Anyone can become an A grade rider?

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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby mikesbytes » Tue Jul 24, 2012 10:18 pm

It does depend on what you mean as A grade.

I'm M5 and I averaged 37.1kph on Sundays road race, 90k hilly.

However, as already pointed out, there's a difference between being in the bunch and winning.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby PawPaw » Tue Jul 24, 2012 10:38 pm

mikesbytes wrote:It does depend on what you mean as A grade.

I'm M5 and I averaged 37.1kph on Sundays road race, 90k hilly.

However, as already pointed out, there's a difference between being in the bunch and winning.


what grade do you race? and was that 90km solo or with the benefit of drafting in a pack?
As Cycling Tips laments, CA doesn't have an objective grading criteria.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby mikesbytes » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:48 am

It was a road open. That was riding in a pack, hilly roads.

My best average speed on the road is 42kph, in the M5 Australian crit championships last year. Spent most of the race off the front with one other rider
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby PawPaw » Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:04 am

toolonglegs wrote:
PawPaw wrote:
toolonglegs wrote:Many Cat 3 US riders could probably sit in an average Aussie club A grade quite happily.


which is what CyclingTips says.


Do you just add that :lol: .


nah it was there from the start, but thought it must have been too obtuse to be comprehended. :)
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby vander » Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:44 pm

PawPaw wrote:
Alex Simmons/RST wrote:If we take the average physiology for young healthy males, (e.g. averages for VO2max, gross efficiency and % of VO2max sustained at threshold), then we arrive at a power to weight ratio of ~ 3.9 - 4.0 W/kg. Naturally some will be capable of more (fewer much more) than that, and of course some will only be capable of less (some much less).


Allan and Coggan's Race Category table has an FT range of 3.5-4.0 w/kg for US Category 3 racing.
Cycling Tips website recently blogged about the lack of objective criteria for Australian gradings, and commented that Cat 3 is similar to Club A.

Now all we need is the p/w ratio std deviation for young healthy males, and we can establish how close to 50% of males have <3.5w/kg, and therefore would not cut it in A grade.


You did not read that at all right. He said it was the average physiology. This doesnt take into account training (as I read it). If these young fit males embarked on a heavy targeted training program I believe most would improve, wouldnt you? There is some (but I believe very few) non responders or poor responders to training (I believe complaince and whether they are actually pushing themselves may be an issue).
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby twizzle » Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:02 pm

Coggans number for the avg cyclist (competitive) was (from memory) 3.7W/kg.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby PawPaw » Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:30 pm

vander wrote:You did not read that at all right. He said it was the average physiology. This doesnt take into account training (as I read it). If these young fit males embarked on a heavy targeted training program I believe most would improve, wouldnt you? There is some (but I believe very few) non responders or poor responders to training (I believe complaince and whether they are actually pushing themselves may be an issue).


The Allen and Coggan table I am referring to matched a range of p/w ratios to US racing categories, right up to World Champion level.
For your reading of it to stick, you'd have to be consistent and presume World Champion p/w's are those of average world champions, who would benefit with a "heavy targeted training program".
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby vander » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:39 pm

PawPaw wrote:
vander wrote:You did not read that at all right. He said it was the average physiology. This doesnt take into account training (as I read it). If these young fit males embarked on a heavy targeted training program I believe most would improve, wouldnt you? There is some (but I believe very few) non responders or poor responders to training (I believe complaince and whether they are actually pushing themselves may be an issue).


The Allen and Coggan table I am referring to matched a range of p/w ratios to US racing categories, right up to World Champion level.
For your reading of it to stick, you'd have to be consistent and presume World Champion p/w's are those of average world champions, who would benefit with a "heavy targeted training program".


What I was saying didnt take into account training was the average physiology stuff that alex posted, not the Coggan table. I am not sure how the Coggan numbers really relate they would only relate to seeing what an A grader would have to push to be an A grader not anything about what the average person can push. It isnt even that helpful for that because the grades are so different from here to over there. Even between areas here they differ a lot.

Saying all that the average number doesnt matter at all. The point is whether someone can be trained to be an A grader, not whether the average rider at any point in time is an A grader.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby twizzle » Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:45 pm

Well, I can safely say I will never make it to A. No amount of training is going to fix my lack of sub-2 minute power, I'm firmly in the 'untrained' category.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby Ken Ho » Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:52 pm

Nope. Not me, that's for sure, no matter how much I hurt myself. Just don't have the lungs for it, never ever did.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby toolonglegs » Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:06 pm

twizzle wrote:Well, I can safely say I will never make it to A. No amount of training is going to fix my lack of sub-2 minute power, I'm firmly in the 'untrained' category.


Drop 10 kgs and things change quite a lot... drop 20 and who knows :D .
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby toolonglegs » Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:15 pm

Ken Ho wrote:Nope. Not me, that's for sure, no matter how much I hurt myself. Just don't have the lungs for it, never ever did.


Do you have a health issue with your lungs. Lungs are not usually a limiting factor in endurance exercise.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby PawPaw » Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:12 pm

toolonglegs wrote:
Ken Ho wrote:Nope. Not me, that's for sure, no matter how much I hurt myself. Just don't have the lungs for it, never ever did.


Do you have a health issue with your lungs. Lungs are not usually a limiting factor in endurance exercise.


Ken, I have to agree with TLL. The rate limiter is rarely the lungs....most often the heart and arteries.
Get A.C. Guyton or whatever physiology text you used out again and revise.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby twizzle » Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:21 am

toolonglegs wrote:
twizzle wrote:Well, I can safely say I will never make it to A. No amount of training is going to fix my lack of sub-2 minute power, I'm firmly in the 'untrained' category.


Drop 10 kgs and things change quite a lot... drop 20 and who knows :D .


I might scrape into Cat5 for 5sec/2min. Not enough to win in B. I did the numbers last year - I'd need to drop 15Kg just to hold on the back of the bunch for short climbs. No type-II muscle = no chance.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby dynamictiger » Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:36 am

I seriously doubt this logic. Just think about it. Any competitive sport there are a lot of kids out there training in say swimming. Yet only a few will compete at anything above local club level.

The argument training will overcome it I suspect is flawed. I cycle as part of my training program, not as an end point, as I am absolutely certain I could never be a serious racer no matter what I did. For one I currently weigh 118.5 kg. This is not particularly overweight for me. In fact I am currently in pretty good shape, however could loose another 5-8 kgs maybe. So lets say I lost all 8 kgs. I still have a very large upper body. I measure nearly 900mm standing square shoulder to shoulder.

Effectively I would be too slow climbing the hills as genetically I happen to know I have more sprint muscles than endurance, and I would weigh too much in the upper body to be able to keep up with a group like this. On the sprints I could probably keep up for maybe 800 metres of flat ground, however here my sheer size would work against me. I would become an air dam and simple physics would make it difficult if not impossible for me to get the power out I have in me.

On a similar vein put me in a pool and the A grade cyclist in a pool even after the same number of hours training and I will beat them every time particularly in my best stroke. I am built for this and trained for it for nearly 30 years. Big big advantage.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby vander » Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:31 pm

dynamictiger wrote:I seriously doubt this logic. Just think about it. Any competitive sport there are a lot of kids out there training in say swimming. Yet only a few will compete at anything above local club level.

The argument training will overcome it I suspect is flawed. I cycle as part of my training program, not as an end point, as I am absolutely certain I could never be a serious racer no matter what I did. For one I currently weigh 118.5 kg. This is not particularly overweight for me. In fact I am currently in pretty good shape, however could loose another 5-8 kgs maybe. So lets say I lost all 8 kgs. I still have a very large upper body. I measure nearly 900mm standing square shoulder to shoulder.

Effectively I would be too slow climbing the hills as genetically I happen to know I have more sprint muscles than endurance, and I would weigh too much in the upper body to be able to keep up with a group like this. On the sprints I could probably keep up for maybe 800 metres of flat ground, however here my sheer size would work against me. I would become an air dam and simple physics would make it difficult if not impossible for me to get the power out I have in me.

On a similar vein put me in a pool and the A grade cyclist in a pool even after the same number of hours training and I will beat them every time particularly in my best stroke. I am built for this and trained for it for nearly 30 years. Big big advantage.


You just ruined your own point. Stop doing all that training train for just cycling 500-600km a week watch your diet and you will loose the upper body mass, not initally but over a long period of time. I know you will try to blame something else but your body adapts, that is what its built for. Your 30 years of swimming has adapted your body. Yes some people wont get as good as others but that is what the real top levels (national and international distinguish) between. I am sure you measure 90cm shoulder to shoulder.............I know a few 200kg powerlifters that dont measure that. These are guys that shoulder press well in excess of 100kg.

@Twizzle - at 6'3" you will be able to get your weight down to atleast 90 more likely 80kg if you did with a FTP of 380W (which you have had) you should be able to get yourself in plenty of 2 man break aways and probably be able to timetrial yourself off the front if you time it right.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby vander » Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:09 pm

Oh and everyone that just said they will never make A grade no you wont straight away that mindset rules you out. Too many excuses on this thread, its disappointing to see.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby toolonglegs » Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:44 pm

dynamictiger ... what Vander says is pretty much true. Remember we are only talking club A grade here, not National level. "If" you only concentrated on cycling and if you lost all your upper body mass and went from 118 to 75-85 ( not sure how tall you are ) kilos then things would be very different. But the point is you probably don't want to do that... but if you did want to over 3 or 4 years you could.
Also most club A graders don't have to be very good at hills as they don't often race on them.

I look at Coogan's chart the otherway :P ... and keep dieting :lol: ... only doing it for fun after all but still doesn't stop me taking it seriously.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby toolonglegs » Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:45 pm

vander wrote:Oh and everyone that just said they will never make A grade no you wont straight away that mindset rules you out. Too many excuses on this thread, its disappointing to see.


I was there 3 years ago... I KNOW I will be back there next year... and I will do better than 2nd place ( best result ) this time around :) .

PS... all this talk is getting me motivated... might be time to get another power meter :lol: .
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby vander » Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:38 pm

toolonglegs wrote:
vander wrote:Oh and everyone that just said they will never make A grade no you wont straight away that mindset rules you out. Too many excuses on this thread, its disappointing to see.


I was there 3 years ago... I KNOW I will be back there next year... and I will do better than 2nd place ( best result ) this time around :) .

PS... all this talk is getting me motivated... might be time to get another power meter :lol: .


Do it! Dont think about it, do it!
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby Ken Ho » Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:01 pm

PawPaw wrote:
toolonglegs wrote:
Ken Ho wrote:Nope. Not me, that's for sure, no matter how much I hurt myself. Just don't have the lungs for it, never ever did.


Do you have a health issue with your lungs. Lungs are not usually a limiting factor in endurance exercise.


Ken, I have to agree with TLL. The rate limiter is rarely the lungs....most often the heart and arteries.
Get A.C. Guyton or whatever physiology text you used out again and revise.


Politely, up yours ! I can hurt myself plenty, but I'm still a carbon craplet on hills.
Sorry, but lungs limit the amount of oxygen that can be delivered, which inevitably limits horsepower produced. I am actually stronger at endurance, which I would consider to be 100km or more. I went flat out for 90km in the Cairns HIM, and came off my bike buzzing. That does not mean I could keep up with an A Grade pack over 40km. Cycle racing is essentially a mix of middle distance and sprint work.
I'm more like a low horsepower diesel. Not a lot of horsepower, but what I can do, I can do all day. I average the same speed over 100km as I do over 30km.
I'm only 1 year in though, and am clearly still building my base. I'm also 48, which is old enough to be a limiting factor too. GIve me 3 years to build my base, and I'll be 51. Not helping. I wold do a lot better if I lost weight, clearly, but that does not seem to be happening.
I think it is somewhat demeaning to he guys who are A Grade to suggest that I could ever compete with them.
And to the dude who says I have a defeatist attitude, up yours too. See you at Cairns IM next year, and you can tell me I'm a defeatist afterwards.
I'm just not delusional.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby Strawburger » Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:05 pm

toolonglegs wrote:PS... all this talk is getting me motivated... might be time to get another power meter :lol: .


I'm looking forward to those reports... But not the one where you break yet another power meter :lol:
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby toolonglegs » Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:31 pm

Ken, can't actually see where it says you don't know how to hurt yourself... still doesn't change the fact that unless you are a heavy smoker, asthmatic, have a lung disease etc then your lungs are rarely the limiting factor.

Strawburger ... yes always a worry :lol: ... bit like the fact that I think my DuraAce hub is getting close to die under heavy load. Hopefully the lighter I get the less I will break.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby Ken Ho » Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:05 am

toolonglegs wrote:Ken, can't actually see where it says you don't know how to hurt yourself... still doesn't change the fact that unless you are a heavy smoker, asthmatic, have a lung disease etc then your lungs are rarely the limiting factor.

Strawburger ... yes always a worry :lol: ... bit like the fact that I think my DuraAce hub is getting close to die under heavy load. Hopefully the lighter I get the less I will break.


Heart/lungs/kidneys are all part of one interacting system. You can't really separate them. My FVC last time I checked, over 6 years ago, was 3.8L. That's not much. Yours would be more like 6.5.
I think of lungs as being like the displacement size of an engine. Small engine, small horsepower, unless you run a really high state of tune, with forced aspiration. Then stuff blows up a lot, and if you apply the same high state of tune to a bigger engine, you are behind again. Not sure how to super-charge or turbo-charge human lungs.
Since bikes don't run onto the problems of high speed limiting performance that say, an F1 car does, then 5L lungs are going to whop 4L lungs.
Incidentally, I also seem to have an intrinsic governor on my heart, max HR of 148 that I have seen. The sprints and hill climbs beat me. I can hill climb, just not fast. Communing with butterflies, I think it's called. I know, I need to lose weight. Tell my appetite.
Tell you what, ask me about A Grade again in 3 years.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby dynamictiger » Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:28 am

toolonglegs wrote:dynamictiger ... what Vander says is pretty much true. Remember we are only talking club A grade here, not National level. "If" you only concentrated on cycling and if you lost all your upper body mass and went from 118 to 75-85 ( not sure how tall you are ) kilos then things would be very different. But the point is you probably don't want to do that... but if you did want to over 3 or 4 years you could.
Also most club A graders don't have to be very good at hills as they don't often race on them.


I sincerely doubt this is possible even under the scenario you suggest. Despite my heavy swimming background, before I started swimming I turned 10 years old and weighed 10 stone and no I wasn't a butterball, it is how I am built and always have been.
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