I cant find any groups around me that are 70 +. I really wish there were.
I cant find any groups around me that are 70 +. I really wish there were.
And there are always competing races and even when there is a 60+ field the racers may be doing other races or do not like the course or type of event. Popular races many times trump specialty races. We have a lot to choose from in NorCal and my wife and I also race a lot in SoCal so many times we miss a race that we would do in NorCal because it is conflicting.
I have seen racers select races and events based upon whether they can win or dodge someone who is in a particular field. This is really true in tandem racing. One can select mixed, men/men or woman/woman. So at the national championships, teams are developed based upon how well they think they can do and who the competition may be in that field. And if no one show up against you, hallelujah you win a national championship.
And there are racers who go at each other Ali / Frazier style. They battle it out race after race and other competitors do not matter.
I agree with R'Ex. I use every advantage I can get that is within the rules to improve my performance and I select races where I think I have a competitive advantage and I would definitely take a national or world title in a field of one.
Hermes, yes, I understand. That works for you and others at your level. Put yourself in my shoes, though - at my level - and then consider my thoughts. I could go find races where I know the fields are small, or that there is an age group category - but no one will show up - and do those. But to call that winning? No, not me, not a chance. I get that one can't control who shows up, and I also understand competition - there are those who are going to beat you no matter what. That happens to me ALL the TIME. Maybe it's because of that that I think the way I do. I would much rather go out and EARN a spot on the podium, or even a win, than back into it. And then, picking a race with no competition, knowing there is no competition, isn't something I'd enjoy doing.
From my seat, being able and willing to travel provides for a lot of competition within my age group. However in two weeks we have our State Cyclo Cross Champs. There will be 15 - 20 riders in the 55 - 59 group and maybe only 4 -6 in my age of 60-64. At the Iceman MTB race two weeks ago held in upper Michigan there were 7 riders of 111 from Ohio in my age group of 58-60. The small field at Cross States' won't bother me and I have no intention of racing down even if I could.
By time you show up at a race you're already in the top 0.1 percentile of the population. The exceptionalism of this gets lost in the noise of how few people might be in that race.
Very few people race bikes in the first place because it's a hard sport that's tough on your ego at times and is often paid for with blood, skin, and bone.
If you start over in the "41" road forum, there's a whole bunch of folks riding bikes. Check out how many migrate over to the 33 racing forum and read the hand wringing and fear posts by new racers or people thinking of racing.
Then check out the license turnover at USAC. A lot of people do one race and go "no ******** way" and go back to doing recreational rides.
While you're at it do a head count here of people who haven't busted themselves up in the last 24 months.
If you didn't think you earned a win by killing yourself in a TT because no one entered in your age group, I'd say that your camera lens is taking very small pictures. You're not all that far off from the person who ends up being the oldest/only women to climb Everest or swim from Cuba to Florida.
You guys win! But I won't surrender. ;)
I have to say that I share some of Sara's sentiments when it comes to my rare wins and podiums. In a field of genetic freaks and super freaks (I'm quoting someone ;)), I'm happy to be there at the end. When I race in a "depleted" SoCal field and win or podium, I'm generally less happy, but still happy.
As I've said, I get more joy and satisfaction out of doing my best and sometimes doing better than I've done before. I guess that's why I've stuck with this sport and not been part of the turnover. However, as age inevitably starts to take even that away from me, I'll have no problem with outlasting my competition, if that becomes the case.
@George, if I read your posts properly, you are looking for rides with 70+ people. If you keep it on the informal side, you should be able to pull together something yourself. There is an informal email list in SoCal for 55+/60+ racers. There are a variety of topics, but some people have used the list to organize rides. We did a ride last year that went up the local mountains and we did a fairly good job of keeping most everyone together and this was with a group of racers.
This year someone organized a ride up a climb during the Tour of California. For both rides, the "organizer" had the ride start and end at their house and they did a post ride meal. Both rides drew something like 20 people and both, IMHO, were a lot of fun. They were just hard enough for me and the camaraderie was the icing on the cake.
IMHO, regularly scheduled group rides are OK for whatever reason they exist. If you want to ride with people of your generation ;) and no one has organized one, then try organizing one yourself. It's rewarding and fun! (Plus you get to set the rules. :D)
I think it's generally true that the better the competition, the better we are going to feel about beating it. That's a big reason to race the state, national and world age group races. It's also true that the most successful strategy is to (in a certain way) throw the age thing out the window. We all know that, yes, age erodes performance. But, with many thanks to Hermes for is repeated encouragement/determination in this area, it's also true that almost all of us can improve our performance over what we did last month, or even last year. That age threshhold is pretty high up the performance chart, at a level most people never reach anyway. Cleave also makes a good point that we always know, when we finish a race, whether we left everything on the course, and whether we raced smart, or made repeated mistakes. If I did the best I possibly could, well, that would be a first :) , and I would be ectstatic even if I finished down in the standings. If I win a race as the only one in my age group, I'm taking the cash or ribbon, felling good about it, and also evaluating how I think I did compared to how I could have done.
If I see an opportunity where, because of the specific age cat's, or the nature of the course, I will be a strong contender... I'm grabbing that. But I'm also going to show up when I know there are two guys I have yet to beat, and I'm going to line up and try to beat them. I'm also going to race a younger category, if that race looks like it would be more fun, or more beneficial to training/learning, even if it means I have less of a shot at a podium. As the saying goes "it's all good". You're racing your bike, and that's just a great effing thing to do.
Some of my most enjoyable outings have been on team rides (teenagers on up, with me usually the oldest guy), when points were being awarded and a large group was going for it. Being consistently in the top 5-6 (regardless of age) as we built for this past season, was a great feeling of accomplishment. I could confidently and truthfully say "I'm fast", with no "for my age" appended.
My goal now is to work my way back to that.
Age-group racing is a cop-out. Real racers race their category.