Whcih reminds me, I did some hotel research this morning. To the NSGA thread.
Whcih reminds me, I did some hotel research this morning. To the NSGA thread.
NorCal 55+ fields are also much smaller than 45+. 45+ cat 4 is the largest age/cat group in the district.
It could be that many of the 45+ guys were, like me, into cycling in their 20s. Cycling and racing was very popular in the 80s. Then we quit (I went to motorcycles, they had kids). Now their kids are grown and they are back.
One friend of mine who is a strong 55+ told me that it gets harder as you age up because the guys who aren't winning quit racing. So the field gets comparatively stronger.
I have a couple female friends who are very good masters racers. They have both been racing for at least 30 years. Neither has kids and both have supportive partners who are also racers or serious cyclists.
Great picture and spread on Sarah Hammer by USA Cycling. https://www.usacycling.org
First of all - I'm rooting for you! Go race your ass off !!!!
You are sabotaging yourself with negative self talk.
I think maybe subconsciously you don't want to ACTUALLY TRY and then ACTUALLY FAIL. Setting yourself up with pre-excuses and reasons why you failed before you actually try is just setting yourself up to NOT ACTUALLY TRY.
Go look at what Ex posted. Truth. ANd what Cleave replied.
I think there is a connection with the conversation we had about women's racing.
You are doing so many awesome things - starting racing at an older age, as a woman, as a person who has been overweight and unfit. You did the work to overcome that, what if you said "I can't lose weight, I'm a old woman".
Any sentence you start with "it's harder for me because...." -- take a look at that. Shut it down.
I'm saying this stuff b/c I do it too, and I'm working on getting rid of it.
There is a great book, which I've mentioned before: No Excuse to Lose, by yacht racer extraordinaire Dennis Conner. He changed sailboat racing forever by his approach to the sport. He drove Ted Turner away from America's Cup racing, because racing against Dennis was no fun. Matching his commitment was nigh on impossible. Conner's basic premise is that, to win, you have to know you've done everything you need to do so that there is nothing to prevent you from winning. It's preparation, it's practice, and it's a mental approach. You can't be thinking: "Damn, I sure wish I had lubed my chain."
IMO, cycling requires an odd combination of going out there to win, believing you can, while also knowing/accepting that sometimes you are going to be spit out the back; tossed aside like an empty gel pack. You have to want to crush souls, but at the same time your soul has to be uncrushable. And you need to be uncrushable without making excuses for yourself.
My journey in cycling has been made even more interesting by my discussions with TallWife, who I manage to routinely confuse. When I decided I really wanted to race, which was after doing a sanctioned weeknight crit series, I developed what was essentially a three year plan. Last year was year one, my first on a team, and my first when I had anything near the fitness needed to start learning to race. My goal was to learn how to race, period. After all, riding around the course solo doesn't teach you much in the way of tactics, though it does give you the determination you need. Year two (this year) was to be my "build year". Next year, I move to 60+, and my plan was to be ready to truly compete in that group. So, when last year I'd be talking about an upcoming race, and I'd relate the approach I thought most likely to get me the win, I'd get comments from her along the lines of "Who are you kidding? Maybe yourself, but not me. How can you even think about winning when you are so new compared to everyone else?" Well, the answer was that if I didn't believe I could, and try to win, then I had no chance whatsoever. If I did believe I could, regardless of what the realistic probability was, well, then I at least had a chance. And most importantly, I would be teaching myself how to win. I would see what worked, see what didn't, get the feel for really competing, and I would develop the mental approach that I was out there to win. Very few people are out there thinking "I'm going to win this damned race." They are out there "hoping to do well". More power to them if that's what they want, but at some point, they become pack meat for the people who want to win, who believe they can, and who ride like it.
My second best day racing was last year about this time. There was a race day at South Mountain that had a mass start HC, followed by a circuit race. I was talking to TallWife about my strategy, which was to attack: to go for the win, period. She pretty much laughed at me, which pretty much pissed me off. I was feeling well ahead of my plan, because I could generally hang with what I considered then to be "the Big Dogs". I had placed 12th in the VOS RR 4 weeks before, and had a pack finish in the Tucson Bicycle Classic Circuit Race the week before. So I was hyped up. So much so that I messed up my pre-race routine by thinking I forgot my wallet and driving back home, arriving late, not warming up for the HC, etc. I was DFL in my class (6 people) in the HC after barely making it to the line in time. I then got myself more squared away for the start of the circuit race. Now there were 23 guys, most of whom hadn't just done the toughest climb in the Phoenix area. I thought about revising my strategy, but said "#$% it." and launched an attack at the whistle. I created a break, and ended up taking second place. First place guy was untouchable by me that day. Not close. But first cash winnings. First podium. Only possible because I chose to believe I could win, despite the stars sliding out of alignment, and despite being told, by someone whose opinion counts, that I had no chance.
So anyway, I don't know if this expresses what I'm trying to say or not. But clearly our sport has a huge mental component, and we need to work on it every bit as much as the physical. I, for one, have a long way to go to be able to match the mental determination some of the other guys here have - that ability to go deeper into the pain cave - to go to the point of utter physical failure. I'm working on that. I want to be a breakaway guy, and that's what it often boils down to.
AzT, what can I say? Bull by the horns? I think so.
I know of Dennis Conner, oh yes. I haven't read the book, but I followed him closely back in the 12 meter days of America's Cup racing. He's right, and you're right.
Okay you two, read my Snelling Race Report.
Ex-posted! Took a bit to write it. :)
I'm on the fence about the Slug Fest crit this afternoon. My legs feel okay, but my upper body is a bit tired. I just checked the registry, and only two women, college students, are signed up so far. So - do I go ride around in circles for 50 minutes for $30, or do I do the JRA my training schedule shows (EX told me it would okay to the crit)?
More may do day-of reg. I'd use the opportunity to race, and rest tomorrow. Cleave would find a way to throw in a couple of extra races. :) If you have time, you can always go and check it out, making a last minute decision. Hanging around a race is fun, too. I'll be doing some of that today, to support my team.
Hey, there was a nasty crash in the M4 yesterday. It was on their last lap (they passed me once, so I know how fast they could go), on the "cobble" section, at 30 MPH plus. One of our MBRT guys, Matt, was right behind it (with a Go-Pro) - someone got sideways and went down, and as Matt described it "amid exploding carbon". He managed to miss the carnage. I know an ambulance responded. I hope the fella is okay.
My race was clean. Those gals raced smart, it was really a pleasant surprise!
Yesterday's Crit was a good exercise. I could tell during the warm up that the legs would not be very good, I could plainly feel those climb efforts from the day before. Sure enough, after chasing for the first lap, I just ran out of steam and settled in for the endurance. I really DID leave my legs in Snelling!
I went deeper into the pain cave and stayed there longer than I ever have at Snelling. I'm a little awed at how I performed. There's nothing like a race to really push you, physically. I totally understand what all of you have been saying about that, now. After I recover, I'm going to be training at higher power numbers (Ex has raised the bar) and I will find out if I can go even further into that pain cave.
I don't want to paint this in the "I am old" light (Valygrl, I get it!), but one of the big things I came away from Snelling having learned is that the younger riders snap back from a big effort faster than I can. I'm sure I can find a way to overcome that.
Lastly, I'm seeing that road races may be my niche. They seem to suit my style of riding quite well, terrain dependent, of course. However, races are just fun, and I will do all of them, no matter the genre, that I can.
Valygrl and AzT? I threw a switch in my brain this past weekend. The excuse box was closed, hopefully for good. Thank you!
Sara, once you get your power closer to those that you race against most, crits will become a lot more fun. They favor bike handling skills and the willingness to suffer, two traits you seem to have. Mark my words.
Great news, sarals! It's so cool seeing how much harder you can work than you ever thought you could. Racing is so motivating for that.
It's true, you are not going to perform the same as you would have when you were 20, and knowing that you need more warmup, or you recover differently, etc. can be useful. Learn what you can from that. Ride smart, use the pack, use the course. May as well give it everything, though!
Anyway, my first race of the year is this coming weekend, my plan is to to leave it all on the course. My goal is to almost throw up at the end. (ok, so maybe leave all but my stomach contents out on the course. ) Last year this was my first race and I didn't pace it right, and felt I could have worked harder. Reading your race reports is very motivating!
Good luck to the both of you, my friends! I'll be ringing the cowbell for you!
Sara, ignore AzTR when he uses me as a multiple race example. ;)
Glad that you tried doing consecutive race days. Besides helping you see how far you can currently push yourself, it starts to give you a taste of stage racing. I have never done very well on GC in any stage race but I like doing them a lot. There's something about multiple consecutive days of racing. Maybe it's the fact that I love to race. :rolleyes:
Here's a Snelling shot - early in the race, I think. I'm near the front - look who else is! (I'm getting awfully jowely in my old age :notamused:)
Oh, new helmet - I got a Cannondale Teramo for my b-day. It's a nice lid!
I've had a chance to think over Saturday's race. I'm feeling pretty crappy right now, some of that is due to fatigue and some due to another cold coming on. I'm actually going to be off of the TRS for two weeks starting next weekend. That's probably a good thing.
The race. I didn't ride smart. I allowed myself to get suckered into doing most of the work for the rider who rode away from me on the last lap. I was alone in the race, no team mates, and once I was separated from the pack I was an antelope among lions. I needed to use my smarts and I didn't. My first lap was really good, the second okay, and third was when I did the work for the other rider. The fourth I had nothing left to defend myself with. Live and learn.
I didn't cool down after the race, either, because I needed to get somewhere pronto. I had a hellacious cramp in my right thigh and glute for a good 45 minutes that evening because of it. Today I feel really fatigued and run down. My old body just isn't used to being thrashed like I have been in these races. That's another part of being smart - I should have realized that, and LISTENED to the lessons on recovery. I've had plenty of them.
Bike fit never became an issue on the race. I think I'll save my money.
I may be quiet for a time, I need to wander away and smell the spring flowers. April will be intense, with another CCCX race and two Sea Otter races.
Sara - My training this week is to ride for fun, no workouts. I'm going to dust off my Look and my steel Ironman and take it easy. :)
Racing is full of ups and downs, some by design and some self-inflicted. We learn from these things. Hindsight is very valuable as long as you don't let it get you down. I know it's hard not to. Just ask someone who works with me (hint, hint). I am as hard on myself as anyone. Take a few days off, then get back on the Bianchi and take a nice ride. I bet you'll feel like going fast again real soon.
When you are in a small chase group, you need to decide why you are there. If the goal at that point is to get some racing miles in and to finish, then do your work. If the goal is to do as well as you can, you have to be racing. That means being aware that an attack could go at any time that could drop you, and you will need to be hyper aware every time you are on the front, because that is when it is going to happen. It's really tough to be tactical in a group of two. With a few more riders you can get away with soft or skipped pulls every now and then. You have age on your side in this instance. Don't be afraid to play that card.
Sea Otter is tough stuff. Rest your body and mind, and get ready for the challenge.
See you when you return.
I also remember a RR at high altitude. I was working with someone, and I said something about needing an O2 bottle. He said he lived up there. I said; "Then get your ass to the front and pull!"
Hey Sara - don't forget that we are folks who probably understand what you are going through... feel free to use to rebound.