High average MPH on a mountain bike?

I hear my mountain bike friends bragging about having maintained an average speed on their rides of 20+ mph.  I’ve never approached that.  If I break 10mph average on a singletrack ride, I consider that a success.  I attributed it to the hilly terrain around me.

So decided to see exactly what I could pull off, speed wise.

I only had about a half hour to an hour for a ride, so for “fun” I decided to stick to the mostly level roads in South Park on Corrigan Drive, and see exactly what I could pull off.  I kept it primarily on the highest chain rings, and went as hard as I could muster for a half hour solid.  I stopped only at a single intersection, and accelerated back up to speed as quickly as I could.

Best I could do?  Overall average of 15 MPH.  Moving average was slightly higher, 15.7.  So how do people maintain an average MPH over 20 on a mountain bike?  I cannot believe that there is that much variance in how mountain bikes are geared to make a difference of 10 MPH on average.

Not that I care, I do this for fun and to me fun is a heavy climb followed by bombing hard through the woods on a slick backwoods trail.  Not monitoring my BPM up and down Corrigan.  I do it primarily for the fun factor.

Also interesting to note, based upon the heart rate monitor, this method was an extremely inefficient workout compared to my typical hilly rides.  I never even approached my max heart rate (~190bpm), and I felt like I could have done another 10 or miles of this pretty easily.  I wonder exactly how efficient my steep 10 mile loop is compared to say an average flat 5k run..  I bet it’s harder core.

8.75 miles, 900 calories, 0 OTB, 0 fun had


GPSies - 08/11/2010 South Park Road WorkClick to see the whole boring track


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