Size and Hill Climbing -- A Report
Well, I just came back from my first semester at college.
Since starting school, I've been riding more than ever -- usually circa 400 mile weeks -- and taking really good care of myself by sleeping tons, taking some supplements, using the schools ice baths to aid recovery, and monitering my body fat.
I'm 6' 2.5" and last season I raced at an average of about 174 lbs. I'm not sure what my body fat was last season, but at the begining of the semester in Sep. 03' it was 8.4 %. I figured that it would be possible for me to get my weight into the high 160's so that I could climb better -- and do this without sacrificing the muscle I had. So I worked hard, and watched my eating. But the catch is this... I never weighed myself while I was at college.
So... after training very seriously through fall semester to prepare for racing in 04', I felt very fit, and have been climbing MUCH better than ever before in my life. My body fat has also dropped to 6.8% (I think I can get it to 5.5%-6.0% for the important races of the season). But again, I didn't know for sure how much I weighed. Since my body fat dropped significantly, and I haven't been doing any lifting, I figured that naturally my weight had probably dropped into the 160's.
When I got home the other day to MA from school in CA, I had the chance to weigh myself.
I weigh 185.
I don't know what the hell happened.
How the heck did I put on so much lean mass?!?!
I guess that for my height, I'm still not really THAT big, but I'm no longer a small guy. The fact remains that despite gaining about ten pounds (Try that while riding 400 miles weeks!!!) my climbing has hugely improved.
Whatever... I guess the lesson here is that when you're trying to improve your climbing, losing weight isn't the only solution all the time. I've improved greatly by gaining strength -- and let me tell you, I'm getting meaner on the flats -- and that wouldn't have happened if all I was doing was losing fat and not putting on muscle.
My first race of the season is in the begining of February and in 90 miles long with 13,000 ft (yes, you read right) of elevation gain as we go over 8 passes. A lot of pro teams should be in attendance. I'm excited to see how the new 185 lb. me will perform over a course like that.
Edit: I realise that at my current height and weight that I'm proportioned a lot like Hincapie. That's not too bad I guess.