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Outstanding Athleticism of the Tour De France
Old 07-24-2012, 07:42 PM   #1
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Outstanding Athleticism of the Tour De France

BBC News - Tour de France: Are drug-free cyclists slower?

Tour de France - 2012

This years Tour was 3497 km, over 22 days including 2 rest days. The first article analyzes some data that was released by one rider for one days ride, or part of one day. His output was 320-322 watts in climbs, then a final climb of 360 watts. For this rider, this latter amounts to 5.6 watts/kg bodyweight.

I am awestruck by this degree of endurance and power. Some observers also think that more riders are likely clean than before, and that outputs in the previous decade were greater, and that we may be nearer to seeing actual human potential rather than drugged human potential. Other observers doubt that drugs are gone, only that perhaps riders have dialed back usage to try to escape detection.

As an health exerciser in (late) middle age, I am blown away to try to understand this.

Ha
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Old 07-24-2012, 09:26 PM   #2
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That's roughly one-half horsepower. That is amazing for a human.

-ERD50
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Old 07-24-2012, 10:52 PM   #3
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Tons of great photos, power data, and analysis here.

http://www.srm.de/index.php/de/srm-blog/tour-de-france
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Old 07-25-2012, 06:17 AM   #4
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As a regular bike rider I long ago concluded they were all aliens.
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Old 07-25-2012, 07:34 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by haha View Post
BBC News - Tour de France: Are drug-free cyclists slower?

Tour de France - 2012

This years Tour was 3497 km, over 22 days including 2 rest days. The first article analyzes some data that was released by one rider for one days ride, or part of one day. His output was 320-322 watts in climbs, then a final climb of 360 watts. For this rider, this latter amounts to 5.6 watts/kg bodyweight.

I am awestruck by this degree of endurance and power. Some observers also think that more riders are likely clean than before, and that outputs in the previous decade were greater, and that we may be nearer to seeing actual human potential rather than drugged human potential. Other observers doubt that drugs are gone, only that perhaps riders have dialed back usage to try to escape detection.

As an health exerciser in (late) middle age, I am blown away to try to understand this.

Ha
Yes - truly amazing.
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Old 07-25-2012, 01:41 PM   #6
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As a regular bike rider I long ago concluded they were all aliens.
+1

We once were staying in a hotel in Scotland where, I guess, a bike race was passing through.

We couldn't believe the huge quantities of eggs, sausages, bacon, etc that these ultra thin, ultra fit guys were shoveling down their gullets at breakfast.
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Old 07-25-2012, 02:55 PM   #7
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+1

We once were staying in a hotel in Scotland where, I guess, a bike race was passing through.

We couldn't believe the huge quantities of eggs, sausages, bacon, etc that these ultra thin, ultra fit guys were shoveling down their gullets at breakfast.

IIRC, last Olympics they had some discussion of Michael Phelps diet during training. It was around 8000 calories and I got the impression that swim team required the output of the entire farm to feed them.
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:04 PM   #8
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IIRC, last Olympics they had some discussion of Michael Phelps diet during training. It was around 8000 calories and I got the impression that swim team required the output of the entire farm to feed them.
I find that amazing.
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:26 PM   #9
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IIRC, last Olympics they had some discussion of Michael Phelps diet during training. It was around 8000 calories and I got the impression that swim team required the output of the entire farm to feed them.
The Wall Street Journal has it at 12,000 calories a day.
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:38 PM   #10
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When I was on the staff at the Air Force Academy a long time ago, the dining hall used 7,000 calories per day (IIRC) as the standard diet for Basic Cadet Training (the first few months before the first year of classes began).

They ate every scrap on their plates and you could watch them become leaner and lighter every day.
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:50 PM   #11
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As a regular bike rider I long ago concluded they were all aliens.
They are definitely another breed.

Bradley Wiggins was leading out his team mates at about 40 mph for a few miles at the end of the stage on the Champs Elysees!
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:07 PM   #12
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I love watching them. It is just mind-boggling to see what those guys can do.
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:59 PM   #13
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Not to mention their absolute fearlessness at going at such speeds in such terrain.
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Old 07-27-2012, 10:14 PM   #14
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I consistently ride 1,000's of miles/yr & train 6-18hrs/wk (depending on season & event schedule). Last fall finished my 1st ironman distance triathlon (140.6mi- 2.4mi swim/112mi bike/26.2mi run in 13+hrs). Well trained/rested I prob could finish an easier TdF stage within the cut-off time (i.e. stage winner time + 15-25%), but I would be wiped out for a week. What amazes me most is the speed of recovery allowing these athletes do this for 21 of 23 days!!!!!
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Old 07-28-2012, 12:39 AM   #15
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I consistently ride 1,000's of miles/yr & train 6-18hrs/wk (depending on season & event schedule). Last fall finished my 1st ironman distance triathlon (140.6mi- 2.4mi swim/112mi bike/26.2mi run in 13+hrs). Well trained/rested I prob could finish an easier TdF stage within the cut-off time (i.e. stage winner time + 15-25%), but I would be wiped out for a week. What amazes me most is the speed of recovery allowing these athletes do this for 21 of 23 days!!!!!
Your regime is quite impressive. Can you estimate the per km calorie cost of riding in gently rolling terrain at 20kph?

I am trying to figure a way to compare bicycling to rowing in terms of calories expended.

Ha
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Old 07-28-2012, 08:28 PM   #16
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Ha-

Calories burned bicycling varies a lot depending on bike (road/racing vs mountain bike with knobby tires) & speed. I imagine rowing calories could also vary with speed/equipment/etc.
Here's a link with formula for calculating estimated calories burned from age, body weight, heart rate, and estimated max oxygen consumption (from 12 min walk/run test)-

Calories Burned From Rowing | LIVESTRONG.COM

But keep in mind that vigorous exercise (with Dr's permission of course!) eventually burns more calories than these estimates since it increases metabolism for hours after exercise is done.
BTW- Most health sources suggest approx 30-45min of "moderate" exercise 4 days/wk, and there is some cardiovascular benefit from less exercise as well. I make no claim that 8-10+hrs/wk in endurance exercise is healthier lifestyle than more moderate exercise program. I just happen to enjoy it.
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Old 07-28-2012, 10:58 PM   #17
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Ha-

Calories burned bicycling varies a lot depending on bike (road/racing vs mountain bike with knobby tires) & speed. I imagine rowing calories could also vary with speed/equipment/etc.
Here's a link with formula for calculating estimated calories burned from age, body weight, heart rate, and estimated max oxygen consumption (from 12 min walk/run test)-

Calories Burned From Rowing | LIVESTRONG.COM

But keep in mind that vigorous exercise (with Dr's permission of course!) eventually burns more calories than these estimates since it increases metabolism for hours after exercise is done.
BTW- Most health sources suggest approx 30-45min of "moderate" exercise 4 days/wk, and there is some cardiovascular benefit from less exercise as well. I make no claim that 8-10+hrs/wk in endurance exercise is healthier lifestyle than more moderate exercise program. I just happen to enjoy it.
Thanks ER Hoosier for your answer.

I usually do 7-8 hours a week rowing, plus some random walking and dancing. I would do more rowing except that I won't have the energy to do normal actiivity the rest of the day! I just feel kind of like a slacker if I am not moving a fair amount. I am beginning to accept that I am stuck with my lifelong personality; it is not going to change because I am retired.

I feel that the "moderate exercise" mantra is mostly just to keep people who are too busy to do more from getting discouraged and quitting. Even pretty heavy exercisers are doing nothing compared to a very physical job. Now competitive endurance athletes are in their very own class.

Ha
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