I’ve been dealing with some bike lust lately, mainly spawned by a sexy Ti 29+ SS I saw at Solstice. The concept of the bigger tires for traction, and some compliance in the frame for long distance was a heady mixture that set off a world of reading up on things I can’t afford. Bike lust is something I don’t deal with very well.
It lead me to thinking about what I actually DO need to upgrade. So I brought Cyclops into the shop for a good solid work over… and second opinion on the state of the frame and other parts. Turns out it got glowing reviews, and there isn’t anything to upgrade, except maybe Ergons for long distance riding, noting the foam grips are laughably small. Though If I really wanted to spend money, they had a sexy RockShox SID they’d sell me…. I declined… barely.
So if the bike was fine, what about my gear? My Team kit is made by Sugoi and fits perfectly. Shoes have cosmetic damage, but work perfectly. I like my gloves, and I have a new helmet this year… lights? Good to go, just need enough power for 12 hours of night riding.
I have no meaningful upgrades to buy. Sure I could go out and drop a small fortune on parts that look good, but that’s gonna make me look hella poseur.
I jumped on Zwift for a 2 hour mid tempo ride, and let my mind wander as my legs churned away, only to see there was a “Social Ride” going on. People talking, comparing bikes, food, and eventually the conversation rolled into “Whats your FTP?”. Someone replied with 290, which got a lot of attention and further questions, but it set me on a thought path for the rest of my ride.
Its not really about how much power you can put down. Its entirely about how heavy you are. “FTP/KG”
Lets look at it this way: THEY SAID NO MATH
Lets assume there are no other variables other than flat, windless, road, same bikes for everything:
Right now at FTP my w/kg ratio is about 3.1. Its right about where I expect someone who trains as much as I do. Which is a moderate amount with family commitments and a slight lean towards playing “how many chicken wings can I put in my face”. Now most of my riding is fairly steady state with intervals on Tuesdays and 2x20s on Thursdays. Apart from that I’m usually cruising around at 2.2 w/kg for long distances, and usually not even under the watch of a powertap, but rather by heart rate.
If I happen to drop down to 225lbs, I’m suddenly rocking 3.4 and have moved up an entire category from a power profile perspective.
So while I sat there guffawing at people and their puny wattage…. I realized I was slow as balls… and most if not all of these guys are going to laugh as they go flying by.
I also have the aerodynamics of a farm tractor…. this sucks for gravel, isn’t so bad for MTB.
Anyway, lets look at it this way now. If I want to get faster, its not parts on the bike that’s going to do it at this point. Its going to be dropping the weight. I’ve been tracking my eating habits now for a week or 2, and I have a LOT of room to improve. From a cycling point of view, my workouts won’t change much as I’m in the middle of race season, but once September is over, I’ll have 4 months to drop down as far as I can before a February taper.
Here’s the thing though, for a long while, I used to think about dropping weight as an aesthetics thing, its no longer the case. The biggest upgrade I can do for Pueblo is get there at 225. Apart from aesthetics, there are huge boons to not having a bunch of weight bouncing around when you’re riding, but the biggest thing is simply just not having it on you when hour start to tick by and your power starts to fade from “strong as ox” to “surprised my legs are moving”.
So the first thing I’m going to upgrade, is the chassis of the engine powering the bike. This requires no money, just being much smarter about what I eat, when I eat it, and how much of it I’m eating. The diet profile will change pretty significantly over the next couple of weeks as I adapt to a different way of eating, once race season is over, the massive push will begin.
It is easily the biggest upgrade I can do, and its about time I actually really took a shot at doing it rather then trying to buy my way around it, or through reading osmosis.
…..that and possibly a new SID fork, cause it couldn’t hurt right?