Need training advice for a Crit rider who weighs 115lbs

Hi so I am going to PSU next year and we race in Colligate. Generally the cat 5 crits there are 10.4 miles and the average times are 26/27 minutes.

On my indoor peloton I did a simulation of that (kind of) I just road 10.4 miles as hard as I could, but still saved some juice for a sprint at the end.

Anyways I averaged 24.6mph and average power was 289 watts. I weigh 115lbs so it makes sense but it REALLY annoys me when I see people who averaged the same speed in other crits only averaging 200 watts. Like I get that weighing nothing has its perks on climbs but that’s it… is there anything I can do to help with that situation, because I have to work so much harder to average the same speeds and if I only had to average 220 watts it would be so easy (at least easier than having to average 290). Crits don’t really have any climbs too which is the only area I do well in.

That would suggest that you may have a lot to gain by riding in the draft of other riders.

Like mcalista has said, try to improve your drafting skills, but ultimate you need to be aware of the limitations: you are a light rider with a high power-to-weight ratio. And given that most crits are essentially flat, that does not play to your strengths.

Hey @kevinabbot,

I think the first thing you should ask yourself is why do you think the workout you did is a good representation of what a crit is? I don’t mean that as a dig or anything but what you described doesn’t sound like any of the crits I’ve ever done in my years of racing. What you described sounds more like a TT type effort.

Crits are very dynamic, there is a lot of variation in your power even when riding relatively efficiently simply due to all the corners plus the attacking style of racing that crits usually bring out in people.

Also, being a bigger rider (usually 165-170lbs) I’ve never managed to average anything close to 200w in any crit. The challenge lighter riders like yourself have is that you usually have to put out a similar number of watts to go the same speed which usually is a higher percentage of your FTP making it harder to sustain.

As for what you can do to race better in crits as a lightweight rider her is my list 1) learn to draft and race efficiently so you save energy until you have to use it. 2) Increase your short term power/repeatability to help you cope with the surges 3) increase your FTP to help you cope with the elevated pace of these short races. 4) race a lot and learn from your races, learn who the strong riders are in your races, learn how races usually play out (it’s different for teachnical courses, high speed non-tech course, and cross winds or rain will change the way a race plays out). 5) buy aero gear (wheels, skinsuit, helmet,etc…) This is speed you can instantly buy which reduces how hard you have to work. There is usually much more to be gained on the fitness side for most lower category riders, but those gains take months and years to develop. 6) race to your strengths, as a light rider you give less draft which can make it hard for people to draft off you effectively.

Strangely, that list mostly applies to all rider weights. You happen to be lighter than most folks, but the steps to racing better will be pretty similar to that of heavier riders.

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Are you looking at the other folks’ normalised power too? That gives you a much better indication of the level of effort they’re putting in for a crit.

Gain some weight. Put on some muscle. The advantage of your lightness is that you can put on 10 lbs of muscle whereas most people are looking to drop weight.

That’s ~5.5W/kg for ~25 minutes? Should definitely race some hilly courses as well as crits!

For crits you need to work on power for short durations (may need to pack on a bit more muscle as well), find courses with at least a bit of climbing, and then race smart. You’re not going to have the outright power to make a long break work, but if you can draft on the flats and descents and then put everybody into the red on the climbs then you can wear the pack down. And yes, as said above you need to optimise equipment and position choices as well, there are some aero advantages to being smaller and you should certainly be pushing less watts to go at the same speed as a 170lb rider.

Oh I missed that detail. Yeah, if you’re doing 5.5 w/kg for 25 minutes, you shouldn’t have any trouble in a cat 5 crit.

I don’t know: the OP is already a very powerful rider, and he’d trade being better at crits with being worse at climbing. Perhaps that trade off is worth it, but I think he could learn to strategize better instead.

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