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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 07-25-13, 08:38 AM   #1
metalheart44
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Racing Age?

lately I have ben thinking about trying the race thing. I am 69, probably heavy for racing at 193, but I am slowly loosing weight. I ride with mostly 50 year olds and I hold my own and can often do well on hill sprints. So, I think the racing thing might be interesting to try, but for the life of me I cannot find the racing age categories on the USA website.

Can anyone enlighten me about the racing age groups for masters?
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Old 07-25-13, 08:47 AM   #2
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lately I have ben thinking about trying the race thing. I am 69, probably heavy for racing at 193, but I am slowly loosing weight. I ride with mostly 50 year olds and I hold my own and can often do well on hill sprints. So, I think the racing thing might be interesting to try, but for the life of me I cannot find the racing age categories on the USA website.

Can anyone enlighten me about the racing age groups for masters?
Hi, and welcome.

USAC does not license by age group, nor does it require specific age groupings for USAC sanctioned events. The promoters of each race define the categories that will be used. They are typically broken out at either the x0 or x5 ages. In an age-group race you would currently be either 60+ or 65+; 70+ if your 70th birthday is this year. In the higher age groups there isn't as much participation, and many age groups race together. So 55+ and 65+ would be in the same race, but scored separately.

You will need to get a Cat 5 license from USAC, and start your racing mixed in with the kids in Cat 5. Some races require you to be Cat 4 in order to race the Masters (age group) races. To get to Cat 4 you need to finish 10 mass start races.
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Old 07-25-13, 09:14 AM   #3
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Thanks. I am going to give it a shot. While I may not be able to keep up with younger ones -- i.e.m 50 y/o --, I think I might do ok with racers closer to my age (60+). Now, I need to find a race bike.
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Old 07-25-13, 09:35 AM   #4
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You are in the same boat as Sarls. (She is not as old) Sara has had to race with younger and mixed fields to be able to race as often as she wants to. There will be some races that will have your age group with enough riders to offer separate fields. Your State Senior Games, State Master's Championships and the Huntsman's Games are examples of those races.

Good luck and please feel free to become part of this community as you journey to racing.
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Old 07-25-13, 05:05 PM   #5
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You are in the same boat as Sarls. (She is not as old) Sara has had to race with younger and mixed fields to be able to race as often as she wants to. There will be some races that will have your age group with enough riders to offer separate fields. Your State Senior Games, State Master's Championships and the Huntsman's Games are examples of those races.

Good luck and please feel free to become part of this community as you journey to racing.
Hi! That's me! As AJ said, the State Senior Games are a great way to establish a benchmark for your level of fitness and skill, plus you really do get fields populated with age appropriate riders. That said, I do race with the "kids", and that's been an uphill battle, as well as a "character builder". Men's fields are different than women's fields, in that they're larger and there many more older men who compete as opposed to older women. It's pretty rare to find a 55+ woman racing in most of the races out where I live - unless it's a Senior Games event.

Do become a part of the community! Good luck on a race bike - make sure it fits!!!
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Old 07-26-13, 06:15 AM   #6
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Welcome! It's great to see another Master's guy in the group.

Since I'm probably the least experienced racer here, I've got somewhat of an idea of what you're facing. What has helped me was finding a cycling club with Masters who actively race (and this forum is part of that). They'll be able to provide tips about training and let you know about racing-related rides. My experience has been that even the teenaged racers are supportive of guys (and gals) our age racing.

Checked out the Holland Exogrid. You've got the cool bike thing covered. If you decide to get another bike for racing, check among the Masters racers in your area for a shop that'll take you seriously, instead of thinking, "Sure, geezer, you need one of these like the other geezers ride." Also, as you train harder, you may find as I did that your bike fit changes. I'm lower and more stretched out than I was when I was just riding centuries...and my current fit now works for centuries as well. I had to buy another frameset the next size down to get one that fit what I needed.

You're going to have to find that line between "hard" and "stupid" exertion again, unless you already have. That's one of the best parts for me - I had forgotten how hard I could push myself.

This stuff is fun.
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Old 07-26-13, 08:34 AM   #7
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There are very few races in NorCal with a Masters Men's 65+ category. Most of the races are 55+ although they tend to be open for all categories including Cat 5. The place to look for races is www.ncnca.org and click on the calendar. Also subscribe to the NCNCA forum. Then do your own research and look for races that feature 60+ or 65+ fields. However, they will typically be combined with the 55+ peloton but scored separately. One thing that most new racers do not know is that one is not allowed to ride with another racer in another group to gain advantage. However, it is allowed if the groups are combined but scored separately. So in a 55+ combined race of 55+ and 60+, you will find that some of the 60+ racers will go with the fast 55+ guys to gain advantage over the slower 60+ racers. Also, there are some races that feature a Masters 55+ Cat 4/5.

IMO, you will find the 55+, 60+ and 65+ racers in NorCal to be ridiculously fast. Most compete in the masters state and nationals championships. The masters who race are a completely different animal than the 50+ guys who do group rides.

To race effectively in mass start races, one must have crazy good pack skills and be an excellent bike handler and be able to match accelerations. From there one may also want to have time trial and hill climbing capability as well as sprinting.

The key is to know where you have a competitive advantage and enter races that play to your strengths. As a new racer, you will not know any of that so doing more racing will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses.

However, pack skills are a must before you try racing. Know in advance, you will go a lot faster and in closer quarters than you have ever done before in group rides. Life, limb and well being are on the line when racing. Crashes can be catastrophic. Good luck.
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Old 07-26-13, 11:02 AM   #8
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There are very few races in NorCal with a Masters Men's 65+ category. Most of the races are 55+ although they tend to be open for all categories including Cat 5. The place to look for races is
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www.ncnca.org and click on the calendar. Also subscribe to the NCNCA forum. Then do your own research and look for races that feature 60+ or 65+ fields. However, they will typically be combined with the 55+ peloton but scored separately. One thing that most new racers do not know is that one is not allowed to ride with another racer in another group to gain advantage. However, it is allowed if the groups are combined but scored separately. So in a 55+ combined race of 55+ and 60+, you will find that some of the 60+ racers will go with the fast 55+ guys to gain advantage over the slower 60+ racers. Also, there are some races that feature a Masters 55+ Cat 4/5.

IMO, you will find the 55+, 60+ and 65+ racers in NorCal to be ridiculously fast. Most compete in the masters state and nationals championships.
The masters who race are a completely different animal than the 50+ guys who do group rides.

To race effectively in mass start races, one must have crazy good pack skills and be an excellent bike handler and be able to match accelerations. From there one may also want to have time trial and hill climbing capability as well as sprinting.

The key is to know where you have a competitive advantage and enter races that play to your strengths. As a new racer, you will not know any of that so doing more racing will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses.

However, pack skills are a must before you try racing. Know in advance, you will go a lot faster and in closer quarters than you have ever done before in group rides. Life, limb and well being are on the line when racing. Crashes can be catastrophic. Good luck.

This fact of life hit me squarely between the eyes, including the tweety birds circling around my dazed head. The more you ride with them, the longer you'll be able to hang on. Many of the racers our age have 40+ years racing experience, so it's no surprise when you think about it.
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Old 07-26-13, 11:19 AM   #9
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IMO, you will find the 55+, 60+ and 65+ racers in NorCal to be ridiculously fast. Most compete in the masters state and nationals championships. The masters who race are a completely different animal than the 50+ guys who do group rides.
True, dat.

OP, I'm not an American, still less from NorCal. But what Hermes says is true in the UK, too. The older guys who race are stupid fast. Some of them have done >200 miles per week in training for the last forty years, I swear. I'm 58, nearly 59, a lot of the guys I have been racing against in the 55-60 category could easily hold their own in Cat 1/ 2.

But don't be put off. The numbers thin out a bit past 70, anyway, and there's no reason you can't be competitive. Keep us posted.
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Old 07-26-13, 11:43 AM   #10
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There are crazy fast old guys out there, for sure, and they also know a thousand ways to beat you. At the same time, if you train seriously and have decent aptitude, you can rapidly (meaning 2-3 years) get to the point where you are competitive with most of the pack. After three years at it, two of them with structured training, I'm a threat to all but a few of the 55+ guys I race against, and I can generally hang with the 45 and 50 packs. Next year I move up to 60+, along with the two top guns from 55+, and we'll see how that goes.

What Hermes says about skills and injuries isn't to be taken lightly. You have to ride confidently while at the same time understanding the risks involved. I have decent bike handling skills and pack awareness, but that didn't stop me from going down hard in a road race this past January. It was a 'shared responsibility' thing, but you quickly learn that who is to blame is generally beside the point. Stuff happens all the time. Mostly it doesn't take anyone down, but sometimes it does, and that's a part of the sport that we accept. You just don't want to be the guy who takes someone else down due to a poor decision. The fact that we masters age racers don't recover from injury as quickly or completely is part of what makes Masters racing generally a bit safer than the races which include the younger "I'm invulnerable" crowd.
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Old 07-27-13, 09:17 AM   #11
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There is some serious discussion here about what racing is like. Don't let this dissuade you! Stick your toe in the pool and give it a go. Don't be worried that you'll be sitting off the back after one lap wondering what just hit you, that's just the way it is for a new racer, no matter the fitness or skill level. Racing is NOT like a group ride, not one iota, but still - it's a blast! If you decide you want to pursue racing, in order to stay in the pack and have some fun, you'll NEED to TRAIN. That can be consuming, time wise and mentally, but if you're serious about racing, it's a must. I've gone from blasted off the back in every race to mid-pack/near the front in one season. Now it's REALLY fun.
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Old 07-28-13, 09:11 PM   #12
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Welcome Metalheart. If you are within driving distance of Sacramento, I'd encourage you to come down the hill and do some of the local race rides. These are all-comers group rides, and though they are not races, they will give you an idea of the speed and pack skills you need to race.

And yes, the Masters races are stupid fast. The E3 race is usually easier than the 45+ race.
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Old 07-28-13, 09:16 PM   #13
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Great idea. Also, there are local time trials (Putah Creek) and hill climbs where you can work on building power and endurance while you work on your weight loss and pack skills.
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Old 08-05-13, 05:24 PM   #14
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Great idea. Also, there are local time trials (Putah Creek) and hill climbs where you can work on building power and endurance while you work on your weight loss and pack skills.
Wednesday night. I'm going to finally check it out myself. I have no TT bike, so I'm going full Eddy.
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Old 08-05-13, 06:10 PM   #15
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Caluso, I want to do that Putah Creek Smackdown TT one day. RR has been dying to get me up there do it. How many more are there this season?
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Old 08-05-13, 06:25 PM   #16
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Caluso, I want to do that Putah Creek Smackdown TT one day. RR has been dying to get me up there do it. How many more are there this season?
5 including tomorrow. 8/7, 8/21, 9/4, 9/18, 10/2. http://dbcraceteam.org/local-rides/p...eek-time-trial
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Old 08-05-13, 10:21 PM   #17
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5 including tomorrow. 8/7, 8/21, 9/4, 9/18, 10/2. http://dbcraceteam.org/local-rides/p...eek-time-trial

I knew I should have checked with Wheelworks! Thank you for that - me, duh!!!
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Old 11-12-13, 09:11 PM   #18
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lately I have ben thinking about trying the race thing. I am 69, probably heavy for racing at 193, but I am slowly loosing weight. I ride with mostly 50 year olds and I hold my own and can often do well on hill sprints. So, I think the racing thing might be interesting to try, but for the life of me I cannot find the racing age categories on the USA website.

Can anyone enlighten me about the racing age groups for masters?
I'll be 67 in March and have not raced since 1995. My guess is that in your age group the races would be small, maybe ten or fifteen bikes at most. The race would probably be like a tour for the first half before the real racing begins. When you hit the hills some old studs are going to test you but if you stay with them they will slow down again. If you can hold on over the hills the last four or five miles is when the hammer comes down. You and I are in a good position. Most of our competition is either in a rest home or already dead. Oh, and if you haven't had massive road rash yet it's a memorable experience especially at our age.
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