Any "larger gentleman/ladies" racing?

I’ll preface my post with the fact that I’m a short, chunky guy - 170cm, 83kg, 26% bodyfat, not helped by the fact that most of the fat is carried around my abdomen (~100cm).

I’m on a weight loss journey, but it’s slow going. Definitely still fairly self-concious but improving all the time.

Now, I’ve wanted to get involved with racing pretty much since I got into structured training ~17 months ago but it’s easy to feel out of place among cyclists as it is, let alone in a competitive bunch.

Time trials, crits and road racing all interest me.

So I swallowed any pride or anxiety I had and took the plunge last night and showed up to the local evening time trial, which went great - 1st Road bike, 6th overall out of a field of 14. Happy with my effort, 267w NP for 23mins, my 2nd best 20min power with plenty left to go faster in future I think! I’m hooked and just want to do more now.

But despite being fairly thick skinned, the looks and the comments nibble away. I had a guy ask me if I’ve got any riding experience, I had sympathetic looks before the event and looks and remarks of disbelief after, one guy checking out my bike in detail, a guy asking me if I’m certain I’ve never raced before etc. (like I might have forgotten :joy:)

While I find satisfaction in being the underdog/surprise result, I continue to feel out of place and aprehensive in persuing this new buzz. I’m sure a portion of it is in my head but throw in a little social awkwardness for good measure and there’s enough discomfort to make me question the fun side.

I guess the point of this post was to look for other people’s experiences, good or bad, whether you stuck with it and how you found it?

24 Likes

Congratulations! I haven’t had this personal journey, but my observation is that, at least in the leagues I’ve been exposed to, the cyclocross and MTB communities are very open to a wide range of body types. If there’s a local cross league near you, that might be something to explore.

5 Likes

171 cm 87kg 29-30 BMI M45-49

10 years a triathlete, yes you get looks, no you don’t always feel comfortable in lycra. Never had a problem hanging with or hanging out with cyclists or runners - almost all much skinnier than me.

Apart from the joy of racing, if you’re not happy with your body shape remind yourself how healthy you’d likely be without cycling.

5 Likes

Agreed. You should be able to participate in any type of races you want, but in terms of body-shaming, road and crit are the absolute worst; I’ve heard other racers mutter how disgusting it is to have a “fat” person racing with them. And people wonder why road racing is dying :laughing: . And to any who would question, I’ve been there myself. I started racing at 225lbs and 30%+ bodyfat and am now 200lbs and 13% bodyfat. Before, I was shamed for my pudginess, now, I’m accused of doping because I have more lean mass than they do.

I find that large gravel and MTB events are much more inclusive in terms of body types. I’m also a huge fan of gigantic fondo events where you can race if you want to.

9 Likes

Embrace it. In a sport where conformity and stereotypes are so prevalent, I personally find it quite enjoyable to fly in the face of cycling standards. If you are seeing decent results and beating many of the people who “look the part”, all the better. One thing I’ve learned in cycling - the dudes that look fast and have an attitude are often slow and the who look slow can be really fast. If people want to look down on someone because of the bike they ride, what their body looks like, etc., those people aren’t worth worrying about. Be a good/friendly person and you will eventually connect with others in the cycling community with the same outlook.

6 Likes

One of the fastest middle distance triathletes I know (multiple AG podium finisher and WC qualifier) is, I would estimate, very similar to your stats. Looks nothing like what most people imagine a high level triathlete “should” look like. Those of us who have been around endurance sport for a while have learned that you really can’t judge a book by it’s cover, congratulations both on your result and by the sounds of it teaching a few new people that lesson as well!

4 Likes

"Enjoy the draft …

… if you can hold my wheel."

:+1:

12 Likes

First, Congrats! That is great.

Don’t let their words get into their heads. I would use it as motivation to crush them! Keep pushing and let your results and stats do the talking.

3 Likes

I think you should do your homework and prepare a set of jokes for those typical signs of attention that you’re getting. Like when a guy is checking out your bike, you can say “don’t you worry, mate, it’s triple-butted steel frame”. Or when they ask you about your prior racing experience: “Dude, I never even trained myself to do this”. Just to mess with their assheads :smiley:

Seriously, though, +1 to @lightyear . Respond on the track. Screw the idiots.

5 Likes

I am 178cm range between 89-93kg. I have not heard any comments about my weight except for good natured comments on how they need to drop me on hills as they dont want to be in a sprint finish with me.
In my (albeit very limited) racing experience the most inclusive racing I have seen is cyclocross, especially in the back half of field. To me that had been full of people trying to push themselves and have dumb fun together.

3 Likes

Easy to be sensitive, I am too, however anybody that shows up to a TT and snags 1st Merckx class and 6th overall is going to get asked if you’ve raced before. Small world and you just entered it.

3 Likes

So many people feel the need to make themselves feel better about themselves by looking down on others. I can’t wait for you to destroy them.

Keep riding!

5 Likes

Although we’d like to think differently, I think most of us would be self-conscious and affected by such looks and comments. I know I would, at least in the moment.

However, I’ve been working on not giving a damn what others think. It’s really just reflecting poorly on them to behave in such a way. No class and no kindness. Shame on them.

4 Likes

Tue/Wed/Thur worlds. I’m 185cm and 95kg after putting on some muscle w/o cutting weight. We’ve got some short/stocky guys in local club. We are all working on weight and look like the pic in the first post. Most of us have no problem hanging with the Bs on the group ride, the As are gifted with either a 350W ftp or super aero and hanging on to the wheels of the big engines.

Here is a more flattering angle from a recent group ride:

Trust me I’ve got plenty of pics like the original post.

Am more of a diesel with a 1-minute kick, the only thing I hear is “we love it when you pull” and a lot of women and smaller riders fight for my wheel to get the best draft!

In my experience, assholes are assholes to everyone, no matter their body composition.

6 Likes

Congratulations.

To be honest, you look pretty normal for local races or groups. It’s true that at the top end of the sport people are very lean. In the amateur scene, even the very competitive ones, riders come in all sizes and shapes.

Even if you look at the UCI TT Masters World Championships for example. They don’t look like the stereotypical skinny pro.

Being self-conscious of your weight and looks could happen regardless of where you stand on the weight spectrum. The important thing is to be healthier, physically and mentally.

4 Likes

I’m 182cm and 97 kg currently. I race and have historically done pretty well. I’ve won a couple of races and placed top 10 enough to move up to cat 3 on road and track. You can totally do it. I don’t do well in hilly races, but as long as it’s not too lumpy, I enjoy suffering and staying in the wheels while watching others drop. Tactics and being smart adds at least 30 watts or more to your FTP.

As for the comments from your fellow competitors. Viewing them in the most charitable light, they might be more commenting that they haven’t seen you on a local group ride or in other races before. And if not, screw ‘em and delight in the fact that you can stay with them or beat them despite being a lot heavier.

1 Like

Stick with it! And “are you sure you haven’t raced before” is a compliment, not a dig :wink:

It might be because I live somewhere flat with little climbing but not only are there a decent number of bigger fellows in the local race scene, but many of them do pretty well too. If the course is flat and you can stay near enough the front that you don’t have to drop big watt bombs accelerating out of corners, raw power can trump w/kg, especially in the lower categories.

3 Likes

I know exactly how you feel. Before I joined the Navy I was 280lbs. I crash dieted and got done to 158lbs to join, I’ve since gone through a sine wave of fitness and I’m around 183lbs now. I will forever have a spare tire around my abdomen. It’s tough being around people who have a certain mindset of what they think you should look like. I get it at work and it also makes me self conscious at cycling events. I try to think of it as my trophy for losing the weight and a good reminder of what I used to be. Just enjoy the looks on their faces when you prove their biases wrong!

3 Likes

First, some of those folks are just jealous of that green Tarmac SL8 :star_struck::star_struck::star_struck::star_struck:

I’m 6’5 and started riding at 270 lbs and have made it down to 226 lbs (still working on it!). I’ve done a bunch of fondos but never a proper “race”. I think thats awesome you did as a new(er) rider, regardless of weight.

I like to think of my belly as an “adipose-based aero faring” :thinking:

Don’t let a few negative comments get you down. I’m sure that you’ll meet great people as you keep showing up and crushing it :grinning: I’ll also echo some of the other comments that MTB and gravel are generally really welcoming too, should you want to dabble in racing off road.

2 Likes

You know that pros will stuff a water bottle into front of jersey to get better aero on a TT, right?

1 Like