Fifty Plus (50+) - How to train for Senior Olympics?
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09-07-10, 12:48 PM
I'd like to try a road race at the local senior this coming March. I've never raced, but would like to see what its like with other guys in my age group. But, I'm not sure how to train for this. I'm comfortable riding in a group. I'm 67 - 5'10" - 190 lbs. The websites I looked up seem to be geared to 20 year old athletes but I'd like to do a good job in my first time out. Any help appreciated.
09-07-10, 02:09 PM
Find a local Club and join the "C" Group. This is normally filled with Those that like to ride but can't ride fast. It will be too slow for you but get "Some" experience of riding with others. Then upgrade to higher groups but stay away from those that are going for "Just 25 miles at 20mph up XXX Hill"
The 25 miles will be 50- the 20mph will be nearer 30 and the Hill will be the 12 miles at 15% on top of the mountain you can see in the distance on a clear day. Leave that group till nearer the evnt.
First you have to scope out the course and the competition. Senior Olympics / Games is a total crap shoot on who will show up and in what condition. Ideally, you want experienced riders so that it is not a crash fest which it can be. The older guys can be the worst. Sorry but it is a reality. I did a senior games event once and the range of ability was vast from USCF Cat 1/2 racers to absolute beginners who did not have a chance and were totally clueless.
As far as training, for a road race at 5 10 and 190, you are too heavy so the easiest thing to do to improve performance is to lose weight. You need to drop at least 10 pounds and more like 20. That will give you more advantage on the hills. As far as training goes, road races are decided on the hills. Determine what the course will be and start practicing climbing hills that are similar to what is on the course. The other thing to do is ride a lot in zone 3 which will be the zone in which you will be during the race. Work on your pack skills and get comfortable riding in a group at 22 to 25 mph. Do not assume that these guys are going to ride slow. I suspect they will go pretty fast. They may not go as fast as the USCF 55+ peloton but it may be close. Good luck.
09-08-10, 12:51 PM
Well, you will be on the young side for your age group. You aren't in an area noted for its' road cycling. The distances are pretty short. As has been posted it depends a lot on who else is in that age group. There are always a few people around who have been genetically the fastest since high school. If you happen to have one or two of those in your bracket you aren't going to win. On the other hand you many have people who are just out for fun once a year and you can't lose. Big thing is to not take it too seriously although there will be some who do.
Frankly, I wouldn't train as an athlete. I'd just make sure I was as fit as I can be for that day and go out to have fun. As for being too heavy; it all depends on your body type and fitness. I know many people who at your age, height and weight do just fine and some who are 30 years younger who are winners.
Remember, the Senior Games was designed as a marketing effort for a corporation and to encourage the couch potatoes to get out and do something, anything. The events schedule illustrates that. And, who knows, there may only be three competitors in your age bracket so you all get a medal!
09-08-10, 11:32 PM
Have done quite a few Sr. Olympic bike events in AZ.
My training consisted of time trialing for one full hour, going full out, once a week every week.
That puts you in shape for road race as you get a chance to draft then. BTW don't be foolish enough to lead the pack all the way and then get beat at the finish line by wheelsuckers.
As stated above, it's a bit of a crapshoot.
Here in Tucson, the San Diego (CA) CycleVets regularly showed up to try and get all the medals. They thought of us locals as 'easy pickins'.
They worked as a well oiled team; they refused lead in the road races; sprinted full out at the end, aggressively bodyblocking locals. Had a guy 50 lbs my heavy throw a hard shoulder into me (I weighed 125#) in the sprint, almost knocking me over. He did not count on me retaliating by shoving an elbow in his face.
Yup, his two buddies got gold and silver while I had to settle for bronze.
Another road race, they refused to lead. I pulled a breakaway and 3 of them just sat on my wheel; again they refused to take a pull. Sprinted away again and they jumped on my wheel. Hit the brakes, and they yelled and had to split around me to avoid a crash. Told 'em "hey, your turn to pull!"
Ride 'elbows out' if they get aggressive.
However, most of the time, it can be a fairly mellow event.
Sr. time trials are a better test of your ability vs. group tactics in road events.
Agree the 'old' guys can be quite competitive!
So train and get ready . . . now!
09-10-10, 09:28 AM
I seem to have problems posting back to this thread, but I want to thank all of you for great advice. 1) I'm on a diet and starting to lose weight already; 2) I've located a local older group of riders to practice my pack skills; 3) I did my first 1 hr time trial yesterday - not great, but it is a start. As to zonatandem - wow - bicycling as a contact sport doesn't sound very nice. Glad to see you stay with it. Hopefully I'll get stronger over the next few months. I have local riding and indoor training until Dec, and then going down to AZ (Green Valley) for Jan - June so hopefully things will hook up for me down there as well. again, thanks to all of you for good advice.
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