I do a race-paced group ride every Saturday and almost always get dropped on a mile stretch of road. It’s slightly uphill and very exposed to wind.
I’m a larger cyclist (98kg and 180cm) with a freakishly long and wide torso, so I sit higher and wider than the other cyclists. On this particular segment that I get dropped on, I noticed that I consistently do the most watts by 40%-50% than all the other guys on the ride (that have power showing on Strava). My threshold isn’t 50% higher than the other cyclists so I normally blow up after this segment and get dropped.
My question is, when you can’t hide from the wind what do you do? I get very little draft during the ride so I’m pretty pinned during the majority of the ride. Looking at the numbers, I spend an hour at tempo or above, of which 30 minutes is above threshold. Other riders spend 2 hours in recovery, 40 minutes at tempo or above with only 10 minutes above threshold.
I’m in the process of losing weight but that won’t change the shape of my body, I’ll still be taller and wider than most people on a bike. I will be going into a VO2 phase soon, so hopefully that will help. Are there any other tactics I can use or are larger riders without massive FTP’s just screwed with windy/hilly rides?
I’d say yes, if you have a 250 watt FTP and your small, skinny more aerodynamic buddies are at 250, they beat you up every hill every time.
It sounds like you are less fit than the guys on your ride. I feel for you because I’m in exactly the same position - 56 years old, 90kg and riding with a bunch of young skinny guys. Improving my aerobic fitness this year has helped enormously. I used to get shelled after an hour with this group ride but now I’m usually making it to the end.
Drop rides into the wind don’t give you many options. I’ve done all the marginal gains stuff (it adds up!) and still get dropped if certain people show up and push the pace into the wind. A few random thoughts: start earlier, get an e-bike, keep training / losing weight, and make friends with your shadow.
Do they drop you on other hills or just this section that is windy? If its the latter, then you need to work on your aero position and your drafting technique. If its both, then I’d say its simply a fitness issue.
They are just much fitter, relatively speaking. It’s not so much that they are smaller or thinner. A slight uphill for a mile or so isn’t like 3-4min tops.
You might try to be more efficient on the bike, like being in a better position in the pack like the front or the very back (less yo-yoing).
Also, just don’t take pulls at all and let others slot in front of you. There is no point in taking pulls at all if you get dropped before it’s over. I do a ride where we get some guys who prob should be in the B but come for the A ad a challenge. I never mind them not pulling. It’s annoying if they come to the front and cannot hold pace. My point is, nobody (that matters) should be upset with you coming for the ride and not ‘sharing the work’. If you can get through rides with no issues while not pulling, then try rolling through but not equal turns as the others. Stuff like that. Good luck
If I had to pick one item for this it’d be an aero road helmet. If you’re taller than everyone you’re riding with than it’s going to be a bit more meaningful for you than for a shorter person, as far as marginal gains go.
Aside from that it sounds like a fitness issue.
I’ve stopped using strava but my recollection is that their wattages were very low when I compared them with data from my actual power meter. I never bothered trying to fix this on strava personally.
There’s usually anywhere from 20-50 people on the ride. I’m not sure it’s a fitness thing as I’m usually the last of the larger riders still on towards the end, certainly those riders over 90kg. The other clydesdales usually call it on a 5 minute climb in the middle of the ride.
Does it really matter that you are less aero and require 50% more power? You are TRusername, all you can do is your best and then accept your fate if dropped. Keep working on fitness and weight. Have you ever watched pros on leTour get dropped in crosswinds? It happens to the best.
It’s both, I mean the rollers aren’t a problem and I’m usually on the front because I don’t want to brake. But the 5 minute sustained climb is tough, I need to put out 400 watts for 5 minutes just to stay with them. I’m usually able to hang off the back by getting to the front before the climb and doing the fat-boy-fade during the climb.
Where are you when the group hits the climb? If you can try to be near the front so you can do less watts up the climb. You will fall back but with 30-40 other riders you will hopefully slot back in near the back of the group as you crest the hill.
Also if you know this is an issue for you try to avoid doing any pulls at least before the hill make the lightweights take care of themselves.
Hmmm, that’s a toughie. When I first started riding with this group I didn’t do any work and while I was able to complete the ride, I felt like a moocher. When I started rotating and taking turns at the front I felt relevant. There’s a funny video someone took where I was pulling about 20 riders on a flat and everyone was coasting behind me .
Eh, I guess I’m just in a transition between getting fitter and staying relevant.
There are a lot of great suggestions here re: losing weight, more aero, getting stronger, etc. And from a very practical (and brutally honest) perspective, these are DEAD on.
I think we, as humans, are often guilty of looking for “cheat codes.” It should come as no surprise that some of the most frequented posts in this forum contain “tips” or “tricks.” Everyone wants the easy way.
The practical answer is that there are no shortcuts - it’s commitment to a steady progression of weight loss and power increase. You might still be a bigger person, but dropping those kg are going to make an ENORMOUS difference in your climbing. (This is coming from someone 6’2" who has dropped from 225lbs to 175lbs over the past 6 years. I still provide a great draft, but go uphill MUCH faster).
Keep showing up, getting your butt kicked, and double down on healthy and steady weight loss. Build your power. Make this a habit. Your progression might surprise you!
Cue the military dad in me - I have to tell my teens often that there are very rarely shortcuts in life. When there are, they often come at a cost.
EDIT You’ve previously asked the same question on this post, and got good advice. There’s still no shortcut, even in 2022.