's Forum Archives - Racing

Archive Home >> Racing(1 2 3 )

Difference in difficulty among Categories(10 posts)

Difference in difficulty among CategoriesDougSloan
Aug 30, 2002 7:53 AM
A thread below raised the issue. I'd like to hit it head on, though.

Lemond said, "It doesn't get easier, you just go faster," when describing the climb to higher ranks in cycling. Is the opposite true, though -- "it gets harder, and you go faster"?

In other words, for those who have worked their way up the ranks, and excluding the gifted ones who fly up the Cats thanks to god-like VO2 max numbers, how does racing in the 1's compare to racing in the 4's compare? Does it hurt more?

I read a few months ago in a RoadBikeRider newsletter that the difference between pro races and amateur races is largely peak power. The author noted that measure average watts in some pro races was around 150-175 watts, but peak power was around 1,000 watts. Judging from Computrainer numbers from my rides recently (but I'm in terrible shape), I can easily average 175 watts, but in road race conditions, I'm limited to about 450-500 watts, lest I blow for good (excluding final sprint).

I've rarely seen anyone dropped in any race on the flats, where sitting in at 25 mph probably means output of about 125 watts. As we know, the dropping occurs on climbs and surges. The question is, does it really hurt more to hit those higher peak output numbers, or are the riders just in better condition?

Where Did You Get Your Average Wattage Nos?Jon Billheimer
Aug 30, 2002 9:03 AM

I think your average power output numbers are way low. I recall seeing some numbers from the Tour d'Laude for women that were higher than the averages you quote. For instance, a 150 lb. rider requires about 300 watts to pedal a bike 25 kph in calm wind conditions. So I'd guess that to sit in under similar circumstances would require something on the order of 225 to 240 watts.

Regardless, your question is interesting. I bet you get a variety of opinions.
One quick obvious difference:shirt
Aug 30, 2002 9:36 AM
1/2/Pro races are always the longest. Forgetting the QUALITY of the pain for a moment, understand that whatever pain there is lasts longer.
MMMMmmm, QUALITY PAIN. (nm)Spunout
Aug 31, 2002 5:19 PM
My power experienceozone
Aug 30, 2002 10:25 AM
I did one race with my Power tap on during the year. It was a fairly short (56 miles) CAT 3 race. My avg watts were right about 175 for the race. Just because you average 175 watts during a race it is rare that you are actually doing 175 watts. In the pacK you may be going at 100 watts but come around a corner and I would see 800+ watts of peak power at least 12 times during the race. I was also in a short attack with a sustained watts of about 350 for 10min.

To answer you question does it get more difficult. The big difference is in the distance and time. Going as hard as you can in any catagory hurts. As you upgrade it will get more difficult to do well and your time training increases. It does get more difficult but the Pain remains the same.
re: Difference in difficulty among CategoriesIcemanG17
Aug 30, 2002 8:08 PM
I read an article in Cyclesport magazine which stated LT power as a measure to determine which catagory you should race in. If I remember correctly it was something like this:

430+ watts= Semi Pro/Pro
300-400 watts= Expert
250-300 watts= Sport
under 250 watts= recreational

the article was written my Edmund Burke, so he know what he's talking about...BTW Lance's LT power is 525 watts (but Miguel Indurains was 575!)....I also saw a graph of a Pro riders power output over a classics race....the overall average (not the winner...just a domestic) was over 300 watts for 6+ hours....surges to 600+ followed by 100 watt sections...thats crazy....I can hold 300 watts for maybe 10 minutes if I'm feeling good......but that really hurts, then again I'm not exactly a pro
re: Difference in difficulty among CategoriesCARBON110
Aug 31, 2002 8:56 AM
My average power today at the 1st stage of the GMSR was 175 with surghes up to 640. It has two good hills and was 54 miles long. Tomorrow though is 78 miles and huge climbs. I bet my average will be alot higher. Doug is right on according to my SRM that I calibrate every time I race to make sure its accurate. Good subject Doug.
re: Difference in difficulty among CategoriesSherpa23
Sep 2, 2002 6:36 AM
From my SRM files: the average power for a pro race can be as low as 190 for a 100k criterium to an average of 260 for a 75 min hilly crcuit race. The longer road races are around 200. My max wattages, which are 2 second averages, are usually not less than 1450 watts or so and the highest that I have seen in any of these races is 1620. In short, I think that you averages might be about right but the max wattage of 1000 is very, very low. Although, one of my good friends is a TdF competitor and a top climber and he says that he has never seen 1000w. I always tell him he lying but he swears it's true so take it any way you want. I hope that this helps.
that's some big powerDougSloan
Sep 4, 2002 1:57 PM
I got my numbers from a RBR newsletter.

Are your peak power numbers in the final sprint, or somewhere in between? That is a heck of a lot of power, up around Cippolini power, I'm pretty sure.

It sounds reasonable to me that a top climber would not make over 1000 watts; if they did, then they'd be a sprinter; however, they can probably sustain 500 or 600 watts much longer than many, and with light bodies, their 500 watts moves them up the hill much faster than many others.

I've made right under 1,000 on the trainer, and that puts me at about 36 mph solo sprinting on the road. Your 1600 watts must put you well over 40 mph. Wow.


that's some big powerIcemanG17
Sep 9, 2002 2:14 PM
1600 watts is closer to 45MPH!!!! Thats what I figure the top pro sprinters put out....thats very impressive.