The Bell curve of cylists - how fast are the average TR users?

That’s still a great moment :blush:.

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Best way to do this imo is:

Identify target races for analysis
Find the race route and head to strava
Find the rides you are interested in
Also pull up the result sheets
Should be easy to see which watts gets you what
Profit

I’m around 4.1 w/k @ 71kg. I’m 44 years old.

Around my part of the North Cotswolds, I’m a nobody. The ‘general’ standard in this part of the UK means that I’ve held one KOM, once, for half a day. The chap went out and took it straight back :laughing:

I consider a Top Ten placing on the STRAVA Leaderboard’s to be a success.

I’ve never won a race but I’m consistently in the points and that has helped me climb up the Cats.

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I’m 45 and race at about 4.0-4.1 w/kg. In my local XC series (Michigan) that puts me in the top 5 in the Expert/Cat 1 category and on the podium depending on the race and my form. I took 2nd overall in the series in 2021. I’d consider myself a pretty good bike handler and generally faster than most descending, so that helps. To be competitive in our Elite/Pro category I’d say you’d need to be 4.5+ w/kg.

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This is a pretty subjective question. If you are trying to compare yourself with other, then a big part of this is how competitive your local area is.

I live in a rolling hills area where our longest climbs are 5 minutes, but the fastest times are from races and full gas attacking group rides. There are a few pros around here too that put things completely out of reach.

Me personally, I haven’t raced for years. I’m 46 and have an ftp around 4.8 once I get rolling with fast group rides. I def have some top 10s, but only from being dragged around.

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My power / weight was was typically 3.8 - 4.0 while racing. At 60-62 kg with decent skills, that’s pack fodder Cat 3 and Masters 35+ but rarely failed to finished in a pack and had some time in breaks if everything went well. Time trials, with a very good CdA, occasional masters podium and on the perfect day and perfect course and with limited competition (LOL) a rare top step.

Something we have locally are different season long race series. A good rider who is crafty about how they race in a season long series of events can end up placing well overall. A season long series rewards consistency, tenacity and cleverness along with w/kg or w/CdA

Most of my mid-pack, cat 3 masters buddies survive on 3.6-4.2 w/kg or so depending on time of season. That’s not winning power or make the break happen power, but enough to have fun.

4.5 to 5.0 is when road racing starts to be more fun at the Cat 3 level and have a chance to play sometimes in Master’s 35+ Unless the big guns show up then its 5+

Local Strava KOMs, forget it unless you are well north of 5 w/kg. Downhill KOM’s we have some pro road riders who bomb them. On dirt we have some pro enduro riders who are light years ahead of the regular gang.

4 w/kg is a nice metric for a hobby level rider to hit. It’s good fitness for most people and a good goal. I’d like to get back up to 4 w/kg TBH. But when I pin on a number and line up at a road race, 4 w/kg is pretty much pack finishes and a nice day out.

-Darth

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V similar for me in Manchester - basically the same stats, my record is just about 4.3 but I’m 3.9something right now. I can get into the top 10% on popular Strava segments and am very happy if I get a top 10. I’m very lacking in sprint/short power so my relative % placing on long hills is much better than on shorter stuff, the trouble is those are also usually very popular segments so no chance of placing really. I think the Tour of Britain has been up all the famous long climbs round here as well (Cat and Fiddle, Long Hill etc).

Don’t race but am certainly as quick as, or quicker than some of the guys who race cat 4, except they can all outsprint me which seems more relevant for the crits they seem to do a lot. Nowhere near as quick as the guys who race above that.

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There’s a real mixed bag around my way. A fair number of the older/masters riders are really fast. Like really fast. Two of the guys I ride with are ex-domestic pro level and had the pleasure of riding with the likes of Dudley Hayton. He won’t mind me name dropping as I’ve also had the pleasure of attending training camps hosted by him :wink:

These guys really help the likes of me and the juniors coming through. I learned so much from the guys I ride with. They know how and where to sit in a pack. Their knowledge is the only reason I’ve managed to climb the domestic ranks.

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It’s super interesting reading these. It marries up pretty well with my expectations. I don’t road race anymore so it’s hard to compare against the Cat system there. When I did race road stuff in my teens/early twenties (~15years ago) I was always pack fodder in B-Grade or felt like a sand bagger if dropping down to C. I was very much a diesel then though, only ever riding one speed on my Tri bike except for road racing.

As above, there’s definitely a technical component to the mountain bike stuff, but to be honest most of the guys ahead of me are just as good or better handlers. I was looking at some more Strava segments and I’m I usually hope/expect to be in the top few percentage points in terms of position, but there’s more than a few percentage points in terms of time difference. We have a really high concentration of pro and nearly pro XC and road riders around here.

For your entertainment, actual ride on Saturday and I came home to see this on a 0.5 mile downhill segment at -3% grade:

One of the few times you’ll see my name near a pro :rofl:

I’m about 2.8 W/kg right now, no wind assist, and all I did was keep pedaling close to my FTP :joy: That is 93kg and 260W ftp. Thinking of going back out there and putting down 400-500W and get the KOM so I can honestly say I’ve beaten a pro :rofl:

In all seriousness, over the last 5 years, on major climbs with a lot of attempts, say 3000-8000 attempts, I’m usually around 25th percentile when doing tempo / lower sweet spot. On descents in those areas, I’m usually around 75th percentile without trying. Gotta ride the flats for top 10 placement on Strava leaderboards!

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At around 3.7 W/kg and 320W FTP I was around top 5% - top 10% in flat segments. I think I can get to 350W next year and compete for top10 in some segments. Gino Maeder is training in the same region, so no chance for any hilly KOM :joy::joy:

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I have a few state TT age class jerseys from both Illinois and Florida on about 3.3 w/kg. But at nearly 90kg and a CdA of 0.19-0.2 it’s enough for 27.xx mph ave. Gotta pick your events if placing is the goal.

Joe

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I’m 4 to 4.2w/kg.

That’s absolutely nothing where I’m at. Pure unadulterated pack fodder. Not even a remote chance in hell I’d take a single road KOM in this city. You need to be minimum, 5.5w/kg to get any real Strava glory here.

However, I have won quite a few road races. Because, the actual power metric that wins road races is not FTP. It’s nearly always short power (10sec to 6mins) that wins road races.

Luckily for me, I have a ‘few’ fast twitch fibers…

20w/kg peak
15w/kg 15s
13w/kg 30s

That gets you a chance at a win in races around here.

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The common theme I’m seeing in many of these responses is play to your strengths.

Where I live in the UK there are (in the general region) a high number of very competitive cyclists, including some pro / semi pro riders.

Accordingly, a lot of KoMs on the more popular or prestigious climbs / segments are well out of reach for mortals.

The fast group rides in the local cycling club mean 4W/kg riders get dropped like a hot rock. Circa 5w/kg is the standard entry level of general fitness to hang with that fast group. Example in point is a youth rider (aged 16) at 60Kg with a 330 FTP who competes nationally in his age category. Mostly these are riders under 25 years of age (with the odd outlier) and are all sub 70kg but FTP well north of 300. Many compete in 2nd category racing / national B races.

At a lowly 3.1w/kg (best ever was circa 3.5 a couple of years ago) I’ve picked up a few KoMs on segments that suit my power profile (circa 45s to 1 minute long and not too steep).

I think it seems from the feedback on this thread that w/kg is important but not the entire equation when it comes to achievement of success in either competition or Strava KoMs. :thinking:

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Started at 195w. Now at 274w, 88Kg, 58 years old

Good to see I am smack in the middle of the bell curve.

Mr. Average

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i am 3.3 / 3.4 . hence i started the thread endurance or ss.

very sad.

  • Why?

get to 4.0 is not easy. i weight 57 kg only.

Right, some targets are not meant for everyone. That’s why broad info like this can help or hurt a person. So many factors at play (age, training history, work & life stress, nutrition, training & recovery time to name the big ones), there’s no way to know or predict with certainty that you can get there. It may well be possible and you won’t know until you try, so have at it.

BUT, I just think it’s not healthy to let yourself get hung up on possibly NOT getting there. No different than anything else in life, wishing for something like that may be more detrimental to our mental state and happiness than it is beneficial. You can only do what you can do. Control your controllables, train and try to find happiness in the process along the way. Compare to yourself and your own progress as the leading yardstick, rather than others. You are who you are, and can likely be better so focus on yourself as the main progress marker.

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As a clinical academic who has some experience in genetics and large datasets, your idea is a common one but the old adage applies: rubbish in = rubbish out.