Comparing Apples to Buicks

Time to Think

A somewhat recent article in Bicycle Magazine compared a pro cyclists with a regular cyclist and came up with some pretty interesting claims, basing the comparison on 155 pound Cat 5 rider against a UCI professional on a three-hour ride. When I first glanced over the data, I was somewhat amused. I will the absolute first one to admit that the professionals have skills that are mind blowing at times. Just think about that for a second. For all of the cyclists in the world who race and put a lot of time in on the bike, there are only a handful of riders that are allowed to rise and compete at the UCI level. But then I started to consider some things. How much better would I be if  . . .

  1. Nutrition: What if I were able to have a perfectly balanced pre-ride meal and post-ride meal, not to mention every conceivable kind of snacks and cold bottles during the ride? Ice socks to keep my core temperature down would be nice too. That would definitely be better than stopping at a house to ask if I could refill my bottles with their water hose.
  2. Training: Instead of a regular job and training after working all day, what if I were able to put 40-50 hours a week into my training? That would BE my job. And after I have put in my time on the bike (4-6 hours) a day, I could have a full massage to aid in recovery.
  3. Equipment: I would estimate that the average competitive cyclist in my area has a bike that ranges in the $4000 to $7000 range. So what if I could have the top-of-the-line bike custom made for me and custom fit to me? What if I could have three, four, or five of these bikes for various terrains? What if I could have someone making sure that all of my bikes were in pristine condition before every ride? Oh, to have perfectly fitted kits and shoes would be something of a bonus too, not to mention various clothing options for every kind of weather. It also wouldn’t hurt if a few pair of Oakleys were tossed into the mix to match everything I wear.

Now, don’t misunderstand what I am trying to convey. I am aware that many cyclists make a ton of sacrifices before they get to that level. I am only wondering how much I would improve if I instantly had everything I listed. What would my average speed be? How much longer could I go? Recovery time? The list goes on and on. Just food for thought, I guess.


4 thoughts on “Comparing Apples to Buicks

  1. Well, the ability to put the miles in would be huge. The bikes and kit? Maybe a few tenths of one mile per hour better. I know, I have it all (except eight hours a day to ride). It’s all in the legs brother.

    1. Oh absolutely! The engine is the key. BUT think about one century or race or long training ride where you have all the cold bottles you want handed to you with handmade snacks, energy bars, etc. plus pre/post-ride meals and massages . . .
      Could I hang with a UCI peleton on one stage of the TdF? Nope. But it’s fun to think about. 🙂
      Thanks for the comment, Jim!

  2. I’m with you. All the little things (and there are so many) add up to a big advantage.
    Let’s not forget natural ability/talent as well. Sure, pro’s train like mad, but some can utilize that training to a further extent, because of a better V02 max and red blood cell production/capabilities. Some guys have it some don’t.


    1. Absolutely, Geo! Could I hang with a pro peloton on an HC climb? Nope. Even I trained for a year, but I like to think that there are some advantages. Thanks for the comment!

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