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  1. #1
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    Am I too old to get into competitive cycling? I'm 15

    Hello. My whole life I liked cycling, but just this year I got a road bike. I'm 15 (16 in September), and I was considering joining competitions next year.

    I usually bike around 50km every two days (average speed of 27km/h with hills), and sometimes I bike 70km - 120km on weekends (avs of 24km/h).

    I'm wondering...is it too late to go into road biking? I see people have average speeds like 37km/h which is very high and the highest I hit is 31km/h on 20km lengths...

    Any advice?

  2. #2
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    Greg Lemond started when he was 16.
    Robert

    "Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then." (Bob Seger, "Against the Wind")

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    If you love it, do it. The only way to know how good you could be is to get to it. Maybe you'll be legendary, maybe you'll be just like the rest of us. Train, race and learn. Hopefully you'll find joy in this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
    Greg Lemond started when he was 16.
    I don't think so.

    Greg's journey on a bicycle, like most of us, started at a young age. In 1975 he was introduced to competitive cycling as an off-season training aid to skiing. He was completely hooked after his first season in 1976 where he won the first 11 races he entered in the 13-15 age group class. Later that season he received permission to ride against older racers where he began to learn the tactics involved in racing.
    Note: Lemond turned 14 in June 1975. He turned 15 during his first full season of 1976.

    from https://greglemond.com/#!/

  5. #5
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    I'm thinking about starting too. Senior games....age 68. I'm doing around 17 mph over 17.4 mi. with 1,000 ft. elevation and around 16 mph in my last Metric Century with about 3K ft. elevation.

  6. #6
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    If you didn't start racing competitively by the age of 10 your future in bike racing is going to be bleak.

  7. #7
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    The Norwegian Dag Otto Lauritzen who won a stage in TdF in 1987 started out as a serious roadie when he was recuperating from a knee wound when he was 23! Go for it, if you are lucky with your genes and train hard who knows where you'll end.

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    I am 34 and hoping to get into it int he next little while. I do not think I am too old.

  9. #9
    Senior Member roadwarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MathBunny View Post
    Hello. My whole life I liked cycling, but just this year I got a road bike. I'm 15 (16 in September), and I was considering joining competitions next year.

    I usually bike around 50km every two days (average speed of 27km/h with hills), and sometimes I bike 70km - 120km on weekends (avs of 24km/h).

    I'm wondering...is it too late to go into road biking? I see people have average speeds like 37km/h which is very high and the highest I hit is 31km/h on 20km lengths...

    Any advice?
    Google Evelyn Stevens. She was a tennis player at Dartmouth then an investment banker, had never raced and hardly ridden a bike. Her brother got her a bike when she got laid off two years later attended a clinic on racing, ended up winning and won her first pro race. I think she was 24 or 25 when she started.

    But she has a gift. Not everyone has that gift.
    Last edited by roadwarrior; 08-25-14 at 01:11 PM.
    "Nothing is so typical of middling minds than to harp on the intellectual deficiencies of the slightly less smart, but considerably more successful."
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  10. #10
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    No, you are not too old. You are the perfect age to start racing, if you want to. If you are asking about professional racing, no, you aren't too old to have a chance at that, either - IF you have the physical talent to "make it." I wouldn't worry too much about that right now. Just find a local club that has development of juniors as part of its mission, get signed up, get riding and go do some races.

    If you want to learn more, drop by the "33," the road racing forum here: "The 33"-Road Bike Racing. Which is full of people who started racing MUCH later in life than you are, and are nonetheless some seriously bad-ass bike racers. It is never too late. It certainly isn't when you're as young as you are!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    I don't think so.



    Note: Lemond turned 14 in June 1975. He turned 15 during his first full season of 1976.

    from https://greglemond.com/#!/
    Well, it was a good story.
    Robert

    "Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then." (Bob Seger, "Against the Wind")

  12. #12
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    Definitely go for it. In my 60 years I've only been disappointed when I didn't try something that I wanted to.

  13. #13
    Redefining Lazy Slackerprince's Avatar
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    Start riding with faster people. Seek-out club rides and try to acquire a mentor.
    You'll need to start riding faster and farther to see if you've got the goods.
    Tons of books available on training. Get your nutrition and training schedule sorted.
    Go after it.


    S
    Shut up, everything

  14. #14
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slackerprince View Post
    Start riding with faster people. Seek-out club rides and try to acquire a mentor.
    You'll need to start riding faster and farther to see if you've got the goods.
    Tons of books available on training. Get your nutrition and training schedule sorted.
    Go after it.


    S
    incorrect for a 15 year old looking to get into a racing. A 15 year old needs to find a junior racing team with a coach. I would recommend contacting the local racing association. They'll usually have resources for junior racers and they'll be able to match you up with a junior specific team and a coach.

    If you have a velodrome nearby, I would recommend starting on the track. Relatively cheap equipment, a "home base" to train at, and the coaches are more effective because you are riding and racing on a closed course. It won't preclude you from road racing, but it is a good environment to learn the fundamentals of bike racing.

    The road racing forum is the spot to ask this question again. There are people there who can get you pointed in the right direction.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
    "If you’re new enough [to racing] that you would ask such question, then i would hazard a guess that if you just made up a workout that sounded hard to do, and did it, you’d probably get faster." --the tiniest sprinter

  15. #15
    don't misunderestimate me BoSoxYacht's Avatar
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    Tyler Hamilton was almost 20 when he started racing bicycles, so it can be done. Sure he's a doper, but everyone that he was racing with was doping too.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
    If you didn't start racing competitively by the age of 10 your future in bike racing is going to be bleak.
    Bull. Youngsters learn quick and gears are restricted until you're 17 or 18 anyway. Bike racing is not a youth sport. Successful racers peak in their mid to late 20s. It is definitely a sport where a 15 year old can start cold and rise to prominence by the time they're 18 (with the right coaching). And unlike the big 3 (where you are either fully committed or completely out after high school), once you leave high school, there is an avenue for true amateur riders, unconnected to pro side of the sport, but with a path to the pros.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
    "If you’re new enough [to racing] that you would ask such question, then i would hazard a guess that if you just made up a workout that sounded hard to do, and did it, you’d probably get faster." --the tiniest sprinter

  17. #17
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    "I'm wondering...is it too late to go into road biking?"

    Absolutely not. It's never too late to "go into" anything. My Aunt went to college and got an engineering degree when she was 60, because she was bored. I have a friend who just took up the mandolin at age 38 because he wants to play music for his baby girl, and turns out he's quite a natural and can already pick some bluegrass songs up by ear.

    My advice - if you want something - go work at it. Set realistic short term goals, all with the hope of your big goal - being a competitive road racer. Maybe you'll end up being a big shot at local races, but not much better. Maybe you'll end up winning regional races, or domestic races. Maybe you'll end up as a support rider in the TdF, maybe you'll win the whole dang thing. Maybe you'll end up doing triathlons, or owning your own custom bike shop. No one knows. I do know that every day you wait, will be one more day you never know. So get out there and chase it. And best of luck to you.
    "If I were creating the world I wouldn't mess about with butterflies and daffodils. I would have started with lasers, eight o'clock, Day One!" - Evil

  18. #18
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    Thank you very much everyone!
    I am training with my dad at the moment, he's a bit faster than me but we're pushing each other all the time.
    I guess I will have fun in the process and see where it leads me. Too bad the season is almost over this summer...in Canada it's winter for like 8 months.

    Thanks again.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by MathBunny View Post
    Thank you very much everyone!
    I am training with my dad at the moment, he's a bit faster than me but we're pushing each other all the time.
    I guess I will have fun in the process and see where it leads me. Too bad the season is almost over this summer...in Canada it's winter for like 8 months.

    Thanks again.
    Maybe join a spin group in the winter and do some other cross training to keep strength up and your core strong.

  20. #20
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    I started racing at the age of 58. You only get out of life, what you put into it.

  21. #21
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MathBunny View Post
    Thank you very much everyone!
    I am training with my dad at the moment, he's a bit faster than me but we're pushing each other all the time.
    I guess I will have fun in the process and see where it leads me. Too bad the season is almost over this summer...in Canada it's winter for like 8 months.

    Thanks again.
    Structured indoor training on the trainer over the winter will leave you strong and ready to add base miles come summer.

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    Do you guys think going on those cycling machines at my condo's gym will help me maintain my strength?
    I thought of doing like the 15 minute uphill things on them (simulating going up & down hills) - would that really help and is it worthwhile?

    Thanks again

  23. #23
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MathBunny View Post
    Do you guys think going on those cycling machines at my condo's gym will help me maintain my strength?
    I thought of doing like the 15 minute uphill things on them (simulating going up & down hills) - would that really help and is it worthwhile?

    Thanks again
    15 minutes is a good warm up. I would probably do at least 45 minutes to an hour.

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    Yeah but I think I'll get bored sitting in one place...when I bike for >5 hours (imagine 5 hours in the gym) the only thing making me go is passing people and the scenery, but I think I will get bored.

    But okay, I'll check it out. Thanks.

  25. #25
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MathBunny View Post
    Yeah but I think I'll get bored sitting in one place...when I bike for >5 hours (imagine 5 hours in the gym) the only thing making me go is passing people and the scenery, but I think I will get bored.

    But okay, I'll check it out. Thanks.
    Cycling Training Videos: The Sufferfest

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