Question about calories for heavy riders



Mr. Beanz

Well-Known Member
Aug 18, 2015
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So, this is info from Strava. I have shown high numbers of burned calories on strava over a period of years. A buddy has commented that he thinks the number if way off. I entered my weight into strava so the only thing I can think of for the high numbers is that I outweigh ALL of my ride partners by 80+ pounds. I am 250 and he is 170. The gal we rode with is about 130 (?). My buddy is about 5'8 and I am 6'1 so a pretty good difference in height too. Though this has noting to do with calories but showing that I am much bigger in stature and therefore adds to my weight as well.

I don't pay attention to calories myself on rides. But he does as I can see ha ha ha!

So we did a 30 mile ride last night with 1600 ft of gain. I finished with a speed of .1 faster than he did. I did not even notice that till I started looking at stats to see the difference in calories burned. I do know that he sat on my wheel for 90% of the ride then sprinted around on the climbs. But I don't use a powermeter of any monitors so I don't know how that would show my effort on strava other than the numbers they provide.

So as an example, there is one climb only 1/3 of a mile at 7% grade. Pitches of 14% according to Strava. He went around me and sprinted up the climb so I figured I'd chase him for fun. I let him know I was chasing him so it was no surprise.

He beat me up the little climb by 4 seconds.

There are a series of hills like this. Longest is 1 mile at 5%. He beat me up the climb by 25 seconds. He was trying to set a PR and I was just making my way up at a good effort but not going all out knowing he sucked my wheel. I don't usually race riders up a hill after they suck wheel to get there and don't do their share so I didn't go all out. Though I figure I could have taken off a few seconds had I tried.

So though he does beat me up the hills, and should carrying 80 pounds less, I am not far behind.

So I am thinking the big difference in calories burned must be the amount of weight that I carry on rides registering on Strava.

His calories on Strava burned on the ride, 971 calories.

Our female partner, .................................., 881 calories.
Would make sense as she is lighter and a minute behind on some of the climbs.

My calories, ...............................................2500 calories.

What would be the difference?

FTR, he is using a heart rate monitor. She is not using one and neither am I.
 
No idea.

But I have a power meter and for a long time Strava used to show me estimated Calories instead of measured kJ (for cyclists kJ and Calories are about equal).

The estimated numbers were way off on the high side.

Strava now shows the measured values if you have a power meter.
 
It's well known that power and calorie estimates on Strava are not very accurate. The fix to that is a power meter.
 
So, this is info from Strava. I have shown high numbers of burned calories on strava over a period of years. A buddy has commented that he thinks the number if way off. I entered my weight into strava so the only thing I can think of for the high numbers is that I outweigh ALL of my ride partners by 80+ pounds. I am 250 and he is 170. The gal we rode with is about 130 (?). My buddy is about 5'8 and I am 6'1 so a pretty good difference in height too. Though this has noting to do with calories but showing that I am much bigger in stature and therefore adds to my weight as well.

I don't pay attention to calories myself on rides. But he does as I can see ha ha ha!

So we did a 30 mile ride last night with 1600 ft of gain. I finished with a speed of .1 faster than he did. I did not even notice that till I started looking at stats to see the difference in calories burned. I do know that he sat on my wheel for 90% of the ride then sprinted around on the climbs. But I don't use a powermeter of any monitors so I don't know how that would show my effort on strava other than the numbers they provide.

So as an example, there is one climb only 1/3 of a mile at 7% grade. Pitches of 14% according to Strava. He went around me and sprinted up the climb so I figured I'd chase him for fun. I let him know I was chasing him so it was no surprise.

He beat me up the little climb by 4 seconds.

There are a series of hills like this. Longest is 1 mile at 5%. He beat me up the climb by 25 seconds. He was trying to set a PR and I was just making my way up at a good effort but not going all out knowing he sucked my wheel. I don't usually race riders up a hill after they suck wheel to get there and don't do their share so I didn't go all out. Though I figure I could have taken off a few seconds had I tried.

So though he does beat me up the hills, and should carrying 80 pounds less, I am not far behind.

So I am thinking the big difference in calories burned must be the amount of weight that I carry on rides registering on Strava.

His calories on Strava burned on the ride, 971 calories.

Our female partner, .................................., 881 calories.
Would make sense as she is lighter and a minute behind on some of the climbs.

My calories, ...............................................2500 calories.

What would be the difference?

FTR, he is using a heart rate monitor. She is not using one and neither am I.

Strava calories are bare estimations. Use Body Mass index to compare yourself to your riding partners. It sounds to me like you are nearly the same as your male riding counterpart. I burn off my winter layer of fat VERY slowly since I don't change my eating habits, just my riding distances with the seasons.
 
Hey there!

You bring up an interesting point about Strava calories. I agree, they're just estimations and can sometimes be a bit off. When it comes to comparing yourself to your riding partners, using Body Mass Index (BMI) is a more accurate way to gauge things. It sounds like you're pretty close to being on par with your male riding counterpart, which is great!

As for burning off that winter layer of fat, I can relate. It can be a slow process, especially if you don't make significant changes to your eating habits. But don't worry, you're not alone. Many cyclists focus on increasing their riding distances as the seasons change while keeping their caloric intake consistent.

When it comes to effective communication and strategies within a road race, one important aspect is peloton dynamics. Riding in a team and working together can make a huge difference in a race. Forming a cohesive unit and harnessing the power of drafting can give your team a significant advantage. This means staying close to one another and communicating effectively, whether it's through verbal cues or subtle gestures.

Additionally, understanding team-based cycling tactics is crucial. Things like establishing a lead-out train for a sprint finish or setting up a breakaway can greatly impact the outcome of a race. It's all about leveraging the strengths of your teammates and working together towards a common goal.

So, while Strava can provide some insights, don't forget to focus on the bigger picture of team dynamics and strategies within a road race. Keep pushing those pedals and enjoying the thrill of the ride!

Happy cycling! ‍♂️