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Underweight???

Old 11-16-20, 04:51 AM
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Underweight???

I did not bother to check my weight for a few weeks and when I did, I found I just dipped down to 118 lbs now. I have height of 5'8" and at 118 lbs, my BMI (body mass index) would be 17.9 which will make me underweight.

I used to be 124 lbs the last time I checked with BMI of 18.9 (normal weight but only very slightly above underweigh)

I checked myself in the mirror and couldn't tell if I lost weight by the look. I still have beefy arms, chest, and quads. I suspect I might have shed bone mass although my daily diet is high in calcium.

Otherwise, I feet great, no issues on the bike. No problem in all my bones, joints, and muscles. My diet since I was 124 lbs for two months hasn't changed.

Would underweight be a problem if I don't feel anything wrong or out of place?
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Old 11-16-20, 05:45 AM
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If you've been slim your entire life and consume a healthy diet, then it's likely normal. Some of us are like that and it's not a bad 'problem' to have. But if you just want to satisfy your concerns see a doctor for a complete check up. Now go enjoy (another) sandwich!
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Old 11-16-20, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
If you've been slim your entire life and consume a healthy diet, then it's likely normal. Some of us are like that and it's not a bad 'problem' to have. But if you just want to satisfy your concerns see a doctor for a complete check up. Now go enjoy (another) sandwich!
During my teens to early twenties, I did weigh between 115 and 120 lbs (a bit underweight). I had a lot of exercise at the time, mostly brisk walking for more than 2 km everyday, push ups, squats, etc.

Work got me above 130 lbs due to parties and social drinking (lots of bad food!)

So it seems underweight might be the healthy norm for me.
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Old 11-16-20, 01:52 PM
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Maybe, maybe not. Only you can decide if it's something you need to ask a medical professional about. I can only say that sometimes you can be underweight and it not be an issue. Sometimes you can be overweight and it not be and issue.

Water weight gain/loss I can easily attribute to things I recently did or didn't have. Fat and muscle weight gain/loss are not something that I can point to recent items I ate or recent types of exercise I did or didn't do.
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Old 11-16-20, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Maybe, maybe not. Only you can decide if it's something you need to ask a medical professional about. I can only say that sometimes you can be underweight and it not be an issue. Sometimes you can be overweight and it not be and issue.

Water weight gain/loss I can easily attribute to things I recently did or didn't have. Fat and muscle weight gain/loss are not something that I can point to recent items I ate or recent types of exercise I did or didn't do.
If I look at it closely, it seems the benefits outweigh the minor issues I saw being underweight.

The minor issue is tiny bit of speed loss in downhill and flats. The benefits are generally, able to recover more quickly in between hard efforts, feels easier to climb, and greatly improved comfort in race geometry.

It also affected how much I rock the bike left and right when I'm out of the saddle. My 35 to 40 lbs bike is now a significant % of my 118 lbs weight so the bike is swaying less and my hips even more. Did not seem to affect my out of the saddle performance, even feels easier but now I kinda look goofy out of the saddle with my hips moving more than before.
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Old 11-16-20, 07:59 PM
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That's not unusual for someone with a small frame who's physically active and careful about their diet. There are many examples of slender boxers who were tall for their weight: bantamweight champion Carlos Zarate was listed as 5'8" (I don't believe the records that show him as 5'10") and weighed 118 at his peak; Manny Pacquiao is 5'5" or 5'6" and boxed between 112-126 lbs during his twenties (his later weight gain to 145-150 is almost certain aided by PEDs, as with many boxers who are able to evade testing -- there's too much money to be made in the elite levels of boxing to avoid the influence of bribes at every level including testing labs and doctors, as we learned from the Lance Armstrong era, and there is far less money involved in pro cycling than the elite level of boxing).

I'm 5'11" and boxed at 132 at my lightest, and up to light middleweight where I was really a bit overweight, but I have matchstick bones. Even at age 63 I can keep my weight around 150 without much difficulty or dietary sacrifice. I just exercise moderately, cut back on the beer, sugar and junk carbs. No crash diets, just a long, gradual and consistent process.

Can't say the lighter weight has helped me in cycling. I'm not any faster on hills than when I weighed 165 lbs. But we don't have any serious climbs here, no mountains, not even any consistent 3% or steeper grades that go for a mile or more without at least a false flat or brief plateau. I just keep my weight down for the sake of my overall health, after observing the effects of obesity and poor diet on many family members.
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Old 11-16-20, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
That's not unusual for someone with a small frame who's physically active and careful about their diet. There are many examples of slender boxers who were tall for their weight: bantamweight champion Carlos Zarate was listed as 5'8" (I don't believe the records that show him as 5'10") and weighed 118 at his peak; Manny Pacquiao is 5'5" or 5'6" and boxed between 112-126 lbs during his twenties (his later weight gain to 145-150 is almost certain aided by PEDs, as with many boxers who are able to evade testing -- there's too much money to be made in the elite levels of boxing to avoid the influence of bribes at every level including testing labs and doctors, as we learned from the Lance Armstrong era, and there is far less money involved in pro cycling than the elite level of boxing).

I'm 5'11" and boxed at 132 at my lightest, and up to light middleweight where I was really a bit overweight, but I have matchstick bones. Even at age 63 I can keep my weight around 150 without much difficulty or dietary sacrifice. I just exercise moderately, cut back on the beer, sugar and junk carbs. No crash diets, just a long, gradual and consistent process.

Can't say the lighter weight has helped me in cycling. I'm not any faster on hills than when I weighed 165 lbs. But we don't have any serious climbs here, no mountains, not even any consistent 3% or steeper grades that go for a mile or more without at least a false flat or brief plateau. I just keep my weight down for the sake of my overall health, after observing the effects of obesity and poor diet on many family members.
That's very comforting to know! Big fan of Manny Pacquiao. Manny is a legend not just for his achievements but his extremely humble beginnings as a boxer in impoverished conditions. He trained on a tree, a literal tree, having no money for training!If you didn't knew him, you'd probably laugh!

I also train under a non-existent budget, a wally-quality bike and I definitely look up to Manny as inspiration!

But yeah, I lost track of monitoring my weight. Anyway, I checked again this morning (before breakfast and after the loo), my weight has gone up to 121 lbs (just one decimal pt under normal weight). Ate lots of sandwich and rice yesterday to try to gain some pounds.

I might head up to the mountains today and see how much I lose weight tomorrow.
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Old 11-17-20, 07:14 AM
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I just rode up this mountain just right outside our city, the first time I came out of the city. There was plenty of long >20% gradients with only very short relief of smaller gradients or downhills in between!! I Glad my CX bike had 50/34 ring and 13 to 32t so didn't have to walk my bike up, although I looked quite goofy struggling out of the saddle for only 8 km/hr!

I went from 122 lbs before the ride and ended up 117 lbs after the ride. It was the first time I went up a mountain and the hardest climb I ever did so far (I very rarely get the chance to ride outside the city)
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Old 11-17-20, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
I just rode up this mountain just right outside our city, the first time I came out of the city. There was plenty of long >20% gradients with only very short relief of smaller gradients or downhills in between!! I Glad my CX bike had 50/34 ring and 13 to 32t so didn't have to walk my bike up, although I looked quite goofy struggling out of the saddle for only 8 km/hr!

I went from 122 lbs before the ride and ended up 117 lbs after the ride. It was the first time I went up a mountain and the hardest climb I ever did so far (I very rarely get the chance to ride outside the city)
What was the total ascent? At those low speeds, I do better sitting. The bike rather stops when my pedal hits the bottom. Or maybe I haven't figured out how to pedal circles while standing.
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Old 11-17-20, 08:20 PM
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At your weight you're probably at the point where only a lighter bike and wheelset will matter on climbs. I switch between my lighter weight road bikes and 30+ lb hybrids on the same routes, and there's a significant difference in climbing speed/time. Not as much difference on flat terrain. And none on downhills -- some of my fastest downhill times were on heavy hybrids. Besides weight the more upright, less aero position on the hybrids makes a big difference.

But it all contributes to my overall fitness and I often prefer to do longer, lower effort rides on my hybrids or least-aero older steel road bike, because after 90 minutes comfort matters more to me than speed. Old injuries to my neck, back and shoulder limit the time I can spend without pain on my more aero road bikes.
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Old 11-18-20, 02:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
What was the total ascent? At those low speeds, I do better sitting. The bike rather stops when my pedal hits the bottom. Or maybe I haven't figured out how to pedal circles while standing.
Only 1200 ft. My speed is under 10 kph in those ascents, out of the saddle in very low 34 / 32 gearing so it's really steep! I fear the bike would stop if I sat down.

I alternated sat down and standing with the same 34/32 gear when the gradient got a bit less.

I only saw three cyclists going the other direction (they all took the easier way up on the other side of the mountain. All were riding MTBs which is not surprising. They have those granny gears to simply spin at very easy gears on the way up. One of them took a horrified look at me, probably from seeing me with a road bike on the wrong side of the mountain!

I'm probably going to return to the mountain tomorrow and the weekends. I'm totally shocked at how different OOS feels in very steep gradients. It's definitely harder or I'm probably in too low gear (fear probably got the best of me and I panicked to shift to the lowest gear possible, lol!)

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Old 11-18-20, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
At your weight you're probably at the point where only a lighter bike and wheelset will matter on climbs. I switch between my lighter weight road bikes and 30+ lb hybrids on the same routes, and there's a significant difference in climbing speed/time. Not as much difference on flat terrain. And none on downhills -- some of my fastest downhill times were on heavy hybrids. Besides weight the more upright, less aero position on the hybrids makes a big difference.

But it all contributes to my overall fitness and I often prefer to do longer, lower effort rides on my hybrids or least-aero older steel road bike, because after 90 minutes comfort matters more to me than speed. Old injuries to my neck, back and shoulder limit the time I can spend without pain on my more aero road bikes.
I agree. At my weight, the bike is a signficant % of my weight. Wouldn't be surprising that heavy bike will excel on downhills....If you didn't have to brake!

I actually found a hill just outside our city with a monster climb near the one I climbed recently. It's almost as severe as Italy's Muro di Sormano. The one I found is just a few hundred meters shorter than Muro di Sormano (it's 1.3 km long) but seems to have higher average gradient. I have doubts about completing the climb without walking the rest of the way up. I should probably train first in the less severe climbs in the nearby mountain before attempting it.

I may be quite lightweight but I'm still a bit weak in terms of aerobic capacity. I've only started cycling 5 months ago. In long enough sections of very steep climbs, my lungs burn out much sooner than my legs. I feel like running out of air sooner than I could no longer tolerate the pain in my legs. I reach my aerobic limit sooner than anaerobic limit in climbs like these.

Maybe it's the mask in my face and I might do better without the mask but it's law here to wear mask outdoors without exceptions, even if you're doing a big climb up long and very steep gradients!
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Old 11-19-20, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
I suspect I might have shed bone mass although my daily diet is high in calcium.


No.
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Old 11-23-20, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
I did not bother to check my weight for a few weeks and when I did, I found I just dipped down to 118 lbs now. I have height of 5'8" and at 118 lbs, my BMI (body mass index) would be 17.9 which will make me underweight.

I used to be 124 lbs the last time I checked with BMI of 18.9 (normal weight but only very slightly above underweigh)

I checked myself in the mirror and couldn't tell if I lost weight by the look. I still have beefy arms, chest, and quads. I suspect I might have shed bone mass although my daily diet is high in calcium.

Otherwise, I feet great, no issues on the bike. No problem in all my bones, joints, and muscles. My diet since I was 124 lbs for two months hasn't changed.

Would underweight be a problem if I don't feel anything wrong or out of place?
at 5'8" and 118 lbs, you're about 60 lbs away from being able to say you have "beefy" anything.
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Old 11-23-20, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by OBoile View Post
at 5'8" and 118 lbs, you're about 60 lbs away from being able to say you have "beefy" anything.
It's relative. Compared to how I looked before.

Perhaps, my smaller waist gave that illusion. My chest got bigger too but I suppose that's from the increased chest cavity (mostly empty space) from all these training.
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Old 11-24-20, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
It's relative. Compared to how I looked before.

Perhaps, my smaller waist gave that illusion. My chest got bigger too but I suppose that's from the increased chest cavity (mostly empty space) from all these training.
You've made some extremely bizarre claims after you 5-6 months of cycling.

1) Losing or gaining a few lbs from water weight is 100% normal. 2) Said loss of a few lbs has zero to do with losing bone mass. 3) You do not have empty chest cavity space that makes your chest look bigger. 4) Your obsession with weight (as noted by the dozen + posts you've made about it) is not a good thing. Being super light is not a good thing when you have no power. It's way, way, way better to be heavier and put out substantially more power.
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Old 11-24-20, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
You've made some extremely bizarre claims after you 5-6 months of cycling.

1) Losing or gaining a few lbs from water weight is 100% normal. 2) Said loss of a few lbs has zero to do with losing bone mass. 3) You do not have empty chest cavity space that makes your chest look bigger. 4) Your obsession with weight (as noted by the dozen + posts you've made about it) is not a good thing. Being super light is not a good thing when you have no power. It's way, way, way better to be heavier and put out substantially more power.
#2 is only my speculation.

My weight seemed to have stabilized at 120 lbs. I just like being light. Most roads in my country are poorly-maintained, very bumpy. Being light avoids hurting yourself in these jarring rides for long periods.

Being light leads to better comfort in hot and humid tropical climate (the climate in my country), faster recovery (during and post-rides), makes climbing mountains a lot easier (my favorite cycling activity).

It's simply more physiologically sustainable. My knees never hurt even if I do lots of out of the saddle climbs for long periods.
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Old 11-24-20, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
You've made some extremely bizarre claims after you 5-6 months of cycling.

1) Losing or gaining a few lbs from water weight is 100% normal. 2) Said loss of a few lbs has zero to do with losing bone mass. 3) You do not have empty chest cavity space that makes your chest look bigger. 4) Your obsession with weight (as noted by the dozen + posts you've made about it) is not a good thing. Being super light is not a good thing when you have no power. It's way, way, way better to be heavier and put out substantially more power.
This. Wout Van Aert and Filippo Ganna both won multiple grand tour stages (plus victories in other road races and/or on the track) while Rohan Dennis pretty much won the Giro for Geoghegan Hart on the penultimate stage. All of these guys are comfortably over 70kg. Even the top GC guys are generally heavier than 120 lbs. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any that are that light.
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Old 11-24-20, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by OBoile View Post
This. Wout Van Aert and Filippo Ganna both won multiple grand tour stages (plus victories in other road races and/or on the track) while Rohan Dennis pretty much won the Giro for Geoghegan Hart on the penultimate stage. All of these guys are comfortably over 70kg. Even the top GC guys are generally heavier than 120 lbs. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any that are that light.
Comfort, avoiding injury, heat adaptation, and climbing is why I like to be light.

We have very poorly maintained, very bumpy roads here. Less pain, less injury if I'm lighter. Also the hot and humid tropical climate most time of the year and I can cope better with the heat if I'm light (reduced fatigue).
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Old 11-24-20, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
#2 is only my speculation.

My weight seemed to have stabilized at 120 lbs. I just like being light. Most roads in my country are poorly-maintained, very bumpy. Being light avoids hurting yourself in these jarring rides for long periods.

Being light leads to better comfort in hot and humid tropical climate (the climate in my country), faster recovery (during and post-rides), makes climbing mountains a lot easier (my favorite cycling activity).

It's simply more physiologically sustainable. My knees never hurt even if I do lots of out of the saddle climbs for long periods.
Your speculation is 100% based on your imagination. It's just not real.

Yes. We know. You've said that 100 times about your roads. We got it.

Let's be clear. You're not 120 lbs because you are aiming to improve comfort in hot and humid conditions. You're 120 lbs because you're naturally a small framed person. I'm a natural 165 lb person and live in the southern U.S., and I get acclimated and "comfortable" in 75 degree dewpoints each summer as well, putting out significantly more power and climbing mountains significantly faster than you do. And I know a number of people that weigh more than I do and have more power and climb faster, too.

Being lightweight has nothing to do with recovery. And it only affects climbing in so much that you actually have power to move your weight up the climbs. My knees don't hurt climbing standing either. I don't do it because it's slower, though, and I like to go fast.

Weight is only one part of the equation, and too much focus on it has much further reaching negative effects than not worrying about it all and focusing on actual training instead.
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Old 11-24-20, 11:11 PM
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IMO there are two ways to look at optimal weight:

1) Performance. GT winners most frequently have BMIs of 21-22. There's a wider variation in the total rider population, more like 19-24, but the all-round GC riders are more like 21-22. So lighter is faster, but only to a certain point. My guess at the physiological reason for this is that everybody's basics weigh about the same: skin, bone, lungs, intestines, etc. Thus the optimal BMI needs to include a certain mass of muscle to move all the rest of it up the hill or down the flat.

2) Longevity. The BMI for optimal longevity has gone up over the past decade or so. Doctors think that improved medical care offsets the increased amount of bodyfat. Basically, it looks like around 24 is optimal. Why? My guess is that a certain amount of muscle and bone protects against injury. Injuries are what really bring us down, now like always. Break a leg and you're out of commission for a while. You lose muscle and clog up.

I've been at 23.5 for a while. Looking in the mirror, it's obvious that if I got down to 22.5, I'd look more like a good cyclist. I asked my doctor about losing more weight. She said, "Don't do it! You already participate in a sport known for low bone density. Getting lighter will not be helpful." Medical literature bears this out.

Live long and prosper. You'll live longer and be faster with more muscle.
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Old 11-25-20, 01:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
IMO there are two ways to look at optimal weight:

1) Performance. GT winners most frequently have BMIs of 21-22. There's a wider variation in the total rider population, more like 19-24, but the all-round GC riders are more like 21-22. So lighter is faster, but only to a certain point. My guess at the physiological reason for this is that everybody's basics weigh about the same: skin, bone, lungs, intestines, etc. Thus the optimal BMI needs to include a certain mass of muscle to move all the rest of it up the hill or down the flat.

2) Longevity. The BMI for optimal longevity has gone up over the past decade or so. Doctors think that improved medical care offsets the increased amount of bodyfat. Basically, it looks like around 24 is optimal. Why? My guess is that a certain amount of muscle and bone protects against injury. Injuries are what really bring us down, now like always. Break a leg and you're out of commission for a while. You lose muscle and clog up.

I've been at 23.5 for a while. Looking in the mirror, it's obvious that if I got down to 22.5, I'd look more like a good cyclist. I asked my doctor about losing more weight. She said, "Don't do it! You already participate in a sport known for low bone density. Getting lighter will not be helpful." Medical literature bears this out.

Live long and prosper. You'll live longer and be faster with more muscle.
2) won't work for me as I can't afford healthcare! It may sound like a false economy skipping on tests but in case they found cancer in there even at the very early stages, still very curable, I won't be able to afford the treatment. Average lifespans of my demography is below average due to poor healthcare and environmental factors, mainly stress, bad food, and pollution. I avoid junkfood and greasy foods instead. I avoid soda and coffee too. So no fast foods for me!! Except in group rides where we have to make a stop in fast food.

I've actually been ~120 lbs for the majority of my life. I hit 140 lbs during the times I was employed in a regular job not so long ago (due to many social activities involving alcohol and foods high in cholesterol!)

In nature, smaller and lighter animals are less likely to sustain injuries in a fall. Not like I get into accidents frequently but helps dealing with very bumpy roads to avoid hurting my wrists and knees.
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Old 11-25-20, 07:21 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
My knees don't hurt climbing standing either. I don't do it because it's slower, though, and I like to go fast.
At 165 lbs, you will indeed be more efficient and faster climbing seated according to studies on the subject.

I doubt you stand long enough though to hurt your knees (not advisable at your weight). I do it continuously for more than 10 minutes to be "punchy" when passing other cyclists in climbs in denser vehicular traffic. Standing will also "signal" other motorists and other cyclists to give you more space so might be safer.

I actually gain speed when I get out of the saddle in climbs. I shift up 2 to 3 cogs while keeping my out of the saddle cadence above 70 rpm. Many cyclists will drop down to 40 rpm where they lose speed but because 40 rpm is also "easy" when out of the saddle
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Old 11-25-20, 08:48 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
Comfort, avoiding injury, heat adaptation, and climbing is why I like to be light.

We have very poorly maintained, very bumpy roads here. Less pain, less injury if I'm lighter. Also the hot and humid tropical climate most time of the year and I can cope better with the heat if I'm light (reduced fatigue).
Less pain (where are you even getting pain from?) and less injury are very, very debatable.
Being light is good for managing heat. This is true. But you're a good 20 lbs away from being light.
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Old 11-25-20, 09:07 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
At 165 lbs, you will indeed be more efficient and faster climbing seated according to studies on the subject.

I doubt you stand long enough though to hurt your knees (not advisable at your weight). I do it continuously for more than 10 minutes to be "punchy" when passing other cyclists in climbs in denser vehicular traffic. Standing will also "signal" other motorists and other cyclists to give you more space so might be safer.

I actually gain speed when I get out of the saddle in climbs. I shift up 2 to 3 cogs while keeping my out of the saddle cadence above 70 rpm. Many cyclists will drop down to 40 rpm where they lose speed but because 40 rpm is also "easy" when out of the saddle
The point is, you being 120 lbs or 140 lbs or 160 lbs has nothing to do with climbing while standing hurting your knees or not.

It's a personal preference, just like your cadence of 70 rpm. Different people like different things.

I have no idea what you're talking about with 40 rpm being easy, or why you think many cyclists do this. I've never seen a cyclist intentionally do this as a regular thing when climbing.
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