You may have heard of different rider types in cycling: climber, time trialist, sprinter, all-rounder, puncheur, etc. Here is an article with a brief description- sorry about all the pop ups on this website it drives me nuts: https://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/racing/tour-de-france/what-type-of-rider-are-you-27599
There are several “tests”, special software (WKO4 and even Zwift Power- LOL), and other theories out there that claim to figure out your rider type. The issue with these “tests” is that it uses and takes into account the training you have been doing, as opposed to your true rider type. So if someone has been doing a lot of Sweet Spot work, for example, their rider type will show up under these tests as a Time Trialist.
From a practical standpoint however, I believe we all know deep down what kind of rider we are- or at least what kinds of efforts, rides, events, etc. we enjoy the most and the ones we enjoy the least- which typically matches our strengths and as such, our true rider type.
Your body type might also be an indicator of your rider type. For example, being tall and lean, shorter and lean, shorter and more muscular, longer femurs, etc. Predominant muscle fiber types as well (slow twitch, fast twitch A, fast twitch B).
You all have been cycling and training for a while now, and most of you have tried different events. If you had to classify yourself, what would be your rider type? How do you know?
Here is my own analysis, as an example. I don’t like super long, steady rides. I like changes in pace, explosive efforts, short efforts, big power spikes and easy recoveries. I like channelled anger type efforts and not a constant grind. I feel like I have fire inside of me and I am an extrovert. I am short and gain muscle easy, and tend to bulk up. I have more fast twitch muscles. I am a Puncheur.
Why does it matter?
Once you know your rider type, you understand why you do better in certain types of workouts and efforts vs. others. You also understand why certain types of rides and events might not be suitable or enjoyable. You can chose events that better match your strengths and that, at the end, bring you the most satisfaction. That was a light-bulb moment for me, when I realized that doing 200 mile events is just not what I enjoy.
If you are a racer, you can plan tactics based on your rider type/strengths. For example, an all-rounder or time trialist would not wait until the end of a race to attack, he/she would try for a breakaway earlier in the race and go solo to the finish because he/she can’t compete with the sprinters or puncheurs.