In the flying world, thrust-to-weight ratio is a very important metric when it comes to aircraft performance. In the cycling world, I suppose strength-to-weight or power-to-weight are more appropriate terms, but I still think about cycling in terms of thrust-to-weight ratio. It’s what I’m used to. There are two ways to improve your thrust-to-weight ratio: increase thrust and/or reduce weight. I’ve done both during my training for this year’s Tour Divide attempt.
In April, I wrote about my need to reduce weight, and I set a target of losing 30 pounds between my bike weight and my body weight. I did it. Last year’s Salsa Fargo weighed more than 50 pounds. How much more? I don’t know because I refused to weigh it. It was well north of 50 though. I built up my Salsa Cutthroat as light as possible while still keeping reliability high; that combo costs a lot of money, but I’m convinced it’s worth it. The same goes for my gear; I’ve cut a lot of pounds from my gear as well as reducing packability. Fully loaded (without food and water), my bike is at 35 pounds! It’s a great bike.
I started dieting in April, and by June, I got down to 166 pounds from 181. That’s the other 15 pounds. I can’t lose much more. So, I’ve decreased my weight as much as possible.
How about the thrust department? Well, I could have done more, but you can always do more. I’ve had a great year so far with the exception of about 3 weeks in late March/early April when a dental problem and a nasty upper respiratory infection knocked me down for a few weeks. I looked back at my mileage prior to my previous 2 attempts in 2013 and 2015. In 2013, I rode 2467 miles before starting the race. In 2015, I rode a bit more; 3127 miles before leaving Banff southbound. This year, by the time I push off from Banff, I will have over 4,200 miles for the year.
The improvement in my thrust-to-weight ratio is evident on the bike. Without full effort, I’ve been clocking personal records on certain key segments this past week.
So, my bike is great. My fitness is high. My health and attitude are awesome. I’ve done the work; now it’s time for the reward. It’s time to go!