No takers to this thread yet? I'll break the ice with some naive wannabe questions.
I used to race when I was very young (late teens, early 20s) - then gave it up when it became too expensive, I discovered motorcycles, I was partying with buddies, and then ... got married and built family and career etc. Probably a very typical story. I don't believe I rode more than 30 miles in the next 30 years, and re-started cycling in April 2011.
Current situation: My strength and fitness levels are not yet at racer level, though I like to think I have the potential. I think I'm fitter / stronger than most in my club, though there are a few (younger riders) who drop me, but with a bit more training, I should be able to hold them without difficulty. there's another group I ride with who are mostly younger, and some of them are racers. Again - I believe that as soon as i start getting serious about training and diet, I'll be able to hold them.
Plans: If I get back into racing, I don't think I'll do crits. I used to race track, and I'm "over" the frantic confusion of fast, tight, technical racing. I'm more inclined to do stage races, circuit races, and so on. I'm more inclined toward longer distances than short, and doubt that I'll ever be inclined to try time trials - other than for training purposes.
So - my naive questions (and I'm looking for simple, "For-Dummies" answers here!):
From reading elsewhere on BF, it seems that my first step is to get a, HRM and figure out my lactate threshold - and from there, I can start building a training program. Is that about right? (I don't have the $$ for a power meter just now).
Diet: I used to do a pretty serious BB routine in the gym, and at that time, developed the tools to track calories and macros. What would be an ideal ratio of fats / carbs / proteins? I know that "everyone is different", and understand that the macro ratio will change as my training program develops, but I'm looking for a starting point - and will refine from there.
I know it's often regarded as a stupid question, so indulge me as I repeat it here: How fast do I need to be to start racing? And more particularly, how fast to keep up with 55-year-old competitors? E.g. if riding solo on reasonably flat country roads - how fast should I be able to finish 25 miles (40 kms)? Or - are there any other good measures I should try for?
What other advice would you give to a niaive noob?