Cyclocross

This Cyclist Was Told He’s Too Big to Race—So He Upped His Power Numbers – Bicycling

Age: 36
Occupation: Truck driver
Hometown: New Jersey
Time Cycling: 5 years
Reason for cycling: To get stronger and healthier—and to race.


When Kamil Kurylo first started considering cyclocross, his teammate told him that at 200 pounds, he was too big to race. But when he asked the Facebook Group if that was true, he was met with more than 60 responses—all positive.

“Get out there and enjoy it, have fun, I’m sure you can throw down the watts!”

“Your teammate is hilariously misinformed.”

“I’m 230 and get roasted every time I’ve raced. I love the sport.”

“I’ve seen some big boys who can race for sure. It’s power and technique.”

Kurylo’s next question: “What bike should I get?”

Here’s how this truck driver became a more serious rider, focusing on upping the power side of the power-to-weight ratio without stressing the weight.

I started riding in 2015 to commute to work, and I enjoyed it so much that I started to take it more seriously. I realized that I liked to train, but I needed to have a goal to stay motivated. So I started to look at specific races, and I came across criteriums (crits). I figured crits made the most sense for me because they’re mostly flat—at 200 pounds, I’m not going to be a climber, but I can be smart about racing tactically, and I have a lot of power.

I started racing the Rockleigh Criterium Series in 2017, and I was absolutely hooked. I don’t know what it was exactly, I just loved the adrenaline and community.

When I started riding, I weighed 230 pounds, and just cycling wasn’t helping me lose weight—I had to make some changes in my diet as well. I tried the Keto diet and while it helped me lose 30 pounds, I found that once I started racing, I had nothing in my legs, no energy to put out power. So, I re-introduced carbs to my diet. Since then, I’ve stayed steady at 200 pounds with consistent training and eating healthy. I’m trying to eat a more plant-based diet now, too.

courtesy

Training is tough to fit around a busy work schedule, but I’ve figured out how to make it happen. I either train early or I train in my truck. Yes, that’s right: in my truck. Trucks have lots of room inside, so I got rid of passenger seat and put my Wahoo trainer in there, and I do my intervals while my truck gets unloaded. It works out perfectly, and it’s really efficient. This year, I started adding more cycling-based strength work—I used to be a gym rat, so this came pretty easily!



I’ve continued to race crits, and found that I can do well, especially if I can pick courses that don’t have a lot of corners. Corners are still a tough part of racing for me, but I practice in the offseason, and it’s a major goal of mine to get better at them. I have figured out how to use my power to my advantage. I know that I need to save energy to be as fresh as possible at the end of the race. Every race, I remind myself if I see more than 800 watts before the end of the race, that means I’m doing something wrong. I try to have lower power numbers throughout the race—then I go as hard as I can to the finish.

My training hours didn’t change much once I started racing, but I did get a little more focused. And in the last year, I realized that volume is key for me, so I’m trying to ride more. I admit, my favorite workouts are Zwift races, but for me, they are counterproductive in the offseason. I like short, punchy intervals, and I don’t like long sweet spot or threshold races—this might explain why I like crits, and why cyclocross sounds so fun.

I’m excited to try cyclocross this year. I’ve been watching more of the races while I’m on the trainer, and they look like so much fun. It also seems safer than crits, honestly. And the community seems really welcoming.

I was happy to hear all of the positive feedback from the Facebook group, because I have a feeling that I will really enjoy those races in mud. The online community in cycling is great; I love talking about training and racing and nutrition, and I’ve found that there are a lot of other people out there who feel the same way.

What I’ve learned in the last few years is that you can be a 200-plus-pound couch potato, or you can be 200 pounds of pure power. Racing and training will make you stronger and healthier, no matter the weight. And that’s an important thing for people to understand.


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