When you are watching pro cyclers compete, it’s hard to quantify how fast they are actually going — and how your own skills stack up. In a video from Global Cycling Network, three guys at varying levels of cycling skill try to hold world record pace for an hour.
It goes just about as well as you’d imagine.
The three decided to take on Bradley Wiggins’ hour record, which “was estimated to require an average power of 440 watts.” In Wiggins’ hour ride at that pace, he rode 54.5 kilometers, or about 33.9 miles. Now that’s impressive.
But let’s break it down even further. According to Wired, that’s equivalent to the energy it would take an 150-pound person to climb a flight of stairs in about 5.5 seconds.
“Now imagine climbing 655 flights at that pace,” the Wired article reads. “That’s an hour.”
So how did a self-proclaimed rookie cyclist, an experienced amateur, and a pro cyclist stack up? The three used a Wahoo Kickr Bike for the trial, setting the resistance to make sure no matter how fast the cyclists petal, it will generate 440 watts.
Well, spoiler alert, the rookie lasted only 46 seconds. As for the experienced amateur, he powered through three minutes and 50 seconds. And finally we have the pro, who rode at 440 watts for an impressive 46 minutes.
But the reason for such a stark difference in numbers is hard to pinpoint. Along with practice and overall ability, the crew theorizes that genetics, like a person’s oxygen absorption rate and the body’s ability to use energy, might simply be higher in pros. They also theorize heart strength and lung capacity, as well as psychology can factor in. Likely, all these things combine make a great cyclists capable of seemingly superhuman power.
“The simple fact is that the world’s best athletes are for the most part born and not made,” the experienced amateur says.
Watch the trials below—and take caution trying this for yourself.
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