I hope someone can help with serious answers to some naive "wannabe" questions. There are plenty of threads on racing, but most talk in acronyms and assume you already know the science behind training and diet. But this sub-forum is in the 50+ area, so I'm looking forward to some grown-up discussion
Past: I used to race when I was very young (late teens, early 20s) - then gave it up when it became too expensive and I discovered girls and motorcycles and parties ... and then got married and built family and career etc. From age 22 onward I sat on the couch, and don't believe I rode more than 30 miles in the next 30 years, until I re-started cycling in April 2011.
Probably a very typical story.
Present: My strength and fitness levels are not 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 definitely some riders who can drop me. But with a bit more training, I should be able to hold them without difficulty.
There's another much faster 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 comfortably.
Future: 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 requesting simple, "For-Dummies" answers here!):
From reading elsewhere on BF, it seems that my first step is to get a heart rate monitor, 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?