Climbing and the Power to Weight Ratio
I seem to always get comments about climbing and how my body type is ideal for battling the hills on my bike. Being short and light is probably a big giveaway, and the reason for this is because of what’s known as the “Strength to Weight Ratio”….or what I like to call the Power to Weight Ratio.
There are a lot of aspects that go into being a good climber, but I wanted to touch on only the power to weight part of the mix. Your power to weight ratio is a good determinant of how well you will perform on climbing a hill. So improving the amount of power you push out, or having the same amount of power with a decrease in your body weight will both help you in the climb. With that said, you don’t necessarily need to have massive tree trunks like the dude pictured to the right….cyclists can often improve their performance on hills by losing a little weight.
Here’s an example for you: A 150lb (68kg) rider climbs a 6% grade hill going 15 mph (24 kph), his power would be somewhere around 260 watts. If that rider were to lose 10 lbs (4.5 kgs), going up that same hill with the same power would increase his speed to 16 mph (25.75 kph).
Losing 10 pounds might sound difficult to some of you, but increasing your strength enough to gain that extra 1 mph of output might be even harder…and take a longer time.
The power to weight ratio applies to more things than just cycling, but it’s definitely an important aspect to this sport we all love so much. The thought of climbing might make some of your cringe, but by improving your ratio you’ll find those hills to be much less intimidating.
Improve your power to weight ratio and start flying up those hills.