Only a climber?

I realise there is likely no easy answer here but you seem such a friendly bunch I thought it was worth a chat!

I’m 60kgs and recently hit 4w/kg after my first year of adding structured training, and am pretty chuffed, partly because I’ve often seen 4w/kg said to be a very decent level to hit as an amateur. Having said that, living in the UK, I often find myself on the front with mates cursing my stature as I battle winds or indeed just a flat road! Of course when it turns upwards I love life, but steep and long enough hills seem few and far between.

My question then is, as a smaller rider, is it likely (for the same training workload) I will always suffer compared to my heavier mates except in the alps, or is there anything to suggest smaller riders have a tendency to develop better w/kg ratios for similar training effort? Will my absolute power ‘catch up’ to those around me as we all make gains?

Lighter riders, what’s your experience?


I don’t know why you’re complaining.

At 3.75W/KG and 80KG… the moment there is an incline, I’m liable to get dropped.

Just keep training, from what I see, you’re far more likely to make it to 5w/KG than I am


Not complaining at all, the question is less to do with my numbers and more what kind of experiences lighter riders have with making progress compared to others

Have you given intense weight training a shot?

Adding some functional muscles/weight may be able to address your problem.

I have a history of gym training and have done less since I took up cycling, but yes it’s something I wondered if it might help… But previously when I trained 3 times a week lifting I didn’t gain more than a kilo or two, mainly just became stronger over time.

It is worth noting that w/kg is relevant uphill because it removes any advantage of a larger power number. Thus - if your friends are all 4 w/kg you’ll all climb around the same, even if they are 20kg heavier than you.

Assuming your friends have lower w/kg but higher raw FTP then you could be suffering comparatively on the flats where w/cda is more relevant. Focus on drafting skills and how aerodynamic you are on the bike and you can still develop an advantage over larger riders, or at least obtain parity with them, as you get a better w/cda than them

At the highest levels of the sport - yes, small to mid-sized riders typically have the best w/kg capabilities. However, since it is unlikely you or your friends are at their peak genetic potential it is hard to say which of you will end up with the best ratio.

Your absolute power will have a hard ceiling at some point and will not be able to catch up to a similarly gifted and optimized athlete who is 10kg heavier than you. This doesn’t mean you can’t out optimize and out train them to crush their spirits (yes, even on the flats)


I’m not a light rider. After 40, I have been as low as 71kg, but I tend to hover between 73-76kg, at 1m 84cm.

With that qualifier: don’t think of yourself as a climber. Think of yourself as a bike racer who climbs well.

The baddest cat around my local scene is a 65kg (once 60kg when he was top 5 at Mt. Mitchell) Cat 1 – his 315w FTP is still plenty effective with his small, aero build that can get a draft off just about anybody, and he knows when to make his move. He’s been top 10 in plenty of P12 and Masters crits over the years.


I’m also 60kg, more or less. Yes i climb well, but i have also hit podium in flat road race and had no problems in criteriums. I have been faster than heavier guys in flat time trials just because i’m aero. Highest FTP has been maybe little above 5 w/kg. So in my experience; anything is possible.

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That’s a more positive outlook, true, I’ll give it a go and work on my wheelsucking :wink: Thanks

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I appreciate this sort of question as a newer-to-racing 60kg cyclist living in relatively flat state. Thanks for the extra perspective. I’m learning that most anyone can be somewhat successful in most courses and types of racing if you play to your strengths and positioning well.

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In addition to climbing, power to weight matters when accelerating. Sprints (especially ones that start from a relatively slow speed) or technical crits for example.


hi, what kind of training trainings you choose? i am roughly your weight and i don’t think i can loose more than 1 maybe 2 kgs:)), the moment i go on 9-10%+ gradients i start grinding at 50-60 rpm :)).

You need some lower gears, my dude.

already 34 front and 32 back :)), when i had 39/25 on steel bike i have not complained that much…

If your cadence is lower than desired at your target power, it’s a gearing issue. Full stop.

I’m not quite on your w/kg level but as a lighter rider I always come off second best on a flatter road race against my heavier club mates. A long day in the hills is a different matter however. Regardless of the type of training I focus on my strengths as a climber never change. Kudos on the user name btw.


Remco and especially Tom Pidcock are tiny men with serious hp. My racing weight is about 64kg at 175cm, peak ftp at around 290w. Although I will never lead a peloton into a headwind by sheer power, I seldom get into trouble with not being able to follow the big guys. At least no one expects me to take big turns. When I am racing smart and smooth everything is just fine. With 60kg and already 4w/kg you are very likely to develop pretty fast to 270-280w (pure guessing, but over 4,5 there are no easy gains even for small guys) and you will be fine.

At 170cm/57kg and 4.5w/kg, I used to be THAT rider, who would suffer on flats, but get right at the front whenever the road went up.

Besides training to stay as aero as possible (as already suggested), you can train more on flat roads by doing longer intervals at higher wattages. That will increase your muscular endurance.

Once you’ve done enough of those, you can practice by hitting shorter inclines … HARD. This will give you that explosive power.

Combine both and you are going to have an easier life, hanging on to your bigger mates.

Good luck!

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Im 60Kg, 4.8 Wkg. I race crits and whatever else. I also live in the UK.

whenever i hit the front, im making sure im punching the smallest whole through the air as possible, I’m as aero as i can be without sacrificing power.

It’s not about weight on the flat, its Watts/CdA. check out lanterne rouge talking about remco. hes small and light, but managed 2nd in TT…

No excuses

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I’m not quite as small, but definitely on the smaller side in the peloton. I’m around 64kg and 5’8, but my FTP is around 310W. I train more to be a diesel, so I feel quite comfortable in flat racing. That being said, when it comes to absolute power, this is a weakness of mine compared to the bigger cat 1 guys. I can get exposed on cross winds and 60-90 second power climbs when the bigger guys are fresh.

I am frugal with exposing myself to the wind and doling out power, partly due to my size, but it’s also good strategy. Having decent w/kg, I still sag climbs a lot to save energy. Sagging climbs when you don’t have to is a great weapon smaller riders can use as I know if attacks go, I can still follow because I’m not at my limit.