Question: I’m 6-3 and 245, down from 280. I played football in college 15 years ago and took up cycling because I wanted a lifelong sport to replace the thrill of the gridiron wars.
Because of my size, I do okay on the flats but get dropped immediately on climbs. I know I’ll never be a great climber, but what can I do to improve? — Mac P.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Climbing is essentially a matter of your power-to-weight ratio.
Generally, if your weight in pounds is greater than twice your height in inches, it’s hard to be a top climber. At 75 inches tall, this means you’d need to weigh almost 100 pounds less.
Obviously, that’s impossible for a muscular guy with a large frame. So improvement depends on reducing body fat, working on technique and increasing power output.
All of these fixes are linked. For example, you need to consider what eating fewer calories will do to your energy for training.
I sympathize with your struggles. Once 205 pounds and now 160, I’m still 20 pounds too heavy to climb really well. I dieted like crazy one season, got down to 150 and won my category in the Mount Evans Hillclimb here in Colorado. Then I was so tired and weak from not eating enough that the rest of the season was a write-off. I looked like a skinned rabbit.
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