Best to Cut weight or concentrate on power for hilly race

Mar 10, 2009
I have a 100km race on August 8th that I want to peak for. I am a 40yr old 98kg man (dropped 20kg's in the last 6mths) and the race has a climb about 1/3rd of the way into the race that goes gradually up at about 1 to 2% for about 23km's (sometimes with a few little flats or slight downhills, then has a 2 1/2km 4% to 5% gradient, then 3km's of 2 to 3% then 1.3km's at 6% followed by the KOM sprint..

My fitness level is good and the distance isnt' a problem. If I keep up over the climb (with some of my power instore, I am as good as chance as anyone).

I guess the climb isn't so steep or long that it is impossible to keep up with the mountain goats, but I am unsure what is the best method of preparing for it at this stage. These are my options

Option 1: Concentrate on developing a little more power through hill repeats, intervals, etc. Shorter more intense training sessions. I already have a good base developed over the past year and currently ride between 300 to 350km's a week. However eat normally and lose say 1 to 2kg's in the next 3 to 4weeks (I love my food).

Option 2: Use meal replacement shakes and drop about 5 to 8kg's and do the best I can on my hill repeats, intense efforts, etc. (won't feel as much strength due to lower energy). eat well on Friday nights so my Saturday rides/races can be semi effective and 1 week before the big race eat like normal so my body can be restored to normal functioning.

I'm not sure which option will give me the best results. Also will eating normally for 1 week be long enough for my body to go back to normal so that I won't have any side effects on the day.

Thanks in advance
Jun 24, 2010
Bearing in mind that I am not a nutritionist or sports physiologist here is what I understand;

The body fuels itself primarily on glycogen stores for the first 1-2 hours and then relies on fat stores or introduced energy (eating) there after. The body also requires energy to refuel and recover during the day.

What I would suggest is that try to limit your calorie intake by keeping lunch and dinner portions small, but pre training (which I assume is in the morning) have a sports drink similar to science in sport PSP drink which is essentially a full carb drink. This will give you an ample supply to function through the interval session required. Post training have an ample breakfast to give your body enough food to recover, taking on a protein source of some kind. the rest of the day should focus on weight loss.

Hope that helps.
Jun 29, 2010
I would definitely go for Option 1. Option 2 has the potential of really changing your metabolism/food intake and is too drastic.

If you have great riding around you, I would focus on getting in longer 20-30 min climbs and ride at just below threshold and not blowing up over the top of the climb. Mix that in with some shorter-higher intensity intervals (not on same day) and that should work well.

How much weight are you aiming to lose? I have found that riding 30min or so on the trainer (or outside if you can get in 30min of uninterrupted riding) before breakfast in the morning really helps bring down the weight and burn fat. Just easy/med pace, spinning....

Keep up the good work!!
Aug 4, 2009
You have not been riding too long and you have already lost heaps of waight
I say keep doing what you have been doing the waight will come off .

How much fat and how much muscle do you carry also consider water ballance.
Main point is dont go overboard during the season you will loose form.
If you going to trim down a lot do it in off season.

other issue is how far from the climb is the finish them little Mountain goats go up hill OK but how do they handle riding alone in wind.

Get over the climb best way you can then workout how to beat them to the finish
Mar 10, 2009
Thanks for the tips. It sounds like i should be aiming for a balanced approach. Controlled eating that gives me enough energy for full power workouts and recovery. They'd better watch out when I finally lose my last 20kg's.

Thanks again
Option 1 definitely

The crash diet is likely to result in loss of muscle.

I ride with a 100kg guy and he's pretty good in the hills because he spends a lot of time working on his power.
I have a question that is sort of relevant to this thread. I am about 59-60 Kg and I do pretty well on the climbs as my power to weight ratio is OK but I really struggle on climbs with a shallow gradient. I seem to be able to get away with my lack of power on the flats by spinning more than everyone else and relying on my lungs but on these gradual gradients I lack the power.

Being new to racing I wondered what exercise/ training can be done to improve power.

May 4, 2010
Don't know if it will work for you Uphill but the "classic" way of doing it was to incorporate a long climb at the end of your training of about 1 in 10 or so and climb it sitting down{emphasize sitting down} in as high a gear as you can manage. The stronger and bigger riders would reckon on 53x13 but as I was only your weight that was too big for me. At the beginning of the season when training rides were 5-6 hours it was reckoned a long climb of 30 minutes or so was needed but that was the professionals and I don't know how fit you get. Best of luck with it.
So how did it go Indurain?

For me Ive found eating high calorie, high carb, low fat plant strong diet helps keep me lean and fit all year round.

I know lots of guys that have to starve to stay as light as me but thats just cos they eat junk cos they are so hungry from starving and then have to eat more! Its a viscious cycle..

I like to eat over 3500cals a day, even if Im just sitting around all day working on the computer. Somedays I eat over 7000cals doing no sport. Best to cut weight by eating heaps of healthy stuff so we can have enough energy to train specific in our chosen sport AND still have enough energy for mental and physical pursuits off the bike too..

Its not how much we eat as much as what types of foods we eat remember folks. :) 4000cals of rice, wholemeal pasta with veg sauces and fruit aint gonna have you looking/feeling/peforming the same as 4000cals of steak, chips,b donuts, eggs and choc milk.

How to climb faster? Its weird, whenever I train weekly with better climbers than me, I get better? :)