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Old 06-04-09, 09:16 AM   #1
The Weak Link
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Any elderly DFL'ers out there?

DFL means Dead Faraway Last, referring to racers of one stripe or another who not only finish last but so far back that, for example, the winners have already gotten in their cars and driven on home.

Like a moth to flame, I feel attracted to competion, and most likey it would have the same destructive results. I've never been athletic and I'd have to work hard for several months to get into any semblance of race shape.

On the other hand I've been very fortunate in health matters. I guess I want to compete because I can. It would also be "ketching" for me: attempting a task so beyond my abilities that it could be a motivating factor for a major llifestyle change.

In ten days there will be a TT which is a 2 mile route going up a steady but not very steep grade: about 250 feet over two miles. I rode the course yesterday twice, with a consistent speed of about 11. 3 MPH. That's a lot faster than I ordinarily go up that hill, but of course pretty slow for a TT. Unfortunately the take-off intervals are every 30 seconds, which means I might get passed by a lot of people.

There's also a crit later in the day but the course is a tough one and I can guarantee someone will go down on it.

So, has anyone out there done something as ignorant as what I'm pondering doing?
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Old 06-04-09, 10:20 AM   #2
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I'm planning on it later this month. I have practiced quite a bit - doing club rides which were advertised as quick rides (read - very fast and hilly) and being so late coming back my car is the only one in the parking lot. It's really quite easy. In fact you may just want to take a sandwhich and a drink with you so when you get to a nice place on the TT course; get off the bike and have lunch and then finish off the route. Would put those smug SOBs in thier place don't ya think

Seriously though - give it your best effort and use it as a base line if you decide to keep at it. If you haven't been training hard then it only gets better from here.

Good Luck
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Old 06-04-09, 10:33 AM   #3
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I rode in a 10 mile time trial last year. I started first and finished last, getting passed by every other rider. I still enjoyed it. It wasn't a course record for slowness though, all my slow competition failed to show up. I've wanted to ride a time trial this year, but it's been raining each time, and they don't seem to hold them in the rain for some reason.
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Old 06-04-09, 10:37 AM   #4
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I raced in The Texas Time Trials last year, in spite of the fact that I was embarressingly slow. More power to those who can compete to win in races, but there's nothing wrong with competing to see if you can keep from finishing last, or just competing to beat your own times. So, I say if you have an inclination to do it, go for it.
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Old 06-04-09, 10:50 AM   #5
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Fast group rides can give you some of that competitive spirit. Just trying to hang with the group on climbs can be good motivation to get faster. And sitting in the draft on the flats can be fun, and will help recover for the next climb.

Either try a group slightly faster than you, or a much faster group--but carry a map or know your own way home if needed.
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Old 06-04-09, 11:51 AM   #6
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You state that you are attracted to competition and that you are entering a competition. You have already reached one goal by entering the race. The 2nd step is practicing, done! The 3rd step is showing up to race. The 4th step is completing the race the best that you can, if you don't beat anyone (I doubt that happens) but gave it your best shot then you've accomplished something.

The next step comes after the race, do you now want/need more competition? Are you willing to commit to something to make yourself better for the next time? If so, then you are on the slippery slope of beginning to race bicycles. Don't worry, your not alone. In my circle of riding buddies and club riders there are at least a dozen of us who began racing in the past two years and most of us are over 50 yrs old. It all came about in part to each of us wanting to ride stronger and beat someone, anyone, then beat the guy with the nicer bike, then our good buddy, then etc... Some are into the ultra endurance races, some race in road races and crits and some ride and train just as hard, but focused to be better on the fast club rides. The common denominator is that all of us wanted to be a faster rider than before and made a commitment to set aside the time to do so. Should you choose the "race side" there will be setbacks as well as successes, both will offer some sort of reward and will make you a stronger person in the long run. You just might like it.

Good luck, see you in a race somewhere soon.
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Old 06-04-09, 02:14 PM   #7
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I hear there are a lot of DFLs in Minnesota....

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Old 06-04-09, 02:21 PM   #8
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Thanks! I've been going on the "slow and easy" Saturday morning club ride downtown which translates "30 miles as fast as the traffic lights will allow". I really enjoy it.

So I didn't eat one of the fudge brownies in the lounge today, which I guess means I'm in training.
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Old 06-04-09, 02:49 PM   #9
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So I didn't eat one of the fudge brownies in the lounge today, which I guess means I'm in training.
Yea- but what happened to the other 8

It must have been around 2000 and my local club asked me if I would consider doing a Time trial for them. I am a mountain biker but they did not have any "Spare" over 50's to do the Long ride. They knew I was into Enduro Mountain bike rides and wondered If I would consider this 100mile TT -just to make an entry for the club.

No Road bike- no experience and no enthusiasm from me for something that long and doing it with my head below my knees. They got me a road bike in my size- and got me training- with the 20 year olds.

I did not do the TT.
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Old 06-04-09, 02:51 PM   #10
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Old 06-04-09, 03:28 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by The Weak Link View Post
DFL means Dead Faraway Last, referring to racers of one stripe or another who not only finish last but so far back that, for example, the winners have already gotten in their cars and driven on home.
Hey! If they don't have the courtesy to wait for you to finish, why do you feel the need to wait for them to start?
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Old 06-04-09, 03:42 PM   #12
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The way I've always heard it, the "F" was a different "F" word, but whatever . . . the meaning is pretty much the same.

No, I have never DFL'd a double century, though I have DNF'd 2. My wife and her friend finished one double afte the time limit, so got an "unofficial" finish. That's the same thing, right?

Anyway, good to hear that you're out there competing on some level and having fun doing it. If it makes you faster / healthier / more fit, so much the better!

This coming weekend Dante and I (and 200+ other riders, apparently) are going to ride the Eastern Sierra Double Century (18 Hour time limit) with 10,500 feet of climbing, probably rain up to 7,000 feet of elevation and snow after that.

Let's see if we even survive, then (and only then) I can tell you how much fun we had competing!

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Old 06-04-09, 03:47 PM   #13
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Good luck at the event. 2 miles with a 2.33% grade is a big ring climb.
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Old 06-04-09, 04:26 PM   #14
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It is strange how this sport seduces a person. When I first got back into cycling all I wanted was a bike that I could ride around town and get a little exercise. Then I decided there was no reason I couldnít ride greater distances and maybe run a few errands. But I sure didnít want a road bike. Then if I wanted to ride greater distances I discovered would need a road bike but I sure didnít want to consider clipless pedals of Spandex/Lycra. I wasnít interested in club rides or any other organized rides.

One day I decided to try club rides but I never wanted to ride in a pace line. And I wasnít interested in trying to keep a spin going up a hill. One of the people I rode with asked if I wanted to ride a century and I laughed and said I didnít think I was ready. Three months later I did my first century and was looking forward to my second.

I was perfectly happy to ride with the B riders but every now and then when we get together with the A riders near the coffee shop I will give chase for a while. But I would never consider racing. Last week one of the A riders asked me to consider the Bull Dog race at Camp Pendleton and I just smiled and said no way. Does anyone know how long that race is?
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Old 06-04-09, 06:03 PM   #15
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Good luck at the event. 2 miles with a 2.33% grade is a big ring climb.
I do it with 39X19 (or so) gearing. I told you I was slow.
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Old 06-04-09, 06:51 PM   #16
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A 39 x 19 and 53 x 26 are about the same at around 55 inches. If you have a 25 or 27 cog use them with the big ring and look bad azzed. In a TT you will need to look tough to match the pain that you should administer to your body. From my indoor 3 mile TT experiences last winter, the warmup is the most important thing to do. It should take about an hour that includes some spinning, then some progressive LT intervals, then include some lactate threshold work at or above the rate that you intend to race at, followed by some easy spinning that will take you to the start "hot".
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Old 06-05-09, 01:07 PM   #17
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Exactly. My initials are AB and the TT starts at 7:30 AM. If they take us in alphabetical order I'm doomed.

I don't know why I'd worry about it. I'm doomed anyway.
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Old 06-05-09, 01:41 PM   #18
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I know you are a Dancing with the Stars watcher but if you are an American Idol watcher as well I offer the following advice that is often given to singers by Simon. Pick your song to showcase your skills that is memorable and will make you look good. Bike racing is similar. Pick races that match your skill / fitness/ weight and etc.

A short slightly uphill TT will favor big strong guys who can go anaerobic and produce a lot of power for a few minutes. I do not think weight is going to be a big factor. And this is a LOT of power very fast so the chance of injury goes up. So be careful. I would do it but unless you are ready for a very tough short effort, just ride it within your capability and let the time be what it is. You do not want to take yourself out sprinting for DFL.

My other thought is that this short TT will attract a lot of first time " It is short and safe and I can do it too" guys. You should be competitive with or beat those guys.
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Old 06-05-09, 04:38 PM   #19
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26 miles, http://www.camppendletonraces.com/bike.html

My son and his wife do it every year. Looks like a fun citizens race.

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Old 06-05-09, 07:32 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by The Weak Link View Post
DFL means Dead Faraway Last, referring to racers of one stripe or another who not only finish last but so far back that, for example, the winners have already gotten in their cars and driven on home.

Like a moth to flame, I feel attracted to competion, and most likey it would have the same destructive results. I've never been athletic and I'd have to work hard for several months to get into any semblance of race shape.

On the other hand I've been very fortunate in health matters. I guess I want to compete because I can. It would also be "ketching" for me: attempting a task so beyond my abilities that it could be a motivating factor for a major llifestyle change.

In ten days there will be a TT which is a 2 mile route going up a steady but not very steep grade: about 250 feet over two miles. I rode the course yesterday twice, with a consistent speed of about 11. 3 MPH. That's a lot faster than I ordinarily go up that hill, but of course pretty slow for a TT. Unfortunately the take-off intervals are every 30 seconds, which means I might get passed by a lot of people.

There's also a crit later in the day but the course is a tough one and I can guarantee someone will go down on it.

So, has anyone out there done something as ignorant as what I'm pondering doing?
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The way I've always heard it, the "F" was a different "F" word, but whatever . . . the meaning is pretty much the same.
Hi,

As Rick noted, the 'F' has a different and more "common" meaning to most bicycle racers. I do like the faraway interpretation though.

As someone who has been racing for much more than half of his life, I think it's great that you have an interest and that you aren't letting your ego get in the way of trying out a TT. I think that TTs are the best way to get into bicycle racing.

Criteriums are a different story. The danger won't be your biggest problem, getting dropped will. After you get dropped you'll most probably get pulled from the race when the leaders are about to lap you (unless the field is very small). Depending on the length of the course you could get lapped in 10-15 minutes. Not a great way to spend your money on an entry fee.

I would suggest TTs for a while until you build up your strength and endurance. Then try a road race with a long course so that you can get the benefit of being able to finish even if you fall way behind. Also try to hook up with a club that has some racers in it (preferably Masters racers) so that you can get more 1-on-1 advice.

Good luck and I hope this helps.
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Old 06-05-09, 08:15 PM   #21
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I do it with 39X19 (or so) gearing. I told you I was slow.
32x26 but spin like hell!
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