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Cycling beginners stats
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Hey I’m very new to cycling I’m 30 years old I’m 5’4.5 in and I weight 135. I did a ftp test on my indoor trainer it was a wahoo kickr. They gave me a ftp of 138. Now I did a zwift ride and it seems about right . Now that’s got me at a 2.2 watt/kg I think. Now that is awful low and when I look at the zones of my watts it look embarrassing. With all this being said could I ever become a cat 2or 1 rider from starting this low at the bottom. Or could I ever become half way good at cycling. All the info on this the better thanks
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Re: Cycling beginners stats [Jesseboy87] [ In reply to ]
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Ride hard and ride often. You will find out.

It would be helpful if you tell us what your weekly schedule looks like for biking. Also, do you have a history with endurance sports? If so what else are you doing?
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Re: Cycling beginners stats [Jesseboy87] [ In reply to ]
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I have a similarly low FTP, 168w (2.4 w/kg), age 30, 5' 6" current weight of 150lbs (though by race season I intend to be closer to 135lbs).

This is the first season I'm training with a power meter, in the past I used Zpower to estimate an FTP at 165. I've not yet done an FTP test, but I'm keen to raise my FTP, and my power-to-weight ratio.

However, in the past, this never kept me from being at the pointy end of races. Even racing at 160lbs, I was at worst a FOP AG'er. That may speak to the quality of my competition, but I'm focused on increasing power, decreasing weight. Especially as a beginner, there's a lot of upside. Keep riding and improving, don't worry about getting to a certain FTP.

Brenden Macy
Sports & Entertainment Attorney
I am Drive. I am Grit. I am Determination.
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Re: Cycling beginners stats [Jesseboy87] [ In reply to ]
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I'm not going to tell you where you could end up because (I'm not qualified, but) 90% of it will be a) genetics, b) how much time you have, and c) how hard you're willing to work.

Don't worry about your numbers for now, just enjoy it, ride as much as you can, and push yourself as hard as you want. There's also an art to doing an FTP test, so you might gain some numbers just by learning how hard you can push.
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Re: Cycling beginners stats [Jesseboy87] [ In reply to ]
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I started cycling at age 31 and saw some quick improvement riding 3 days a week, twice for 60-70 minutes and once for 2.5 hours or so. Basically unstructured training. I’ve started doing a training plan on zwift and am hoping to improve more this year.

Doubt I’ll ever be CAT 1 or CAT 2 but you may be more gifted than myself at cycling and endurance sports altogether.

I agree with the above advice: Ride hard and ride often.
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Re: Cycling beginners stats [SBRinSD] [ In reply to ]
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Before we get too far into details of training let’s get one thing straight.

Do you live somewhere flat (average less than 75 to 100 feet per mile) or do you live near mountains?

Unfortunately cycling is also about maximizing your gifts, and the hard work.

You’re shorter and skinny. If you live in a flat place you might have a hard time advancing points unless you travel for races. As w/kg matters nothing in a flatter race, it’s watts.

75 watts a year is doable. But it gets slower gaining the stronger you get.

For you I’d definitely register for hilly races to maximize your “gift” of size.

You’ll come across all the training plans and group ride race skills in time.

In 2 years I went from 180w and 180lbs to 300w and 150lbs.

Even once racing or attending hammer rides you’ll be astonished at how fast some people are.

For me it was TT’ing at 26mph and getting passed by a guy doing about 28mph on a 1980s retro drop bar bike with box section wheels.

Before you get too gung ho, read Gaimon’s “Pro Cycling on $10 a Day”. A good read for even ambitious amateurs.
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Re: Cycling beginners stats [SBRinSD] [ In reply to ]
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Yes I use to run , I did that for a year so not a big history. And I just started a schedule on trainer road.
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Re: Cycling beginners stats [Jesseboy87] [ In reply to ]
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Train hard for a year and see where you are. Heck, train hard for the next six or four. I can't tell you about becoming a cat2 or cat1, but you will make huge and rapid gains early on, then as mentioned it slows down. Where that inflection point is matters more than where you are now. Stick at it. This is winter; it's perfect for structured indoor training.

You'll even get better at pushing yourself through the test over the next couple of weeks. Just keep riding.

The point is, ladies and gentleman, that speed, for lack of a better word, is good. Speed is right, Speed works. Speed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.
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Re: Cycling beginners stats [Jesseboy87] [ In reply to ]
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There is a thread on ST from 8 or so years ago where Dr Coggins does some math to show that an avg trained athlete should be able to get to 3.9 w/kg.

I’ve been biking for 7 yrs. the last 3 of which had annual mileage at 3,000+ / year including VO2 max intervals. This summer I hit 3.9 w/kg. I crashed out of my last race of the year and probably have lost 5% based on more recent rides.

All this to say you should be able to hit 3.9 too. This should put you in the middle of Cat. 3. You would have to be pretty slippery to sneak into Cat. 2 is my guess.
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Re: Cycling beginners stats [Jesseboy87] [ In reply to ]
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Just having a power meter's not going to make you faster. Find a good training plan. I'm rolling through one of the TrainerRoad plans at the moment and seem to be adding +10W each round. Initial gains will come quickly if you train correctly.
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Re: Cycling beginners stats [wcb] [ In reply to ]
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Ok definitely. Yea I’m on trainer road too. I’m in the second part of the sweet spot phase
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Re: Cycling beginners stats [SBRinSD] [ In reply to ]
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Ok thanks I’m try to look that up. I’ll definitely be happy with that. Thanks a lot it’s really cool how I can get from these forums like this. Thanks agian
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Re: Cycling beginners stats [Toby] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks brother sure thing
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Re: Cycling beginners stats [Jesseboy87] [ In reply to ]
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Jesseboy87 wrote:
Hey I’m very new to cycling I’m 30 years old I’m 5’4.5 in and I weight 135. I did a ftp test on my indoor trainer it was a wahoo kickr. They gave me a ftp of 138. Now I did a zwift ride and it seems about right . Now that’s got me at a 2.2 watt/kg I think. Now that is awful low and when I look at the zones of my watts it look embarrassing. With all this being said could I ever become a cat 2or 1 rider from starting this low at the bottom. Or could I ever become half way good at cycling. All the info on this the better thanks


Train a lot and you will find out. I have seen some people go from new cyclist to cat 1 in two years if they have the genetics. Other people will take a long time to develop the engine. Everybody has a different ceiling; there is only one way to find that ceiling and the starting point should never stop you from trying.

Most cat 1/2's have FTP's at a minimum over 4.0, a lot of good cat 1/2's closer to 5.0. Crit racing in particular is often more about absolute power than W/Kg and specifically the higher end numbers (:10, :30, 1 minute, and 5 minute). Some people with high levels of race craft can overcome some power deficits but the absolute best cyclists have both. Though FTP is important, i am often more concerned about my workload capacity, recovery ability between very hard efforts, and absolute power at the higher end. I weight 150lbs and know that a good race season requires an FTP over 300w (Ideally 320 in season), 5 minute power over 400w, 1 minute power over 600 (Ideally closer to 700), and :20 sprint at 1000w. With those numbers i can be competitive in cat 1/2 races (mostly crit's).

I started out with an FTP around 2.6 my first year on a bike and 9 years later my FTP is 4.7-4.8 with a focus on higher end power. It was incremental for myself: Second year around 3.2-3.3, 5 years later right on 4.0-4.2, and the last year a significant jump to 4.7-4.8 after highly focused training using TrainerRoad. I recommend using a structured training plan from either TrainerRoad or Zwift to build your fitness and then join as many hard group rides as possible. Next season start racing and see how you do.

Edit: i am more and more convinced that 1' power might be the single most important power number in US bike racing. So many races end in elongated sprints, hill sprints, or sprints that involve two or three hard jumps before the final sprint that ends up being a 1 minute interval.

http://riseabovecyclingpodcast.podbean.com/
Last edited by: Ron_Burgundy: Dec 6, 18 22:09
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Re: Cycling beginners stats [Jesseboy87] [ In reply to ]
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Jesseboy87 wrote:
Ok definitely. Yea I’m on trainer road too. I’m in the second part of the sweet spot phase

Phase 2 sweet spot base:

Have fun with my girlfriend, Mary Austin.

Not everything is as it seems -Mr. Miagi
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Re: Cycling beginners stats [Jesseboy87] [ In reply to ]
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Cycling is a very tactical sport and experience is just as important as fitness. You will need to be fitter than your competitors to make up for your relative inexperience as most of the people you are racing will have 10+ years of racing on you. Furthermore cycling is a pretty elite sport in terms of the quality of the field. It is far easier to finish in the top 10% of a local 10km that in the top 10% of a local 40km TT or road crit.

The biggest problem you are going to face is that someone of your stature is never going to produce massive power numbers. Power to weight is important but in a lot of situations power to aerodynamics is more important and as a small athlete you have lost the genetic lottery here. I would argue the obsession with power to weight is misguided due to a misunderstanding of the rampant historical (and current) use of drugs in the pro peloton. What the pros have/are taking allows them to maintain muscle mass/power while losing weight. It therefore appears being superlight and having crazy power to weight values is ideal even though without the aid of drugs you would see power numbers drop in proportion to the riders weight. Bottom line a 200 lbs athlete with a 2.2 watt/kg or even 2.0 watt/kg FTP is going to beat you on race day. For reference I am a similar weight with an FTP 200+ and am realistically a Cat 4.

All of this is not to say you won't be able to make large improvement and become competitive. You will just need to find a niche. If you can develop strong 1-5min efforts someone at your size should be very solid in the mountains. The other option is to go into duathlons and hurt the bigger athletes on the run while keeping the pressure up on the bike.
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Re: Cycling beginners stats [Jesseboy87] [ In reply to ]
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Jesseboy87 wrote:
They gave me a ftp of 138.

I increased mine ~60% in a few months. That happened twice in my life when starting untrained. That won't necessarily happen for you, early gains are usually pretty quick.
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Re: Cycling beginners stats [rruff] [ In reply to ]
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For best improvement, if possible, I suggest riding with experienced and stronger cyclists that can teach you a few technical things on the bike: posture, pedal stroke, etc...
Humans are very bad in transferring energy to the pedals, with the right technical corrections, you can improve very fast.
And it's not a bad idea to get you ''arse kicked'' ( just a little .... to stay motivated) . Your body will adapt to the sustained ''stress'' from a hard ride or workout.

Louis :-)
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Re: Cycling beginners stats [Jesseboy87] [ In reply to ]
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You are new. Don’t get hung up on the numbers. Just ride your bike. Mostly easy, and hard a couple times a week. The gains will come. Worrying too much about this stuff early on is a way to suck the fun right out of things/burn out. Enjoy the ride!

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Re: Cycling beginners stats [afrizzledfry] [ In reply to ]
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I agree thanks bro
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Re: Cycling beginners stats [Jesseboy87] [ In reply to ]
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Jesseboy87 wrote:
Hey I’m very new to cycling I’m 30 years old I’m 5’4.5 in and I weight 135. I did a ftp test on my indoor trainer it was a wahoo kickr. They gave me a ftp of 138. Now I did a zwift ride and it seems about right . Now that’s got me at a 2.2 watt/kg I think. Now that is awful low and when I look at the zones of my watts it look embarrassing. With all this being said could I ever become a cat 2or 1 rider from starting this low at the bottom. Or could I ever become half way good at cycling. All the info on this the better thanks

Yeah... don’t worry about numbers for now. Newbie gains are amazing. Even without structured training you would see exponential improvements in your first 1-2 years just riding and building the endurance and biomechanics before you start plateauing a bit and need more specific training. From 135 with 0 experience you could well end near 200 in a year. Don’t worry about getting to cat. 1 yet... and it’s not only about watts. You’ll need to get used to group riding first and work on your skills. It also takes time just to get the number of races you need to upgrade.
I’ve seen people upgrade to 2 in the span of 1-2 seasons but they had a competitive backgrounds in other sports or more experience riding before.
I started at age 31, I didn’t get a powermeter or ride a smart trainer until 2-3 years later so not sure what my starting numbers were but I had no athletic background and 0 skills. I just rode a ton, joined a local club immediately and did many skill clinics to learn the basics (clipping in, contact, paceline, etc.). I started racing in clinics and beginner races the first year, upgraded to 3 the following season and 2 end of the next one. Riding with stronger riders is your best bet as a beginner to push yourself and learn the basics before you have to worry about intervals and ftp.
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Re: Cycling beginners stats [Jesseboy87] [ In reply to ]
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Being a Cat 1 is about being a good bike racer.

So you have to race. A lot.

Find out what you're good at and get better at it. Find out what you suck at and get a whole lot better at it.

Learn to move around in a pack, learn to corner, learn to sprint.

Race lots and lots and lots.

The power will sort itself out if your body's capable.. And if it's not, racing can still be just as fun (or just as painful) for a cat 4 or 3.
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Re: Cycling beginners stats [Ron_Burgundy] [ In reply to ]
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Ron_Burgundy wrote:

Edit: i am more and more convinced that 1' power might be the single most important power number in US bike racing. So many races end in elongated sprints, hill sprints, or sprints that involve two or three hard jumps before the final sprint that ends up being a 1 minute interval.

1 minute power is definitely a factor in finishing placings in a lot of the crits I do. With that said, however, the higher I get my FTP, the harder I can hit that 1 minute, and the 4-5 minutes right before that one minute.

But I live for the "3 sprints in a final sprint" races.
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Re: Cycling beginners stats [CaliB] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks a lot for the info. My name is jesse is there anyway anybody could give me a call I got just a few more questions. 470 276 0653 thanks
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