Anyone can become an A grade rider?

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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:33 am

vander wrote:
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).


The 3.9W/kg is what a young healthy male with average physiology could achieve with training, not what they would be starting from scratch.
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by BNA » Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:56 am

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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:56 am

Ken Ho wrote:Sorry, but lungs limit the amount of oxygen that can be delivered,

Only if you have a lung disease / pulmonary disorder.

With normal functioning lungs, even when cycling for many minutes at VO2max*, we are using only ~70% of our maximal voluntary ventilatory capacity (it can range from 60-80%, higher in the extremely fit).


* maximal rate of oxygen utilisation we could sustain when riding very hard for say 5-10 minutes at the most.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby PawPaw » Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:04 am

Ken Ho wrote: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.



From Guyton A.C. and Hall J.E. Textbook of Medical Physiology, 2006, p.1064

Relation of Cardiovascular Performance to VO2 Max.

During maximal exercise, both the heart rate and the stroke
volume are increased to about 95 per cent of their
maximal levels. Because the cardiac output is equal
to stroke volume times heart rate, one finds that the
cardiac output is about 90 per cent of the maximum that
the person can achieve. This is in contrast to about 65
per cent of maximum for pulmonary ventilation. Therefore,
one can readily see that the cardiovascular system
is normally much more limiting on VO2 Max than is the
respiratory system, because oxygen utilization by the
body can never be more than the rate at which the cardiovascular
system can transport oxygen to the tissues.


For this reason, it is frequently stated that the level
of athletic performance that can be achieved by the
marathoner mainly depends on the performance capability of
his or her heart, because this is the most limiting link
in the delivery of adequate oxygen to the
exercising muscles. Therefore, the 40 per cent greater
cardiac output that the marathoner can achieve over the
average untrained male is probably the single most
important physiologic benefit of the marathoner’s training program.


The lack of oxygen sensed when exhausted and smashed after longer efforts is due, amongst other things, to chemoreceptors sensing higher CO2 and lower O2 in the blood. Many people feel they are not getting enough oxygen from the lungs into the blood, but for most of us, it is inadequate rate of blood flow through the lungs to pick up O2 and dump CO2, and deliver that O2 to tissue that needs it. Blood flow rate through the lungs is the same as cardiac output rate.

Hence, unless suffering from moderate to severe obstructive or restrictive respiratory conditions, lungs are not the rate limiter of oxygen delivery during exercise.

Lower HR or stroke volume, lesser muscle arteriole density, artherosclerosis, lower intracellular aerobic respiration, neural drive of muscle contraction, are more likely the genetic and conditioning limiters of sustained exercise intensity.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby toolonglegs » Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:46 am

dynamictiger wrote:
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.


I also swam competitively from 6-16, then transitioned into Rugby... I was 110kgs when super fit in my early 20's ( later in life 110 kgs not super fit, another story! )... my upper body is half the size it used to be now. I had to stop running due to so many ankle injuries, hate doing lengths in the pool etc so I took up cycling... gradual change over 15 years. Also noticed since I become more of a roadie from being in the last 5 years from previously doing a lot of mtb that my arms / chest got a lot smaller.
Saying all that I am not exactly small now... still the most sort after wheel in peloton to follow for obvious reasons :oops: .

Ken Ho wrote:Yours would be more like 6.5.

I have a lung function below normal... can't remember exactly what it was but not great, also have a bit of asmtha but doesn't effect me too often luckily.
Ken Ho wrote:Incidentally, I also seem to have an intrinsic governor on my heart, max HR of 148 that I have seen.

That is pretty low. I have a leaky valve and enlarged heart... that will not doubt need fixing latter in life... we work with what we have :lol: .

This discussion is only for a bit of fun... 3 years seems like a good number to me though, seems to be about what is going to take me to get back to my best after 15 months off with my back / health problems. Although in some ways I think I am close to the power I was putting out in early 2010 now... just seems like I can still push it a lot further. So I will update at the end of the 3 years :wink: .
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby Ken Ho » Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:00 pm

PawPaw, it's still a gas transfer issue isn't it ? Bigger lungs equates to more gas transfer. Good swimmers always have a big FVC. Sure, I could train to a higher grade. Today, I could barely hang in a D Grade pack, evidenced by getting dropped out of one on the weekend, though to be fair, I made a large tactical boo-boo on a small hill that didn't help. I'm also in a training trough at present, but those things aside, I would have a lot of work to do just to get to C Grade, let alone A. Physical limitations aside, I also prefer to play to my strengths, which is longer, less fast-paced rides, like LC tri or Audax type thingies.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby Ken Ho » Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:09 pm

TLL, a big part of my job for 5 years was doing scuba medicals, about 1000/year so I have see spirometry on thousands of people, mostly in their 20's, without lung disease.. Your height alone is going to give you a big lung volume, though of course, more mass to supply and remove gas from too. I never saw a big correlation between predicted and measured values either. Not sure where the established norms come from, maybe military volunteers.
Height, sex and ethnicity had a lot to do with it. 2m Dutch guys would blow nearly 8L at times. GIrls who blew big volumes were typically good swimmers. Tiny Asian females were usually about 2L. Of course, that's an advantage in scuba and big lungs are a liability.
I asked a physician about my low max HR. He said it's probably genetic, and since my carnivorous cholesterol is always low than his vegan one, also gleefully told me it was associated with an increased risk of sudden cardiac death.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:21 pm

Ken Ho wrote:PawPaw, it's still a gas transfer issue isn't it ? Bigger lungs equates to more gas transfer.

Yes, it is a gas transfer issue, but the restriction on that is not a function of our lung capacity, which is never tapped out, even when riding at maximal aerobic power.

You are restricted by the oxygen delivery to, and uptake by, the mitochondria inside your muscle cells.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby PawPaw » Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:15 pm

Ken Ho wrote:PawPaw, it's still a gas transfer issue isn't it ? Bigger lungs equates to more gas transfer. Good swimmers always have a big FVC. Sure, I could train to a higher grade. Today, I could barely hang in a D Grade pack, evidenced by getting dropped out of one on the weekend, though to be fair, I made a large tactical boo-boo on a small hill that didn't help. I'm also in a training trough at present, but those things aside, I would have a lot of work to do just to get to C Grade, let alone A. Physical limitations aside, I also prefer to play to my strengths, which is longer, less fast-paced rides, like LC tri or Audax type thingies.


Ken, I am 53, and no matter how hard I train, I am not going to match the sprint power of some guys I race in C grade.
I've never had the fast twitch fibres for it.

As for gas transfer, Alex highlighted it, and I don't mean to patronize your education and clinical experience, but I'll stick with the cardiac output limiting VO2max well before pulmonary ventilation. As Guyton says, at maximal exercise rates, the heart is being taxed 90% and pulmonary ventilation 65%. Peak cardiac output is reached well before peak pulmonary ventilation. The fact is lungs have more reserve capacity than the heart, presumably due to some evolutionary selective survival pressure favoring higher ventilation reserve. i.e. better gas exchange at higher altitudes or maybe because fragile alveoli are more readily damaged through life (smoke, pneumonia and other chest infections).

One pulmonary thing I think is underrated amongst older athletes is a stiffer thoracic cavity due to decreased rib excursion; and reduced diaphragm descent due to underuse, stress inhibition, or visceral fat.

This would fall amongst restrictive conditions.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby find_bruce » Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:33 pm

My brother is a good case in point - 1 lobe surgically removed as an infant (don't know which one). Like all of my family he was a compeititive swimmer up until mid teens. Was competitive over 50 m, came nowehere over 100 m or 200 m, competitive again over 400 m. Every indication was that it was lung function that inhibited performance over 100 & 200 m, (ie 1-2 minute effort) but importantly not over longer time / distance.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby dynamictiger » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:13 pm

Ken Ho wrote:TLL, a big part of my job for 5 years was doing scuba medicals, about 1000/year so ... Height, sex and ethnicity had a lot to do with it. 2m Dutch guys would blow nearly 8L at times.


When I turned 17 my parents offered to pay for me to get a Driving or a Diving license. I choose Diving. Unfortunately no one told me about this. I found I could suck a tank of air in under 15 minutes this consequently put me off diving.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby PawPaw » Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:04 pm

dynamictiger wrote:When I turned 17 my parents offered to pay for me to get a Driving or a Diving license. I choose Diving. Unfortunately no one told me about this. I found I could suck a tank of air in under 15 minutes this consequently put me off diving.


THe longer your body, the longer the tank you are supposed to be fitted to.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby Ken Ho » Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:20 pm

Well, maybe there is hole for me yet. I have no deficit of strength, and no cycling related injury. I have not bothered to measure my heart rate since I took up cycling, figuring it was a waste of time. MIght just keep build mitichlorines.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby mikesbytes » Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:38 am

Ken, in my earlier racing days I was hitting maximum breathing quite significantly when pushing the limits. Nowadays I'm a lot quicker and rarely hit those maximum breathing issues. So perhaps you will go the same path as me, as your cycling performance develops
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby PawPaw » Sat Jul 28, 2012 4:39 pm

Mike, you are driven to breathe maximally when chemoreceptors in your arteries sense elevated CO2.

You get enough O2 to your lungs when breathing sub maximally, but low blood flow limits the CO2 that can be dumped in the lungs, and O2 that can be absorbed.

Increase cardiac output, hence blood flow, and your breathing rate and volume will drop, for the same workload.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby Ken Ho » Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:35 am

mikesbytes wrote:Ken, in my earlier racing days I was hitting maximum breathing quite significantly when pushing the limits. Nowadays I'm a lot quicker and rarely hit those maximum breathing issues. So perhaps you will go the same path as me, as your cycling performance develops


Just out of curiosity, what grade are you racing now ? I know you are an RPM instructor.
I'm not too bothered about racing, but inevitably I'm inclined to being my own best.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby mjd » Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:19 pm

I have to think anyone can make it to CLUB A grade, because I just did it. 48 years old, 6ft tall & 72 kg, 3rd year of riding & 2nd year of racing. Got a good coach [Thanks Alex! this man knows power training] & train with a power meter. Before this year kicked off I was in C grade & worked my way into B grade fairly quickly. Was in B grade for a while & was always around top 6 last few months have got a few results & bumped up to A grade. Whether I will win is up to me I guess & how much work I can do to improve but nothing is impossible unless I decide it is. We all have days that are just bad days but they have became less & less under Alex's guidance & are generally external factors like poor sleep or illness but even that is generally picked up with my power numbers & fatigue levels. Doubt I could have got there without a good coach or doubt I could have got there this quickly that's for sure.
Hung on today to finish 7th of about 25 in a pretty cool windy race.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby foo on patrol » Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:13 pm

Good on you MJD but I guess the question should really be, can anyone be good enough to ride A-grade at club level and place or win? The answer to this question really is, depends on the level of the other riders. As far as open rides go, I still say no because it stills depends on your genetic make up and there is no escaping this factor. :wink:

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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby mjd » Sun Jul 29, 2012 2:51 pm

foo on patrol wrote:Good on you MJD but I guess the question should really be, can anyone be good enough to ride A-grade at club level and place or win? The answer to this question really is, depends on the level of the other riders. As far as open rides go, I still say no because it stills depends on your genetic make up and there is no escaping this factor. :wink:

Foo

Opens really are another level imho. Its a combo of all the states regular A grade club winners & generally a lot of these guys riding NRS level, plus some very wiley older foxes who have hunted for many a year.
Still good to dream & it makes the training worth the time & effort.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby PawPaw » Sun Jul 29, 2012 4:13 pm

mjd wrote:I have to think anyone can make it to CLUB A grade, because I just did it. 48 years old, 6ft tall & 72 kg, 3rd year of riding & 2nd year of racing.


How many hours a week are you spending in the saddle this year?
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby Porridgewog » Sun Jul 29, 2012 6:16 pm

PawPaw wrote:I know a lot of 35+ guys who started in D grade, and managed to advance to C grade after 10-15 hrs/wk training, and big wt loss....but they'll never make it to B grade.
Maybe the OP could ask his mate if he believes if any younger guy can make it into A, can any guy 35-50 make it into B. The proof is 'no'.



Well I'm 45 most training is a 20km commute and I'm in B with aspirations. And one crit averaged 43.5. Quicker than A that day. So spose this is all kinda as good as measuring IQ by stool length
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby vander » Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:29 pm

Porridgewog wrote:
PawPaw wrote:I know a lot of 35+ guys who started in D grade, and managed to advance to C grade after 10-15 hrs/wk training, and big wt loss....but they'll never make it to B grade.
Maybe the OP could ask his mate if he believes if any younger guy can make it into A, can any guy 35-50 make it into B. The proof is 'no'.



Well I'm 45 most training is a 20km commute and I'm in B with aspirations. And one crit averaged 43.5. Quicker than A that day. So spose this is all kinda as good as measuring IQ by stool length


The big difference between A and B is how surgy A is. The average speeds arent too much different but A grade is a lot more up an down, in my limited experience.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby mikesbytes » Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:32 pm

Ken Ho wrote:
mikesbytes wrote:Ken, in my earlier racing days I was hitting maximum breathing quite significantly when pushing the limits. Nowadays I'm a lot quicker and rarely hit those maximum breathing issues. So perhaps you will go the same path as me, as your cycling performance develops


Just out of curiosity, what grade are you racing now ? I know you are an RPM instructor.
I'm not too bothered about racing, but inevitably I'm inclined to being my own best.

In masters I'm A grade. In open club racing, I'm either A or B depending on where it is, though I don't often do club racing.

Are you familiar with RPM classes? They are the bulk of my training. Have you been to one of my classes?
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby toolonglegs » Sun Jul 29, 2012 8:07 pm

vander wrote:
The big difference between A and B is how surgy A is. The average speeds arent too much different but A grade is a lot more up an down, in my limited experience.


For me the biggest difference is once you get to A grade there is no where else to go... So it has the widest spread of riders of any of the grades.
But yes the accelerations are also much more viscous and more sustained... Plus 1 or 2 kmph gain in average can make a big difference.
If you mark age related championships as your main goal events then riding in A is very beneficial especially if you are in the 40 plus age group ( or whatever masters age groups there are ).
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby wurtulla wabbit » Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:20 pm

Not cycling but if it was hard work and dedication, Wayne Rooney would be unemployed and dole bludging.

Talent, genetics,practice .
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby jacks1071 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:16 am

Ken Ho wrote:PawPaw, it's still a gas transfer issue isn't it ? Bigger lungs equates to more gas transfer. Good swimmers always have a big FVC. Sure, I could train to a higher grade. Today, I could barely hang in a D Grade pack, evidenced by getting dropped out of one on the weekend, though to be fair, I made a large tactical boo-boo on a small hill that didn't help. I'm also in a training trough at present, but those things aside, I would have a lot of work to do just to get to C Grade, let alone A. Physical limitations aside, I also prefer to play to my strengths, which is longer, less fast-paced rides, like LC tri or Audax type thingies.


Ken,

I thought you might find the average speeds interesting from last weeks race.

A Grade 35.7km/ph
B Grade 35.7km/ph (A & B were a combined race)
C Grade 33.1km/ph
D Grade 31.9km.ph

Not much more than a 10% performance increase from our D Grade riders and they'd be rolling with the A Graders. No wonder our club handicapper has such a tough time!!
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