What's Cool In Road Cycling

Toolbox: What Type Of Cyclist Are You?

Ahhh the Giro. You got the sprinters, the climbers, the domestiques, & the leadout men to name a few. Everyone has a specialty and they get paid to do what they do best. What do you do best on the bike? Can you climb like a billy goat with some sick power to weight ratio? Or do you have piston like legs chocked full of fast twitch muscle fibers for sprinting. Perhaps you’re well rounded and do a little bit of both or conversely detest one for the other.

No matter what, it is important to your success as a racer to figure out your strengths and exploit those gifts to their maximum potential. I mean you got races to win and you gotta figure out which ones! Naturally, start by taking a look back at your previous racing and riding successes. Plan your “A” races around courses in which you can exploit your strengths. If you’re a sprinter make sure the course allows you to sit in the bunch before the final sprint. If climbing is more your gig, choose an event that has suitable climbing for your tastes. But by all means give ALL types of races a “go” and use the opportunity to improve upon your weaknesses. You may find that in response to the training and racing stimuli your weaknesses turn into your strengths.

Now take a minute for a little self assement. Can you count your ribs in the mirror? Or are you currently looking for pants with extra room in the quadriceps? Often times your body type defines what type of cyclist you are. Forget that we all want to climb like Lance and sprint like Mario. It is physiologically impossible to be both. Basically, Lance is a genetic freak possessing VO2 max numbers off the charts. And Mario is one of the rare men out there who can hit 1600watts in the last 200meters of a 250km race.

Aside from your build, consider visiting your local physiology lab to determine your strengths and weaknesses. Find out your VO2Max, your power to weight ratio, your anaerobic threshold, etc… . Discuss with your coach or your mentor how your numbers compare with other cyclists of your ability. Finally, adapt your training and race schedule towards your strengths but do not forget to work on your weaknesses with specific training!! Being a well rounded cyclist will lead to a long and illustrious career at any level!

Frank Overton
Frank is a USA cycling certified coach and category 1 road racer. He can be reached at his website
and may be found training around Boulder, Colorado while trying to exploit his many years of racing and training experience into getting some results!

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