Me vs. A Tour de France Rider, by the numbers
I spent the afternoon getting caught up on the most recent stages of the Tour de France, meaning I had a lot of time on my hand. One of the thoughts I’ve had this year – now that I have been riding more than any other time in my life – is what separates me from the TdF riders. I know the obvious answers: age, ability, skill level, and so on. I have no aspirations to become a competitive rider but I am interested in knowing just how far removed I am from those elite athletes. I based my comparison using a blog post from Bicycle magazine in March 2012 (You vs. The Peleton) as an outline. Numbers have been obtained from various sources for pro riders, and from my own logs for my numbers.
The key thing to notice is the power output of these riders. The ability to produce incredible power at close to peak threshold is what makes them stand out. It is also what allows them to cruise up mountain ascents at speeds 2-3 times my own speeds. It also helps to weigh less in such cases.
|Weight||81 kg (179 lbs)||68 kg (150 lbs)|
|Avg. speed – flat terrain||18 mph||25-28 mph|
|Avg. speed – climbing||9 mph||21-25 mph|
|Watts generated at lactate threshold*||245-280 W||350-400 W|
|Miles ridden per week||95||700-800|
|Calories consumed per ride||300-1,000||4,000-5,000|
|Calories burned per 100 miles||5,600||5,000-8,000|
|Hours of riding on typical rest day||0||3-4|
|Cost of bicycle||$700||$10,000-$14,000|
|Bicycle weight||29 lbs||15 lbs**|
*Explained in this article.
** UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) requires all bikes to be a minimum of 6.8 kg (15 lbs). There are bikes lighter than this but they are not allowed in any UCI sanctioned events.