With a junior this is like looking at a mine and trying to decide the same thing.
Friel's process for figuring out your strengths and weaknesses isn't the same as making the rider decide what type of racer he is. A weakness may be bike handling or long climbs or pack positioning or endurance.
A training plan has to have goals. Otherwise you don't know what you're planning for. "get better" isn't a useful goal. Friel's method is to identify the rider's weaknesses and adjust the training plan accordingly. Friel uses objectives as things you need to be able to do to reach your goals. A goal may be a podium in the Tour of Nowheresville and an objective to reach that may be an FTP of 4 w/kg.
Even a beginning racer should be able to (using Friel's method) recognize some areas they need to work on more than others, from doing group rides. Someone who hasn't been doing group rides should probably start there rather than jumping into racing (see the stickies at the top of the page).
Alright thanks. I appreciate the Eddy B schedule, CarpeDiem. BTW I like watching your races. And yeah I've got a few Cat1/2's in my age division where I live too so I'm going to be racing the fives.
So here's what I'm going to do based on the posts:
Read the Friel book, follow advice. (BTW I have Time Crunched Cyclist by Chris Carmichael...any good?)
Race in the 5's &then 4's. Should I upgrade ASAP? Teammates have been saying that the 4's race easier.....Makes no sense..
Not buy a power meter.
Observe my relative strengths on group rides like CarpeDiem said.
Thanks for the advice guys!
So my two cents:
For a new rider, based on both my own experience and experience coaching is that you should go race everything you can, and train as an all-arounder at least for a few seasons. I see a lot of "morphing" over time, all the way through he pro ranks where "sprinters" turn into great classic riders (Hushvod) or (gasp) into great escape artists like Jalabert.
And while I'm a huge Friel fan his book focuses on a periodized approach which can actually slow development in a novice. And I know he wouldn't disagree with me. I've been seeing some really terrific response in a cyclic rotating approach where, rather than prepping for an "A" race you stack shorter complimentary training blocks on top of each other. The "goal/objective", rather than some race, is to see across the board improvements.
I think in some cases this is a better psychological and physiological strategy; wanting a podium at some race might be motivating, but when that doesn't happen the motivation turns to demotivation, especially with new riders who have yet to realize that most people never win a race. Or when a crash or illness wipes out a big block of hard work.
Until folks are actually knocking on the "W" door, some (though certainly not all) are poorly served by throwing a lot of eggs in one basket.
I just had some really good fish & chips, followed by a few pbr's.
Putting the Duh in Floriduh.
OP, also, remember to use Junior Gears.
A junior joined our team this year, and none of us thought to mention to him that he needed junior gearing or even explain what it was - he is racing on a bike given to him by one of the guys on the team.
He got DQ'd in his first race. Actually, the top three juniors (of which he was third and probably three laps down on the first two) got DQ'd.
And proud of it.