A question about pace

Good morning, I am wondering about on trail pace. I tend to take a more leisurely pace when on trails and just bomb the fun sections as fast as I can. I am wondering what people average for a pace when on the trail? When you aren’t trying to push it. I want to get an idea of my pace and where it should be as a benchmark to try and strive for when just cruising the trails. I fully appreciate that this will vary greatly person to person, but humour me here for my own thought exercise (no pun intended).

Pace is surprisingly variable. When I’m on a Tuesday group ride, I’m usually off the back of the group out of sight. When I’m on a ride with my wife I’m usually on a casual pace waiting for her. So, pace is a very individual thing - hard to measure and compare.

What are you thinking as a measure of pace?

% max effort? On a typical ride by myself if I’m not pushing it, I’m probably riding 60% max effort.

Heart rate would be a good measure for pace - I don’t track mine, but I thought about getting a heart rate monitor out of curiosity for trail riding, and maintaining pace for Zwift.

I’m always up tempo. No real down time. Always grinding. That’s how you build up that tank.

Perhaps I didn’t articulate my meaning well enough. My meaning is to say at what speed do you find comfortable on say a blue/green trail without features when you’re just cruising along? I’m expecting to see low numbers in KMH, mostly single digits is my speculation. These obviously have a high degree of variability depending on bike, person, etc. But I’m talking averages.

You’d need to use a more consistent benchmark than green/blue as those grades vary vastly by trail system. I think you could pick a particular segment that has a decent distance and compare average speed across multiple attempts, but even then it’s going to vary wildly from their best pace to their worst.

When riding a number of different trails in McRun, usually blues and blacks, my average speed fluctuates between 11 and 15 km/h depending on who I’m with, ride intent, duration, etc. When we tried to ride every single try in McRun on a hot sunny day (38km of trail!), it tended towards the lower end, when I’m out solo or chasing someone quick around, it goes up. Faster than some, slower than many.

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I aim for a 15km/h average when I’m riding a solo XC ride around my local trails. Some rides with more climbing are a bit slower, and if I hit the rail trail between singletrack it goes up.

Hmmm from my experience i try to keep my peddliny at the same rpms no matter what gear im in you match your gearing to what feels like the same effort to be efficient . This will vary day to day and from one rider to another. Steep climbs will be more effort such as a sprint

As for green, blue black, i also find this will vary on how comfortable you are wity different types of obstacles and features

On last weeks group ride my light was moving aroune too much i wasnt able to process whats right in front of me and pay attention whats ahead, thus my pace dropped immensely from daylight conditions

That’s helpful thanks! I don’t generally compare myself to others, as I very, very rarely care about how fast I can do something, I just want to have fun.

That said, I am slow moving on average and wanted to get an idea of what speeds people travel at (again, I fully appreciate its variable, but that’s the point of an average or mean value)

I tend to move along around 6 kmh when I’m just pedaling round and wanted to gauge so that I work on being faster FOR other people that I may ride with. (I ride solo 90% of the time I’m out).

I guess think of it this way…you’re on a straight, level, gravel road, what is going to be your normal, relaxed moving speed to get from point A to point B, with zero time constraints.

Anyone using a Garmin device can compare their average versus every other Garmin user for any activity. It’s in the app under insights.

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My pace is mostly based on who I’m riding with as opposed to the trail itself. I base my performance based on who I can keep up with at which features.

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Totally depends on how baked I am.


This is very true.

According to Strava my average speed is usually 8-13 km/h depending on the day and the trail for whatever that’s worth.

Thanks, that’s exactly what I was looking for! I had thought I was slower than average, and wanted a benchmark. I average 6-7kmh, was thinking 8-10 would be more normal and it seems that is perhaps the lower end of the mean figure, but in line with my thoughts all the same.

Thanks everyone!

Baked every ride! @supercraig