How do you know what kind of cyclist you are?

Sprinter, climber, Diesel engine, I’m totally confused. How did you all figure out what kind of cyclist you are? I think the only thing I know is that I really enjoyed my first gran fondo despite the pain it cause. All I can say at this point is that I’d like to do it again but with less cramping and at a faster speed. What kind of cyclist would that make me?

I don’t think you really know your type until your cycling becomes quite competetive - as you need a fairly broad basis for comparison and also to compete against many different people at different levels.

For instance, it’s no good thinking you’re a climber, cause you can beat your mates up hills if they’re all 120kg and out of shape, while you’re 80kg and ride a few times a week…

However, as a general basis, I’d describe people in the following way:

Climber - Typically go past most other people on climbs and they are always waiting for you at the top.

Sprinter - When you go as hard as possible for 10-30sec on the flat (and everyone else is doing the same) you leave everyone else behind.

Diesel Engine - Can ride on the front of a bunch, seemingly all day long, without getting tired. These are generally larger riders with high FTP, so they don’t necessarily go uphill like a climber due to their relatively low W/kg. Also, while they can hold high power for a long time, people like this typically can’t hit the very high numbers that a sprinter can.

If you don’t have any inkling of what you are through experience and (often) some racing, don’t pidgeon hole yourself - if you want training goals, just make them to get faster!

Irrespective though, you don’t have to fit into any niche - if you’re enjoying it, that’s what really counts!


Thanks for your reply.

I guess another way to ask the question is what kind of cycling do I enjoy the most? I really enjoyed my first gran fondo I recently did, I feel like this could be my type of cycling. But what does this mean if I’m naturally a sprinter?

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It means that you like to ride fondos, so you should focus on longer sustained efforts. Don’t sweat what you are or aren’t, unless you’re being paid to win fondos.


I honestly don’t think it matters that much until you reach a much higher level of competitive cycling where everyone is very similar levels and then the differences are types or riders and types of races.

If you’ve just enjoyed your first fondo, chances are you have a lot of room to grow. No need to be specific other than roughly training for the distances you want to ride. A general build plan will raise your whole PD curve and make you faster.


I’m equally bad and equally good at all of these! :man_facepalming:t5:


Don’t worry about what you are, think about what you want to be?

You could be genetically a sprinter type but that’s not to say you can’t adapt to become a Rouleur type or even a climber. Take Tony Martin as an example, he changed over a few years to become a TT guy when previously he wasn’t.

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It’s highly unlikely that you’re anywhere close to discovering the limits of your fitness for any one type of cyclist. So, as others are telling you, it isn’t what type of cyclist you are, it is what type of cyclist you want to be.

Until you start hitting your ceiling you won’t really be hitting limiters and unless you’re a professional those limiters don’t really matter

Thus, go forth and train yourself to be whatever ‘type’ you most want to be. If you like gran fondos and want to do more of them figure out how you want to ride them (long steady tt-like efforts? surging to stay with the front group and compete for the win?) and train to become that type of cyclist

There’s nothing that says you can’t be a rolleur this season and a climber next - you just modify your training to focus on the things you want to do

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I think of myself as a pretty decent climber (69kg, 275 watts, good endurance). But that doesn’t mean Peter Sagan couldn’t beat me up Alpe d’Huez.

That’s an exaggerated example, but it’s also true in local racing. The guy who just broke our 25 mile club TT record also competes for podiums in punchy road races because he’s simply stronger than everyone else. I could focus all my training on TTs or all my training in punchy road races and he’d still beat me at both.

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