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  1. #26
    Senior Member topflightpro's Avatar
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    I'll chime in too.

    My training hasn't changed much. Things have gotten more intense. For example, where I once did one-minute, 200 watt intervals, I now do one-minute, 500 watt intervals. And I have put a lot more emphasis on base training. Last fall/winter, I slowly built up to 20 hours of base riding by December/January. I had planned to do that again this year, but a knee injury hampered my training.

    The other thing the OP needs to consider is his age and base level of fitness. When I started riding, I was 27 and had absolutely zero experience doing any sort of endurance sports. While I played lots of team sports when I was young, by the time I was in high school, I had narrowed my time to playing golf. And once I was in college, I spent most of my time drinking (I went for the freshman 40). I started playing ice hockey in college and continued that afterward, but beer-league hockey is not a great way to stay in shape. So for me, when I started riding and racing, I was in such horrible shape, it took a long time, about five years really, to become competitive.

  2. #27
    Senior Member thisisbenji's Avatar
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    Do you guys actually think of 4s and 5s as different categories? At least in my area they race together. Last year was my first year racing and I was finishing in the top 15 pretty consistently in 4/5 races with very little training. I'm not really seeing how one would consider going from 4-5 an upgrade? I mean it's not like if you get 1st out of the Cat Vs but finished 9th you won the race.

  3. #28
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisisbenji View Post
    Do you guys actually think of 4s and 5s as different categories? At least in my area they race together. Last year was my first year racing and I was finishing in the top 15 pretty consistently in 4/5 races with very little training. I'm not really seeing how one would consider going from 4-5 an upgrade? I mean it's not like if you get 1st out of the Cat Vs but finished 9th you won the race.
    Depends on where you are. Here, we usually have a 4/5 race and a 3/4 race, and often a 2/3 race. Other times there's a 5-only and a 4-only race or 5 and 3/4. In every race on our calendar, there is a place for 4s to race that 5s can't go.

    Also, Masters races are all 1-4, no 5s allowed. So if you wanted to race Masters, no luck if you're a 5 (though we sometimes have 35+ Cat 5 races).

  4. #29
    Senior Member thisisbenji's Avatar
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    Oh I see. I'm 22 so I never look at masters but it seem around here the cats are P/1/2, 3, & 4/5. I'v never seen just a 5s race (well except for on the track), If I did I'd probably enter it. Sounds like an easy win.

  5. #30
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    As a 3, my training isn't necessarily more hours or harder efforts, it's just more structured. The first step was buying a PM, then trying to put together a training plan myself (cobbled together from Racing and Training with a Power Meter and The Time Crunched Cyclist Program). This year, I am working with a coach and actually following his plan.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    As a 3, my training isn't necessarily more hours or harder efforts, it's just more structured. The first step was buying a PM, then trying to put together a training plan myself (cobbled together from Racing and Training with a Power Meter and The Time Crunched Cyclist Program). This year, I am working with a coach and actually following his plan.
    Where did you find your coach? Online/local?

    I'm a noob when it comes to racing(ie just signed up for my USAC license today) but I figure having a coach from the get go wouldn't hurt things.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
    Also, Masters races are all 1-4, no 5s allowed. So if you wanted to race Masters, no luck if you're a 5 (though we sometimes have 35+ Cat 5 races).
    Many of the races in LAMBRA (LA and MS) have at least some Masters 55+ as open, so 5s in that age category can race there instead of with the young guys. I'm going to do my ten finishes in the regular Cat 5 races, so I can commit my most embarrassing mistakes among folks I won't be hanging out with.
    Regards,
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  8. #33
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterwaterfall View Post
    Where did you find your coach? Online/local?

    I'm a noob when it comes to racing(ie just signed up for my USAC license today) but I figure having a coach from the get go wouldn't hurt things.
    Word of mouth.
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  9. #34
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisisbenji View Post
    Do you guys actually think of 4s and 5s as different categories? At least in my area they race together. Last year was my first year racing and I was finishing in the top 15 pretty consistently in 4/5 races with very little training. I'm not really seeing how one would consider going from 4-5 an upgrade? I mean it's not like if you get 1st out of the Cat Vs but finished 9th you won the race.
    In Oregon, we have separate cat 5 races for the "spring classics". Later in the season, the race categories will combine 4/5; this is basically after the strong guys in the cat5 "class" have graduated, so the 4/5 is mostly made up of cat4s at that point anyway. During the summer, we will frequently split crits up as 4/5, 3/4, and 1/2/3. Woe to the cat 4 who regularly races the 4/5 race, since it is not worth upgrade points if you are eligible to ride a category higher. At that point, 4/5 is mostly cat5s and a few weak cat4s who don't race much, cat 3/4 is mostly cat4 with a few cat3s, mostly to work as leadout/domestiques to get their teammates upgraded, and 1/2/3 is everyone else.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
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  10. #35
    fuggitivo solitario echappist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterwaterfall View Post
    Where did you find your coach? Online/local?

    I'm a noob when it comes to racing(ie just signed up for my USAC license today) but I figure having a coach from the get go wouldn't hurt things.
    one really shouldn't get a coach until one has at least a few years of training and understand your own physiology. Working with a coach is very much like working with your boss (and yes, if you misbehave too badly, your coach may "fire" you and not want your money), the key here being you should at least have an understanding of your strengths, weaknesses, and goals before contacting others. You wouldn't approach your boss about a project with first giving it quite a bit of thought, and you shouldn't go hire a coach and expect no input from yourself and your coach to countenance your demand for hand-wringing.

    There are very good coaches out there, and i'm fortunate enough to work with one on a consulting basis. There are also "coaches" out there who send out cookie-cutter plans (e.g. many of the CTS "certified" coaches), and if you don't know yourself and your goals, your money basically goes down the drain.

  11. #36
    fuggitivo solitario echappist's Avatar
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    i should add that as a beginner, you should look for someone who could mentor you, and this person wouldn't need to be a coach. Basically someone who can show you the ropes on how to ride in a pack, how to read a race, etc. Most of us here would be more than happy to help you with that, but preferably, this person would see you in real time.

    I'll also add that i know quite a few people who shelled out $60/month for a nominally full service coach and ended up having nothing to show for it.

    As for training, another reason why you shouldn't worry about getting a coach is that almost anything you do when you start racing is probably going to give you noticeable gains as the initial gains should come quickly. Get a general gist of training by getting Friel, do a few threshold intervals 2 months away from racing, a few VO2max and anaerobic stuff as the date get closer, and just go out there and race. Oh, and don't forget to recuperate after you've done 1-2 months of racing as your body needs to recover.

  12. #37
    Senior Member jsutkeepspining's Avatar
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    i've had a coach since i started really riding. It has helped me a lot. Coaching is something very personal. A lot fo people dont think they need one, then consistently never get anywhere in their training, lots of people have no need for one, and lots have a need for one. Mine lives right next door to me so its perfect, he's been able to teach me how to race more than anything else. ONce i upgraded it was great because we could race together in all road races. It was great to do well in a race only to get screamed at because i did something stupid mid way through the race (by stupid i mean energy sapping not like swerving and taking out ten guys. I'm dumb, but not that dumb).
    cat 1-o-meter: wtf am i doing??????
    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    You're not dumb. You're just less smart.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterwaterfall View Post
    Where did you find your coach? Online/local?

    I'm a noob when it comes to racing(ie just signed up for my USAC license today) but I figure having a coach from the get go wouldn't hurt things.
    I got mine online (CTS) and it works well for me. Maybe I'm lucky, but there's no cookie cutter involved.

    I just wanted to pile on top of echappist's remarks. You need clear goals for a coach to be able do his/her job. How to formulate those goals would get way off topic here, but think hard about what you want to accomplish with a coach's help before you go looking for one.
    Regards,
    Chuck

    Demain, on roule!

  14. #39
    una carrera contrarreloj Matt2.8NJ's Avatar
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    I'm another that went 5--> 3 in one year. Then, kids came along (2 now, ages 2 and under). 6 hours a week is what I can hope for... and I'm fine with that.

    The 3's isn't too much different in speed from the 4's... there is just a greater number of stronger riders in the race with you - more guys that can be successful at a given moment, with more experience and training.

    With that being said, don't rush through the categories like I did. I had the most fun as a 4... Enjoy the ride and learn, learn, learn.
    ___________________________________________
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  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisisbenji View Post
    Oh I see. I'm 22 so I never look at masters but it seem around here the cats are P/1/2, 3, & 4/5. I'v never seen just a 5s race (well except for on the track), If I did I'd probably enter it. Sounds like an easy win.
    As a Cat 4 winning the Cat 5 race might be easy, maybe. True wins are never easy, otherwise everyone would win.

    For example what if you entered a Cat 5 race and there were 5 or 10 riders like you, 22 years old, training with the 3s and 2s, doing 40-60 mile group rides on Sat and Sun, and they've been winning some of those town line sprints? Or what if three pro mountain bikers that just moved from South American showed up at a Cat 5 race, guys who live at altitude and train on a road bike but never had a US license before?

    Sometimes the guy who wins a Cat 5 race is a pro by the end of the year, as one did at the Bethel Spring Series (he was interviewed in Pro magazine earlier this year). Another got 3rd in his first P12 race 5 months after he won his first Cat 5 race at Bethel. Although we did have three South American mtb pros show up one year (the pace was a steady 28-32 mph for the first 5-6 laps - it looked like a pro race with about 5 guys in it, the 3 mtb pros and a couple really strong guys hanging on for dear life) we never did have ten 22 year old leg breakers. We did have, for a few years, a pro triathlete that would enter races for speed work. One mtb pro that would skip some of the races because he had to fly out to Sea Otter. etc etc etc.

    Winning a Cat 4 race is actually a safer bet. The guys who were super good as 5s will upgrade out of the 4s super quick, and many 4s upgrade to 3s as soon as they can. This leaves a pretty homogenous group of racers with just one or two outliers to ruin the fun.

    True wins, though, are never easy. If they are then you probably need to upgrade.

  16. #41
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Cat5 wins mean nothing.

  17. #42
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by echappist View Post
    one really shouldn't get a coach until one has at least a few years of training and understand your own physiology. Working with a coach is very much like working with your boss (and yes, if you misbehave too badly, your coach may "fire" you and not want your money), the key here being you should at least have an understanding of your strengths, weaknesses, and goals before contacting others. You wouldn't approach your boss about a project with first giving it quite a bit of thought, and you shouldn't go hire a coach and expect no input from yourself and your coach to countenance your demand for hand-wringing.
    While I agree with the latter, I think that depending on the person, you can benefit from early coaching and a good coach could actually help you hash out some of the strengths and weaknesses that might be buried under training noise. I hired a coach after trying a few races. I remember commenting to him that I would never be good at crits. His reply was "why not?"

    Good question.

    If you're someone who can deal with structure and discipline, the right coach can accelerate your improvement and keep you from making mistakes. The mistake part might be more important than anything else, especially if you're an older athlete where you recover much slower from injuries and over training.

    The best way to see if you're ready to make that investment might be to go download on of the many "See Spot Run" simple 6-10 week training programs out there (age/experience/category appropriate). If you can stick to it for the duration without going off the reservation every few days then you could probably benefit from a live coach.

  18. #43
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsutkeepspining View Post
    I'm dumb
    You're not dumb. You're just less smart. Genetics can't be overcome, but you can maximize what you do have. Professions that require power tools, have a risk of injury, or require math are obviously out of the question but if you work hard at learning your "colors and shapes", a long and solid career in sorting recycling bins might be just the ticket.

  19. #44
    Senior Member johnybutts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    You're not dumb. You're just less smart. Genetics can't be overcome, but you can maximize what you do have. Professions that require power tools, have a risk of injury, or require math are obviously out of the question but if you work hard at learning your "colors and shapes", a long and solid career in sorting recycling bins might be just the ticket.
    More RX gold. I think that's 2 QOTD in a row for you.
    I'm sure when you were getting to the point of blowing nothing was obvious but making the pain stop...I don't know about you but after the fact I always look back at those moments and think 'why didn't I just keep going' but at the time there wasn't enough oxygen on the planet to make me take one more pedal stroke.

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    If you're someone who can deal with structure and discipline, the right coach can accelerate your improvement and keep you from making mistakes. The mistake part might be more important than anything else, especially if you're an older athlete where you recover much slower from injuries and over training.
    As an older guy, getting a coach also removes the trial-and-error part. I'm not kicking the bucket anytime soon, but at 61, I don't have time to BS around trying this and that - I started back with cycling four years ago, so I don't have a life's worth of miles in my legs. I don't mind paying someone for his/her knowledge if it helps me. In my case, it's been a big help in getting me fitter and faster.
    Regards,
    Chuck

    Demain, on roule!

  21. #46
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnybutts View Post
    More RX gold. I think that's 2 QOTD in a row for you.
    I agree, might have to use that one as well. I lost my one Ex quote that went something like "get your hands off me you damn dirty ape"

    I am pondering a new thread where we can post Ex's QOTD.
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

  22. #47
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkwaki View Post
    I agree, might have to use that one as well. I lost my one Ex quote that went something like "get your hands off me you damn dirty ape"

    I am pondering a new thread where we can post Ex's QOTD.
    Let me google that for you...
    https://www.google.com/webhp?sourcei...w=1280&bih=909

  23. #48
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by revchuck View Post
    As an older guy, getting a coach also removes the trial-and-error part. I'm not kicking the bucket anytime soon, but at 61, I don't have time to BS around trying this and that - I started back with cycling four years ago, so I don't have a life's worth of miles in my legs. I don't mind paying someone for his/her knowledge if it helps me. In my case, it's been a big help in getting me fitter and faster.
    Ditto.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by echappist View Post
    one really shouldn't get a coach until one has at least a few years of training and understand your own physiology.
    I couldn't disagree more. If one has an interest in learning how to train optimally as quickly as possible, at any level, a good coach can certainly help.

  25. #50
    Senior Member johnybutts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rapwithtom View Post
    I couldn't disagree more. If one has an interest in learning how to train optimally as quickly as possible, at any level, a good coach can certainly help.
    A coach could help. But what if you have fun riding with friends (on other plans)? And care less about the "optimal" plan and more about having fun and riding hard when you can?
    I'm sure when you were getting to the point of blowing nothing was obvious but making the pain stop...I don't know about you but after the fact I always look back at those moments and think 'why didn't I just keep going' but at the time there wasn't enough oxygen on the planet to make me take one more pedal stroke.

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