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  1. #1
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    Racing with children?

    I'm 32 and this has been my first season of racing. I've enjoyed it and been relatively successful, with mostly all top 10 finishes. I've been a casual rider for a while and last fall I made a goal to race this season, so I bought the Cyclist's Training Bible and went to work. Then, the past winter my wife got pregnant (it was planned), and now we are expecting our first child at the beginning of September.

    Does anyone here have young children and race? My wife is pretty adamant that I will not be spending as much time on my bike once the child comes (I already don't have any support from her for racing without a child in the house) and I am afraid that if I don't train, I won't be able to keep pace with the Cat 4's. I'm trying not to come to the realization that I won't be able to race for the next few years. I'm also getting depressed that I'm currently in the best shape of my life and realizing that it's only downhill from here.

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    \_(ツ)_/ Ygduf's Avatar
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    ...

    get a trainer, fight to maintain your independence.

    co-dependence sucks. having a kid seems like hard work, but if you can't squirrel away 90 minutes/day of time for yourself for something that keeps you healthy and happy, I don't even know.

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    Long time lurker but your thread struck a chord so I'll give you my 2 cents. I'm a 34 newly minted cat 4 who has won a road race and typically places well and I split custody of a 5 year old.

    1) Throw those training plans from the bible in the trash, kids throw a wrench into everything and you wont be able to stick to them enough to make it work. You have to take advantage of whatever time you get and methodical steady plans don't work well with that 2) Decide how competitive you want to be a figure out a way to make it work for you, that's probably going to me more trainer time and a larger volume of high intensity work than is ideal. I ride my trainer at least 3 days a week year round after my kid goes to sleep. You can still compete but your going to have to train in the manner that is available to you, not exactly how you would want to in a perfect world. 3) Establish your "bike time" and stick to it but be flexible when it makes sense to, try saying things like hey I'm gonna do my 3 hours this morning but I'll be on kid duty the rest of the day, that should be tough to argue with. 4) If you really want to race bikes make it "your one thing" and try and communicate how important it is to you. If you cant do that or if she doesn't care, wellin you might be in for some tough times.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Wesley36's Avatar
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    Tough without a supportive spouse. That said, most of my teammates also have kids, so not impossible.

    For myself, with both kids, the first year is close to being a write off. An infant's schedule and needs are all over the map, more so than older kids, sleep when you get the chance, if you get to ride be happy, but accept it will disrupt things for awhile.

    There is an upside tho. After my second passed through the early not-sleeping-at-night phase, I purposely began waking up between 4 and 5 am every day to reset my internal clock. For the next year, I did most of my riding before 6:30 am, at which time I would wake up the rest of the family to start the day. That is a good way to get consistent rides in with small children.

    Also, for children who are old enough, mixing nap time with being pulled in a bike trailer is a good way to multitask. I do hill intervals with my youngest in the trailer, the weight + the hill is enough that I can do anaerobic or VO2 Max intervals without going very fast.

    Finally, I have introduced two weeknight bike rides that I take every week. I have been able to negotiate Tuesday and Wednesday nights for riding with my wife, the deal is that I have supper ready to go before I leave, so all she has to do is feed the kids and get them to bed. Get stuff in the slowcooker in the morning, when I get back I clear up dishes.
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  5. #5
    avatar by Sean Powers mike868y's Avatar
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    see: anthony clark.
    Quote Originally Posted by the collective bf.net consciousness
    it depends

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    Senior Member topflightpro's Avatar
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    Over the years, I've had several friends have kids, and it seems that shortly after their child is born, they suddenly become very fast. I'm not sure what the cause is.

    I even joked with my wife once that we should have a kid so that I can experience the dad speed phenomenon. She said no.

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    legit question. i've done it, so have lots of my friends. i've also seen people fall off the map after having kids. it depends on your situation and how committed you are to racing. realistically, I can say with certainty that one can advance to cat 2 on 8 to 10 hrs of training per week and racing about 10 to 15x/year with little kids, and both mom/dad having full time jobs because i've done it. I know people who have made it to cat 1 with same circumstances.

    for me, it meant making a commitment to training indoors, which took some investment (computrainer then emotion rollers), being focused on training methodology, a discussion of values with my wife to explain that training and racing were important aspects of what makes me, me; and, selecting races that didnt require an all day or all weekend commitment to do (not that difficult in my geography, might be more of a stretch in other areas), and a willingness to train and race when tired (you're going to be tired anyway, so why not).

    schedule for me is typically: ride 4 weekdays/week at 1.0 to 1.5 hrs/day; 2 to 3 hours/weekend day.

  8. #8
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
    legit question. i've done it, so have lots of my friends. i've also seen people fall off the map after having kids. it depends on your situation and how committed you are to racing. realistically, I can say with certainty that one can advance to cat 2 on 8 to 10 hrs of training per week and racing about 10 to 15x/year with little kids, and both mom/dad having full time jobs because i've done it. I know people who have made it to cat 1 with same circumstances.

    for me, it meant making a commitment to training indoors, which took some investment (computrainer then emotion rollers), being focused on training methodology, a discussion of values with my wife to explain that training and racing were important aspects of what makes me, me; and, selecting races that didnt require an all day or all weekend commitment to do (not that difficult in my geography, might be more of a stretch in other areas), and a willingness to train and race when tired (you're going to be tired anyway, so why not).

    schedule for me is typically: ride 4 weekdays/week at 1.0 to 1.5 hrs/day; 2 to 3 hours/weekend day.

    +1

    I did it as a single dad

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    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    +1

    I did it as a single dad
    that's impressive, I can barely make it though dinner when my wife works late (orig poster, i'm kidding about the getting through dinner thing ... mostly)
    Last edited by MDcatV; 07-24-15 at 06:52 AM.

  10. #10
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
    that's impressive
    maybe.

    people frown upon kids doing crack, but I say there are growth experiences in all things

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    Senior Member Doge's Avatar
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    After our 1st, I had pretty much stopped racing due to a crash, and that sealed it. But mom became super strong. We took to tandem and pulling trailer, and got fitter than when racing, although trailer pulling fitness no way equates to racing for men, it does to TT. Wife did some of her best races, then, as she said she just looked around and no one was there.

  12. #12
    Senior Member McTufferton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
    legit question. i've done it, so have lots of my friends. i've also seen people fall off the map after having kids. it depends on your situation and how committed you are to racing. realistically, I can say with certainty that one can advance to cat 2 on 8 to 10 hrs of training per week and racing about 10 to 15x/year with little kids, and both mom/dad having full time jobs because i've done it. I know people who have made it to cat 1 with same circumstances.

    for me, it meant making a commitment to training indoors, which took some investment (computrainer then emotion rollers), being focused on training methodology, a discussion of values with my wife to explain that training and racing were important aspects of what makes me, me; and, selecting races that didnt require an all day or all weekend commitment to do (not that difficult in my geography, might be more of a stretch in other areas), and a willingness to train and race when tired (you're going to be tired anyway, so why not).
    This sums up my experience perfectly. Cat 2, soon to be cat 1. Dad of two with job that requires some travel. Wife also works full time. Kids have their own after school sports and activities.

    As fudgy said, you've got to fight to keep this. Talk with your wife about the importance of balance... a little time for yourself, relieve stress, stay fit, achieve goals, etc. All good lessons to pass onto your kids. Find a way to make up the time by doing something for her in return.

    I'll add that it helps if you can get your family into it. Are you on a team? Introduce your wife to your teammates and their spouses. When your kids are old enough, get them into cycling and make race day a family event. Race days for us involve me and my kids racing while my wife/kids hang out with teammates wives and kids.

    Good luck.
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    Ninny globecanvas's Avatar
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    If you are focused, having the added pressure of needing to get the most out of your available riding time can be an entirely positive thing. You have to be flexible about when you get your hours in, and then get the most out of those hours. Speaking for myself (with 3 kids), I know my most productive workouts are when I start off in a slightly aggro time crunched state.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
    fight to maintain your independence.

    co-dependence sucks

    This is a broader conversation, but I would say that if you need to fight to maintain your independence, you're basically not doing it right in the first place. Babies have needs that are totally variable and unpredictable, you just have to work around it. Saying "sorry wife, I gotta be me" and doing your already scheduled 3 hour workout the morning after your colicky kid was up every hour is just not going to work.

    Work with what you have, roll with the changes, but most importantly get the most out of your bike time. And don't crash.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
    ...

    get a trainer, fight to maintain your independence.

    co-dependence sucks. having a kid seems like hard work, but if you can't squirrel away 90 minutes/day of time for yourself for something that keeps you healthy and happy, I don't even know.
    ...if you're going to work hard to take 90 min/day for yourself, make sure your WIFE gets the same.

  15. #15
    Ninny globecanvas's Avatar
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    With 3 kids, my own business, and a wife with 1.5 full time jobs, time should be really hard to come by, but I get in 8-10 hours per week, and I am generally competitive in masters and 123 fields.

    Like MDCatV, I do have to be very selective about which races I do. I try to keep it to 2 hours max travel, and I also try to pick only races that I think will be fun for me. Not doing races that don't suit me has had a tremendously positive effect on my results and attitude!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by canuckbelle View Post
    ...if you're going to work hard to take 90 min/day for yourself, make sure your WIFE gets the same.
    i totally agree. lol, if my wife got up at 5 a.m. every day like I do to get her 90 mins/day, she would :-)

  17. #17
    Senior Member rideaz's Avatar
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    When I read the title of this post, it reminded me of several of my Masters races this season, where they combined us with the Juniors ha!
    I do have some experience here: Just realize that you are both going to be tired, cranky and emotional for the first few months. Sleep deprivation is going to make doing any type of quality training tough, as does the inconsistency in your schedule as everything will revolve around the little person. Seriously, not trying to be negative but I've had 2 kids and it's amazing how such a little being can cause so much work!
    That said, working out or having a hobby is not only viable with kids, it's healthy. Both you and your wife are going to need a break from said kiddo from time to time, both together and solo.
    My husband and I have always had hobbies that take time away from family. We included the kids sometimes but also just communicated with each other so there wasn't competition for time or any resentment. I did an ironman triathlon when my kids were little, they would come to the pool and track with me and I traded off watching kids with other athletes. If you like the structure of a training plan then check out the Time Crunched Cyclist book. Figure out what your wife would like to do for a break and bend over backwards to make sure that happens. You guys are going to be going through a big adjustment over the next year or so, cycling is just a hobby and not worth causing family problems over but if you do it right, you can not only fit in some training but you can continue to race well.
    Above all, congrats This will be one of the best things to ever happen to you! :-)

  18. #18
    \_(ツ)_/ Ygduf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideaz View Post
    working out or having a hobby is not only viable with kids, it's healthy. Both you and your wife are going to need a break from said kiddo from time to time, both together and solo.
    this was my point. if/when we have a kid, I know I will have to force my wife to leave the house for a few hours each day.

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  19. #19
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    A few thoughts.

    This is much more about your relationship with your wife and kids than the bike.
    Don't get hung up about your training load and Cat4 and all that. The balance is much more important.
    You need to have a heart to heart with your wife about how important this is to you.
    Negotiate. Offer to do the night shift or whatever helps her with the baby in turn for 90 minutes off.
    If you have an active extended family then they will help out and you will get a little more time on the weekends.
    The wild card will be injury and the fear of losing you. That will drive everything.

    BTW Gary made it to Cat1 because Gary is friggin Gary. He wasn't even interested until his teammates suggested it. It was the right move at the right time.

  20. #20
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sloring View Post
    I'm 32 and this has been my first season of racing. I've enjoyed it and been relatively successful, with mostly all top 10 finishes. I've been a casual rider for a while and last fall I made a goal to race this season, so I bought the Cyclist's Training Bible and went to work. Then, the past winter my wife got pregnant (it was planned), and now we are expecting our first child at the beginning of September.

    Does anyone here have young children and race? My wife is pretty adamant that I will not be spending as much time on my bike once the child comes (I already don't have any support from her for racing without a child in the house) and I am afraid that if I don't train, I won't be able to keep pace with the Cat 4's. I'm trying not to come to the realization that I won't be able to race for the next few years. I'm also getting depressed that I'm currently in the best shape of my life and realizing that it's only downhill from here.
    For the near future the kid is more important.

    AS the child ages you will get better at having time off, and trading shifts with the wife.
    The wife will need your help at times. Give her the help she needs when she needs it, especially with an infant. The bike should not be the top priority. You make a kid, you help raise it.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  21. #21
    Senior Member CliffordK's Avatar
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    Plan on a "sto-kid" tandem. And, get the future munchkins out on the bike early.

    You might have to give up some of your personal TDF dreams. But, some of my best memories was bike racing in the Midget category as a kid. Dad did a couple of races, but decided it wasn't for him.

    By about age 10 or so, some kids can start going some amazingly long rides. Maybe not as fast as you, but there are lots of suggestions to make riding challenging for a faster rider, and still enjoyable for a slower rider.

    Anyway, make sure your wife knows that you aren't just abandoning her for half a day all the time. Rather, some of your kid-time will be doing activities with the kids including bicycling.

  22. #22
    \_(ツ)_/ Ygduf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post

    BTW Gary made it to Cat1 because Gary is friggin Gary. He wasn't even interested until his teammates suggested it. It was the right move at the right time.
    And now how many kids has that team made? What wingmen!

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  23. #23
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    We are a masters team at this point, evolving from a pro team. One son of a team member is in college and rides for Foundation.

    Your snark is not lost on me.

  24. #24
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    Having a tandem really helps. If possible it's useful to not set it up as 'my time.' My wife comes to most of my races. We pack up the dogs, kid, and find something fun to do on the way home. It's all about give and take.

  25. #25
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    We are a masters team at this point, evolving from a pro team. One son of a team member is in college and rides for Foundation.

    Your snark is not lost on me.
    Actually he's a first year pro for champ-sys this year

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