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Rider weight and windy days

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Rider weight and windy days

Old 07-31-22, 09:25 AM
  #26  
big john
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It's pretty rare to find a 200+ pound rider who is a great climber. Especially within peer groups, like world tour riders. There are no 200 pound climbers who can go with the goats. Similar with recreational riders, if you're comparing similar experience and training levels.

There are more variables with headwind and sidewind. As a larger rider, I have been pushed all over the road by sidewinds. Seen a 230 pound friend get blown off the bike on a bridge. Some like to say the heavier riders have an advantage in crosswind but there's more to it than weight. Even the bike makes a difference in crosswinds, as well as the wheels.
The wind doesn't care if you are 40 pounds heavier than another rider. If you present a large sail you get pushed around. I saw boxcars flipped over by the wind.
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Old 07-31-22, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
I dropped out of college 3 times and never finished should have done some silly degree I was trying for chemistry. Wanted to mass produce LSD.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Owsley_Stanley

Irregular cross-winds are what cause people problems, especially those with frame bags and deep-dish aero wheels.
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Old 07-31-22, 09:37 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
But heavier riders are at a distinct disadvantage, because VO2max is negatively correlated to body mass -- even when looking at lean body mass.

Generally, absolute power increases with lean body mass, but not as rapidly as VO2max (and thus power-to-weight ratio) decreases with lean body mass.

Yes, there are exceptions. There are always a few who win the genetic lottery and fall outside the norms.
Absolutely. Just as we can make assumptions on the flat, we can make assumptions on the climbs too re heavy vs light, big vs small.

My point is that while we have these assumptions, and that there is some basis in truth, there are so many variables that nothing should be taken as an absolute when there are so many variables that affect performance. Body composition, muscle-type etc etc - so much genetics to work through too that dictate and work with power, W/kg, CDa, V02M etc etc.

Some folks have a natural genetic build-up that will always be really hard to match for others. I'm small and relatively light and in good shape. This alone doesn't make me a great climber. I know plenty of much heavier, larger riders who I can't compete on a long climb with. Similarly, I can beat them on the flat. Go figure! But, I am a better climber than a lot of heavy guys. And there are heavy guys who I can't keep up with on the flat.

It's almost like using BMI for ideal weight; BMI is a great generalising tool - as we are using absolute power on flat with wind here - but get down to specifics and personalisation at an individual level vs group and it is far from the whole picture and throws up a lot of anomalies.


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Old 07-31-22, 09:54 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by AlgarveCycling View Post
I know plenty of much heavier, larger riders who I can't compete on a long climb with. Similarly, I can beat them on the flat.
If you're talking about exactly the same person(s). That is really unusual especially if you're all having similar technique like similar preferred cadence, etc.
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Old 07-31-22, 09:57 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
It's pretty rare to find a 200+ pound rider who is a great climber. Especially within peer groups, like world tour riders. There are no 200 pound climbers who can go with the goats. Similar with recreational riders, if you're comparing similar experience and training levels.

There are more variables with headwind and sidewind. As a larger rider, I have been pushed all over the road by sidewinds. Seen a 230 pound friend get blown off the bike on a bridge. Some like to say the heavier riders have an advantage in crosswind but there's more to it than weight. Even the bike makes a difference in crosswinds, as well as the wheels.
The wind doesn't care if you are 40 pounds heavier than another rider. If you present a large sail you get pushed around. I saw boxcars flipped over by the wind.
Yep.

I've been using Elite level primarily because at amateur level the variables are vast. A big unit in road cycling at a high level is typically less than 200lbs with only a few exceptions - I think the heaviest I've heard of is 210lbs. The big sprinters are not going to climb, we know that. But big un's like WvA absolutely can.

Naturally, extremes are going to skew things a bit which makes this all very different at recreational level. If we compare a 250lb strong guy to a 100lb woman on a flat road then, yeah, gonna be tough for that woman. Extreme's. But take a strong, 150lb guy with a good natural CDa, good W/kg, can hold high watts because of other genetic factors...that heavy guy is in trouble even if he is physically stronger.

Similarly, look at Pogi, Vingegaard et al dominating the climbs at the TdF against pure goats like Quintana and Yates. We don't talk about Quintana and Yates as top time triallists but we can with Pogi and Vingegaard and Pogi can sprint too. Yet both destroyed the goats at their own discipline.

No hard, fast rules but we can make certain generalisations, I guess.



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Old 07-31-22, 10:09 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by koala logs View Post
If you're talking about exactly the same person(s). That is really unusual especially if you're all having similar technique like similar preferred cadence, etc.
Same people! I'm one of the smallest guys in my area so I generally have to compete with larger chaps. Par for the course for me! No choice, being only 5ft 6 and 141lbs.

Nearly everyone is taller, heavier than me. For a lot, I can't match their climbing prowess albeit, sure, they are mostly a lot younger too since I'm 53. Yet, I drop most of them on the flat when I attack and they don't get back - sometimes straight off my wheel, no need to sprint. Then there are monsters who can both drop me on the climbs and the flats. In all cases though, I have the faster sprint...it's possible I'm the fastest sprinter in the South of the country for my age and even overall. Bizarrely.


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Old 07-31-22, 10:15 AM
  #32  
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Interesting because Larry didn’t look like he weighs 265lbs in that blurry shirtless picture he posted of himself on another gem of a thread.
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Old 07-31-22, 10:28 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by AlgarveCycling View Post
Same people! I'm one of the smallest guys in my area so I generally have to compete with larger chaps. Par for the course for me! No choice, being only 5ft 6 and 141lbs.

Nearly everyone is taller, heavier than me. For a lot, I can't match their climbing prowess albeit, sure, they are mostly a lot younger too since I'm 53. Yet, I drop most of them on the flat when I attack and they don't get back - sometimes straight off my wheel, no need to sprint. Then there are monsters who can both drop me on the climbs and the flats. In all cases though, I have the faster sprint...it's possible I'm the fastest sprinter in the South of the country for my age and even overall. Bizarrely.



You likely have better quality training or simply have superior endurance than the riders on your group even if fitness is the same.

The flats can sometimes be more challenging than climbs if you're trying to hold high speed trying not to get dropped.

Or it could be something as mundane as bike fit / riding posture, yours might be favoring the flats over climbs. Still quite unusual regardless of the possible causes.

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Old 07-31-22, 11:19 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by koala logs View Post
You likely have better quality training or simply have superior endurance than the riders on your group even if fitness is the same.

The flats can sometimes be more challenging than climbs if you're trying to hold high speed trying not to get dropped.

Or it could be something as mundane as bike fit / riding posture, yours might be favoring the flats over climbs. Still quite unusual regardless of the possible causes.
That's the thing, it isn't nearly as unusual as you might think, I see smaller riders performing to the opposite of what is trying to be taken as granted in this thread and vice versa. It's more down to pure genetics than something like bike fit and even training. It simply is not the case that larger riders will always be better than smaller riders on the flat and vice versa.

I'm coming from US equivalent Cat 1 level so obviously my experience is somewhat dictated by that too. One of my younger buddies here is an American from Boise, who has raced against American WorldTour Pro Powless in Crits. He's a little bigger than me. Totally beats me in climbs. I would fancy myself in a Crit against him though!


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Old 07-31-22, 06:08 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Ghazmh View Post
Interesting because Larry didnít look like he weighs 265lbs in that blurry shirtless picture he posted of himself on another gem of a thread.
Thanks! but I just weighed myself and its around 270 unfortunately. I have a big belly
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Old 07-31-22, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by AlgarveCycling View Post
One of my younger buddies here is an American from Boise, who has raced against American WorldTour Pro Powless in Crits. He's a little bigger than me. Totally beats me in climbs. I would fancy myself in a Crit against him though!


I think youre in the minority when claiming to be able to beat heavier riders on the flats when they beat you on the climbs. Youre either a genetic anomaly or straight up misinformed with this opinion.
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Old 07-31-22, 06:17 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by AlgarveCycling View Post
Really? What do think power is then?

Taking a 175lb rider pushing 300W with a W/kg of 3.75 and a 145lb rider pushing 300W with a W/kg of 4.60 as a baseline to start my thought process on this...

In this scenario where both are pushing the exact same Watts, the lighter rider has the clear advantage in terms of both Watts and, most often, Cda. If you do a Cda calculation on both, then the smaller rider will likely have aero gains, sure.

But you and another chap want to ignore W/kg to make the above true in all cases and focus only upon CDa. I'm not convinced because what happens when a rider has significantly more W/kg than another? Does CDa still win out overall? Or do the W/kg come into it? I think the W/kg come into it.

An excellent CDa is .19 - anything below .20 is fantastic. Larger riders do tend to have higher CDa's naturally than smaller riders, this is true. However, we have big units getting down to .20/.25 in the World Tour peloton and so pretty much negating the aero advantage of the smaller riders in a time trial position; hence large units like Ganna, Bisegger, Dowsett etc being so good.

Assuming both of my above examples are adopting a very good time-trialling aero position achieving a Cda of around .25 and .20 respectively to take into account an advantage for the smaller rider and pushing the same watts, yes the smaller rider has gains and wins - he/she will be able to push through the wind faster.

Now...if the larger rider is stronger as is most often the case at higher levels of the sport and has way more mitochondria in his bigger legs...

The 175lbs rider is now pushing 5 W/kg and still assuming a very good CDa of .25 and .20 for the smaller rider at 4.6 W/kg because they both have the best equipment and their coaches have them dialled in for position, the larger rider wins. W/kg trumps the CDa advantage.

There are other variables too. It isn't as clean cut as this in all cases - larger riders can still have lower CDa's than smaller riders depending upon physique. It does happen. But generally, we assume smaller riders have a better CDa albeit, as noted, this is not always the case. But they can be out-powered by the big units who have a greater W/kg. And then there are smaller guys with big W/kg, more than many larger guys, like Remco...so it's not straight-forward.

All that said! What happens in a sprint? Well, this is somewhat different to the very aero positioning of a time-triallist since now we are talking about standing up on the pedals...this is where the likes of Cavendish and Ewan can compete against the huge W/kg and max power that the larger units can achieve precisely because of a lower CDa. Larger guys stomping on the pedals struggle to achieve Cav's ultra-aero sprint style. Not all smaller riders are as good at this - Cav has a really aero sprint that he has perfected and larger guys would not be able to match it. Of course, Cav still needs plenty of watts too but can get away with less if he times it just right because for a short period, the big guys have to work a lot harder than he does.

The above outdoors in a typical road race, not indoors in a Velodrome where absolute power is what is required.

So yeah, aero and CDa is extremely important in cycling but so is W/kg and a host of other stuff too. While these two can make big differences, it is the sum of a total of many things that lead to the faster rider in all conditions.

I've focussed upon Elite athletes, at normal levels of the sport the variables are vast and so differences can be much greater. For example, larger riders can more easily have really bad CDa's and then smaller riders can push through wind far easier, if that's what you want to hear. Dialled in, strong big units can reverse that though.


so honestly, I didn’t read all that, but I think I got the gist, and I think you’re missing surface to volume ratio, and absolute power.

When the primary impediment is gravity, w/kg are absolutely key. When wind is the primary impediment, w/ to surface volume is the currency.

as you get bigger, heavier you’re volume, weight increases more than your surface area. Also, ceterus peribus, larger people,produce more watts than smaller people. This explains why a comparatively larger rider like Fabio Cancellera could absolutely dominate tt’s and flatter classics, but never climb well enough to compete in the TDF for GC.

and also explain why I can’t begin to climb with many people,in this forum, but have won two state TT championships,and a podium finish at Nationals.

put another way, my w/kg would suggest I couldn’t win a Cat 4 race, but my w/ surface area has served me well in flatter races, and and gives me a big advantage against little guys into cross/ head winds.
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Old 07-31-22, 07:12 PM
  #38  
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I'm 5'8" and around 200lbs. Picture Cavendish with 30-40 more lbs of muscle and 10lbs of fat. Or Algarve? cycling with the same added. All fast twitch. Probably one of the worst, if not the worst climber on the forums pound for pound. But I can push a big gear and punch a hole through the wind on the flats. Crosswinds don't bother me much. Extended climbs do, though. Really, hard extended efforts of any kind do.

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Old 07-31-22, 07:21 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
Thinking about the girl I rode with two days ago, ...
I'm thinking you really shouldn't be doing that Larry.
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Old 08-01-22, 04:39 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
so honestly, I didnít read all that, but I think I got the gist, and I think youíre missing surface to volume ratio, and absolute power.

When the primary impediment is gravity, w/kg are absolutely key. When wind is the primary impediment, w/ to surface volume is the currency.

as you get bigger, heavier youíre volume, weight increases more than your surface area. Also, ceterus peribus, larger people,produce more watts than smaller people. This explains why a comparatively larger rider like Fabio Cancellera could absolutely dominate ttís and flatter classics, but never climb well enough to compete in the TDF for GC.

and also explain why I canít begin to climb with many people,in this forum, but have won two state TT championships,and a podium finish at Nationals.

put another way, my w/kg would suggest I couldnít win a Cat 4 race, but my w/ surface area has served me well in flatter races, and and gives me a big advantage against little guys into cross/ head winds.
You really need to read all my posts here to see where I'm coming from since you failed to get the gist - we aren't disagreeing in the general sense but I am saying that it isn't a rule and I did take into account surface area which is why I mentioned how sprinting changes things. But, yeah, skim reading and making assumptions isn't worth a debate if that's what you are going to do.

Remco is much smaller than you but would leave you for dead in a TT. He isn't alone, you get some fantastic small riders on the flat. Some really big riders can beat the climbers. It just isn't true that larger guys will always beat smaller guys on the flat. Nope.


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Old 08-01-22, 05:19 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
I think youre in the minority when claiming to be able to beat heavier riders on the flats when they beat you on the climbs. Youre either a genetic anomaly or straight up misinformed with this opinion.
So you think I'm misinformed about my own experiences?

90% of all riders who have ever beaten me on climbs are larger than me - tall guys, great shape, heavier. But I'm faster on the flat and in sprints against many of them. I'm small, but I'm no climber, my muscles are strong for their mass, lots of fast twitch in there but not great for long climbs. Nearly every race I've ever won has been mildly undulating or flat. How many races have you won on the flat? Being 270lbs you must be winning a lot given your logic about how it all works? I'm talking official UCI races or equivalent where you need a racing license, not fun rides?

You clearly want genetics to work in your favour in terms of physical size and muscle mass alone on the flat but that just isn't how it works; the composition of our muscles, the volume of our hearts, lungs relative to our bodies - many different genetic factors come into play to create the whole and we all have different advantages and disadvantages to work with when we start training to improve our power, w/kg, CDa, etc etc.

I have stated in my posts that I do agree that we can draw a degree of generalisation re larger guys on the flat but it isn't a hard fast rule. I've provided plenty of examples in my posts demonstrating this.

Ganna, Kung, Bissegger etc all big units - great at TT's on the flat. These riders lend credence to the generalisation we have drawn in this thread. But then we get riders like Remco who are tiny and light. Who can compete against those big units at TT's on the flat. And win. Despite similar CDa because those big units can get really aero. We have also seen that Remco is not a particularly good climber, bigger guys like WvA have been better so far. In fact, like me, he gets beaten by bigger guys on climbs a lot - because most of his competitors are larger! But he can hold off an entire peloton in a long breakaway and win major races.

You appear to have next to zero experience compared to many on this forum - it is pretty clear from your posts. Some of us here are trying to share what we have learned from racing at National and Professional level, who have won races, to answer your questions. But you choose to suggest you know better, despite being a 270lb guy who would get dropped by a Cat 5 training group on a social outing. No disrespect, but this is how you come across.


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Old 08-01-22, 06:36 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by AlgarveCycling View Post
You really need to read all my posts here to see where I'm coming from since you failed to get the gist - we aren't disagreeing in the general sense but I am saying that it isn't a rule and I did take into account surface area which is why I mentioned how sprinting changes things. But, yeah, skim reading and making assumptions isn't worth a debate if that's what you are going to do.

Remco is much smaller than you but would leave you for dead in a TT. He isn't alone, you get some fantastic small riders on the flat. Some really big riders can beat the climbers. It just isn't true that larger guys will always beat smaller guys on the flat. Nope.



Sure, everything depends on the particular case. However, ceterus peribus, ( google,it if you need to) bigger riders produce more power to surface volume, than smaller riders. Obviously there our outliers, but most of 100 years of racing history shows that relatively large guys do better sprinting and flat TTS and smaller guys climb better.

Also, if you want me read your entire post, work on the editing and presentation, not meant people have the patience for block text these days.[/QUOTE]
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Old 08-01-22, 06:47 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by AlgarveCycling

You appear to have next to zero experience compared to many on this forum - it is pretty clear from your posts. Some of us here are trying to share what we have learned from racing at National and Professional level, who have won races, to answer your questions. But you choose to suggest you know better, despite being a 270lb guy who would get dropped by a Cat 5 training group on a social outing. No disrespect, but this is how you come across.


Not entirely sure this was aimed at me. I’ll be the first to admit that I am at best a middling amateur bike racer. However the nature of bike racing in the U.S. means that a decent amateur race ends up in races against top level professionals. So, I’ve raced against some f the best riders in the world. And being fortunate enough to afford some great cycling experiences, I’ve ridden all over,the world with some incredibly talented people and rubbed elbows with the best of the best cyclists.

None of that makes me super special, but gives me some insight.
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Old 08-01-22, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Not entirely sure this was aimed at me
He was quoting LarrySellerz. You're LarrySellerz?
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Old 08-01-22, 07:15 PM
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One thing I'm pretty sure about, and I think the research on it is settled too: If you're with a lady who brings up the topic of wind, for example, and you reply with a comment about heavy people riding in wind, she will not be happy with you. It works the same way if she says something about climbing and you remark on the climbing abilities of people with large noses. Take your pick... cellulite as a factor in long distance stamina... I could go on.

Your best choice is always to say "In [whatever] riding conditions, I'm sure someone as fit and healthy as you will have no trouble."
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Old 08-01-22, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Broctoon View Post
One thing I'm pretty sure about, and I think the research on it is settled too: If you're with a lady who brings up the topic of wind, for example, and you reply with a comment about heavy people riding in wind, she will not be happy with you. It works the same way if she says something about climbing and you remark on the climbing abilities of people with large noses. Take your pick... cellulite as a factor in long distance stamina... I could go on.

Your best choice is always to say "In [whatever] riding conditions, I'm sure someone as fit and healthy as you will have no trouble."
Best answer yet.
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Old 08-01-22, 08:40 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Broctoon View Post
One thing I'm pretty sure about, and I think the research on it is settled too: If you're with a lady who brings up the topic of wind, for example, and you reply with a comment about heavy people riding in wind, she will not be happy with you. It works the same way if she says something about climbing and you remark on the climbing abilities of people with large noses. Take your pick... cellulite as a factor in long distance stamina... I could go on.

Your best choice is always to say "In [whatever] riding conditions, I'm sure someone as fit and healthy as you will have no trouble."
I guessed her weight at 130 and she is actually like 105 but she wasn't offended lol
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Old 08-01-22, 08:43 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Not entirely sure this was aimed at me, but if it was, you donít know who youíre fíng with. Iíll be the first to admit that I am at best a middling amateur bike racer. However the nature of bike racing in the U.S. means that a decent amateur race ends up in races against top level professionals. So, Iíve raced against some f the best riders in the world. And being fortunate enough to afford some great cycling experiences, Iíve ridden all over,the world with some incredibly talented people and rubbed elbows with the best of the best cyclists.

None of that makes me super special, but gives me some insight on the subjects uponwhich I post. I would suggest that you at least take a random sample of my 17 years of posts before you dis me so f the F off. Mike drop off.
Its me he thinks he could beat on a flat windy course, but im not worried. He says larger riders often beat him up a hill and he often beats those same guys on flats which doesn't really make a lot of sense. Maybe he's a terrible climber but super aero or something? I could see it, im a stronger climber and weaker on the flats than my build would suggest but not to the point where im actually better on the climbs
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Old 08-01-22, 10:35 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
I guessed her weight at 130 and she is actually like 105 but she wasn't offended lol
Larry! You should ALWAYS low-ball on age and weight. If you think she's about 35 years old and tipping the scales at a buck and a quarter, you say, "What are you, like 100... 110 pounds? You can't be more than 28 years old, right?" You will never, ever go wrong with this approach.

Next you're going to tell us when you found out she's single you said, "Yeah, I would have guessed that." (The right response would be, in the most sincere tone you can muster, "No way, how do you not have at least 20 guys chasing you?")
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Old 08-02-22, 05:46 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Not entirely sure this was aimed at me. I’ll be the first to admit that I am at best a middling amateur bike racer. However the nature of bike racing in the U.S. means that a decent amateur race ends up in races against top level professionals. So, I’ve raced against some f the best riders in the world. And being fortunate enough to afford some great cycling experiences, I’ve ridden all over,the world with some incredibly talented people and rubbed elbows with the best of the best cyclists.

None of that makes me super special, but gives me some insight.
Mate, check the post, I was replying to Larry!

I absolutely respect your achievements - we would get along in person. If you ever pop over to my neck of the woods, we could have a few rides together - don't drop me though!



Last edited by Hermes; 08-03-22 at 12:26 PM. Reason: Cleanup
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