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Effect of weight on hill climbing

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Effect of weight on hill climbing

Old 11-05-06, 01:29 PM
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Effect of weight on hill climbing

Hey,

After being bitten by the road cycling bug this year, I have decided my goal for next year is to become a better climber. Luckily in my area all I have are hilly routes. I have already seen a difference so far in my climbing abilities.

I figured the best thing I could do over the winter is focus on weight loss, along with keeping my base fitness level up.

I am currently 5'7" and about 199lb. Years of neglect have crept up. I would like to drop 20 pounds by spring, which I should be on track to achieve.

I guess I am just looking for some additional motivation. So if you have done the weight loss thing and found a noticable difference in your climbing abilities the next season then MOTIVATE ME

-D
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Old 11-05-06, 01:33 PM
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Hi derath,

While I'm not a phenomenal climber, I did lose some weight over the winter last year (went from 198-ish to 185-ish this past spring), and for me it had a dramatic effect on my climbing. Especially on longer rides with repeated climbing. I just wasn't as exhausted by the end of the ride.

IMO if you drop 20 lbs, it will be noticable. Besides, you can't really lose 20 lbs off a bike, can you?
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Old 11-05-06, 01:33 PM
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Well you have invited all the Physics PhD types to chime in......and they will.......but with out the ensuing geek fight that will erupt…… Lance in his book stated that because of his medical condition he lost 30lbs and that was biggest reason for his hill climbing success.
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Old 11-05-06, 01:36 PM
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Not just climbing. On the flats too. Using data from my power tap, and the Kreuzotter Calc (which isn't too innacurate at all really...)

Me now: 6'2.5 178lbs. Bike 18lbs. I need to put out 200 watts to go ~20mph on the flats.
Me in February 6'2.5, 215lbs. Bike 18lbs. I needed to put out 220 watts to go ~20mph on the flats.

Me now: I need to put out 446 watts to go 11mph up a 9% grade.
Me in February: I needed to put out 525 watts to go 11mph up a 9% grade.

The steeper the road gets...the less you weight...the less power you need...the faster you can go.

Take a 15% grade for me now. I can, in theory, put out 100 watts less now, and go the same speed as I could in February.

EDIT: Putting out the same wattage - I could climb at 15% grade hill almost 2mph faster. Albeit not for too very long (as this would require on the order of 650 watts) but thats enough to open a fat gap in a race. If you're racing, you've probably figured out that it's damn hard to open a gap in most RRs unless you attack up a hill...something it's very hard to do if you're heavy.

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Old 11-05-06, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by cydewaze
IMO if you drop 20 lbs, it will be noticable. Besides, you can't really lose 20 lbs off a bike, can you?
No, but if I can get back to my "fighting" weight I will feel justified in feeding my weight weenie urges. Seems pointless right now to tweak my bike while I am still carrying around a spare tire on my rides.

-D
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Old 11-05-06, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by derath
No, but if I can get back to my "fighting" weight I will feel justified in feeding my weight weenie urges. Seems pointless right now to tweak my bike while I am still carrying around a spare tire on my rides.

-D

Your right.....Tweak yourself then tweak your bike.
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Old 11-05-06, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by derath
Hey,

After being bitten by the road cycling bug this year, I have decided my goal for next year is to become a better climber. Luckily in my area all I have are hilly routes. I have already seen a difference so far in my climbing abilities.

I figured the best thing I could do over the winter is focus on weight loss, along with keeping my base fitness level up.

I am currently 5'7" and about 199lb. Years of neglect have crept up. I would like to drop 20 pounds by spring, which I should be on track to achieve.

I guess I am just looking for some additional motivation. So if you have done the weight loss thing and found a noticable difference in your climbing abilities the next season then MOTIVATE ME

-D
It'll help a lot. I'm still a fatty at 205, but I can climb a hell of a lot better than I could when I was 215. I'm currently working on droping down with an ultimate goal in the low 180s.
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Old 11-05-06, 01:45 PM
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Just ride the hills and the fat will come off. Your body adjusts to what you ask it to do. Ask it to climb hills on a bike and it will lose weight. At first it will ask you a few questions like, "you can't be serious about this can you?" But soon it will get with the program, gain strength and shed pounds.
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Old 11-05-06, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by TNoodles
At first your body will ask you a few questions like, "you can't be serious about this can you?"

My wifes body asks me the same thing all the time.
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Old 11-05-06, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by BladeGeek
Well you have invited all the Physics PhD types to chime in......and they will.....
Right because the last thing you would want is accurate, quantifiable information. So in that spirit, I lost 10 lbs and noticed my climbing went from green to refrigerator.
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Old 11-05-06, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by derath
Hey,

After being bitten by the road cycling bug this year, I have decided my goal for next year is to become a better climber. Luckily in my area all I have are hilly routes. I have already seen a difference so far in my climbing abilities.

I figured the best thing I could do over the winter is focus on weight loss, along with keeping my base fitness level up.

I am currently 5'7" and about 199lb. Years of neglect have crept up. I would like to drop 20 pounds by spring, which I should be on track to achieve.

I guess I am just looking for some additional motivation. So if you have done the weight loss thing and found a noticable difference in your climbing abilities the next season then MOTIVATE ME

-D
Weight makes a huge difference in climbs. I am almost exactly your weight and height. About a year ago when I was 30 pounds lighter, but rode very little, I could get up the hills almost as fast as I do now, and lately I've been riding a good 4-5 times a week.

I know I'm getting stronger now that I'm riding more because a year ago, I would try to ride with the Saturday/sunday training ride/race group and I could barely hold on for a couple of miles. Now, I have no problem staying with them on the flats, but I still get dropped most of the time on the hills.

Many years ago when I raced cat 2, my fighting weight was 135. I know I'll never get down that low, but my goal is 150-160.
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Old 11-05-06, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle
Right because the last thing you would want is accurate, quantifiable information. So in that spirit, I lost 10 lbs and noticed my climbing went from green to refrigerator.
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Old 11-05-06, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by San Rensho
Many years ago when I raced cat 2, my fighting weight was 135. I know I'll never get down that low, but my goal is 150-160.

Yea I wrestled in high school in the 135 weight class. More years ago than I care to admit. I would also love to get back to the 150-160 range. But I don't see that as an achievable goal over this one winter season.

-D
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Old 11-05-06, 02:07 PM
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I have lost 44 pounds since June. The difference is night and day in all my cycling. I find myself not having to shift nearly so often and being able to stay in gears when before I had to shift several. I have a triple and I find I use the granny very rarely. On the flats I can carry a faster speed with less effort and I just feel light on the bike. I can't wait to lose the rest.
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Old 11-05-06, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by BladeGeek
Well you have invited all the Physics PhD types to chime in......and they will.......but with out the ensuing geek fight that will erupt…… Lance in his book stated that because of his medical condition he lost 30lbs and that was biggest reason for his hill climbing success.
It is very true that aerodynamically there is next to no difference between heavy and light riders on flats, however on hills it is a dramatic change - losing weight for hill climbing will give very positive results.
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Old 11-05-06, 03:59 PM
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honestly, just because someone weighs less, doesn't necessarily mean that they're going to be a better climber...

i'm 5'7", and when i started riding this summer i was about 185 pounds, and climbs were my weakest link. currently, i am about 190 pounds, and while climbs are still my weakest link, i can climb better now than when i was 5 pounds lighter...

granted, you may not consider 5 pounds to be that much of a difference, but i think it is. i think if i dropped back down to 185 pounds, i would be an ever better climber than i am now, but i am definitely better now (heavier) than i was back then (lighter)...

i do think you should definitely focus on losing some weight though, not just to make you a better cyclist, but to make you a better you! i was 222 pounds 2 years ago, and dropped about 40 pounds in 4 months, and i definitely noticed a difference in everything about myself, and i know you will too...

best of luck on your goal...
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Old 11-05-06, 04:13 PM
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[QUOTE=FIVE ONE SIX]honestly, just because someone weighs less, doesn't necessarily mean that they're going to be a better climber...

i'm 5'7", and when i started riding this summer i was about 185 pounds, and climbs were my weakest link. currently, i am about 190 pounds, and while climbs are still my weakest link, i can climb better now than when i was 5 pounds lighter...

granted, you may not consider 5 pounds to be that much of a difference, but i think it is. i think if i dropped back down to 185 pounds, i would be an ever better climber than i am now, but i am definitely better now (heavier) than i was back then (lighter)...
QUOTE]

The first and third paragraphs are contradictory. And I am not a PhD in physics, but can tell you (as have others) that lighter weight with same muscle mass and endurance will make you a better climber. Try to lose weight gradually (1-2 lbs per week) and do some weight training (legs and core) once or twice each week (to maintain muscle tissue as you shed fat) and you will see your climbing abilities grow rapidly.

I am planning to do a couple of big climbing races in the Rockies next year, and losing weight is a major part of my training plan -- I am currently 6'1'' and 175 lbs and would like to be under 170 lbs by May (this will be pretty low body fat as I have considerable upper-body muscle mass -- too much for a cyclist, but there it is).
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Old 11-05-06, 04:29 PM
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We are about the same height (I'm maybe 1/2" shorter). I got up to 209lbs a few years ago. Now, I hover between 165 and 175 which is MUCH better for cycling! So, yes, 20lbs will make a huge difference on the hills. For me, even when I drop from 175 in the winter back down to 165 in the summers ... I notice a difference. It is a very inspiring feeling.
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Old 11-05-06, 05:04 PM
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Man, that's a lot of weight to lose in nine months. Good on ya.
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Old 11-05-06, 05:17 PM
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Your weight is directly proportional to the amount of power that you need to move up an incline*. Thus, if you lose 10% of your weight, your climbing will be 10% easier. Seriously. And good for you... I'm on the same mission: 6'0", on the way to 175 from 199.

*F = mg(sin(theta)) where m = the mass of you + your bike, g = acceleration due to gravity, and theta = angle of incline. F is the force from gravity parallel to the incline; that is the force that you have to overcome to climb a hill. The power necessary to do that is F times your desired velocity, v (P = Fv). Therefore, m is directly proportional to P.
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Old 11-05-06, 05:29 PM
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Losing 22lbs is like picking up 50W in power, I'm an inch taller and 60 pounds lighter, you've got a long road ahead but keep at it, eat well and exercise well and the weight will come off
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Old 11-05-06, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by jeremyb_nz
you've got a long road ahead but keep at it
It's not that bad. I have done it before. and then our first child was born and I got lazy...


But thanks everyone for the motivation!!!!

-D
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Old 11-05-06, 06:02 PM
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But...

[QUOTE=Coyote2]
Originally Posted by FIVE ONE SIX
honestly, just because someone weighs less, doesn't necessarily mean that they're going to be a better climber...

i'm 5'7", and when i started riding this summer i was about 185 pounds, and climbs were my weakest link. currently, i am about 190 pounds, and while climbs are still my weakest link, i can climb better now than when i was 5 pounds lighter...

granted, you may not consider 5 pounds to be that much of a difference, but i think it is. i think if i dropped back down to 185 pounds, i would be an ever better climber than i am now, but i am definitely better now (heavier) than i was back then (lighter)...
QUOTE]

The first and third paragraphs are contradictory. And I am not a PhD in physics, but can tell you (as have others) that lighter weight with same muscle mass and endurance will make you a better climber. Try to lose weight gradually (1-2 lbs per week) and do some weight training (legs and core) once or twice each week (to maintain muscle tissue as you shed fat) and you will see your climbing abilities grow rapidly.

I am planning to do a couple of big climbing races in the Rockies next year, and losing weight is a major part of my training plan -- I am currently 6'1'' and 175 lbs and would like to be under 170 lbs by May (this will be pretty low body fat as I have considerable upper-body muscle mass -- too much for a cyclist, but there it is).

Notice you say that with the same muscle mass and endurance, lighter weight will make you a better climber. However, the original poster may be been telling the truth because his extra five pounds of weight could be muscle mass, which would explain why he's a better climber now than when he was five pounds lighter. Indeed, if he has been training a lot since before he gained those five pounds, it is quite possible that he would have significantly added muscle mass and stamina.

So, I think we can agree that all other things being equal the lighter you are the faster you will climb and ride the flats.
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Old 11-05-06, 06:41 PM
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you know hed makes a set of 200 pound deep v "downhill" wheels that are supposed to make you go 75 miles an hour. and braking distance is tripled. but some guy broke away on a downhill a while ago and people suspect he was using those. maybe being heavy isnt so bad after all.
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Old 11-05-06, 07:10 PM
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I and another rider I know are usually the first to the top of the big hills, and I do mean by a large margin. He and I both have jobs that require us to go up and down stairwells alot during the day carying 50-60 lbs weight and up extension ladders too. Both of us have huge leg muscles without trying and I'm sledom over 138#. You want big muscles and low body weight, period, and it's gotta hurt to work. You might try in winter months finding 10 story or greater buildings where you can access the stairwells and sprint to the top two steps at a time as fast as you can; over and over till you just can't stand the pain anymore. I've done that for fun and it is one heck of a work out that complments ridding. good luck!
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