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Old 12-15-09, 08:00 PM   #1
Robert Foster
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Was it a good idea?

I haven't been a re-born cyclist for that long but I have been enjoying the experience for the last two years. I have been invited by one of my cycling friends; some will say that it is a challenge, to join him in a race next February on one of our local military bases. Six Months ago I just laughed it off because I am anything but one of the typical A group riders in our group. I started considering it about two months ago and now have more or less committed to giving it a try.
The course is only 32 miles with one or two climbs of 8 percent for a mile each. Nothing I havenít done on a normal group ride. I only wonder if I am starting this too late. Has anyone else tried racing this late in life?
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Old 12-15-09, 08:59 PM   #2
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I started racing in 2007 at age 57 doing TTs on the tandem with my wife. In 2008, I did individual TTs and a couple of road races and started track racing. This year I have done over 25 races including a stage race. YMMV.

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Old 12-15-09, 09:06 PM   #3
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I started racing at age 54 doing two local "citizen races", which I was woefully unprepared for. I got the bug to continue racing and decided to begin training and preparing for racing by doing things off the bike like loosing weight, working on the core muscles and making decisions in daily life that would enable me to ride more and faster. Over the past two seasons I really enjoyed the competition of racing while the improvements to my riding were a secondary benefit which is very nice.

I say do the race. Your friend must see something in your riding that he would suggest racing. It may be an eye opener due to others who have been preparing for racing for an extended time and seem out of your league. Keep an open mind that you are new to racing and don't expect to be invited to the TDF right after the race. You do have time to do some interval training to get you body ready for the change of pace in races. If you like the competition and want more, then you can begin training for more races, then who know where you will end up.
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Old 12-16-09, 05:22 AM   #4
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I'm 54 and though I only do one citizen race a year, it is a great way to see what your made of. In group rides you never know if the guy next to you is giving his all or just along for the ride, but when its a race you know that guy is trying his best to kick your a##. Train as well as you can and then put in a better effort torward next years race, you'll do it again I garuntee it, once bitten you'll be back!!
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Old 12-16-09, 08:54 AM   #5
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It's never too late if there is pie involved.
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Old 12-16-09, 09:17 AM   #6
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It's never too late if there is pie involved.
Oh man, I have really cut back on the pie. I have to save that for our once a month coffee shop ride. I do plan on working hard on my training between now and then and have tossed in a few more climbs than I like. I have made the decision to give it a try. Just was feeling a bit unsure when I posted.
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Old 12-16-09, 09:24 AM   #7
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I gave mountain bike racing a try in 2007, competing in a statewide series in the 40+ beginners class. My goals were modest - enter and complete 6 of the 8 races and never finish last. If there had been a 50+ class then as there is now, I would have made a few podiums. I met the goals and took my reward of a deeply discounted new bike purchase from the LBS sponsoring my team.

I am glad that I did it. I became a better mountain bike rider. I learned that I could endure more pain than I had ever imagined I could. I got a great new bike ('08 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp). I confirmed that I am not wired the same way as people who love to race. (I admire the trait in others, but have no desire to develop it in myself).
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Old 12-16-09, 10:02 AM   #8
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If you finish a distant last you will still have finished the race.
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Old 12-16-09, 10:03 AM   #9
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This is one of those things that only the experience of getting out there and doing it can answer your question. In my mind it doesn't matter if you end up loving it or hating it. The important thing is you're going to try it. I've tried racing, and like BD, it's not my cup of tea. My competitive juices tend to flow stronger in other areas. And it wasn't the discipline or the pain that came with training that turned me off. Rather, it was not appreciating the experience of racing past many sights, sound, and smells that come with bike riding. (As an example, if you want to see my pace/speed drop, follow me when I'm riding past wild roses, lilacs, or honeysuckle. I slow down and breathe deeply to experience as much of those smells as possible. Those wonderful scents let me know that life is good.) You, however, may find that racing is a really good match for who you are or want to be on the bike. Go for it.
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Old 12-16-09, 11:39 AM   #10
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NOS88 my favorites are pine stands and when I'm in Amish country the wood and coal smoke smells. Pies cooking ain't bad either!!
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Old 12-16-09, 12:46 PM   #11
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NOS88 my favorites are pine stands and when I'm in Amish country the wood and coal smoke smells. Pies cooking ain't bad either!!
...try to be first in the pace line, horse stuff gets thrown up by tires. Dan, I remember that from the Ride Around Medina Century we did two years ago.
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Old 12-16-09, 01:50 PM   #12
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I would not worry that you are too old, not old enough (remember those days?) or if it is too late. What is more important is that you want to do it and it is going to be fun. Most importantly, you are doing it with a friend. And there are other races than mass start road races such as criterium, circuit races, time trials and hill climbs.

I focus on races that work to my strengths or serve as a fun way to improve my weaknesses. I like the hill climbs since they are safe and allow me to work on my z4 threshold power. I am better at TTs and shorter races requiring excellent mental focus and high power at fast cadence. For 2010, I am focusing on hill climbs, TTs and 2k pursuit at the track.
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Old 12-16-09, 03:05 PM   #13
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What's a citizen race? I don't think I've seen anything around my area advertised that way.
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Old 12-16-09, 03:13 PM   #14
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What's a citizen race? I don't think I've seen anything around my area advertised that way.
Citizens races are non sanctioned by one of cycling's governing bodies. Many are local races sponsored as fund raisers or long standing races. The races are open to everyone and don't have all the rules that sanctioned races have. Last summer I did the Mon Tour 75 race in Dannville PA that had around 200 riders and wasn't sanctioned. The rider does not need a license to participate. There are a good way to enter racing since is not as formal as sanctioned races, usually.
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Old 12-16-09, 08:07 PM   #15
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I've been thinking all week about Ginny doing her first Tin/Tri Bob. Now I have this desire to drop the last 15lbs and do one in 2010. I say if you're curious go for it. What's the worst that could happen?
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Old 12-16-09, 08:11 PM   #16
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Anything that inspires improvement is a good idea. Good luck with the race.
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Old 12-17-09, 02:51 AM   #17
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Well I am going to try it. Told my wife and have decided to really work at training. I have been working on sprints and short climbs but I can tell climbing is never going to be one of my favorite parts of a ride. Now that I have committed mentally I will have to spend more time getting ready physically. Like some have suggested I am more interested in finishing. Anything else will just be icing on the cake.
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Old 12-17-09, 07:45 AM   #18
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Well I am going to try it. Told my wife and have decided to really work at training. I have been working on sprints and short climbs but I can tell climbing is never going to be one of my favorite parts of a ride. Now that I have committed mentally I will have to spend more time getting ready physically. Like some have suggested I am more interested in finishing. Anything else will just be icing on the cake.
Welcome to the dark side Mr. Foster.
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Old 12-17-09, 04:25 PM   #19
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Well I am going to try it. Told my wife and have decided to really work at training. I have been working on sprints and short climbs but I can tell climbing is never going to be one of my favorite parts of a ride. Now that I have committed mentally I will have to spend more time getting ready physically. Like some have suggested I am more interested in finishing. Anything else will just be icing on the cake.
A good way of training is down at the gym. When I trained for my offroad rides- I spent the winter at the gym as well as getting out on the bike. 1 hours cardio by spending 10 minutes on each of 6 different machines worked wonders on getting me fit. I started at a low base by setting the machines at level 8 out of 20 and went up one level each week. Never went above 16 except on the cross trainer but each week was a new level in what I could achieve. When I got to level 12- I decided to see how fit I was by going all out- as in sprinting on each machine for as long as possible for one of the two sessions I spent there each week. Don't think they helped physically but it did push me to the limit and I knew that when on the rides- I could still keep going when it hurt. The mental side of pain is a limit that you have to find.
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Old 12-17-09, 10:06 PM   #20
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Well I am lucky in that regard that I have access to a pretty good gym. But I am thinking of adding more rides during the week where I ride solo and practice sprints and climbs.
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