Advantages / Disadvantages of being small.

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by d_paul1, May 27, 2005.

  1. d_paul1

    d_paul1 New Member

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    I’m very small cyclist. My height is 163 cm (5’4”) and my weight is 53 kg (117 pounds), fat about 8%. Would I ever be able to develop a good sprint or high power at 1, 5 or 20 min? I know that I should be fast on the hills, but can I become fast on the flats as well?

    My 20 min power is about 230W (analytically tested on the different hills). It is just impossible to be in breakaway group with the power I have.
    Your thoughts.

    P.S. Do you think that it is possible to lose weight for me? Some cyclists have a BMI 17 and fat of 3%. Can achieve this?
     
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  2. FastFly

    FastFly New Member

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    I am 5'8" 128lbs 5.1%. I can not knowledgable enough to talk about gaining more power, but I would not lose weight from 117lbs to drop your Body fat percentage.

    If possible lift alittle bit with more protein in your diet and see if you can increase your lean body mass. If you gain say 6-7lbs in just lean body mass. This would drop your body fat percentage to atleast 7.5%, and with the added lean body mass you can be assured you will have a bit more power and with this increase, your metabolism should speed up alittle and assist in droping your BF% even lower.

    (inexperience cyclist)
     
  3. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    However, if he lifts he will lose fitness over any duration of more than a few seconds resulting in worse power/fitness. If he added ~ 3kg, he would most likely be slower over the durations required.

    Most people eat sufficient protein and/or eat way too much protein in general. Protein requirements for endurance cycling performance at the highest level are the highest for sports (~ 2.0 g of protein per kg body mass) but even this should/could be met by a normal diet, even for e.g., ovo-lactose vegetarians.


    To answer the original poster, i *think* there are some male road pros of your size or about your size, so it shouldn't stop you. And of course, you can and should aim to increase your fitness. Training to increase your power during a sprint and 1-minute (which you may need to increase for e.g., road racing) aren't related to increasing your power over e.g., 5 and 20-mins, as these are more dependent on VO2 max, and LT, whereas the former durations are more dependent on neurmuscular power and anaerobic capacity respectively.

    Ric
     
  4. mattv2099

    mattv2099 New Member

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    Miguel Martinez, Olympic and World champion on the mountain bike is about your size. (5'3 or 5'4 and about 120#). But he made the switch to road pro and he didn't have the same success as he did on the mountain bike. But he's a fast mofo nonetheless. His size does not hold him back.
     
  5. andrello

    andrello New Member

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    Jose' Rujano Guillen of team Selle Italia-Colombia is your size, and he's presently going into the last stage of the Giro in 3rd place overall. There are/have been many great climbers exactly your size. I think Marco Pantani was your size as well, although the Italians will tell you he was 10 feet tall :)
     
  6. Conniebiker

    Conniebiker New Member

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    230w is very respectable. I put out an average of 180w for sustained race efforts(not hard sprints).
    I would look at optimizing your aerodynamics, since you do have an advantage there. Your strengths as a smaller person are lower aerodynamic profile drag and higher cranking speed. Think japanese car vs detroit muscle. The japanese car can produce the same horsepower output as the detroit car, but the smaller engine has to spin faster to do it. Shorter legs along with optimized cranks(shorter possibly) and propper shifting will produce good speeds. You will probbably have to train for this though, since high cadence riding is not neccesarily normal to a lot of people.(I learned it for trail races, and watching lance:cool:).
    One more aspect that can be a concern is vehicle wieght. With less rider wieght, the bike proportionately wieghs more than the relationship to a heavier rider. The effect is fairly evident, as is the solution. On the flats however, aero and mechanical efficiency are more important.
     
  7. bikeguy

    bikeguy New Member

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    20 minutes @ 230 watts is ok, but probably not for competitive cycling. For comparison, I can put out about 350 w for 40 min (measured on an indoor erg). I weigh a lot more though, 78 kg. I also burn out bad in going over 3 hours, and my power output may drop to 150 watts.

    Smaller riders tend to do better on (steeper) gradients, where the speed you ride up the hill is almost linearly related to power output. On the flats, because frontal area tends to scale as BodyMass to the power of 2/3 while power output scales linearly with body weight, heavier riders do better in flat TT's. Miguel Indurain is probably the best example of this, and also a 5 time TdF winner.

    Don't let that hold you back though, for me I feel like a big lunk and wonder if I can ever be good at long distance races but I keep on trying.

    -Bikeguy
     
  8. bikeguy

    bikeguy New Member

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    An addition... power output scales linearly but not 1:1 with bodyweight. Smaller cyclists in general will always have a better power/weight ratio. Also true of strength events.

    -Bikeguy
     
  9. wilmar13

    wilmar13 New Member

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    Paolo Betinni Olymic RR gold medal winner and World RR champion is 5'6" and 125lbs... so don't let your size worry you, as everyone else said, it is a combination of power to frontal area(flats) and power to weight(climb) that determines how fast you are relative to others.

    Other advantages for smaller riders:
    - great drafting (you get bigger benefit from larger guys, and rob them of recovery when they are on your wheel)
    - spend less on food
    - two water bottles enough for a long ride
    - your bike will fit in your car easier
    :D
     
  10. bikeguy

    bikeguy New Member

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    Wilmar13 wrote:

    Other advantages for smaller riders:
    - great drafting (you get bigger benefit from larger guys, and rob them of recovery when they are on your wheel)

    This is true. Wheelsucking is extra advantageous for smaller riders.

    -Bikeguy
     
  11. Eden

    Eden New Member

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    Can't disagree there at 5'0" 107 lbs I get a great draft from my 6'4" husband, but conversely I blow around like a leaf in headwinds and crosswinds.
     
  12. mises

    mises New Member

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    4.3 watts/kg is not bad at all, puts you squarely into the Cat2 zone on Coggan's 20 minute chart (assuming you are male). Sprinting is something you can certainly develop (Zabel is only 144 lbs or so, not exactly a giant) but your biggest advantage will be on uphills so base your tactics accordingly and don't train so much on other areas that you lose your biggest asset. In the US of A you just have to pick your spots and realize that 99.9% of the races are just not winnable unless you get lucky because races in the USA are the cycling version of NASCAR and favor muscle cars.

    At 8% you could lose some fat but it's very difficult for most people to stay under 8% all year long. Below 6% and depending on the individual there can start being a number of health issues like immune dysfunction, bone loss and others.
     
  13. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    just to point out that Andy removed those labels (e.g., cat 2, etc) as the tables/profiling wasn't meant to be used in that way (i.e., identify category). The table has descriptors such as well trained, etc now.

    ric
     
  14. d_paul1

    d_paul1 New Member

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    It is good that Coggan removed those labels (cat 1, cat 2). I knew that I’m in cat 2, but yesterday I barely kept with the group of Cat “C” riders (easiest category in Ireland) in evening race.:(

    The strange thing is that I naturally put my cadence in 70-80 zone during hard efforts and only when my legs start burning I notice that I’m in the wrong gear. BTW during winter I always went on 90-110 rpm.:confused:

    P.S. It is really encouraging that there are few pros of my size that are very good. I especially like Jose' Rujano, he is even smaller than me.
    And another question, when I’m behind one rider or in the small pack, should I be riding on drops?
     
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