Weight Weight Don’t Tell Me: How much to the lbs really matter?

The Road to Everest Challenge Stage Race 2012
Weight Weight Don’t Tell Me:  How much do the lbs really matter?

I admit it… I lacked some willpower while in Belgium in April on our Spring Classics Trip.  I’m not afraid to say I’m fond of a Belgian beer or two, the food over there is delicious and frites & mayo are a requisite part of watching bike racing. So I’ve gained some lbs and I’m now going to have to put in the hard work to lose them again before Everest Challenge.

First step – beer and wine.  Much as I do like a glass of wine in the evening and a cold beer at the end of the day, this really is one of the easiest ways to reduce calorie intake without any loss of nutrient value ;-(  .  More on this in later blogs – i.e. how does alcohol really affect the athlete.

A few people asked me recently at our High Altitude Training Camp how much every extra lb counts for in terms of speed.  Since it’s been waaaay to long since I sat in my school physics classes I’m relying on someone else with more brain power than me to have done the calculations correctly.  I like this site: bikecalculator.com which seems to have done the math (based on some estimates, assumptions and variables remaining constant). Obviously other factors come into play here (including the fact that you often drop weight as you train more and therefore gain additional speed not just from losing lbs but from gaining fitness).

This calculator seems to suggest if I lost a mighty 10lb between now and Everest Challenge I’d gain about 10 minutes on White Mountain (a 21 mile climb with a 6% average grade). What I love about this calculator too is that you can put a negative grade and zero power into the calculator and play around with what speed you can ‘theoretically’ hit on a descent.  This bit is fun, particularly if you watch the speed difference between 5,000 feet altitude and the thin air at 10,000 feet.

By the way – if you’re looking for the real “Wait Wait don’t tell me” it’s here:  http://www.npr.org/programs/wait-wait-dont-tell-me/


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