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Old 07-05-12, 06:08 AM   #1
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Long-term goal: is it do-able?

I did a quick google search to see results for the Senior Olympics road race times. It looks like both the 20K and 40K have average speeds of 25mph to qualify. At this point I am carrying several (35 or so) extra pounds. I can average 15-16mph on these distances in this, my second summer of cycling.

I am wondering if a 4-year goal of qualifying for these events is even a remote possibility. The only race I have ridden is a sprint tri last year.

Is it possible? Any suggestions on what I need to learn about road racing?
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Old 07-05-12, 06:16 AM   #2
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Check the Racing and training thread/stickie at the top of the forum page. these guys can and do race seriously, I think one or two might be aiming at the Senior Olympics.

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Old 07-05-12, 07:28 AM   #3
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Three members (I think that's all so far) have qualified for next year's games, and a few more of us (me included) will be giving it a go. I'd say it's a reasonable 4 year goal. Many of the people that race the senior games are more casual racers than the core that race USA Cycling sanctioned races. If you browse through the thread qcpmsame mentioned, you'll see some race reports and photos from the qualifiers.
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Old 07-05-12, 07:31 AM   #4
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Here is the thread:http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-racing-Thread
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Old 07-05-12, 07:46 AM   #5
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Whether it's do-able or not, you'll never know unless you try.
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Old 07-05-12, 08:12 AM   #6
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Whether it's do-able or not, you'll never know unless you try.
And if you don't succeed, you will still have a lot of fun, lose weight and gain a huge amount of fitness. It is literally a win-win situation.
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Old 07-05-12, 08:25 AM   #7
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No harm in trying. As a first-season racer myself, the 50+ racing thread referenced above has been a big source of useful advice for me. The natives are friendly and generous with their expertise. You'll make it easy for them to help you if you read up on some training guides - Joe Friel is still the name most often quoted - and then ask questions that are as specific as possible.
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Old 07-05-12, 09:24 AM   #8
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I just checked that thread out. I have a long way to go if I were to try it, but what the hell. By the time I get through all 100 pages (so far) of that thread at a page a day, I should be under 200#. Still not a racing weight of 170-175, but I will hopefully be doing much better on hills by then. Right now I am doing occasional fifty mile rides at a pace of just shy of 15 mph. Way off what a racing pace is, I know, but all I have to loose is pounds. Then, the most serious challenge I will face is the performance un-enhancing drugs (beta blockers) I am taking.
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Old 07-05-12, 09:53 AM   #9
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Still not a racing weight of 170-175, but I will hopefully be doing much better on hills by then. Right now I am doing occasional fifty mile rides at a pace of just shy of 15 mph.
Lots of long base miles (zones 2-3); lots of protein; less carb's. That will get you your metabolic fitness, and then you can add intensity in the form of fast group rides, which will start you down the path to race-fitness and skills. There is gym-fitness, then cycling-fitness, then race-fitness, with each one a significant step up. For me, going from 'cyclist' to 'bike racer', and eating like an athlete, dropped 40 pounds. At 188#, I'm still not a mountain goat, but I have my days.
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Old 07-05-12, 12:11 PM   #10
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There's a HUGE difference between 16 MPH and 25 MPH. You may not reach your goal but will never know unless you try.

Do you want to give it a shot? Do you enjoy training? Was the sprint tri a good experience? Would you sign up today to race others of about your same speed? Does your life have room for the many hours of training?
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Old 07-05-12, 12:21 PM   #11
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Lots of long base miles (zones 2-3); lots of protein; less carb's. That will get you your metabolic fitness, and then you can add intensity in the form of fast group rides, which will start you down the path to race-fitness and skills. There is gym-fitness, then cycling-fitness, then race-fitness, with each one a significant step up. For me, going from 'cyclist' to 'bike racer', and eating like an athlete, dropped 40 pounds. At 188#, I'm still not a mountain goat, but I have my days.
I've been tracking diet on a website called MyFatSecret. It has a huge food database that is user inputable. It breaks down daily intake by % fat/carb/prot. One thing I have discovered is that eating "off the shelf", even when trying to make "smart choices", getting the carbs down, and the protein up, is hard.
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Old 07-05-12, 01:34 PM   #12
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...lots of protein; less carb's...
Interesting - because that contradicts everything I've heard and read so far, including the advice of pro trainers like John Hughes.

Why do you advocate a high protein diet for cycling?

(I'm used to high-protein diets from my weight lifting days, which ended early last year when I started cycling and mountain climbing. So the diet doesn't frighten me. Just curious about the logic...).
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Old 07-05-12, 03:52 PM   #13
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Do you want to give it a shot? Do you enjoy training? Was the sprint tri a good experience? Would you sign up today to race others of about your same speed? Does your life have room for the many hours of training?
Great questions! I do want to give it a shot. I enjoy training.
The Tri was a good experience, but I have never enjoyed running. It was my first experience cycling since I was 15, and I really liked the training rides, so chose to focus on cycling this year..
I think I would sign up to race those of similar speed at this point.
My job has enough flexibility that I can train 2-3 hours per day through the weekdays, and I can make room for a long ride on the weekend nearly every week.
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Old 07-05-12, 03:58 PM   #14
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I think I would sign up to race those of similar speed at this point.
Wouldn't we all? Unfortunately most fields aren't considerate enough to take their pace from me...

Seriously, it's a big step up from 15-16 mph to race pace. There's no reason you can't do it, but it's going to take a while.
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Old 07-05-12, 04:38 PM   #15
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Interesting - because that contradicts everything I've heard and read so far, including the advice of pro trainers like John Hughes.

Why do you advocate a high protein diet for cycling?

(I'm used to high-protein diets from my weight lifting days, which ended early last year when I started cycling and mountain climbing. So the diet doesn't frighten me. Just curious about the logic...).
As CommuteCommando said, it's really hard to get enough protein, but you get carbs practically by breathing - they are in everything.

(Over)simplifying things: Carbs convert to sugar, with excess sugar converting to fat. Protein converts to muscle. Which do you want? If you want to lose weight, staying carb heavy just doesn't do it. If you put in lots of base time, you not only improve aerobically, you also train your body to burn fat, since those levels of effort are in the "fat burning zone". If you combine that training with eating fat-rich protein, giving your body fat as its primary fuel source, you increase that adaptation. You want to be a fat burning machine, pushing up the point of exertion where you cross over from burning mostly fat to burning mostly carbs. That's called the "metabolic equivalency point". You want to hit it at as high an HR as possible. You do that by laying off the carbs (depriving your body of that fuel source), and eating fatty protein. Think Avocado; peanut butter; hummus; yogurt; steak; chicken. Also by not eating before a base ride. But all that's for training. When actually racing, you want to load up the carbs to maximize your glycogen stores, and you want to consume quickly digested carbs (like honey) during the race.

The risk of a high protein, fatty, diet is that, if you aren't really putting in the hours, you risk the effects of higher cholesterol and such. But then, the risk of eating a carb-rich diet when you aren't really cranking out the high intensity, is that you increase the fat content of your body, with all the health risks inherent with that. If you aren't racing, chances are you aren't up in the levels of exertion where you are burning up your glycogen stores, which means all those carbs will get converted to fat.

Anyway, this is all just my opinion, based on input from the Phd. physiologist who works with my race team, and lots of other reading. Most people eat carb-heavy diets. But then, most people are fatter than they want to be.
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Old 07-05-12, 04:46 PM   #16
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The thing I'd mainly disagree with, AZT, is the statement that it is difficult to get enough protein. Pulses and lots of green vegetables have a surprisingly high protein content.
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Old 07-05-12, 05:05 PM   #17
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Have done many Sr. Olympics in Tucson, AZ.
Best training for me was to ride 6 days a week.
One day per week devoted to riding solo time trial for one hour straight.
That's full tilt and gasping after the hour was up.
That way at the Sr. Olympic road race event things went well as I was used to not drafting.
The 2 TT events were much shorter than the one hour I was used to, so not a bigissue.
My best year was 4 golds and decided I could not improve on that.
Persist . . Loose that fat belly and build up muscle and endurance.
Currently am 80 years old and weight 135 lbs and still ride 100+/- miles a week year 'round.
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Old 07-05-12, 05:33 PM   #18
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The thing I'd mainly disagree with, AZT, is the statement that it is difficult to get enough protein. Pulses and lots of green vegetables have a surprisingly high protein content.
It's a heck of lot easier to get the carb's, particularly if you are eating out. But I should have said that it's hard for -me- to keep the protein content up where I want it to be. Part of the problem for me is I love to snack on dried fruit: raisans, apricots, cranberries, trail mixes of nuts and dried fruit. Grabbing a handful is far easier than firing up the grill, and there is no way I'm lighting a burner in the house in the summer. So I often snack for dinner, or pop into the neighborhood Mexican hole-in-the-wall, where they know me well. Carb city, even if the entree is meat.
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Old 07-05-12, 05:54 PM   #19
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Wouldn't we all? Unfortunately most fields aren't considerate enough to take their pace from me...
I think there's a lot of truth in this statement. If you're looking for a racing environment that's full of riders of your current ability, you'll be looking a long time. Even entry level racing is considerably faster than that. My last stab at it (save doing the 40K bike leg of a relay tri last summer) was as a 20-something in what was then called citizen's class, which as I understand it is these days called Cat5. My 212 pounds on a 5'-10" frame wasn't exactly slender, but I was able to pull off 20.000-something mph 10-mile TTs. I mention that not because I was proud of it (that was the absolute bottom of the barrel at my club's Saturday TTs), but just as a benchmark. My solo longish pleasure/training rides were in the neighborhood of 17-18 mph averages. And I was stomped on in every one of the crits I entered save one, where I finished 3rd out of an entirely undistinguished and small field. Most of the time I was lapped, or pulled because I was going to be lapped, or quit when it became embarrassing.

I say all of this not to discourage you (I hope I haven't) but to let you know that the bar just for entry is pretty high from where you're standing right now. But everyone who races started someplace back there, so there's always hope. Just be prepared for a lot of hard work. OTOH, even though I failed at most of my "racing," it was still some of the most fun I've ever had on a bike. You rarely get the chance to throw your bike into a high speed turn knowing the road is closed, swept and marshaled. And there really isn't an adequate vocabulary to describe the first turn in your first mass-start race.
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Old 07-05-12, 07:06 PM   #20
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Have done many Sr. Olympics in Tucson, AZ.
Best training for me was to ride 6 days a week.
One day per week devoted to riding solo time trial for one hour straight.
That's full tilt and gasping after the hour was up.
That way at the Sr. Olympic road race event things went well as I was used to not drafting.
The 2 TT events were much shorter than the one hour I was used to, so not a bigissue.
My best year was 4 golds and decided I could not improve on that.
Persist . . Loose that fat belly and build up muscle and endurance.
Currently am 80 years old and weight 135 lbs and still ride 100+/- miles a week year 'round.
Rudy/zonatandem
You are the MAN! I'm in my 50's and I haven't been able to ride 100 miles a week. Thanks for the inspiration.
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Old 07-05-12, 07:12 PM   #21
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Racers are mutants. They have funny DNA and their kids look weird. The quickest way to join them is to stand near uranium deposits until the genetic code starts to change. That and doping. If USADA ever showed up all those geezers would be jammed so tightly into an RV it's mass would suck all surrounding objects into it.

Now then. I'm just kidding. I regularly go over to the racer thread and marvel at their accomplishments. I particularly enjoy the posts by folks who don't think they will ever have a chance of winning anything but do it anyway for the joy of competition.

But having mutant DNA doesn't hurt.

I was reading Thomas Chapples book "Base training for cyclists", before my cardiologist told me not to do stuff like that. If you could only buy one book that would be the one for me.
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Old 07-05-12, 07:58 PM   #22
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Yeah, there are a lot of opinions on this, and mine are just starting to take shape. I had a bit of an attitude about the whole Atkins thing when it first came out. My opinion of it changed when I actually looked into it in detail. It seems to be based on the principle Az stated about "breathing carbs".

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. . .Think Avocado; peanut butter; hummus; yogurt; steak; chicken . . .

The risk of a high protein, fatty, diet is that, if you aren't really putting in the hours, you risk the effects of higher cholesterol and such. . .
I grew up in the Avocado Capital, and had a couple of trees in our yard. I'll never get tired of them. I have peanut butter on one slice of whole wheat toast for breakfast almost every weekday. I have a genetic predisposition for elevated LDL, and very inadequate HDL, so I am trying to greatly reduce the animal fats. I weigh out 1 oz portions of mixed nuts to snack on. When I track religiously, and maintain 2200 Cal (not counting 50-100 Cal/hr during rides) I loose 2-3/week.
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Old 07-05-12, 10:42 PM   #23
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As CommuteCommando said, it's really hard to get enough protein, but you get carbs practically by breathing - they are in everything.

(Over)simplifying things: Carbs convert to sugar, with excess sugar converting to fat. Protein converts to muscle. Which do you want? If you want to lose weight, staying carb heavy just doesn't do it. If you put in lots of base time, you not only improve aerobically, you also train your body to burn fat, since those levels of effort are in the "fat burning zone". If you combine that training with eating fat-rich protein, giving your body fat as its primary fuel source, you increase that adaptation. You want to be a fat burning machine, pushing up the point of exertion where you cross over from burning mostly fat to burning mostly carbs. That's called the "metabolic equivalency point". You want to hit it at as high an HR as possible. You do that by laying off the carbs (depriving your body of that fuel source), and eating fatty protein. Think Avocado; peanut butter; hummus; yogurt; steak; chicken. Also by not eating before a base ride. But all that's for training. When actually racing, you want to load up the carbs to maximize your glycogen stores, and you want to consume quickly digested carbs (like honey) during the race.

The risk of a high protein, fatty, diet is that, if you aren't really putting in the hours, you risk the effects of higher cholesterol and such. But then, the risk of eating a carb-rich diet when you aren't really cranking out the high intensity, is that you increase the fat content of your body, with all the health risks inherent with that. If you aren't racing, chances are you aren't up in the levels of exertion where you are burning up your glycogen stores, which means all those carbs will get converted to fat.

Anyway, this is all just my opinion, based on input from the Phd. physiologist who works with my race team, and lots of other reading. Most people eat carb-heavy diets. But then, most people are fatter than they want to be.
Thatks for the dissertation. I'll need to re-read it to develop a full understanding.

As I mentioned - I do know about protein diets. When you're in the gym doing a BB program, you cram down all the protein you can get, and you learn to count calories and macros. But the objective there is very different from cycling, so I'm interested to learn...

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Looks like I have a lot of reading ahead of me.

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Long-term goal: is it do-able?
Good thread. I plan to follow it closely.
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Old 07-06-12, 05:42 AM   #24
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Along the lines Chasm recommended Joe Friel's "The Cyclist's Training Bible" is very helpful,
http://www.amazon.com/The-Cyclists-T...training+bible I just got it last week and have gotten a good bit of information.

I also use his "Cyclist Training Diary" to record my daily ride information
http://www.amazon.com/The-Cyclists-T...training+bible Both are good resources, consider getting them.

DGlenday, I wouldn't read every page, but you can and it is enjoyable, just put in a post detailing what you are doing and the regulars will help you out. These are really good people. AzTallRider, CraigB and Chasm are active there.

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Old 07-06-12, 06:27 AM   #25
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A point I have not seen posted is to make sure your body is capable of the training required to compete. A very good physical might be best, expecially if you inform your doctor of your goals. I do not know if you have ever trained for competition, but if you have you know it requires you to push beyond points where you would normally stop.
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