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Old 03-13-09, 09:46 PM   #1
Straightblock
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Return to racing in Masters 55+. Crazy?

I'm turning 55 next year and and having wild thoughts about getting back into a few races in Masters 55+. I raced quite a bit in the late 70s & early 80s, including a few years of Cat 1 &2 races.

Here in Northern California, it looks like there are many events with a Masters 45+ 4&5 category, and some even have 55+ 4 & 5. I wouldn't plan a full season, but pick races where I wouldn't be in with Elites or young 4s & 5s. I never quit riding completely, have been riding about 4000 miles/year for the last several years.

I have a 7 year old 19 lb. aluminum race bike with Ultegra 9 speed, a Mavic Open Pro wheelset and a second Neuvation (Performance Titan) wheelset. Even though I know a lot of Masters have money to burn, I don't see my equipment being a huge handicap. I'd consider a modest wheelset upgrade, maybe even a newer (used) race bike if I find a hot deal.

Is this a realistic goal? Any tips or other thoughts?
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Old 03-13-09, 10:15 PM   #2
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Hi Straightblock,

Nice name. I guess you used to race with one of these:



4,000 miles per year should be enough to keep you in the pack in a 55+ crit. As I always tell people, it's the motor not the bike.

The only reason why I have a bunch of bikes is because I'm an addict and racing is my cover for having the bikes.

Just don't come to SoCal and embarrass me by beating me with your bike.
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Old 03-13-09, 10:49 PM   #3
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Of course you're crazy, but why let that stop you? You were probably crazy to do it when you were young but now you claim 'old buffer's disease' as an excuse

I'm no racer but one thing life has taught me is that if you want to do something, give it a go. If you've stopped in 12 months, it wasn't for you, but then there are those magic discoveries where you're still doing 12 YEARS later.

Richard
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Old 03-13-09, 11:20 PM   #4
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racin is great fun, so realistic? sure
crazy? a little less nutz than the younger classes...
if you have had experience, then all the more fun
go for it
The only thing which has worn thin on me are the 2.5 hr or longer drives to race venues, and then doin the same thing back home. A whole day to do barely 40 minutes of racin. I don;t do those anymore.
I've sortta put a limit to driving to where I can get in 90 minutes. Anything further away means I pass.
Being where I am means I'm really not racin anymore, much.
But do give it a go, its worth the effort to test yourself.
And the 55+ class down here seems to be populated with mostly fit and mostly sane riders.
Equipment? The whole 1st year I got back into it at 55, back in 04, I raced on the old 1980 Nago Super. Can;t says it hurt or it helped. I did get a lot of fun comments from the other old pharts on the start line. A couple of whom also rode Nagos, but back then, so 30 yrs ago...
I donno, once you get that nago rollin, its about as serviceable a crit racebike as anything, for me.

race on
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Old 03-14-09, 07:11 AM   #5
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Hi Straightblock,
I just turned 56 and began racing and training for races last year. The first few races were an eye opening experience. Now in my second year I'm ready for the Cat 4's which I just moved up to. My season goal is to be able to ride in the pack with the 45+, and compete in the 55+ group at some of the bigger races in my area. Some of the guys in the 45+ would be in the running for any race in any Cat in our area, so I don't have any aspirations of winning. One thing I needed to prepare for is the 55+ races are longer than the Cat 5's, I did last year, by as much as 100% of the distance. For instance in one race last year the Cat 5's raced 23 miles and the Master's 55+ group raced 46 miles. I would not have been able to do that race anyway since I was only a Cat 5.

I say jump in and race. There are a few of us on this forum who race, and some who even win.
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Old 03-14-09, 07:51 AM   #6
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Sorry if I sound like a shrink, but you have to be true to your 'inner child'.

Go for it.
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Old 03-14-09, 10:34 AM   #7
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Do it, I am going to be 57 this year and am training for Ironman Florida next year that's what keeps us young at heart.
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Old 03-14-09, 11:08 AM   #8
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Somebody has to cheer from the sidelines. That will be me.
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Old 03-14-09, 03:42 PM   #9
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A guy I ride with is the 55+ age group champ here in NJ. He rides a basic Cannondale, aluminum frame, race bike. No fancy wheels or anything. Hey, somebody has to be 55+ state champ in CA. It may as well be you.

I do believe my friend rides a bit more that 4K miles per year though. I doesn't mean that with proper focus you can't be competitive, especially with the race background you have.

Also, you're not getting any younger...
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Old 03-14-09, 07:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
The only thing which has worn thin on me are the 2.5 hr or longer drives to race venues, and then doin the same thing back home. A whole day to do barely 40 minutes of racing. I don;t do those anymore.
I've sortta put a limit to driving to where I can get in 90 minutes. Anything further away means I pass.
You nailed it, Cyclezen. That's what burned me out & got me out of racing. Most races were far enough away that I had to leave on Friday & stay over a night or two. I was traveling with other local riders, and with guys in differerent categories we were typically out there all day Saturday & Sunday. Once I got out of college and started working my first real job, I tried to race a couple of weekends a month, and it was head out of town right after work on Friday, race Saturday & Sunday, spend Monday & Tuesday catching up on laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning the apartment, then by Thursday it's time to start packing for the weekend again. I'd spend a lot of money & time for maybe 50 miles of racing on the weekend, no time to train during the week, and never see my friends that didn't ride.

I was single then & just out of college. Married 23 years now with 2 teenagers, mortgage, aging parents and other responsibilities, I think I'd target maybe a half dozen races throughout the season that don't require long drives or overnight stays, ones where I thought I might be competitive, and not worry about putting a championship jersey in the closet.
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Old 03-14-09, 07:45 PM   #11
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Somebody has to cheer from the sidelines. That will be me.
+1 have fun.
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Old 03-14-09, 10:23 PM   #12
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Yes. IMHO, it is logical to return. First, you already achieved P/1/2 status. If you can do it once, you only have to rebuild something that once existed and you are genetically predisposed. It is much harder to do it the first time.

Equipment makes little difference except for the time trial. Modern TT bikes and wheel technology make a difference.

Our 55+ open peloton is very tough but the elite 4/5s are very good. There is not a lot of action or opportunity to race Masters 55+ 4/5. But there is some.

I am writing this post from a Hampton Inn located in Madera, CA. My wife and I are participating in the Madera Stage Race this weekend. Today was a criterium and a time trial and the weather was beautiful. Tomorrow is a 51 mile road race. There are a lot of entrants from the central valley.

I am 60 and started serious racing last year. I am building efficiency, endurance and power for the first time and only God knows if I will ever be good at it.
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Old 03-15-09, 08:37 AM   #13
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Just don't expect it to be any easier.

From my road running days I learned that it actually gets harder to finish in the top half of the older age groups. All the also-rans drop out and the only racers left are the guys who have always finished at the top of the pack and have stayed in shape for their entire life.
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