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Masters Racing (All Disciplines) Race on the track or road or on your mountainbike in the Masters Category? Want to talk tactics, strategy and training with your peers?

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Old 01-05-13, 08:01 PM   #1
revchuck
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Biting Off More Than I Can Chew?

I was thinking about this year's goals, and drew a blank when I went past March 10th, the date of Rouge-Roubaix. I decided that since I was training with a coach and doing all this racing-oriented stuff, I might as well get a racing license so I can put it to some use. It's something I've wondered about doing in the past, and feel I've progressed enough to not embarrass myself terminally, nor injure others.

I've laid out my tentative schedule and shared it with my coach, and she thinks it's okay. I'd appreciate any insight y'all might be able to provide, especially if you feel this might be overly ambitious.

Short version: Long road race (105 miles) in March, followed by weekend stage races starting in May and ending in September, one per month, pretty evenly spaced. The current plan is to peak in March, and once again later at a time to be determined. I'll enter as a Cat 5, and will race in Masters 55+ as such when permitted, otherwise I'll race with the snot-nosed brats.

Long version - here are the links for the races:

http://www.rougeroubaix.com/

http://www.lambra.org/calendar/2012/...flyer_2012.pdf

http://www.neworleansbicycleclub.org/TDL/tourdela.htm

http://abc.ccracinginc.org/wp-conten...aflyer2012.pdf

http://www.teamlasportracing.org/

http://www.pensacolacyclingclassic.com/

Thanks!
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Old 01-05-13, 08:20 PM   #2
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I like it and sounds like fun. 106 mile road race is a tough race for your first one but have at it. I did not research profiles for the road races or stage races but my experience is that rider weight is going to be key. The lighter you are for the road races and stage races the better... and I mean skinnier than your brain thinks possible. When I line up at a NorCal road race, the racers are just effing skinny and thin. There is nothing to them and they can make a lot of power. Low weight will make a big difference climbing and producing more power in hotter temperatures.

I raced a lot with the Cat 5 men and in many ways enjoyed racing with them more than the 55+ gang. YMMV.
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Old 01-05-13, 08:35 PM   #3
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That long road race is what started this whole idea. I've done it twice before - you can also ride it as a gran fondo - and it thoroughly kicked my butt...so thoroughly, I got pissed enough to get a coach and a Powertap to return the favor. It's the white whale of my cycling career. I've been training toward it since last May.
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Old 01-05-13, 09:02 PM   #4
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Well Ahab. Go get em.
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Old 01-05-13, 09:25 PM   #5
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That long road race is what started this whole idea. I've done it twice before - you can also ride it as a gran fondo - and it thoroughly kicked my butt...so thoroughly, I got pissed enough to get a coach and a Powertap to return the favor. It's the white whale of my cycling career. I've been training toward it since last May.
I see motivation on your Post. Goals are great when you are out there all alone on what seems to be an impossible workout, then you remind yourself why you are doing it and just drill it.

I concur with Hermes that you should race Cat 5. Racing with the Masters could result in a solo ride if there are mixed fields or a strong but small 55+ field. Possibly as the season progresses you move up to the masters class.
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Old 01-06-13, 06:05 AM   #6
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I concur with Hermes that you should race Cat 5. Racing with the Masters could result in a solo ride if there are mixed fields or a strong but small 55+ field. Possibly as the season progresses you move up to the masters class.
That's something I've been thinking about. I've corresponded with the guy who's the #1 Master's 55+ rider in the area, and he indicated that while there are some really strong riders in that category, there's also usually a group that ends up off the back later in road races, especially when the 40+ and 55+ guys start together. Registration should be opening this week for the first race, so I need to make a decision pronto. The race organizer just became eligible to race in 55+, so he might want me in there to boost the pot for the winners.
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Old 01-06-13, 09:59 AM   #7
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Hi, 105 miles for 55+? Isn't the organizer worried about killing a bunch of old guys? I haven't done a road race that long since the 1980s but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't. At that distance and even with the 40+ guys in it, I'd guess the pace would be at a level where you could sit in. Don't go anywhere near the front on the flats and conserve as much as possible on any hill.

Regarding Cat 5, as others have mentioned, if you can hang in better with those guys then it's a good alternative since riding solo or with a couple of other guys off the back for most of 100 miles is a pretty tedious thing to do.
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Old 01-06-13, 10:06 AM   #8
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Cleave - It's not laps around a course, the course is 105 miles, and everyone does it. Road races for the rest of the year are ~40-60 miles.
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Old 01-06-13, 10:10 AM   #9
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Old 01-06-13, 10:19 AM   #10
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Having done my Cat5 stint season before last, and now racing a combo of Masters and Cat4, I'll provide some relatively fresh input:

1. While the Masters cat's may be faster, they are also 'smoother'. You'll see more surging in Cat5, which can wear you down quickly. You burn your matches and that's it. This is less true in a road race than a crit, but it's still generally true. Old guys with experience don't waste energy. Kids do.

2. Some of the races you linked to require you to be Cat4 in order to race Masters. You will have to register Cat5, and I'd do that early, since it is the cat most likely to fill up. Either that, or race everything you possibly can so you can get into Cat4 quickly.

3. IMO, you want to race as frequently as you can, because the skill curve is every bit as steep as the training curve. Lots of crit's helps with both, and will also get you into Masters more quickly.

And most importantly, approach these early races with gusto, but with a firm commitment that you will not let anything discourage you. Every bit of it is part of the process - it all makes you stronger and better.
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Old 01-06-13, 10:38 AM   #11
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Cleave, I thought the same thing about the length of the races. Most NorCal road races are loops which makes it easier to put course marshals on the road at intersections and difficult technical sections. In our road race, Pescadero, it is a 16.8 mile loop with one hard climb and several technical descents. The P/1/2 gang does 6 laps. The Cat 5 men do 3 laps and I think the 55+ does 3 laps.

The terrain in LA must be flat with long sections of roads with little traffic or intersections.
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Old 01-06-13, 10:54 AM   #12
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Fields here in NorCal vary. I would rate the elite P/1/2 the toughest followed by the Masters 45+ 1/2/3/4 followed by the Cat 3 and then the 55+ Cat 1,2,3,4,5. I have a friend who races 45+ as a cat2. The Wente road race is one of the toughest in NorCal which features a 3 mile 6% grade climb. Going up the climb, he was doing 500 watts on some of the steeper sections and he does not weigh much. This is the group that Racer Ex would race in with his team.

Every region is different and racing is all about who shows up, the course, the terrain and wind conditions.
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Old 01-06-13, 11:11 AM   #13
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Rouge-Roubaix is an anomaly in its length and terrain. It's longer and has more climbing than any other race in the season, and the majority of the climbing is on gravel...including a short stretch of 18%. Think Battenkill, with the hard part starting after Battenkill's finish line. It draws riders from many states. There were 241 finishers last year, and it keeps getting bigger.

The other races will be flat-to-rolling, with more rollers the farther north you go. They're done as loops, with different distances for different categories. Louisiana is a mostly rural state, so the roads do have relatively little traffic.

AzTR - To race Master's 40+, you have to be Cat 1-4. Master's 55+ is open for those races (or so I've been told), with the possible exception of Pensacola. Pensacola has a 60+ category, so I can get crushed by guys my own age.
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Old 01-06-13, 11:23 AM   #14
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A question on the age group determination... do you have to be that age (e.g. 55+) at the time of the race, or is it after some cut-off date sometime during the year, or what?
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Old 01-06-13, 11:45 AM   #15
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Your racing age is the age you will be in the calendar year. So as of January 1st, your racing age will be the same the entire year even if your birthday is in December.

The 55+ in NorCal is very tough. However, there are some 55+ Cat 4/5 races. However, I prefer to race with the younger men or the 55+ Cat 1/2/3/4 - better bike handlers and racers.
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Old 01-06-13, 12:00 PM   #16
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AzTR - To race Master's 40+, you have to be Cat 1-4. Master's 55+ is open for those races (or so I've been told), with the possible exception of Pensacola. Pensacola has a 60+ category, so I can get crushed by guys my own age.
Two of those races (Tour de Louisiana and Acadiana) group the Masters at 40+, restricted to 1-4. No 55+ group... No Cat 5. So if Pensacola is similar, that's three off your list. Personally, I'd look for some USAC sanctioned week-night races (or clinics offering 'finishes'), and use those to cat-up.
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Old 01-06-13, 12:53 PM   #17
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Two of those races (Tour de Louisiana and Acadiana) group the Masters at 40+, restricted to 1-4. No 55+ group... No Cat 5. So if Pensacola is similar, that's three off your list. Personally, I'd look for some USAC sanctioned week-night races (or clinics offering 'finishes'), and use those to cat-up.
Doh! You're right, I was working off bad information. These are last year's flyers, it might change this year...I'll race in whatever category they'll have me.
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Old 01-07-13, 06:28 AM   #18
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I would plan on at least a couple of breaks in the schedule even if you are racing 1x/month. Stage races take a lot out of you for both training and racing. But you have a coach and they should know this.

I always advise new 35+ riders to not start their racing career with the Masters. It's for the good of everyone. Do your 10 Cat5 races before you start thinking about Masters. You have a lot to learn. Racing a 105 mile road race where the pack is all split up is a totally different thing than going 30+mph into a sharp, bumpy , off camber right-hander shoulder to shoulder with ex-pros and guys with stripes.

If we had a road race with M40+ and M55+ starting together, the M40+ would hit the gas early, and only the strongest M55+ riders would stay with them. Kaboom.
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Old 01-07-13, 06:32 AM   #19
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Fields here in NorCal vary. I would rate the elite P/1/2 the toughest followed by the Masters 45+ 1/2/3/4 followed by the Cat 3 and then the 55+ Cat 1,2,3,4,5. I have a friend who races 45+ as a cat2. The Wente road race is one of the toughest in NorCal which features a 3 mile 6% grade climb. Going up the climb, he was doing 500 watts on some of the steeper sections and he does not weigh much. This is the group that Racer Ex would race in with his team.

Every region is different and racing is all about who shows up, the course, the terrain and wind conditions.
As an M55+ racer in the Northeast, the progression is as follows.

P/1/2(3)
M40+
M45+

P/1/2/3 can be faster, the same speed, or slower than the M40+ or M45+ depending on the race and the effectiveness of teamwork.

M50+
M55+

M55+ is the easiest for me, except at Nats. That was at our typical P/1/2 speed.
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Old 01-07-13, 07:52 AM   #20
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I would plan on at least a couple of breaks in the schedule even if you are racing 1x/month. Stage races take a lot out of you for both training and racing. But you have a coach and they should know this.

I always advise new 35+ riders to not start their racing career with the Masters. It's for the good of everyone. Do your 10 Cat5 races before you start thinking about Masters. You have a lot to learn. Racing a 105 mile road race where the pack is all split up is a totally different thing than going 30+mph into a sharp, bumpy , off camber right-hander shoulder to shoulder with ex-pros and guys with stripes.
shovelhd - Thanks for the advice. My coach probably knows this, she's a former Cat 1 (current Mom). I'll play the breaks in racing by ear.

I'm leaning toward doing the Cat 5 races. My biggest shortfall (among many) is that I don't know what I don't know. Fortunately, there's about a two month period between that 105 mile road race and my first weekend stage race, and I'll be able to get in some practice races (every Wednesday) in that time, so I won't be completely blindsided.
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Old 01-11-13, 07:23 AM   #21
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Rouge-Roubaix registration just opened, and I registered in Cat 4/5 - no Cat 5 only available. Here goes...
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Old 01-11-13, 08:42 AM   #22
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Rouge-Roubaix registration just opened, and I registered in Cat 4/5 - no Cat 5 only available. Here goes...
Don't be nervous, you'll be fine. Ride with the intent to finish, learn, and have FUN.
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