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Is there much speed difference between men/women?

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Is there much speed difference between men/women?

Old 03-26-20, 03:31 PM
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Short answer to OP question: yes.
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Old 03-26-20, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by mercator View Post
I'm going to go out on a limb here and conclude that you don't do much skiing or swimming...
He is saying all sports require skills and it is NOT as if swimming and XC dont require technique. In other words, he is agreeing that swimming and XC also require technique. You have misread his statement (i skimmed through it and did the same thing - then had to stop and read carefully) or quoted the wrong person.

Back to the topic at hand - even with squash, which requires a lot of motor skills and coordination, there was a fairly sizeable gap between the performance of men and women. I was a used to play for of the top college teams in the country, which also had some international level women players. And this had nothing to do with talent or effort - a simple case of biology -male muscles are more capable of the short explosive power needed to hit that ball really hard, and also that initial burst to get to where the ball is.

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Old 03-27-20, 06:56 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Maybe this is all some misunderstanding, and if so .... let's just drop it and forget it.
Appears I misread your comment - my apologies, early morning commenting should probably wait till the coffee kicks in.
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Old 03-27-20, 10:00 AM
  #29  
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Surak may be right in the observation that in endurance events women may have an edge. Right now one of the best ultra marathoners of any sex is Courtney DauWaulter. One event of 250 miles or so she finished about 8 hours ahead of the runner up, enough time to shower, have a bite to eat and a nap. The link is to a race up and down Mt. Blanc.
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Old 03-27-20, 10:57 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by berner View Post
Surak may be right in the observation that in endurance events women may have an edge.
There's not really good evidence for this. While women do occasionally win ultra-endurance stuff, these races are fairly chaotic and often have very thin fields. When the pointy end of both the men's and women's fields show up in droves, the fastest man nearly always finishes well ahead of the fastest woman.

In your video example of UTMB 2019, Courtney DauWaulter finished 21st overall, about 20% slower than the men's winner. Using it as an example actually weakens your argument, because that's a far larger difference than you usually see between male and female runners even in shorter events. For example, at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Elaine Thompson's winning 200m was about 10% slower than Usain Bolt's winning 200m. Or at the 2019 Boston Marathon, Worknesh Degefa's winning time was about 11% slower than Lawrence Cherono's winning time.

Last edited by HTupolev; 03-27-20 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 03-27-20, 11:11 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by mercator View Post
Appears I misread your comment - my apologies, early morning commenting should probably wait till the coffee kicks in.
yeah ... clear writing takes skill too , ... I obviously need practice. but skiing is more fun.
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Old 03-27-20, 12:12 PM
  #32  
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Here is why I posted this question...

I was in a left turn lane waiting for the light and this other rider is there, says hello. The left turn leads to a hill, maybe a 5% or 6% grade. I'm 62 years old, need to lose some weight and just got back to cycling after December 2019. This other rider was maybe 30 with very athletic build on a high-end carbon bike. The light changes and he was off and was up the hill at close to the 25 MPH speed limit. I do that hill at 10 MPH. I'm obviously not fast. Then I get home some time later and Stava tells be I would be the 7th fastest woman up that hill this year.

My guess was that (1) there are not many women cyclists and (2) few women bother to use Stava. But there were are least a couple hundred of each gender.

Then I notice that in the last few weeks only two female cyclists have pasted me on the road and I see exactly zero women my age riding actual road bikes. But younger men routinely pass on my left.

I don't know if it makes sense to compare top racers as these people are very a-typical of the population in general. But on the other hand, they show what people could do if they were to train
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Old 03-27-20, 05:46 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by ChrisAlbertson View Post
I'm curious, as someone asked me and I had no objective data to answer with. With road bikes, on average, are men much faster than women or are they close. I know with running the finish times are not so far apart. With other sports, the difference is great. I used to race Olympic style flat water kayaks and even a rank amateur like me could keep pace with elite women, at least for a while. My guess is that there is not much difference with road bikes. Does anyone know some real numbers from racing or perhaps ecperience with large group rides

Obviously many women are much faster than some me but I'm looking for trends and averages.
We're faster at high levels of competition, although individual variation matters more for recreational cyclists.

Men have a 10% higher power to weight ratio and are larger. Better power to weight makes us significantly faster in the mountains where speed is proportional to it, better power to drag helps us on flat ground.
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Old 03-27-20, 08:54 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by ChrisAlbertson View Post
... I get home some time later and Stava tells be I would be the 7th fastest woman up that hill this year.

My guess was that (1) there are not many women cyclists and (2) few women bother to use Stava. But there were are least a couple hundred of each gender...
While I'm tickled to have cracked the top ten on a few Strava segments, I realize it's absurd and mostly an indication of a statistically insignificant sampling group.

Many of the local KOMs are owned by a guy who's chronologically in his 50s but gifted with the physical ability of a 30something. To my knowledge he's never raced, and only recently began Zwifting. He's not even particularly competitive. Riding fast, consistently, seems almost effortless for him. Although I'm sure he works hard at it.

So while it was amusing to see my name a notch or two below his, my times were never anywhere close to his under any conditions. That means there's plenty of room for genuinely fit and competitive riders -- men and women -- to filter in there are gradually knock me down to the middle of the pack where I belong.

And, sure 'nuff, as more cyclists have tackled those routes, I've dropped from 2nd to 6th to 9th to off the top ten. As it should be. I already know from riding with consistently strong riders my age that I'm struggling to keep up with them. Two or three local pro women have nudged me out of 2nd on some fairly tough climbing segments -- short, steep sprint-climbs or slightly longer time-trial inclines.

To me, that just underscores that biology is terribly unfair to women in the physical realm. Those women have the competitive athletic drive that I lost years ago. Meanwhile, I'm sitting on a still reasonably good stockpile of lifelong male biological privilege and wasting my time whining about not feeling quite chipper enough to crawl out of bed early in the morning for a bike ride. If I was a women I'd be pissed off all the time at guys like me.

And anytime I do manage to crack a top ten, I'll go join a fast local club ride just to remind myself of reality -- which happens very quickly when I see them getting smaller and smaller on climbs.

It's good motivation, but also a reminder that if a 60+ year old cyclist has a KOM/QOM or top ten, either that segment isn't ridden by many people, or we're freaks of nature, or we're doping. And I've discovered from trying every legally available supplement I can get my grubby mitts on, they only help a tiny fraction. If I ever do crack a hotly contested top ten or KOM, you can bet I managed to talk a doctor into putting me on PEDs.
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Old 03-27-20, 09:33 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
There's no substitute for a lifetime of inhabiting a body flooded with testosterone during formative years
It's not just that, it's having testosterone in your system. I saw a doco about a M2F mechanic who suddenly struggled to fit a gearbox after hormone therapy.
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Old 03-27-20, 10:32 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by ChrisAlbertson View Post
Here is why I posted this question...

I was in a left turn lane waiting for the light and this other rider is there, says hello. The left turn leads to a hill, maybe a 5% or 6% grade. I'm 62 years old, need to lose some weight and just got back to cycling after December 2019. This other rider was maybe 30 with very athletic build on a high-end carbon bike. The light changes and he was off and was up the hill at close to the 25 MPH speed limit. I do that hill at 10 MPH. I'm obviously not fast. Then I get home some time later and Stava tells be I would be the 7th fastest woman up that hill this year.

My guess was that (1) there are not many women cyclists and (2) few women bother to use Stava. But there were are least a couple hundred of each gender.

Then I notice that in the last few weeks only two female cyclists have pasted me on the road and I see exactly zero women my age riding actual road bikes. But younger men routinely pass on my left.

I don't know if it makes sense to compare top racers as these people are very a-typical of the population in general. But on the other hand, they show what people could do if they were to train
I've been a member of a road club for 31 years and I think when it comes to recreational cyclists the fastest women will be faster than most of the men. I don't mean in a sprint but on a long climbing ride. You've heard of a ride called Breathless Agony? I did it and a woman finished 14th overall out of 400. This was 12,000 feet of climbing in 75 miles which was timed. I know, it's not a race but it is timed.
A woman friend of mine who is a great climber and also 46 years old finished 36th out of 100 in a field of mostly men with lots of racers, cat 1s, ex pros, etc. This was run as a race and had 9000 feet in 75 miles..
A woman pro who is also a climbing specialist came and rode with our club in the Santa Monicas and she dropped everyone on the climbs including some pretty good climbers.
Of course at the elite level men have an advantage but if your a recreational riding man and you ride where there are lots of good riders you will get used to being dropped by women on long climbs.
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Old 03-28-20, 11:24 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by ChrisAlbertson View Post
I was in a left turn lane waiting for the light and this other rider is there, says hello. The left turn leads to a hill, maybe a 5% or 6% grade. .. The light changes and he was off and was up the hill at close to the 25 MPH speed limit.
Was he wearing a jersey with lots of stripes and cookies?
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Old 03-30-20, 05:29 PM
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You do have to be careful when comparing performance between populations of very different sizes. The performance distribution is gaussian, meaning it's a bell curve, and when you increase the population size the extreme outliers change. If you take the top 2000 in a large enough population they will ALL be outliers on their curve, while in a small population the same 2000 reaches deep into the bulk of the bell itself. Ask yourself how the best african american NHL hockey players compare to the best Canadians or Russians? Or cyclists who are first generation scandinavian immigrants? In the latter, because the population is so small you'd likely find the top performers aren't competitive with the outliers of a larger body. Or you might find one. Maybe two. But most likely none, ever, because the larger body is the superposition of 100s of smaller ones and the top outliers are cherry picks. When looking for biological sex differences you need to start by normalizing for distribution, and that means making statistical observations, not how well the best woman performs again P/1/2 males (neither of which is a representative selection, it's outliers vs outliers, and the larger the population, the further out its outliers will be statistically). Any inherent physiological differences would manifest as differences in curve shape; for example one might have a higher mean but a smaller standard deviation, meaning on average it performs better, but the outliers are pulled in closer to the mean. (In other words, there is a performance 'wall'.) Note that the entire population includes cyclists with no interest in racing, who might ride 200 miles per week just because they enjoy it. And, hence, many cyclists have very good endurance, but not a whole lot of power since their riding/training lacks in intensity. In fact, I'd go out on a limb and guess that the overwhelming majority of cyclists have no interest in racing, that it tends to be something new cyclists do and either they like it and continue, or don't and become like most and simply ride for the enjoyment of it for its own sake. If we hypothesize that women are less competitive, then they would obvious skew away from the racing scene.

Last edited by sfrider; 03-30-20 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 03-30-20, 05:47 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by sfrider View Post
You do have to be careful when comparing performance between populations of very different sizes. The performance distribution is gaussian, meaning it's a bell curve, and when you increase the population size the extreme outliers change.....
Yes exactly. I was hoping that you were going to remind me of a valid statical method. It has been a few decades since I took those classes. The real problem is getting the data.

Back to theory. I know the men have a higher percent muscule mass but much of it is in the upper body where it is not so useful for climbs. Women being lighter just might gain some advantage on climbs but again any woman who is climbing a big hill on a road bike is a 6-sigma outlier almost by definition.

Is there a good way to answer the question that does not compare the few outliers? Maybe not. But I always hate to say "It is impossible because I can't figure out how."
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