Am I too heavy to be a climber?



MNcyclingKid

New Member
Aug 26, 2010
3
0
0
Hello, Im a 15 year old junior cyclist. Last year was my first year doing serious cycling, and I discovered that not only do I love the sport, I'm also quite good at it. I could really use some advice, or rather, somone to knock some sense into me. During the summer I trained with a friend, and road with the local shops. On the thursday rides (the longer ride of the week on a hilly route) I discovered my talent for climbing. The group on the thursday rides consists of cat4 and cat5 racers, masters, triathletes, and mostly regular people wanting to get out on a road ride. On my first ride with the group, i was extremely nervous and hung out in the middle of the group, but once we aproached our first climb, I dug in and shot up. I didnt intend to beat anyone up the hill, but on every climb I was either leading the pack or in the top group. Anyways... during that summer of riding with shops, finnishing my first few centuries, and even trying out a road race, my climbing improved, and now, as I start planning out my first real structured year of training for a full summer of racing, I'm starting to wonder if I really am a climber, or perhaps a sprinter that excells on small climbs. I say this because of A. my build, and B. the "climbs" where I live are usually short, fairly steep hills in the country, rather than real climbs. According to the cyclist training bible, climbers usually have a bmi of less than 20. Im 5' 7" and weigh 135lbs. I'm wondering if perhaps a climber is not my build because the more I think about it, my really skill is my explosive bursts of power up hills, rather than maintaining a steady speed up, say, a mountain. Perhaps this post is a waste of time, and I'm just rambling off for no apperent reason, but I just would like to know what kind of rider other more experienced cyclists think I am, based on the info ive given. I think Im a tad heavy to be a climber, and not big enough to really be a sprinter. By the way, I just went to a physical, and I was told that I can't afford to lose any weight because i have hardly an ounce of fat on me, but then where does this put me? Thanks for anyone still reading this! Joe
 

kdelong

Well-Known Member
Dec 14, 2006
3,477
134
48
Joe, why worry about being classified as a climber or a sprinter? By the way, if you were told that you can't afford to lose any more weight because you hardly have an ounce of fat on you, then your BMI is probably below 20. Anyway, just get a good training schedule going and compete, and if you can exploit your explosive sprints, then do it. If you are a natural climber, it will come in handy too. Just don't assume that you are and make sure that you practice hill climbing. If you get a chance to get to some mountains, then you can find out if you are a climber or not. But don't get hung up on labels because labels don't win races. Work on becoming a well rounded cyclist because specialists don't succeed in the long run, only the riders who can do everything well succeed.
 
  • Like
Reactions: vspa and SierraSlim

swampy1970

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2008
10,079
387
83
Originally Posted by MNcyclingKid .

AHello, Im a 15 year old junior cyclist. Last year was my first year doing serious cycling, and I discovered that not only do I love the sport, I'm also quite good at it. I could really use some advice, or rather, somone to knock some sense into me. During the summer I trained with a friend, and road with the local shops. On the thursday rides (the longer ride of the week on a hilly route) I discovered my talent for climbing. The group on the thursday rides consists of cat4 and cat5 racers, masters, triathletes, and mostly regular people wanting to get out on a road ride. On my first ride with the group, i was extremely nervous and hung out in the middle of the group, but once we aproached our first climb, I dug in and shot up. I didnt intend to beat anyone up the hill, but on every climb I was either leading the pack or in the top group. Anyways... during that summer of riding with shops, finnishing my first few centuries, and even trying out a road race, my climbing improved, and now, as I start planning out my first real structured year of training for a full summer of racing, I'm starting to wonder if I really am a climber, or perhaps a sprinter that excells on small climbs. I say this because of A. my build, and B. the "climbs" where I live are usually short, fairly steep hills in the country, rather than real climbs. According to the cyclist training bible, climbers usually have a bmi of less than 20. Im 5' 7" and weigh 135lbs. I'm wondering if perhaps a climber is not my build because the more I think about it, my really skill is my explosive bursts of power up hills, rather than maintaining a steady speed up, say, a mountain. Perhaps this post is a waste of time, and I'm just rambling off for no apperent reason, but I just would like to know what kind of rider other more experienced cyclists think I am, based on the info ive given. I think Im a tad heavy to be a climber, and not big enough to really be a sprinter. By the way, I just went to a physical, and I was told that I can't afford to lose any weight because i have hardly an ounce of fat on me, but then where does this put me? Thanks for anyone still reading this! Joe
135lb is nothing. Hit the hills with everything you have and ride then to where you're just about to puke if it was another 10% longer. See if you can make people suffer - if not, keep training and keep trying. If after 5 years you've got nowhere then you're not a climber. You'll not be able to tell during the first year unless you're unGodly talented.

Just a couple of points:

Physicals. They're for "average Joe" - racing cyclists tend not to be your average Joe. For the racing cyclist they're good for only telling you if you have a potentially serious issue. Andy Schleck is 6ft and 135lbs and has won no Tours or big mountain stages in the Tour by a massive margin... Miguel Indurain, 5 times Tour winner, was ~6ft and closer to 175lbs. That didn't stop him from going up hills stupidily fast.

Racing. Go have fun. At 15 you should just be going out there trying all the different types of racing - crits, TT's, road races, cyclocross, MTB, track. Race whatever you can either afford to do or beg/borrow a bike to have a go at.

Type. Determine your riding "type" based upon actual racing results after a few years of racing. You'll probably find that what you think you suck at is what you'll probably excel at... It's weird how often that happens to people who color themselves with a given label. Go race for a few years, smash your brains out when required and judge based on results. Have fun - because smashing your brains in is brilliant fun, especially if you're a little better than the rest of the folks you're racing with because you know that they're suffering more than you.
 

MNcyclingKid

New Member
Aug 26, 2010
3
0
0
Thanks for the responses! Perhaps I was taking things too seriously. I think the most important thing will be training my ass off now so that once the races come around, I'll be ready for whatever I want to do, wether its a RR, a TT, or a crit.
 

steve

Administrator
Staff member
Aug 12, 2001
5,284
392
83
Excellent reply swampy! I couldn't agree more, at 15 race and have fun.
 

arb2583

New Member
Aug 24, 2008
1
0
0
Serious ciclists it's way of life... be fun... just be fun... 15 years old isn't a age to be worried about performance...
 

finnrambo

New Member
Jun 6, 2010
136
2
0
definetly not too heavy charteau won the polka dot this year in the Tour and he's 150 pounds
 

Scotttri

Member
Oct 11, 2005
955
8
0
40
BMI is not an accurate indication of much for anyone, your body make up ie bone density fat levels etc.. do not even come into calculation with BMI all it is, is a simple height to weight ratio for a realy basic indication of weather you are in a healthy weight range or not. Having said that I have a friend who had a BMI of 32 yet had a body fat percentage of just under 10%. As people have said get out there and train and race you'll work out where your strengths are soon enough.
 
  • Like
Reactions: steve

ttscoaching

New Member
Dec 19, 2010
2
0
0
[SIZE= small][COLOR= navy]MNCyclingKid,[/COLOR][/SIZE]

[SIZE= small][COLOR= navy]It's brilliant that you're making these discoveries in your cycling. It does sound like you've got some natural talent for going up the short, punchy hills and that can be a big benefit in road racing. That ability can translate well to sprinting too. There will likely be a time in the next couple of years when you get to travel to ride some longer, sustained climbs. That "tempo" climbing is a different animal but one way you can begin to visit the elements needed for success is to develop your steady state riding. Long, uninterrupted climbs and time trials share that essence of steady, sustained power. Find one ride a week that's addresses a longer duration interval (start at 6 min and extend progressively to 8, 10.....18 min) of steady, seated power and by starting this early (15 years old is nice and early) you can develop your ability to draw this out over time and hold better on long climbs of 30+ minutes. [/COLOR][/SIZE]
 

frankiemuniz01

New Member
Feb 10, 2011
28
2
0
The group is separating which makes it insanely more difficult to draft. coming thought the final turn, I stood up and laid in the acceleration, sprinting. One guy next to me was doing the same, and he was just a hair faster than I, but he couldn't hold it for the duration and I edged out in front. I passed two other riders who had were not sprinting. It doesn't really mean anything since I am no where near the top 20 among this 105 riders present. Yeah, there was quite the turnout for the first race of the season. End result, I am happy with my performance today. And as I said earlier, I still have all my skin.
 

MichaelVahlsing

New Member
Mar 3, 2011
12
0
0
Have you attempted any categorized climbs? Try finding a long hill to wind out on and see how you fare. And DO. NOT try to maintain a lower weight in an effort to become a climber! At 15, like it or not, you're in the middle of a major growing phase - puberty, maybe you've heard of it? You're likely to gain some height and weight over the coming 3-5 years. Ride like he'll while your body can take it - what you train your body to do now in the way of metabolism and muscle development will help you when you stop growing!
 

FXmomto3

New Member
Mar 2, 2011
7
0
0
I'm new to cycling, so can't really add anything much intelligent to this post, but I've enjoyed reading the responses....I just wanted to say your post reminded me of a story...apparently NASA, when studying aerodynamics, studied the bumble bee....they concluded that the bumble bee was too round, not strong enough, and too heavy to fly....but since nobody told the bumble bee this, he continues to fly !
 

daveryanwyoming

Well-Known Member
Oct 3, 2006
3,857
190
0
Originally Posted by FXmomto3 .

.....apparently NASA, when studying aerodynamics, studied the bumble bee....they concluded that the bumble bee was too round, not strong enough, and too heavy to fly....but since nobody told the bumble bee this, he continues to fly !
Nasa huh?

That's a new take on a very old myth: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bumblebee#Flight
http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/5400/title/Math_Trek__Flight_of_the_Bumblebee

But I'm with you in spirit, if you like hills and want to be 'a climber' get out and climb a lot and don't let anyone tell you you can't!
-Dave
 

FXmomto3

New Member
Mar 2, 2011
7
0
0
Originally Posted by daveryanwyoming .



Nasa huh?

That's a new take on a very old myth: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bumblebee#Flight
http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/5400/title/Math_Trek__Flight_of_the_Bumblebee

But I'm with you in spirit, if you like hills and want to be 'a climber' get out and climb a lot and don't let anyone tell you you can't!
-Dave

LOL I'd never actually seen it before in writing....but yeah, Nasa was what was always used when the story was told to me....Thanks for the history on it ! (can we just say I said it that way for brevity? haha)