Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Improve Your Cycling By Improving Your Power to Weight Ratio

How many of you use Strava to track your rides? Yes, it is great for comparing segments against other people but it is also a great tool for measuring your progress.

The image above is from my ride today. One particular segment of the ride, Ridge Park climb, is the subject of this article. The link to the segment can be found by clicking HERE. The Ridge Park climb is only 0.8 miles long at an average grade of 9.1%.

Anyone who is familiar with the Newport Coast area knows this is a short but tough climb taking you to the highest point in Orange County. After reviewing today's ride, I now have the third fastest time overall up Ridge Park. Not bad for a guy who is going to be 48 in October!

So why am I sharing this? It isn't to brag (although I am pretty pleased!) but to provide insight into how I trained 20+ years ago and how I am currently training. Given my size, I realized that the way to be competitive on the climbs was to improve my power to weight ratio. I wasn't suddenly going to shrink four or five inches and drop 40 lbs.

The secret is your power to weight ratio. To become a stronger rider, this means you have to address two areas: improving your power and reducing your weight. The latter can happen if you watch your diet and exercise regularly. I've lost 20 pounds since the beginning of the year
Improving power is a bit more challenging because it means having to improve your leg strength. This can be done via weight training in the off-season, strength exercises in the early season and lots of power road riding (hills, hard rides, etc.). It is best to find a coach who can help you build the power aspect of your program to gain maximum benefits.

Let me know how I can help you improve your cycling. Feel free to email me to discuss further. In the meantime, complete the form below if you want to get on my email list.

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