Do you know your rider type?

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.

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So interesting that personality comes into play along with body type.

I love long distance rides, anything less than 100 miles is a short ride. :smiley: Short fast racing is not my thing. I tried crit racing last year and I had fun in a general kind of way but I did not enjoy the actual cycling part of it.

I am short and small and introverted. I am good at chugging along and keeping a steady pace. A constantly changing pace in a group drives me crazy and makes me feel trapped and frustrated. Zwift power ranks me as a long hill climber. I don’t have any mountains in Minnesota, but I do notice I do better on longer hills than short ones.

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I really don’t know what type of rider I am as I haven’t tried any type of racing yet, but I do know some things about my riding style. I don’t have endurance and suffer on long rides. I have trouble holding my FTP for long periods of time. I like sprinting on segments or attacking short hill segments and going as hard as I can to beat my own times. I’m somewhat on the shorter side but very light with long arms and legs. I do well on hills but find really long climbs tiring. People get away from me on the downhills as I’m so light and I have to work hard on flats to stay in someone’s draft. I don’t get to ride in groups. There just isn’t much offered here and juggling schedules to make it to one doesn’t ever work. I don’t mind riding alone but I enjoy having another rider to chat with. I’m also an introvert.

Anyone have any ideas what kind of rider I am? I couldn’t figure it out from the post.

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Stefanie could be an all-rounder, a TT or a climber. Lindsy could be a Puncheur.

When you say that you don’t have endurance @Lindsy, are you referring to spending hours in the saddle? Last year I did not do any rides longer than 3hs or so, not because I couldn’t, but because I really just did not feel like it. Also, don’t worry about holding your FTP- that number is just a tool to design training. But I get what you mean- I am like that too, anything that requires holding any power for a long period of time drives me nuts. I think that’s why I am not a big fan of racing in Zwift.

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I think I’m more on the climber side although I’m not as light as the average climber. I love going uphill and the longer the climb, the better I do. I think I can also do okay on TTs but I haven’t done one in a long time. I’m pretty good on pacing myself and staying near or at threshold for longer periods of time. My main sport growing up was swimming and I was much better doing long sets than short all out races. Same thing with running so I think my fast twitch muscles are not really my thing. My sprint power on the bike is also not great… it’s been getting a little better after doing Theia’s workouts but I don’t think it will ever be something good.
The personality graph is funny, I’m definitely not introverted although I’m not a chatty Cathy either :joy:

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I’m not really sure what I am (the story of my life!). I love to sprint and don’t really like hills BUT I am pretty good on long ascents, I can keep a steady pace and tend to catch those who shot past me at the start of the climb. I’m equally comfortable riding in a group or on my own - I usually sign up for 100 mile Sportives as I love the challenge and spend most of the event riding solo.
I am definitely an introvert - did an exercise on personality types with my work team today and we all came out as introverts…

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Thanks @Coach_Theia. I’ve never been good at long events for swimming or running. I can generate a lot of speed, but only hold it for a short time so I excelled at 50m swimming races, was ok at 100m, but was not able to be competitive at the 200m events and my coach wouldn’t have even attempted longer ones. So on the bike I find I’m just spent at 2 hours. I have done one 100km ride. I did it on my own so I could just go my pace and stop and restvwhen I needed. I didn’t enjoy it and just don’t like spending that much time in the saddle. I way prefer a hard short workout.

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I find this so fascinating @Lindsy. I was never terribly athletic as a kid but I was on my high school girls soccer team for a couple years. I could run up and down the field for the whole game no problem, but during practices when we did sprints I was always the slowest person on the team. And sprinting on a bike? :rofl: A 13-year-old girl beat me in a finish sprint during a crit race last spring and she was 2 bike lengths behind me and crossed the line one and half bike lengths in front of me.

When it comes to slow twitch/fast twitch muscle composition @Coach_Theia, is that something a person is born with or through training can you grow more of one kind of muscle or another? I am obviously a slow twitch dominant person but if I decided I really wanted to be a sprinter, age and size and all that out of the equation, would I be able to change all that slow twitch muscle into fast twitch? Or do I have to give up my dream of besting Peter Sagan and just work on making the fast twitch muscles I do have more efficient so maybe I could beat Chris Froome in a sprint?

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Very interesting! As I suspected, you all have a pretty good idea of what you like, and that’s typically where your strengths are. The best part about being aware of these things is that it gives you the “freedom” do chose events/rides that you enjoy and say no to the ones you don’t.

Quite often riders believe they should be able to ride in groups, or do long rides, when in reality, they don’t need to if they don’t want to.

In terms of training, all rider types benefit from training all systems, because everything is connected… It’s not like each power zone is completely separate from all others, and no one rides only one zone anyway. The key differentiator happens when you are out there “in the wild”. Knowing you strengths allows you to better plan for the challenges and better decide tactics.

In terms of muscle fibers, @stefanie, there are conflicting studies regarding the capacity of type I and II fibers to convert into one another. Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that even if it is possible, the changes are not significant enough to turn you into our friend Peto. But you can see improvements in the areas related to the different muscle types. Also, I think the biggest issue is when, for example, you have a fast-twitch-dominant athlete train more slow-twitch for a long period of time-- what would happen then is that rider would likely never perform at the same level as someone born with more slow-twitch muscles (and also training that way), and would start to lose its capacity to perform activities/efforts in which they excel.

Lastly, what makes someone a better sprinter is not so much how much power they can put out (i.e., max watts achieved), but rather, the explosiveness of the sprint, the “jump” when they go for it. I look at my sprints and Drew’s for example, and they look a lot different- mine has a much higher spike at the start, like a 90-degree, vertical line, and I have very high torque. His is more undulating- I’ll grab a screen shot and post when he comes home.

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That’s fascinating! Bodies are so wonderfully weird.

Heh, I prefer to ease my way into a sprint, what’s the hurry? :wink: I find the fast changes and the short 10 second intervals in the workouts really challenging. The 20 second ones are hard but I can get it done. The ten second ones, it’s sometimes a toss up whether I can get my legs moving fast enough before the interval is over especially if I am not paying close attention and the mean red arch suddenly appears out of nowhere!

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I can answer this question because of Strava! There are three other local ladies who have most of the QOMs - one’s an Ironman triathlete, one’s an elite crit racer, and one’s an ex-pro with a ridiculously high power-to-weight. The only QOMs in the city that I own are short climbs and the “drag race” sections up to them.

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Ha! That’s awesome @apalexander

Here are the screen shots I was referring to in the post above:

Drew’s sprints:

My sprints:

Even when I do 20/40s seated my surges have that shape:

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Once in a while the stars align and I can make one of my sprints look like yours Theia, but most of the time mine look very much like Drew’s :grinning:

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:rofl: you crack me up Stefanie! They absolutely don’t need to look like mine. You can use other tools from your toolbox and not need to sprint at all at the end of a race!!

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My sprints are curvy and friendly, like a nice hug :laughing:

I can use other tools? So I can toss tacks down on the road? Poke a stick in someone’s spokes? So many tools in my box :wink:

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@PaleGail here is the thread about rider type, as I mentioned on FB. If you would like, post your Today’s Plan graph below and I can help you make sense of the data!

I’ll post mine. Maybe you can help me figure it out. I included 12 months ago - doing lots of endurance cycling in preparation for a century in September, and 3 months ago when I started training here.

@NUGirl hummm… your graph has me a little puzzled. Looks to me that you are an all-rounder leaning towards Time Trialist. What do you think, reading the post above and article form the link?

@Coach_Theia Finally getting around to posting mine. I loaded my Zwift and IRL rides back to the beginning of April but the 3 month bar looks the same as it did when it only had workouts from the beginning of ZA.
And I have no clue what my rider type is :confused: