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Old 09-08-13, 10:10 PM   #12526
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with or without thesis?
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Old 09-08-13, 10:15 PM   #12527
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do racers reach plateaus? or do they just keep getting better, advancing all the way up to the pro 1/2?
yes. and depends.
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Old 09-09-13, 03:42 AM   #12528
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do racers reach plateaus? or do they just keep getting better, advancing all the way up to the pro 1/2?
Life isn't fair. You plateau partially based on training etc, but a large part of it is genetics. I used to get demoralized when I saw riders start off terrible in the spring and be absolutely and completely out of reach within a few months. It was only when I "decided" to try to be "good" that I realized that I lacked something. I couldn't put a label on it then but now I know it's my FTP.

For example I don't train for sprinting specifically, not any more. I do JRA training rides, steady pace, probably the worst thing you can do for working on a jump. I specifically avoid any lifting with my legs due to fragile knees. My peak power is usually 1200w for a given race or ride and I've hit 1400-1550w in training. On the other hand I pretty much cannot go harder than 200w for an hour, with a calculated 210-220w FTP, even the year I upgraded to Cat 2. Most of my hard rides average in the 160-180w range.

A local Cat 1 who got 3rd at the Elite RR one year (he bridged a minute gap to the break, leaving the field at 8 miles to go, bridged at 3 miles to go, the strongest pro in the break told him to pull so he pulled the remaining 3 miles, led out the sprint, and got 3rd out of 5; all this from Brice Jone's now-gone diary on cyclingnews), he claims he can't break 1200w ever in a sprint. He can average, on non-aero wheels, 28mph for 90 min though, soloing away from riders like Jeff Rutter, Graeme Miller, and a slew of local pros and Cat 1s, leaving them 5 laps into a 50 lap race. He can pull for about 7-8 minutes and literally ride me off his wheel (and he's done it a number of times). When he was trying to help me use my power meter more effectively he sent me graphs of his workouts as sample workouts - 5x5 min intervals, averaging 500w or 550w for each 5 min interval. He's also a very outspoken anti-doping person, and based on various things I'm pretty sure he races (and raced) clean. His grandfather was a pro track rider back in the day, his dad "just" a Cat 1.

In terms of training, okay, fine, I'm at 50% of mileage/hours from my Cat 2 upgrade year (2010). The local Cat 1 is probably literally 100 lbs heavier than he was when he got 3rd at Elites 10+ years ago. I can still sprint. He can still TT. We just can't do it as well, but the basic engine is there for each of us.

I'll never be a 350w FTP racer, but I'll accidentally hit 1000-1200w in training rides regularly. He'll never be a 1600w sprinter but he'll (probably) accidentally ride others off his wheel on a regular basis.
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Old 09-09-13, 03:56 AM   #12529
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In the time I've had a power meter I've broken 1200 watts a number of times I can count on one hand. My highest numbers have come in races, not training. Really a function of lead out, I think, rather than will or effort...though I wouldn't discount it.
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Old 09-09-13, 06:48 AM   #12530
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My father once asked me what I thought it would take for me to make it to a Cat 1. My response: Different parents.

I worked my butt off for five years (I literally worked it off and dropped three inches off my waste during that time) to make it to a cat 3, and prior to messing up my knee, I had determined that I thought I could make it to a cat 2 through just pure dedication and effort. But I also knew that I would be nothing more than pack fodder as a 2.
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Old 09-09-13, 07:03 AM   #12531
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i am running 23s. i'll check the hub adjustment but moving it with my hand I don't notice any obvious hub play. i don't notice the wheel rubbing the brakes but it could be I guess? I think I would feel that though. I do tend to run my brakes pretty open compared to other people. In all honesty though, considering I've never touched the hub adjustment on this wheel that's probably it. friggin mavic and their stupid proprietary tool that I didn't keep.

i'm like 135lbs, I'm kind of surprised that I'm flexing anything that much.

and I'm still buying nicer wheels for next season #wheellust
What wheels are the ones rubbing?

I wonder if you've got a perfect storm of a slightly out of dish/center wheel, stiff rim with flexy spoke build, and frame with tighter chainstays than average.
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Old 09-09-13, 07:08 AM   #12532
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What wheels are the ones rubbing?

I wonder if you've got a perfect storm of a slightly out of dish/center wheel, stiff rim with flexy spoke build, and frame with tighter chainstays than average.
3 or 4 year old ksyrium elite. i tried tightening the bearings but I don't have the right tool. whatever only using these wheels for one more race.
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Old 09-09-13, 07:15 AM   #12533
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My father once asked me what I thought it would take for me to make it to a Cat 1. My response: Different parents.

I worked my butt off for five years (I literally worked it off and dropped three inches off my waste during that time) to make it to a cat 3, and prior to messing up my knee, I had determined that I thought I could make it to a cat 2 through just pure dedication and effort. But I also knew that I would be nothing more than pack fodder as a 2.
I believe anyone that can make it to Cat3, can make it to Cat2 with work and dedication and a lot of racing.
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Old 09-09-13, 07:24 AM   #12534
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I believe anyone that can make it to Cat3, can make it to Cat2 with work and dedication and a lot of racing.
I think I disagree. I know some guys who work as hard (and as smart) as anyone, just to tread water at their current category.
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Old 09-09-13, 07:39 AM   #12535
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I think you had a perfectly good reason! I hope you did your 50 and now you're relaxing
I did, of course it poured down rain the entire 50 miles almost, but I did it! Then the sun came out in the afternoon. Ha!

I guess now I should shoot for 1000 in a month, which should be easy to do with just normal riding - just have to take the longer way home on a couple of commutes.
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Old 09-09-13, 07:42 AM   #12536
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I had tire rubbing problems on my Noah. I could flex the wheel with my hand enough to hit the seatstay on one side, but not the other. I dished it a couple mm the other way, and it no longer flexes enough to hit the stays.

I'd check that it's dished absolutely perfectly between the stays, is absolutely true, and that's about all you can do, short of getting a stiffer wheel. Mine was a 32 spoke OP/PT, so it shouldn't be that flexy, but it was.

If it's hitting on both sides, I dunno what to tell you. Is it a super tight clearance aero bike?
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Old 09-09-13, 07:49 AM   #12537
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Old 09-09-13, 07:57 AM   #12538
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In the time I've had a power meter I've broken 1200 watts a number of times I can count on one hand. My highest numbers have come in races, not training. Really a function of lead out, I think, rather than will or effort...though I wouldn't discount it.
I'm an example of someone who is really good at getting 2nd place out of some fairly ridiculous sprint numbers.

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I think I disagree. I know some guys who work as hard (and as smart) as anyone, just to tread water at their current category.
I think anyone who really earned a Cat 3 upgrade can get to Cat 2. Theoretically anyway, if not practically. Take those folks you know who are treading water in their current category. Then pay them twice their current salary to get to Cat 2. Hire a full-time coach for them, a nutritionist, and start tracking diet, hydration and sleep, then make training adjustments with no compromises regarding competing interests. You can build someone who's strong enough to dispense with the rest of the Cat 3 field physically, then work on tactics and strategy. Identify the best races in the country for their style and power profile, fly to those courses to practice the week before races.

Seems like pretty much anyone whose beat up on Cat 4s could pull that off with the Cat 3s to get to Cat 2. We'll all be somewhere along the line between total commitment and finding a couple extra hours per week and maybe dropping a few pounds.

I was a middling Cat 3 for 14 years (some of which I took off of racing), never saw a podium in that time. Then I got a power meter and changed up my training based on what I learned about myself. Started winning. Then I saw a plateau looming, decided to lose 12 lbs in 5 weeks, bumped training from ~6 hours/week to ~8 hours/week, power went up, and I was a destroyer. Dropped my bars 2cm, and stretched to accommodate. 10.1 W/kg 1' power, 4.8 W/kg FTP, and bingo. Cat 2 at 39 yo.

Then I had to reprioritize, went back down to 6 hrs/wk, and downgraded.
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Old 09-09-13, 08:01 AM   #12539
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Nowadays a rider can upgrade based on sniping for points, i.e. doing races that suit them. It's much more objective now than it used to be.

In the old days you had to place in road races and crits. The rep would hold you back if you weren't doing road races. A 2 was a real 2 - they were all strong, they could all climb (relatively speaking) because they got top 6 in road races, they were strong or smart enough to place top 6 in Cat 3 crits. I never qualified to upgrade to a 2 in those years. Maybe part of it is that all the sprinters who couldn't climb wouldn't be able to upgrade so the 3s were pretty tough, and since everyone started as a 4 back then... well the races were hard.

I only qualified to upgrade to a Cat 2 in 2010. It was a long time coming (end of my 28th season racing) and I thought we'd have a kid by next spring so I upgraded ASAP so as not to lose the opportunity. Of course the kid didn't show up until 2012 so 2011 was kind of a non-year for me.
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Old 09-09-13, 08:07 AM   #12540
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I believe anyone that can make it to Cat3, can make it to Cat2 with work and dedication and a lot of racing.
Having become a 3 at age 52, I think my shot of becoming a 2 is rather limited, however, I have to admit, I could do better on the dedication part, particularly off the bike.
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Old 09-09-13, 08:44 AM   #12541
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further, since points now never expire, one who is motivated could collect a point here and there and cobble together and upgrade to 2 if they are so inclined. i think WR's method could do it, but one could simply enter as many (local) races as they can and just simply keep trying to get into moves, stack the odds by playing the game as much as possible. if you turn up often enough AND take some real longshot chances, eventually some work out.

now, making all the points in 12 months may be beyond the reach of 100% of riders.

a part of me is sad about the points expiration rule, as i think it raises the "in my day, and upgrade meant something" point (which i think is at least partially right) and might call into question the worthiness of some upgrades.
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Old 09-09-13, 08:45 AM   #12542
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I don't know anything about strava, but my best time on my recent trip was 15:38


http://www.strava.com/segments/cadil...www.google.com
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Old 09-09-13, 08:46 AM   #12543
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I think anyone who really earned a Cat 3 upgrade can get to Cat 2.
It's natural to extrapolate from one's own experience. You and Creatre trained yourselves into cat 2. I simply do not think that is possible for every cat 3 (even those who "earned" their 3).
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Old 09-09-13, 08:53 AM   #12544
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It's natural to extrapolate from one's own experience. You and Creatre trained yourselves into cat 2. I simply do not think that is possible for every cat 3 (even those who "earned" their 3).
I suppose it's possible for someone to only barely make it to Cat 3 only because of training and racing at their absolute optimum to that point, but I wouldn't think it's common. Everyone else has some room to grow.

You're correct on the natural extrapolation, but I was one of these riders who seemed to be on the wrong side of an impossible wall, for a very very long time.
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Old 09-09-13, 08:54 AM   #12545
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It's natural to extrapolate from one's own experience. You and Creatre trained yourselves into cat 2. I simply do not think that is possible for every cat 3 (even those who "earned" their 3).
I think we have reviewed this in the past but I think most people can train themselves to get to a 2 BUT it would be all encompassing. Your focus would have to look at:
1. Training
2. Diet and weight management
3. Learning - i.e how to race
4. Setting reasonable goals
5. Sacrifice
Then there are others who would not have to put the same focus to get there. I am one of those. In a conversation with a friend of mine last week racing came up. If I actually trained with any focus when I was riding the sky would be the limit but I may be one that is somewhat different (based on basic physiology, athletic background, mental fortitude, etc.) and rose in the sport very quickly from a young age, quit riding, came back, etc. I am fortunate to have become an athlete at a very young age (5) and remained athletic through my entire life and that has allowed me to come in and out of sports with a much shorter adaptation period.
Other needs to work more for the same result.
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Old 09-09-13, 09:01 AM   #12546
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In the time I've had a power meter I've broken 1200 watts a number of times I can count on one hand. My highest numbers have come in races, not training. Really a function of lead out, I think, rather than will or effort...though I wouldn't discount it.
I may have posted this before but here are the top 50 power numbers from the River Gorge P/1/2 crit last year in descending order. Gary is right it is about positioning etc. and this is evidence that while fighting for position on a sketchy course the effort required is enormous. BTW I weighed 180 pounds.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg SnipImage.JPG (58.9 KB, 36 views)
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Old 09-09-13, 09:09 AM   #12547
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I think anyone who really earned a Cat 3 upgrade can get to Cat 2. Theoretically anyway, if not practically. Take those folks you know who are treading water in their current category. Then pay them twice their current salary to get to Cat 2. Hire a full-time coach for them, a nutritionist, and start tracking diet, hydration and sleep, then make training adjustments with no compromises regarding competing interests. You can build someone who's strong enough to dispense with the rest of the Cat 3 field physically, then work on tactics and strategy. Identify the best races in the country for their style and power profile, fly to those courses to practice the week before races.

Seems like pretty much anyone whose beat up on Cat 4s could pull that off with the Cat 3s to get to Cat 2. We'll all be somewhere along the line between total commitment and finding a couple extra hours per week and maybe dropping a few pounds.

I was a middling Cat 3 for 14 years (some of which I took off of racing), never saw a podium in that time. Then I got a power meter and changed up my training based on what I learned about myself. Started winning. Then I saw a plateau looming, decided to lose 12 lbs in 5 weeks, bumped training from ~6 hours/week to ~8 hours/week, power went up, and I was a destroyer. Dropped my bars 2cm, and stretched to accommodate. 10.1 W/kg 1' power, 4.8 W/kg FTP, and bingo. Cat 2 at 39 yo.

Then I had to reprioritize, went back down to 6 hrs/wk, and downgraded.
This is pretty much what I was thinking too. Anyone that has upgraded from 4 to 3 already has some sort of decent genetics and race tactics, etc. Some strengths some weaknesses. If they are pack fodder at the next level, they need to do something differently, but I believe with more drive/time/training/coaching/experience/etc, something could change and they have the ability to upgrade to a 2.
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Old 09-09-13, 09:28 AM   #12548
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right right right... but it would take another level to become a competitive 2.

using myself as an example: I upgraded to cat3 three years ago by winning 3 races, getting 2 2nd's, a few other point-earning finishes. Most were in crits that featured shrot steep hills and/or were technical.

I know that I could get to cat2 with some focus and more frequent racing, not even spending more time on the bike. I do know that even with the focus and lifestyle sacrifices, that I will never be competitive at the 1/2 level with my limited time and talent.

For me it's about fun, casual competition at this point, and being part of a community that I enjoy.
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Old 09-09-13, 09:30 AM   #12549
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Hey, if i got to cat 2, anyone can.
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Old 09-09-13, 09:31 AM   #12550
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right right right... but it would take another level to become a competitive 2.

using myself as an example: I upgraded to cat3 three years ago by winning 3 races, getting 2 2nd's, a few other point-earning finishes. Most were in crits that featured shot steep hills and/or were technical.

I know that I could get to cat2 with some focus and more frequent racing, not even spending more time on the bike. I do know that even with the focus and lifestyle sacrifices, that I will never be competitive at the 1/2 level with my limited time and talent.

For me it's about fun, casual competition at this point, and being part of a community that I enjoy.
Yup that's true. Being competitive in cat2 is a whole 'nother ballgame.
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