"The 33"-Road Bike Racing - Runner convert....advice needed
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I am a former Olympic Trials level runner but have had a secret desire to be a competitive cyclist since I was about 12. I have always felt that I would be a better cyclist than runner anyhow, as I am built much more like an Ullrich, rather than a Bob Kennedy. Additionally, I have a very high VO2 Max, even for an endurance athlete(I'm lucky enough to have been lab tested),which I feel will help me in cycling more than running.
Unfortunately, up until now I haven't been able to cycle, due to team committments (I ran NCAA Div. 1 xc and track). However, I graduated in May and have got myself pretty decent bike and am ready to start my new pursuit. After about 2 1/2 months of sitting on my butt, I started to ride everyday and now have no trouble keeping up speeds of 22-25 mph for solo rides of at least 20 miles. On a whim I signed up for a Cat. 5 race that is in about a month.
So...my question is: Are there any other former runners out there who could give me an Cat. 5 equivalent running level? I realize that this is a vague question, but I'm only in mediocre shape for me and don't want to get dusted! I have no cycling friends, so in terms of category racing, I'm completely clueless. I'd just like to know what to expect (in terms of level of competition) when I ride up to the starting line. Also, any other advice from runners who have made the same switch would be appreciated. Thanks!!
10-09-00, 01:48 PM
Cat. five is an entry level category for those who are just starting, however former racers who have quit for several years are put back in that category , if I'm not mistaken,and some guys won't upgrade so look out for "ringers". To "climb" to Cat 4 you have to win or place in some races. It's been thirty years since I ran but I think the level you are at in running would be equivalent to Cat 2, possibly one.
[Edited by pat5319 on 11-11-2000 at 06:51 PM]
10-11-00, 03:32 PM
I would say that since you have a very high VO2 max you should find some success in your ability to maintain high speed. Try the criteriums at the lower levels and try to learn as much about bike handling as possible. The cat. 5 races are full of Tour De France wannabes, which is great, but their enthusiasm gets the best of them sometime. They get so tired that their skills go out the window and they start bumping around and getting squirrly in general. The higher categories are a little better but then you start running with the faster guys and bumps and bangs are part of the game. Most people think they know how to ride a bike, but if you want to learn how to really handle a bike find a velodrome and take the training course. Fixed gear racing will teach you how to "ride" quicker than 20 criteriums ever could. Don't hold back, go for it full steam ahead. By the way, I am not a runner!
03-27-01, 08:29 AM
Hi if not too personal what is a very high max oxygen uptake level? Just like your first 5k fall in with the first line and see how you feel. Feels good at 2 miles go for it.
Thanks Kevin Smith
One time ran for Arthur Lydiard.
My VO2 max is not Armstrong-like, but better than average. It is mid-70s (depending on the day), which is good, but not superhuman.
Well, in the 6 months or so since the last post, I competed in the race. At the top of a small hill with about 4 miles to go I looked back and saw that I had a 50m or so gap on the peleton. So I decided to just put my head down and hammer. I held them off for about 2 miles, was caught, then quickly regrouped for the sprint. Finished I think 6th in the sprint. Oh well...
Thanks for the advice
03-27-01, 08:58 PM
Thus you learned lesson 1: it takes lots more energy riding solo than it does hanging with the pack. Save your strength for the end. There have been riders that could ride off the front for hours, keep their lead, and go on to win, but they can be counted on one hand. Congratulations! Sixth in your first bike race (or any bike race) is pretty d*mn good.
Riding with the pack, especially a bunch of Cat 5s, stay near the front, at least in the front 1/3rd. That way, your likely to stay clear of the carnage when some goober wipes out. You'll also be in a position to respond when someone decides to jump.
Cat 5s are notorious for trying to ride as hard as they can, start to finish, instead of conserving their strength and utilizing strategy.
In a class by myself (I call it Cat 6),
03-31-01, 01:49 PM
Work on your spin- pedal rpm- shoot first for 100 rpm, you'll drop down to the recomended 90 rpm when your're not thinking about it. Then work on getting it faster, and faster. Speed comes from being able to spin your pedals not mashing on a higher and higher gear, especially in a sprint. If you're smart you'll work on your spin for many years
Pick out the best riders in your race and follow them and imitate the smarter things they do- gearing/gear selection, eating, drinking etc.
Don't take the lead for more than 30 seconds, follow wheels as much as possible.
Watch how the "big boys" do it, upper category races, videos etc.
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