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Little guys disadvantage?

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Little guys disadvantage?

Old 08-02-11, 01:11 PM
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ARThriller
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Little guys disadvantage?

So first off let me say that I live in a VERY flat area with hardly any climbs. None for sure that last over 2 or 3 minutes. And here lately in all the rides/races it seems that the fastest guys are always the bigger muscle head riders that are substantially bigger than what you would expect your average road cyclist to look like. So my question is to all of you smaller guys weighing in around the 140-160 area, myself included, are we really at a disadvantage on extreme flats that act as pretty much a Velo scenario with bigger guys just pedal mashing as hard as they can? I weigh in around 144 and I am a far better climber than any of the bigger guys around here but since there are no real climbs the lead they build up on the flats is more than I can overcome on such short hills.

How big are the guys that are winning your local races? I'm curious if I should change my thinking on all of this.
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Old 08-02-11, 01:30 PM
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dykim90
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have to get more aero.
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Old 08-02-11, 01:37 PM
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The bigger guys are faster than me on flat and descend. But I wouldn't call 160lbs small? I should add that I don't race so my resonse is prob useless.
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Old 08-02-11, 01:37 PM
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Yeah I have thought about going with a longer stem to stretch myself out more to put me in a more regular aero position. The guys that are up front are weighing in around 180 of solid muscle and I am back here with a lean 144 praying for a friggin hill.
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Old 08-02-11, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by ARThriller View Post
So my question is to all of you smaller guys weighing in around the 140-160 area, myself included, are we really at a disadvantage on extreme flats that act as pretty much a Velo scenario with bigger guys just pedal mashing as hard as they can?
Yes.
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Old 08-02-11, 01:40 PM
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Any reason you can't get in the draft of these behemoths?
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Old 08-02-11, 01:44 PM
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I'm 120 and haven't had any problems with the big guys, ride harder.
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Old 08-02-11, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by rpeterson View Post
I'm 120 and haven't had any problems with the big guys, ride harder.
Yup...

Trainer harder, ride smarter...

Don't look for excuses...Look in the mirror...
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Old 08-02-11, 01:51 PM
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Yeah, my gameplan once I realized what was going on was to start the ride in a smaller gear to get out front fast and as the lead meatheads came by I would grab a wheel and hold on. It works better than any other scenario but I am always sucking wheel the entire time and would like to actually feel what the front feels like again for a change. It used to be us little guys working together holding it down up front but apparently I was absent the day that the juiceman made his delievery and got left behind.
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Old 08-02-11, 01:52 PM
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Going up, the relevant metric is power to weight; on the flats, it's power to frontal area. Coefficient of something or other (the engineers will chime in here, I'm sure). Since big guys punch a fractionally larger hole in the wind with a lot more power, they tend to do well in crits, flat TT's, and flat RR's. Skinny guys tend to better in hilly RR's and hillclimb TT's.

But you knew that.
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Old 08-02-11, 01:59 PM
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Oh dont get me wrong I am not saying that I wont ever be able to get up there with them but it is just going to take alot more time. The guys up front put in the time and they deserve to be where they are, I was just wondering if the whole thinking of "Lighter is better" when it comes to cycling still holds true even when it comes to extreme flats. I mean as strong of a rider as guys like Contador are if you put them in the Velo against someone like Chris Hoy then Contador will clearly be at a complete disadvantage.
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Old 08-02-11, 02:00 PM
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coeff of drag... (fluid dynamics engineer)

Fd=1/2*ro*V^2*Cd*A
Fd=drag force
ro=density of air
V=velocity
Cd=coeff of drag
A=area
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Old 08-02-11, 02:15 PM
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145-160 is not small by any measure.

125, otoh, is small.

I sometimes ride with a Cat 1 who is smaller than most Great Danes. He seems to have no problem hanging with larger Cat 1s. And he can draft off anyone.

You just need to train more, ride harder.
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Old 08-02-11, 02:16 PM
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Here is a better formula:

(H*T*F*U)+Tr+RM -Wh = Faster
Tr=Train more
RM=Ride more
Wh = whining
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Old 08-02-11, 02:26 PM
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I love guttering the little guys. Probably because they drop me like I'm standing still in the hills....
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Old 08-02-11, 02:26 PM
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Alright guys Im not saying its not possible for a little guy to keep up and trust me I well intend to ride more and ride harder. But IN MY experience you almost never see little guys at the front of a Cat 5 4 3 (what you would call your average competitve cyclist) crit and I was curious if anyone else had the same experience? That is all. So if you have seen this then please that is all you have to say, and if not, then maybe a reason why you believe so. Nothing more, nothing less. Simple as can be. Don't turn it into a bashing for no good reason.
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Old 08-02-11, 02:38 PM
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In my last couple crits, a 14 year-old has beaten me. I'm pretty sure I had about 40 pounds on him (I'm 185). It was more tactical than anything else.

Ride more, worry less.
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Old 08-02-11, 02:39 PM
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Horses for courses. Few little guys can be good sprinters and few big guys can be good climbers. In Cat 5, 4, or 3 crits ANYONE of ANY size can do well. The size differences and their advantages become more obvious higher up in the food chain.
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Old 08-02-11, 02:42 PM
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Pro cyclists are by no means "big guys", and they're plenty fast. Size isn't the issue, it's strength.

Racing success depends on smarts as much as speed, or so I'm told.
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Old 08-02-11, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
145-160 is not small by any measure.
You don't mean "by any measure", you mean "for bike racers" maybe. I'd bet that 145-160 is on the smallish side of the normal distribution curve for American males. It certainly isn't average.
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Old 08-02-11, 02:58 PM
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Old 08-02-11, 03:00 PM
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^^^ fatty.
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Old 08-02-11, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by ARThriller View Post
Oh dont get me wrong I am not saying that I wont ever be able to get up there with them but it is just going to take alot more time. The guys up front put in the time and they deserve to be where they are, I was just wondering if the whole thinking of "Lighter is better" when it comes to cycling still holds true even when it comes to extreme flats. I mean as strong of a rider as guys like Contador are if you put them in the Velo against someone like Chris Hoy then Contador will clearly be at a complete disadvantage.
You chose a bad example... Contador is a very good Time Trialist
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Old 08-02-11, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by DScott View Post
Pro cyclists are by no means "big guys", and they're plenty fast. Size isn't the issue, it's strength
That's it. A strong rider that's very fit with low body fat is going to be surprisingly quick for their weight. A pro cyclist might weigh many pounds less for their height than a novice racer because they are fit, train long and hard, and watch their diet.
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Old 08-02-11, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by therhodeo View Post
Any reason you can't get in the draft of these behemoths?
That's exactly what I do.
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