Climbing vs time-trialling: same effort, different power output | CyclingTips

I’ve been struggling to produce the same power time trialing that I can climbing. I’m in the region of 15-25 watts lower on flat terrain than I am climbing at threshold. This article below talks about kinetic energy, and how while time trialing there’s more kinetic energy therefore the muscles need to fire very differently (fast twitch) than they do while climbing (slow-twitch) where there is less kinetic energy. If you can include it in your podcast, I’d be curious to hear what can be done to increase fast twitch recruitment to improve time trial power–and to do it without compromising climbing ability. Thanks!

I haven’t read the article but this is typical. Maybe not so much in the pointy end of the WT (Froome, Porte) but in neo, conti, and amateur yes. Time trialling is special, it also uses different muscle groups, positioned on the bike differently. Where climbing often your on the back of the saddle, towards the rear of the bottom bracket. When you TT you are over the BB. Something also to do with opening and closing your hip angles, ability to breathe when you have an open chest.

Because of gravity pushing you down into the bike when your climbing you can put out more power this way?

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Read the article and the science makes sense. fast twitch, slow twitch. I also think bike position, plays a part and gravity? I have identified as a sprinter, won a lot of races sprinting, @80 off kgs, I can fluctuate between 84-88 (side note goal is to get to 80 healthily and maintain) but I can also time trial. Its one concentrated effort, I know I have power on the flat and rolling terrain. I would say I am more of a time trialer now than a sprinter after competing 22 weeks of base, build, speciality, 40k TT aiming for an event that didn’t eventuate.

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This is me 100% and I always assumed this is the case for most people?.

20min numbers look something like this:

Climbing road bike: 352w

Flat / rolling road bike: 335w

TT flat / rolling: 310w

My TT position is very aggressive and I knowingly trade some power for the aero gains.

More interesting for me is the comparison of road bike flat to road bike climbing. Definitely something to do with having the gradient / gravity to ‘push’ against that helps push the watts. Haven’t listened to the podcast year, I’ll save that for some Z2 tomorrow!

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The kinetic energy theory where you “only pedal a.little to top up the energy” is ridiculous. If you need 400W to go 50kph then you must produce 400W. Power drops because your position is less optimized when in a TT position. You can verify this on the trainer. Do an internal at 105% hands on the tops then do the next interval in a TT position. If you can complete the interval at all your HR and RPE will be higher. There is no difference in kinetic energy on the trainer. Same.cadence, same flywheel, same gearing.

If you still aren’t convinced, go to the gym. You can “lock out” much more weight than you can start at the bottom of any arm or leg/hip pressing motion. It is simply a function of joint angles and mechanics

The only way to produce the sam e power would be to rotate your body forward around the BB so the joint angles were the same and the be going up a hill so steep that your cg is in the same.location relative to the BB


I might be the exception here.

I tend to struggle on long climbs, anything long (>10 minutes or so) I suffer and my power drops below sweet spot. On the other hand if I have a tail wind on the flats and my kinetic energy is as high as it can get without me spinning out, I can sustain much higher power pretty much indefinitely…

Might have something to do with the fact that I train mostly in Flanders and around Berlin, and at both places the roads are basically as flat as can be.

It may be a purely mental thing. But I think that could also be due to weak spots in my pedal stroke that don‘t matter when inertia carries me over on the flats, but does matter a lot on the climbs