Very slow climbing time for my W/kg. Is it because of my heavy bike?

Today climbed Seymour Mountain in 44 minutes and 25 seconds. The route is 12.2 kilometers long with a 7.5% elevation gain. My weight was 53.1 kg in the morning, but with clothes, water, fuel, and shoes, I estimate my riding weight was about 54.5 kg.

During the climb, my Assioma power meter showed an average of 284 watts. I noticed the Queen of the Mountain (QOM) time for the segment is 39 minutes and 59 seconds, held by Nadia Gontova, who weighs the same as me and averaged 281 watts for her climb

However, Nadia was riding Duo and a lightweight high end carbon bike with an aerodynamic suit and HED carbon wheels. (seen from her strava), while I was on a exactly 12 kg (weighted) Trek domane aluminum gravel/road bike. There’s a time difference of 4 minutes and 25 seconds between us at basically same W/kg. Could this be due to the disparity in equipment quality, or is there another factor to consider? Will I be as fast as her if I spent tens of thousands of dollars on high-end equipment? Any insights would be helpful.

I do know your wallet will be lighter.

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A heavy bike might be some of it but you don’t know how smoothly she was delivering the power, if it was seated power etc.

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Which way was the wind going?

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According to bike calculator, you’d save about 2.5 minutes on the climb by reducing your bike weight from 12kg to 7kg.


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What kind of tires did you use?

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You don’t know if the other person’s effort was solo or paced. Her in the Bay Area, there are KOMs that you can only take if you are both super strong, and use a super strong pacing team

So many factors…wind, tires, tubes…was that time set with a group…280 watts riding behind three riders breaking wind will be much faster than riding solo.

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My money is on slow tires too. 10 watts per tire is possible….maybe more.

Joe

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I use Bontrager R1 Hard-Case Lite, wire bead, 60 tpi, 700x32mm
It’s default tires on my bike

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Something is off, with those numbers and a roughly 5.3w/kg FTP even with that bike weight you should be far far quicker up that mountain.

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Could be a lot of things that add up to a slower time. I think you might be underestimating the weight of your kit, plus water…try dressing up and carrying your water bottles and see what you weigh in at.
Wind is a huge factor, plus all the other little variables that can you slow you down, while she might not have had those slowing her down.
It would be nice if you could duplicate your effort on a higher end bike and see what difference that makes.

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Looking at those tires vs gp5ks while they are not excellent they are not terrible either. Just middle of the road ok tire. While your giving up some watts to a more optimal setup it’s far from what you would lose running something like a maxxis re-fuse. :rofl:

Mystery solved….there is the bulk of the issue right there.

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Huge range of unknown variables here, albeit the prior posts appear to have noted many of them:

  • wind direction and strength
  • temperature and humidity
  • wheels and hubs
  • tyres and pressures and / or tubeless -v- tubes
  • aero#1 (helmet / socks / skin suit / rider position)
  • aero#2 (bike frame / wheels / bars / bags etc)
  • bike weight
  • kit and ancillaries weight
  • smoothness of power delivery
  • drafting and / or a lead out

Also worth noting that no two power meters read identical - so the ‘real’ power difference could be significant, particularly if one hasn’t been calibrated on the day.

I imagine it’s too many things in play to confidently pinpoint a single cause.

But the good news is you’re not far off the power to weight just for you as the rider, so you could look to nudge any one, or all of the above variables in a positive direction (there are some easy wins on this list depending on where you’re at with them already)

:smiley: :+1:t2:

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Agreeing with the other athletes in this thread, there are just too many variables to know what might be the biggest cause of the time difference. Kit/helmet, wind direction, tires/wheels, bike frame, rider position on the bike, riding solo/in a group… All of those factors could explain the time gap.

It sounds like you put down a solid effort, though! As @dsirrom said, if you can nudge/improve one (or a few) of those aspects, you’ll probably find that your climbing times start to improve for the same power. Will you be as fast as Nadia Gontova? It’s hard to say, but I do know that going faster than you were before is still fun!

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Not sure what happened to these posts? Was never able to read them.

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Someone flagged the climb on Strava and now my segment PB is gone :cry:

I think you can just unflag it right? At least you used to be able to do so.

If you calculate the difference in weight of a bike (say 12kg for your bike and 7kg for the other bike) then we take the RR value vom Bicycle rollilng resistance around 5w times 2 and enter that in the bike calculater the difference comes out around what you describe, I wouldn’t fully trust that calculation myself, but the oother bike seems to be more aero too, which at your speeds even on climbs will make some differences especially if there are some flatter sections… You also don’t know if she had someone pacing for part of the climb etc.

Still that is an awesome achievement and you are super strong with those watt and W/kg numbers. I hope you get your segment unflagged.

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