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Could I become an Olympian?

Old 01-14-18, 03:47 AM
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CuriousCyclist1
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Could I become an Olympian?

Okay this is a far fetched thread but I'm new here and I'm curious so here goes.

Basically I was on a gym bike and I was really going at it and I managed to reach 196rpm, I read somewhere that Victoria Pendleton gets up to 200rpm, now I have NO clue what Olympic standard for females is but I'm curious so,.....do you think I could make it to the olympics?
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Old 01-14-18, 05:48 AM
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Max cadence alone isn't conclusive of anything so it's impossible to tell. 190 rpm is indicative of good leg speed but it takes alot more than that to actually be a decent, let alone Olympic calibre cyclist.

Best way to tell is to get on a track bike and get times for your f200, standing lap, and kilo/750/500 and do a power test on a wattbike.

Last edited by SyntaxMonstr; 01-14-18 at 05:51 AM.
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Old 01-14-18, 06:44 AM
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If you're not train since young, chance you will be at Olympic level are . . . low.

I dunno your profile (obvious? post # 1, welcome to the forum eh?).
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Old 01-14-18, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by SyntaxMonstr View Post
Max cadence alone isn't conclusive of anything so it's impossible to tell.
This is the only real answer.

The other answer is "maybe, but not based on your ability to hit 190rpm." As SyntaxMonstr points out, there are some tests that can identify some underlying athletic potential. These can't tell you whether you can become an Olympian, though. They tell you whether you have the potential to be a good athlete. And then there's what it takes to activate that potential: it takes some hard fkn work and a lot of the right conditions and logistics in your life. And once you're a good athlete, it takes being a part of a pool of good athletes who are subjected to some other crazy stimulus to see who's going to not just rise, but bust through the ceiling.

And there's no test for that.
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Old 01-14-18, 08:15 AM
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At 59 I'm still capable of spinning 190+ in low power surges at rollers when training "leg speed", but the real "functional relevant power delivering max cadence" is about 140rpm. And among others of my age at world level, I'm still at the worst third part cut. So.. being a fast spinner is just.. a good thing.
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Old 01-14-18, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by CuriousCyclist1 View Post
Okay this is a far fetched thread but I'm new here and I'm curious so here goes.

Basically I was on a gym bike and I was really going at it and I managed to reach 196rpm, I read somewhere that Victoria Pendleton gets up to 200rpm, now I have NO clue what Olympic standard for females is but I'm curious so,.....do you think I could make it to the olympics?
Welcome to the forums. Letís really break this down.
196rpm is how fast you were spinning. Itís called your cadence. Now 196 is quite good but itís only part of the equation.
Speed * Force = Power

Generally, we care about power. Itís what makes you go fast. (Think of horsepower for a car.)

Power comes in many different forms across athletes. For cyclists, thereís a full spectrum between massive sprint power for 5 seconds and endless, multi-day, steady, endurance power. Track riders tend toward the shorter power ranges in large part because the events are shorter. Road racers tend toward endurance. But there is cross-over. The type of power that your legs put out will determine what types of events youíll really excel at.

Back to that 196rpm cadence. Cadence is especially important for track cyclists. We put a single gear on the bike. It means you canít shift. To produce more power, you can either put more force into each pedal stroke, or you can increase your cadence. Also, thereís no coasting on a track bike, so the faster your bike is going, the faster your legs need to spin. Most riders select a gear where they wonít spin faster than ~140 rpm. This is because power output drops at high cadences for all riders. The more comfortable you are spinning at high cadences, the more options you have in gear selection. So while cadence is an important piece of the puzzle, itís not the only one.

Most important is to get out there on the bike, whether itís on the track or the road, and enjoy it!
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Old 01-14-18, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by CuriousCyclist1 View Post
Okay this is a far fetched thread but I'm new here and I'm curious so here goes.

Basically I was on a gym bike and I was really going at it and I managed to reach 196rpm, I read somewhere that Victoria Pendleton gets up to 200rpm, now I have NO clue what Olympic standard for females is but I'm curious so,.....do you think I could make it to the olympics?
Hi, CuriousCyclist1,

Welcome to the forum and hopefully this piques your interest in our sport!

196RPM is impressive! Good work! (seriously)

Becoming an Olympian requires a lot. You *might* just have what it takes. But, it will take a couple of years and a lot of guidance, sweat, and tears to find out.

The answer is: Maybe!

To put it another way: If you couldn't ride over 190RPM, it's unlikely that you could become an Olympic Sprinter. So, you are definitely on the right track (get it? TRACK )


Are you a cyclist now? Do you ride or race bikes now? Do you live near a velodrome? Without getting too personal, what age group are you in? 10-15, 16-20, 21-30?
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Old 01-14-18, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by SyntaxMonstr View Post
Max cadence alone isn't conclusive of anything so it's impossible to tell. 190 rpm is indicative of good leg speed but it takes alot more than that to actually be a decent, let alone Olympic calibre cyclist.

Best way to tell is to get on a track bike and get times for your f200, standing lap, and kilo/750/500 and do a power test on a wattbike.
Oh okay, thank you for the reply
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Old 01-14-18, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
Hi, CuriousCyclist1,

Welcome to the forum and hopefully this piques your interest in our sport!

196RPM is impressive! Good work! (seriously)

Becoming an Olympian requires a lot. You *might* just have what it takes. But, it will take a couple of years and a lot of guidance, sweat, and tears to find out.

The answer is: Maybe!

To put it another way: If you couldn't ride over 190RPM, it's unlikely that you could become an Olympic Sprinter. So, you are definitely on the right track (get it? TRACK )


Are you a cyclist now? Do you ride or race bikes now? Do you live near a velodrome? Without getting too personal, what age group are you in? 10-15, 16-20, 21-30?
I've only ever done cycling for fun, so idk if I could consider myself a cyclist. I live near a velodrome and I've never ridden a race bike I'm in the16-20 age group thanks for your response!
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Old 01-14-18, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Hrothgar42 View Post
Welcome to the forums. Letís really break this down.
196rpm is how fast you were spinning. Itís called your cadence. Now 196 is quite good but itís only part of the equation.
Speed * Force = Power

Generally, we care about power. Itís what makes you go fast. (Think of horsepower for a car.)

Power comes in many different forms across athletes. For cyclists, thereís a full spectrum between massive sprint power for 5 seconds and endless, multi-day, steady, endurance power. Track riders tend toward the shorter power ranges in large part because the events are shorter. Road racers tend toward endurance. But there is cross-over. The type of power that your legs put out will determine what types of events youíll really excel at.

Back to that 196rpm cadence. Cadence is especially important for track cyclists. We put a single gear on the bike. It means you canít shift. To produce more power, you can either put more force into each pedal stroke, or you can increase your cadence. Also, thereís no coasting on a track bike, so the faster your bike is going, the faster your legs need to spin. Most riders select a gear where they wonít spin faster than ~140 rpm. This is because power output drops at high cadences for all riders. The more comfortable you are spinning at high cadences, the more options you have in gear selection. So while cadence is an important piece of the puzzle, itís not the only one.

Most important is to get out there on the bike, whether itís on the track or the road, and enjoy it!
Oh wow I didn't know there was so much to it! I think I'd be better suited to shorter distances lol, I don't really have that much endurance. Thank you so much for your reply
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Old 01-14-18, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Clythio View Post
At 59 I'm still capable of spinning 190+ in low power surges at rollers when training "leg speed", but the real "functional relevant power delivering max cadence" is about 140rpm. And among others of my age at world level, I'm still at the worst third part cut. So.. being a fast spinner is just.. a good thing.
Oh wow, well I guess I'll take being a fast spinner as a compliment then! Thank you
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Old 01-14-18, 06:55 PM
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Sure, why not. Give it a shot!
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Old 01-14-18, 06:59 PM
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CuriousCyclist1,

All velodromes have new rider programs and many have "junior" programs for people age 8 - 17. They answer all of the questions you might have and often help you get started. Many even provide a bike to ride.

If your velodrome has a website, email address, and/or phone number, contact them (or if you are under 18, have your parents contact them) and introduce yourself and tell them that you are interested and would like to find out more information. People do this all the time. They should be prepared to give you some good advice. This info might even be on the website already.
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Old 01-15-18, 03:54 AM
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Also, where are you based? Velodrome access and the community you're in makes a huge difference. As Queerpunk said, most tests etc will let you know if you've got the raw potential to develop into a top level cyclist, and from there it's a long, painful grind.

As a fellow relative track noob with Olympic aspirations, I'm happy to share my own experiences if you've got specific questions.

Last edited by SyntaxMonstr; 01-15-18 at 04:04 AM.
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Old 01-15-18, 04:59 AM
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Did your gym machine specify watts while you were pedalling 196 RPM?

Does the machine have variable resistance? Dialed off? Hard?
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Old 01-15-18, 10:18 AM
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I just read through this thread and you folks are wonderful. Thanks for being so open and supportive of this Junior with your advise, guidance and encouragement.
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Old 01-15-18, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by queerpunk View Post
This is the only real answer.

The other answer is "maybe, but not based on your ability to hit 190rpm." As SyntaxMonstr points out, there are some tests that can identify some underlying athletic potential. These can't tell you whether you can become an Olympian, though. They tell you whether you have the potential to be a good athlete. And then there's what it takes to activate that potential: it takes some hard fkn work and a lot of the right conditions and logistics in your life. And once you're a good athlete, it takes being a part of a pool of good athletes who are subjected to some other crazy stimulus to see who's going to not just rise, but bust through the ceiling.

And there's no test for that.
Oh okay, thank you for your reply
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Old 01-15-18, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Altimis View Post
If you're not train since young, chance you will be at Olympic level are . . . low.

I dunno your profile (obvious? post # 1, welcome to the forum eh?).
I'm willing to take that chance lol, thank you for your reply though
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Old 01-15-18, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by SyntaxMonstr View Post
Also, where are you based? Velodrome access and the community you're in makes a huge difference. As Queerpunk said, most tests etc will let you know if you've got the raw potential to develop into a top level cyclist, and from there it's a long, painful grind.

As a fellow relative track noob with Olympic aspirations, I'm happy to share my own experiences if you've got specific questions.
I'm based in Portsmouth! I think there's a velodrome not to far from the university if not the only other one is in Southampton though
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Old 01-15-18, 09:02 PM
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For those thinking that it's not possible, Joanna Rowsell (Team GB) was discovered at age 15 when Team GB took spin bikes around to schools testing students for sprint and endurance efforts.

- 1 year later, she won a Jr. National Championship.
- 4 years later, she won a World Championship.
- 8 years later, she won Olympic Gold (London)
- 12 years later, she won Olympic Gold (Rio)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joanna_Rowsell_Shand

It's possible.

We don't know anything about CuriousCyclist1. But, what he/she is asking about definitely has been done very recently.

Last edited by carleton; 01-15-18 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 01-15-18, 09:12 PM
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Also, Philip Hinds (Team GB).

Hinds also started cycling at age 15.

- 2 years later, he won Bronze at Jr World Championships
- 4 years later, he won Olympic Gold (London)
- 8 years later, he won Olympic Gold (Rio)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Hindes

Team GB is really good at recruiting.
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Old 01-15-18, 09:22 PM
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Mathilde Gros (France) is aged 18 and started on the bike at around age 15. Before that, she was a basketball player.

She has since won:

- Jr. World Championship for 500M TT
- Jr. World Championship for Keirin
- Jr. World Championship for Sprint
- Several Elite National Championships (Keirin, Sprint, 500M)
- I *think* she holds the 500M national record for France (Not sure.)

She's on track to represent France in the next Summer Olympic Games.

Mathilde Gros - 3x Track Cycling Junior World Champion ? Olympic Hopeful


I could go on

You don't have to start at age 8 to be a great track racer.
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Old 01-15-18, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by CuriousCyclist1 View Post
I'm based in Portsmouth! I think there's a velodrome not to far from the university if not the only other one is in Southampton though
I'm unsure if the Portsmouth velodrome is open yet - it was closed for a few years following an accident there.

This website has a listing of UK velodromes:
https://roadcyclinguk.com/news/racin...in-the-uk.html
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Old 01-15-18, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by fixedweasel View Post
I just read through this thread and you folks are wonderful. Thanks for being so open and supportive of this Junior with your advise, guidance and encouragement.
We ride bikes, not peoples dreams and passions.
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Old 01-16-18, 04:08 AM
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The short answer is yes.

It will require hard work, determination, sacrifice, overcoming setbacks, constantly pushing yourself. Are you willing to forego nights out with your friends to be up and training at 6am on a cold January day?

Just get out there, get a decent coach, and get racing, get up to national level. You'd probably be looking at 2024 I take it? Commonwealth games in 2022 will also be a crucial part of the cycle.

The British Cycling website has loads of information to get up to speed
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