamic, aggressively positioned bikes for maximum efficiency. However, on normal stages, there are many cyclists who could also ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

Why do racing cyclists wobble when furiously pedalling?

In all pro-cycling races, they start wobbling towards the finish line instead of biking steadily (e.g., in this video: http://youtu.be/wJE69beIIoI). Why do they do that? Note: I have no experience ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

Why do track cyclers start slow?

I was watching the Olympics today and happened to catch track cycling (sprint). I understand that they have fixed gear bikes which is a reason they start slow, however, I did not understand why they ...
15
votes
1answer
3k views

Why can't Yellow Jersey change hands on last day of Tour De France?

I've often read / seen on TV that the race is won by the end of the penultimate day. For example, this article in the Guardian describes this year's (2011) eventual winner as the champion elect in an ...
12
votes
6answers
185 views

Coping with crash fear?

This will be my first season racing collegiate this spring and I recently crashed on a group ride going about 22 mph around a corner and slammed my face into the ground. Crash was pretty bad and had ...
11
votes
3answers
13k views

Do Pros use compact cranksets?

Do pro riders use compact cranksets for hilly races? I'm trying to determine if switching to a compact double will mean I don't have the top end speed to be competitive in higher levels of racing (I'm ...
11
votes
1answer
817 views

What is guttering the peloton

Rider_X refers to "guttering the Peleton" in his answer to this question. What is "Guttering the peloton"?
11
votes
2answers
790 views

What is a kermesse race?

I heard about a local club holding a kermesse race, and I was wondering what exactly they were?
11
votes
2answers
826 views

Why is wearing a skin suit in the Tour de France risky?

I was watching Stage 1 of the tour and the commentators said that it was 'risky' for Cav to wear a skin suit. As far as I'm aware, the benefits of a skinsuit are that it's lighter and more aero. ...
10
votes
13answers
13k views

What is considered the maximum safe downhill speed on a road bike?

I've heard between 30-40mph, but I am pretty sure I have hit 45 and felt safe and in solid control of my bike. If you look down and see you are above XXmph, you decide it is time to put on the ...
10
votes
5answers
3k views

Looking for a first race worthy road bike - What should I look for?

I am a runner and have been getting into biking just to add some additional flavor to my workout schedule and racing. I am wondering what I should look for when purchasing a new road bike. Is the ...
10
votes
4answers
849 views

Why are wheels so important for racing?

I hear/read everywhere that if you can spend some extra money on the bike, buy better wheels. can someone explain for me why? Is it because they are rotating or are there other comfort factors? ...
8
votes
6answers
910 views

What is the most efficient way to ride up or down hills, and into or away from wind?

I'm trying to work out how hard I should push myself when riding up or down a hill. Similarly, how hard should I push myself when riding into, or away from, or perpendicular to wind? My aim is to ...
8
votes
5answers
12k views

What kind of bicycles do they ride in the Tour de France?

I've been looking at a lot of the coverage of the Tour de France. All of the attention is on the cyclists, and no attention whatsoever on the cycles. Even in photographs or videos, they are so far ...
8
votes
3answers
366 views

Does the term “domestique” have negative connotations?

As far as I understand, the cycling term "domestique" (referring to a supporting member of a professional cycling team) comes from the French word for "servant". According to Wikipedia, it was first ...
8
votes
2answers
460 views

What are the “monument” races?

I heard recently that Simon Gerrans of the new Green Edge cycling team had won one of the monuments. What are these races?
8
votes
2answers
558 views

Change-over rules for women's team sprint

I have just been watching the women's team sprint finals, and sawsaw China lose the final race due to a rule infringement. Earlier the Great British team were disqualified for the same reason. There ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

Why are the rear wheels of Time Trial Bikes disc shaped rather than having spokes?

Won't having disk shaped wheels cause more wind resistance with crosswinds? What are the benefits of having these sort of wheels?
8
votes
1answer
127 views

How are the racing categories in the US decided?

I have heard mention before of racing cyclists in the US being, say, a Category 2 racer. What are these categories and how are they decided?
7
votes
5answers
671 views

Why are there no team breakaways in road racing?

I've watched the Tour de France for the last few years, and I'm beginning to think I understand the basics of the tactics and strategy. But one question has just struck me: Why don't team breakaways ...
7
votes
2answers
200 views

Getting started in racing

What should I know before I start entering races? I've been cycling for one year now after an injury ended my running career so I'm still pretty much a beginner. I'd like to try my hand at racing but ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Needed training time or speed for each category of racer

What type of training time or average speeds are needed to qualify for each category of racer? I realize that it can varry based on a hilly or flat route so lets assume a time trial of 40km that's ...
7
votes
2answers
618 views

How to achieve a tighter turning radius?

I'm having trouble making the rather tight turns on one of the tracks I ride on. I am already leaning inward while I'm turning, but very often either I still can't turn sharply enough, or I lean too ...
7
votes
2answers
436 views

I'm a CAT 4 racer, will I be suspended from racing by UCI / USAC if I participate in non-sanctioned races?

I'm not a pro, just a CAT 4 racer with a USA Cycling License. Can I be suspended and fined by UCI / USAC if I participate in non-sanctioned races? I've heard they are cracking down on licensed pros ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Why choose a traditional frame over an aerodynamically streamlined frame?

I'm not talking specifically about triathlon frames, just frames which have aerodynamically shaped tubes. As I understand it, both types of frame are legal for road-racing under UCI rules. So, why ...
7
votes
5answers
1k views

What are the 'easiest' ways to determine functional threshold power?

I recently picked up a powertap and have done a fair bit of riding around and a few races now with it on, so I've started to get familiar with some of the numbers. I would like to figure out what my ...
7
votes
2answers
367 views

Which mountain bike pedal is most suitable for racing?

Which kind of mountain bike pedal is most suitable for racing? It needs to be pretty light, but also durable to be able to resist a tough race.
6
votes
3answers
935 views

What skills must cyclists master to succeed at racing?

In addition to power, stamina, endurance, what skills must you master to succeed in professional cycling?
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Does the USADA have the authority to strip Lance Armstrong of his Tour de France titles?

Lance Armstrong has announced that he will no longer fight charges brought against him by the US anti-doping agency. The USADA says it will ban him for life and strip him of his 7 Tour de France ...
6
votes
2answers
193 views

How does a mountain racing team work together?

For a road race, I can imagine riding in a pelton has an advantage against air drag. However, for MTB this does not make sense. XC races are slower than road races, and in a DH race having someone ...
6
votes
2answers
220 views

Tips for getting sponsored as an individual racer?

I'm currently racing a state XC MTB series and will be moving up to Cat. 2 next year. As part of my goals, I'd like to get some sponsorship for the 2014 season. I have a few questions about this ...
6
votes
2answers
146 views

In what sense are UCI Pro teams 'national' teams?

This page on wikipedia lists the UCI Pro teams and has a column listing their Country. It is sourced from this page on the UCI official site. What significance does this hold? Clearly each team ...
6
votes
1answer
306 views

In road racing, what are “rolling attacks”?

Rider_X referred to rolling attacks in an answer to this question. What are they?
6
votes
1answer
126 views

Time Gaps and Race Strategy

In a race this weekend I found myself in a breakaway with another rider. We were getting updates on the size of the gap we had opened from the race official who was on a motorcycle. This was ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Which country has the cheapest top-end mountain bikes?

I'm living in Brazil where top-end mountain bikes are very expensive, due to high import tariffs. I'd like to know which country has the cheapest top-end mountain bikes? top-end would mean a bike ...
6
votes
1answer
305 views

The Scope Of The Lance Armstrong Doping Scandal

I know that Lance Armstrong has decided not to fight the allegations of his doping; while technically not an admission of guilt - he is being sanctioned/punished for doping. I've also read that ...
5
votes
6answers
1k views

What should I look for in a cycling undershirt for warm weather?

Road season is about to start here and I think that it is time I stopped using my cotton singlets as an undershirt and start using something more specific for cycling (and racing in particular). What ...
5
votes
2answers
343 views

Does group riding negate the aero benefit of deep rim wheels?

I've been weighing up some options over wheels and in doing my research I've noticed that rim depth may be a bigger factor than I had previously considered. On the one hand, shallow rims are typically ...
5
votes
5answers
6k views

What are the side effects of blood doping?

It has been in the news that endurance athletes such as cyclists sometimes increase their red blood cell count by blood doping. I don't understand how you can just pump more blood into yourself, there ...
5
votes
2answers
114 views

Source for statistics from pro cycle races

I've been searching all over the web for statistics from bike races, starting with the Tour de France because it is the largest. Stats I have been able to find include each stage's winner with their ...
5
votes
3answers
135 views

Learning more about racing

I don't race and never will race. However, I am very interested in learning more about it. I read a number of cycling magazines, and I read about so many different racing terms, strategy etc. but they ...
5
votes
2answers
115 views

Teams in the Age of Specificity

Specificity, periodization, power meters - training for competitive cycling has changed a lot over the last few years. I am wondering about the effects of the movement towards training alone on ...
5
votes
3answers
130 views

How does one become an official for bicycle races?

What's the process? Are there classes? Fees? Do they get paid, or is it voluntary? Edit based on comments: I was hoping to get an overview of the process that wasn't based on any given country ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

What causes the noise that race wheels make when you are not pedaling?

A friend just got a new tri bike with Zipp wheels and they are loud when she is coasting. What causes that?
4
votes
4answers
2k views

What bikes will be used by the competitors in the Mountain Bike Olympics?

I'm just curious to know what bike models and setups will be used by the competitors? Is there any data out there on the web?
4
votes
3answers
142 views

Were there always teams in road racing?

Did bicycle road racing always have teams? Were the early road races competed by individuals who were racing for themselves? At what point was it realized that having a team would confer huge ...