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Top Sprinting Speed

m o b

Speeding Up
Jun 22, 2008
I woke up late yesterday morning after having spend the night before with an old friend drinking expensive red wine and smoking big cigars at his even bigger house in the plush suburbs of Tokyo. I will not bore you with further details.

But as a consequence I woke up late on Sunday and missed the guys of Positivo Espresso heading out for the weekend hill climb ride in direction Tomin no mori. With only little time left for riding I settled on a loop along the Tamagawa and I thought that instead of training my hill climbing stamina, I should test my sprint abilities.

I have attended some races this year and I also have been in finish sprints. Normally during the race sprints, one is drafted by the main field and then adds up to the speed by sprinting. I think I can do over 60 km/hr in these situations, but yesterday I tried to accelerate as fast as I could whicle being alone on the road, without any other riders or cars in front of me.

To my surprise I found out that although it's pretty easy to accelerate to about 40 km/hr, after that it is getting harder and it really takes time to add more speed. In the best case I reached 53 km/hr, but because it took such a long time to reach this speed, I couldn't add on further.

I wonder what your top sprinting speed is and if there are any ideas how to accelerate faster and maintain a higher speed.
59kph for me. (about a year ago).
I was on the cycling path and there was a car down to my left on the road trying to pass me. I had my heavy Fondriest and it had just had all the components replaced so was in perfect condition.

55kph is pretty much my max lately when leading out our Tuesday night sprints. My drafting record on Tuesday nights is only about 53kph
Even drafting my max has only been 56kph (Sunday morning training).

Waiting for the right conditions to break that record. (SAIKO?). I can't wait till Hitachinaka again.

I've found the secret is to wind up slowly getting the momentum up to about 45kph and keeping your energy effort at less than 80%. If you feel like you're putting in 100% you won't be able to explode. I take my time winding up too. 30kph for a while then 32kph if I'm feeling good I just keep bumping up the speed. Sometimes I'll try a cold sprint from 30 to max but it seems harder for me. I like to do it gradually till I hit about 90% effort.

To wind up I may stand up for 3 or 4 times to get a faster momentum, then sit down again and maintain that speed...doing that 2 or 3 times till I get to 48...
Then when I get up to about 48kph I go as hard as I can. I'll sit, put my head down, knees in and almost pop my thigh bones out of the hip sockets.
Correct gear choice though will make or break you. When to stand and when to sit also. I'll aim at a post about 70 meters away and that will be my finish line to reach the max at that point. I find focusing on a point like that it's easier to gauge how much energy you have left. (if any). The point where you can't accelerate any more comes quickly so if you don't hit your target max the first time have a rest and try again later.

Hitting your max though all the planets have to line up. It's not something you can try every day. Sometimes the energy levels are not what you expected and you can't even get over 48. You blame the wind, the air pressure, the humidity...must be something right?

Small tings that help.
Buckle up your shoes as tight as possible.
Practice spinning at 130rpm cadence on a roller sometimes. If you can spin that fast your legs won't freak out when you're trying to spin that fast in a heavier gear. They'll know they can go that fast if they have to.

Look at some cadence to gear charts on Sheldon Brown's homepage. Figure out what heavy combinations of gears you can handle at 100rpm or more....

For my 3rd at Saiko I hit 56 and my cadence then was 129 on the finish line, however I don't remember what gear I was in only that it felt too heavy at the time.

When I hit the gym I set the leg press to max 200kg and do 2 sets X 5 each (late season). For strength and/or 2 sets of 180 X 15 for building muscle if I feel I've lost some leg sprinting bulk (early season).
59kph for me. (about a year ago).

Hi! I enjoy reading your posts.:)
Among your trials to attain maximum speed of the day, did you notice which combination of the chain rings (front x rear) was most frequent at the moment of reaching to your top speed of the days? 53 x something or 39 x something.......
I'm eagerly to know to try to do it myself. But unfortunately recently I have broken leg since last august.
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