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Old 04-09-13, 11:58 AM   #1
johnr9q
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National Senior Games

I have been mountain biking for a few years and love it. My Mountain Biking buddy talked me into doing a century on April 20 so bought a road bike and a month ago I started training. I have worked up to 70 miles so feel like the 100 will be okay. I am 68 years old. I ride with my buddies who are all at least 20 years younger than I am and do well against them so I thought I might take it a little further and enter a race. I found the National Senior Games and checked their cycling info. Looks like the people in my age catagory are riding 40k at an avg speed of 22mph. I rode 60 miles yesterday and averaged 17mph and thot that was good, but seems like 22mph for 25 miles (40k) is going to be difficult if not impossible. I was wondering if in the senior games the riders ride in a group and possibly draft from each other or maybe they pull up on their pedals to give them additional speed (I have clip in pedals but don't really pull up on them, as a matter of fact, I'm not sure what advantage clip ins provide) My bike is a $600 mail order bike (Bikes Direct) and it weighs about 23 pounds so if I had a lighter bike maybe I could increase my speed a bit. I was wondering if there is a forum I could go to that talks exclusively about senior racing and maybe I could get some answers. I read somewhere that on this site there was a subforum for 50+ racing but I can't find it. Thanks for your help, John R
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Old 04-09-13, 01:12 PM   #2
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It's now a sub-forum of the Racing Forum - here http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdispl...Disciplines%29.

There's also a useful thread on this forum called "Pedalling circles" - http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...alling-circles

As a Brit I don't know the standard of the National Senior Games but would imagine it's pretty good and full of experienced racers so chances are you will struggle at this stage of your road cycling. Are there entry qualification levels or is it open to anyone who fancies a go?
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Old 04-09-13, 01:34 PM   #3
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If you're talking about Time Trials, just go for it.

If you're talking about road racing, you probably want to try some local cat 5 races. Better yet, go on club rides that have a "come back with your shield, or on it" pollicy.

The biggest threat a novice faces is that he may be dangerous to others, riding in a crowd at speed.

I don't think jumping into National road race games is a good idea, no matter how fast you ride.
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Old 04-09-13, 01:57 PM   #4
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Hi johnr9q ,

My friend tried it.

He found that some seniors travel the county in RVs just to race in the Senoir Races and they cooked his clock.

He did come in 2nd in 4 races with locals.

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Old 04-09-13, 02:28 PM   #5
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I looked into the senior games. I like the concept, but further research has revealed a couple of things. First, there are a lot of options outside the senior games that are actually tougher, as far as competition goes. Second, was stated earlier;

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
If you're talking about Time Trials, just go for it.

If you're talking about road racing, you probably want to try some local cat 5 races. Better yet, go on club rides that have a "come back with your shield, or on it" pollicy.

The biggest threat a novice faces is that he may be dangerous to others, riding in a crowd at speed.

I don't think jumping into National road race games is a good idea, no matter how fast you ride.
I second this. Find some local time trials. These are purely a test of your own performance and there is no strategy involving other riders involved. As far as racing in a group, I am near the end of a six week track cycling course at a local velodrome. If you have one of these in your area, it would be great to try. Most tracks will not allow you on the course unless you have taken the course, or are a ranked rider.

Get some of that under your belt, then go for it at the Senior Games.

EDIT;

After the third session I was hooked, and went out and got this.

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Old 04-09-13, 02:36 PM   #6
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Hello johnr9q, to race the national games you have to qualify during your state's senior games during the PRIOR year. So to race in this year's (2013) games you had to compete in your state's 2012 games and be in the top 2 or 3 (varies by state).

From my experience, jumping into races at the state level is OK if you have some significant group riding experience. If not, find a local club and learn the etiquette and techniques of group riding. You can find some road racing and time trial advice in the "33" racing sub forum in the stickies but you can only really learn by doing.

If you are interested in competing in the national games, compete in your state games this year and then try to qualify next year. Also, if you live anywhere near Utah, you can try competing at the Huntsman World Senior Games. They have races for seniors with different levels of experience; from first-time racers to very experienced racers.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-09-13, 02:57 PM   #7
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I have a few folks I ride with regularly (Tuesday and Thursday nights) that ride in the Senior games. One, a female, medaled in the last one. Her husband also competed--I think he is 68. He indicated he could not believe how fast some of the folks were. He finished with the pack but was well off the pace.....I did timing for the local qualifier that feeds into the State games. There are a lot of participants in that event locally but the real competition is on the State level.

And yes, with some work you can average 22 mph for that distance. Just hook up with some faster riders and keep after it.
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Old 04-09-13, 10:05 PM   #8
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thanks all of you for some great advice. I guess I'm very naive. To do well in these games it sounds like one must dedicate their life to that end? I probably have too many irons in the fire to be able to be that dedicated. I really enjoy mountain biking and especially rock climbing.

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Old 04-10-13, 08:15 AM   #9
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Just a quick question. I calculated the speed for the 10k and came up with 26mph. That is hecka fast. Is the 40k race time affected more in a positive way because people draft off each other or a negative way because of the gamesmanship involved in road racing? In other words if one were to ride solo for 40k as fast as they could, would their time be slower or faster than 22mph?
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Old 04-10-13, 09:13 AM   #10
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Just a quick question. I calculated the speed for the 10k and came up with 26mph. That is hecka fast. Is the 40k race time affected more in a positive way because people draft off each other or a negative way because of the gamesmanship involved in road racing? In other words if one were to ride solo for 40k as fast as they could, would their time be slower or faster than 22mph?
Drafting is not allowed in time trials. The riders are started at 30 second intervals. If you pass someone, or get passed, the passing rider has to stay well to one side; 2m, and follow directly behind no closer than several (I forget how many) bike lengths. Also most time trials outside the Senior Games are 20 – 40 k.

I am preparing for my first TT in about a month. I have ridden the course and averaged ~20 mph over one 4.1 mile (6.67km) lap. The speeds recorded at the last TT on this course for my age group (55+) were 20-24 ish. I may not take home the gold, but five years ago I weighed 300 lbs and was totally spent after two miles at 10-12 mph. I call that a victory. I encourage you to learn more, especially about your local scene, and go for it.
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Old 04-10-13, 10:11 AM   #11
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Just a quick question. I calculated the speed for the 10k and came up with 26mph. That is hecka fast. Is the 40k race time affected more in a positive way because people draft off each other or a negative way because of the gamesmanship involved in road racing? In other words if one were to ride solo for 40k as fast as they could, would their time be slower or faster than 22mph?
In the 40K road race there will be times when the pace is crazy fast (28- 30+ mph) then it will back off to a snail’s pace. Road racers do that to "thin the herd" in order to increase their chances at the finish line. There might also be attacks where one or several riders will get off the front of the pack. Those efforts usually happen right after one of the crazy fast segments when most riders want some recovery. Sometimes that group can stay away and other times the main group will work as a unit and reel in those off the front. It is entirely possible to ride 40K at 22 mph even with a road bike without aero bars if you stay in the drops and meter out your power evenly. I've done it in training while doing long Z3 intervals. Attempting to ride a steady Eddy pace in the road race would be futile as average speed is meaning less as compared to a Time Trail.

I am qualified to race both the 20K and 40K road races at this summer’s National Seniors Games, having placed 2nd in both races in Ohio last summer.
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Old 04-10-13, 01:10 PM   #12
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thanks all of you for some great advice. I guess I'm very naive. To do well in these games it sounds like one must dedicate their life to that end? I probably have too many irons in the fire to be able to be that dedicated. I really enjoy mountain biking and especially rock climbing.
Well, race your mountain bike, dang it.

At your age, you are virtually guaranteed a podium, if you live.
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Old 04-10-13, 01:29 PM   #13
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I looked into the senior games. I like the concept, but further research has revealed a couple of things. First, there are a lot of options outside the senior games that are actually tougher, as far as competition goes. Second, was stated earlier;


I second this. Find some local time trials. These are purely a test of your own performance and there is no strategy involving other riders involved. As far as racing in a group, I am near the end of a six week track cycling course at a local velodrome. If you have one of these in your area, it would be great to try. Most tracks will not allow you on the course unless you have taken the course, or are a ranked rider.

Get some of that under your belt, then go for it at the Senior Games.

EDIT;

After the third session I was hooked, and went out and got this.

Hey, I recognize that bike. You're doing great David. Soon you can try FNR (Friday Night Racing) .
Last night was opening night at the SD Velodrome. I rode with the fast B group and it was fast!
See you next Monday..........
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Old 04-10-13, 02:51 PM   #14
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Hey, I recognize that bike. You're doing great David. Soon you can try FNR (Friday Night Racing) .
Last night was opening night at the SD Velodrome. I rode with the fast B group and it was fast!
See you next Monday..........
Yeah Tony, I saw your Strava feed. Logistics of a super early AM commute keep me from doing TNR. Monday night classes have caused some sleep deprivation. Can't wait till FNR starts.
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Old 04-11-13, 10:49 AM   #15
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In reality, there are two fields in the Senior Games although they race together. One is the USAC licensed racers who compete all the time and show up at the games for a medal and/or to quality for the National event. The others are the recreational or performance cyclists who may or may not be strong riders and may have little to no racing experience. IMO, the intent of the games are geared toward the second group. So it is not likely that someone showing up with little race experience or skills will do well in the standings. And without pack riding skills, including higher speed cornering and matching accelerations, the mass start races will be very difficult.

However, the 5k and 10k time trials are another story. You will still have the USAC racers competing but one can train for the event and compete to post a time and see how well you can do against other riders of similar experience. Riding your road bike in a time trial is not much different than riding on the road and course is closed to traffic. You are on the course by yourself against the clock. You may find that putting in time to train for the event and competing in it is a lot of fun and fulfilling. And you may decide to put in more time and develop the pack skills necessary for the mass start 20k and 40K races.
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Old 04-11-13, 11:48 AM   #16
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. . . The others are the recreational or performance cyclists who may or may not be strong riders and may have little to no racing experience. IMO, the intent of the games are geared toward the second group. . .
This is the impression I got from researching the website. When I first heard of the games I was under the impression that it was a more elite geared event than it actually is. This is not a bad thing, especially for those of us with a sedentary past who are in it more for fitness and recovery from past inactivity.


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. . . However, the 5k and 10k time trials are another story. You will still have the USAC racers competing but one can train for the event and compete to post a time and see how well you can do against other riders of similar experience. . .
I like the idea of 5 and 10 k TT, though outside the senior games 20k seems to be the most common distance.

To the OP. The racing forums are a good place to lurk and learn. This guy, Hermes, seems to be one of the more knowledgeable I've read.
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Old 04-11-13, 01:38 PM   #17
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Hi, just to add to Hermes thoughts, the Senior Games at the state level attract a range of cyclists. There are a number of racers who compete regularly in USA Cycling races across the age groups. In my experience in California, the biggest disparity between racers is in the 50-64 age ranges. Often a number of competitors get dropped within the first few miles and especially in the 40 Km race, a group of experienced racers break away from those remaining in the pack.

For 65 and up, while there are very experienced racers in that age range, the riders tend to stay together. However, the experienced racers generally fill up the qualifying slots for the national games.

I still highly recommend getting a lot of group riding experience or beginning bike racing experience before jumping into a road race at the Senior Games. For example, there was a beginner in last year's California games who got dropped from the main pack fairly quickly. As we were lapping him he was on the far right of the road. As the pack was passing him he suddenly swerved to the left -- I think to try to get back in the draft -- and he collided with a couple of other racers. One of those who he hit broke his collarbone and the other racer broke the fork on his bike. I barely missed the crash.

The time trials, while just as competitive amongst the experienced racers, can be much more fun and much less intimidating for beginners. It's you against the clock and it's a great way to establish a baseline from which you can improve.

Want to learn more about bicycle racing? Find a local bicycle club. Masters racing is a big as any group of amateur racers in the US. Try it out. It's not for everyone but it might be for you.
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Old 04-11-13, 02:46 PM   #18
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Well, race your mountain bike, dang it.

At your age, you are virtually guaranteed a podium, if you live.
Dudelsack: Can you explain further. Are you saying the mountain bikers arn't very good as they age. Also, is the course very dangerous as you emply.
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Old 04-11-13, 04:29 PM   #19
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Dudelsack: Can you explain further. Are you saying the mountain bikers arn't very good as they age. Also, is the course very dangerous as you emply.
Mountain bike races are often like running races. The local cat 3 races I've seen (novice level) award stuff based on age. You go out together but they sort out the winners based on age.

With mountain biking I think the key is you can be pretty quick at our age, but we don't bounce very well. In my area over 60 racers are rare, but I've seen people race into their 50's and have a good time. There are risks associated with this activity.

I don't race. I'm too slow. A few years ago I almost signed up for a novice MTB race. A DFL would have been guaranteed. I would have been thrilled just to have survived it.
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Old 04-11-13, 05:28 PM   #20
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Mountain bike races are often like running races. The local cat 3 races I've seen (novice level) award stuff based on age. You go out together but they sort out the winners based on age.

With mountain biking I think the key is you can be pretty quick at our age, but we don't bounce very well. In my area over 60 racers are rare, but I've seen people race into their 50's and have a good time. There are risks associated with this activity.

I don't race. I'm too slow. A few years ago I almost signed up for a novice MTB race. A DFL would have been guaranteed. I would have been thrilled just to have survived it.

I just built-up a BMX bike and signed on to race at Tom Sawyer. My thought process was that it is just a sprint as opposed to the loooooong pounding stuff of 'cross or even MTB short track. If I dont fall too much, the physical pounding should not be an issue. At about 1 minute per heat, its the only competition I have the endurance for
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Old 04-12-13, 10:15 AM   #21
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Agree with Hermes on taking a closer look at the TT's. We have a number of folks that come out and do our series gaining experience to help them qualify for the National Spots from either NC or neighboring states.

Our TT's start up this Thursday with 6 for the full series. I had to step down as President due to my job paying gig. I didn't realize how much I was doing and how much time it was taking up until I've been able to guide others. No one has really stepped up to tackle everything. Typical volunteer organization!!!

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Old 04-12-13, 10:33 AM   #22
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I just built-up a BMX bike and signed on to race at Tom Sawyer. My thought process was that it is just a sprint as opposed to the loooooong pounding stuff of 'cross or even MTB short track. If I dont fall too much, the physical pounding should not be an issue. At about 1 minute per heat, its the only competition I have the endurance for
Is that cool or what. I've recently looked at GoPro footage from that track. Wicked sick.

Let me know when you're racing. I'll be out there to cheer you on. I bet you'll have more armor plating on than a Transformer.
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Old 04-12-13, 12:46 PM   #23
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Is that cool or what. I've recently looked at GoPro footage from that track. Wicked sick.

Let me know when you're racing. I'll be out there to cheer you on. I bet you'll have more armor plating on than a Transformer.

Will do !

Im not going to jump right in due to what you were just mentioning. I did some volunteer
work on the track two weekends ago and had to reassess my start time. It is very, very
intimidating. Much more menacing in real life than what I expected.
I have my bike and pads and bought a full face helmet, but I need more mad skillz before
I hit it. Im going to ride Cherokee on the BMX(Cruiser-24" incher) so I can get basic handling skills
down. Riding the 24 makes me feel like a monkey draped over a beach ball. Very different
than what Im used to. Also, the bike is as tuff as a 2.00 steak but is soooo H E A V Y !!!
I feel I should call the Navy and see if a battleship isnt missing some armor somewhere.
Im thinking about a month from now, after some crashing / getting-used-to time in the park.

I'll let you know!
til then, take care, be safe !!
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Old 04-12-13, 05:14 PM   #24
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^^^, good for you, give it your best, and enjoy the racing just for what it is! Please give us a race report and maybe some pics fro you and Dudelsack afterwards. Oh, I have all of my MX gear form my racing days, as in Yamaha YZ 426F, in its travel bag, let me know if you want to look like a blue medieval knight; full face helmet, Alpinestar Tech8 boots, Thor or Moose pants, jerseys and gloves, Of course pictures would be mandatory then!!

How does one pronounce that screen name? Just like its spelled?

Bill
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Old 04-12-13, 07:26 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
^^^, good for you, give it your best, and enjoy the racing just for what it is! Please give us a race report and maybe some pics fro you and Dudelsack afterwards. Oh, I have all of my MX gear form my racing days, as in Yamaha YZ 426F, in its travel bag, let me know if you want to look like a blue medieval knight; full face helmet, Alpinestar Tech8 boots, Thor or Moose pants, jerseys and gloves, Of course pictures would be mandatory then!!

How does one pronounce that screen name? Just like its spelled?

Bill
Thank you for your most generous offer, Bill!
I just got back from doing a dial-in run in the park. Im winded-- stand-only riding style is more strenuous than I imagined.
There is a race tomorrow, but I am just going to observe and maybe volunteer for something if they need help anywhere.
I too used to race MC's. My last racer was a behemoth DR650 modded for dual sport competitions. I am going to use the MC gloves and nomenclature for those daze of olde! I will definitely give a detailed report and pics of the war-wagon coming soon. Ive always wanted to race bicycles but never did for some reason or another. I dont know if 54 is a good time to start, but I'll defer to your Byrds sig for my own thoughts on the matter, currently

Many regards,
Lem in KY
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