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Old 10-10-12, 07:49 PM   #1
enroper
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Hypothetical question: How long to go from overweight slob to Cat 5 racer?

I realize this may be an impossible question to answer due to so many different variables, but say somebody who's 34 years of age, possessing moderate cardiovascular ability, about 40lbs, overweight, with about a year experience on bike, wants to get to the level of placing in a non-cringe worthy position in a cat 5 race. How much training & how long a time frame do you think that hypothetical person would be facing?

Any personal success stories you can share of going from a hero to a zero?

I realize I will never ride the tour, get sponsored, or gain any sort of fame or sponsorship. But it's on my bucket list to get to a level to be able to beat the average rider in a race.

I'm thinking if I start taking this thing seriously, maybe by spring of 2014 I might be there. Is that crazy?

Thoughts?
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Old 10-10-12, 08:24 PM   #2
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Nothing is crazy. I believe that as cliche as it sounds, it depeneds on how bad you want it. If you put your blood, sweat, and tears into it, and train like you mean it over the winter/summer, you could place podium at least once next racing season. Also assuming you have a level of fitness to keep up (ie. don't smoke, eat healthy etc). But I'd say that if you took training seriously, you will see a lot of gains in the next year, and after racing next season, you'll learn a lot about how it's done, and by the 2014 season you'll be a contender for sure.

Ps. I believe you mean 'zero to hero'?
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Old 10-10-12, 08:30 PM   #3
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hahah, yes. zero to hero.
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Old 10-10-12, 09:51 PM   #4
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It depends on how out of shape you are now, how hard you work, your genetic potential, and how smart you race. You could be on the podium next year, or it could take five years.

If you're serious, lay out a plan with goals and objectives that you can meet if you put in the work.

I'd plan some training objectives around length of longest ride, training volume, and next year, some performance objectives. And some goals like finish your local group ride in the group, contest some sprints, etc.
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Old 10-10-12, 10:47 PM   #5
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Sure it's doable. I dropped close to 30lbs when I started riding in 2008 at the age of 48 and started racing in the spring of 2009. Won my age group in my first local masters race. I started riding in mid may that year and rode about 7,500km.

Here's my weight loss chart that year:
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File Type: jpg Weight Loss 2008.jpg (91.2 KB, 91 views)
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Old 10-11-12, 11:29 AM   #6
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Sure it's doable. I dropped close to 30lbs when I started riding in 2008 at the age of 48 and started racing in the spring of 2009. Won my age group in my first local masters race. I started riding in mid may that year and rode about 7,500km.

Here's my weight loss chart that year:
I love it! Charting from the get-go. That's the way to do it. More data is good.
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Old 10-11-12, 12:10 PM   #7
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Sure it's doable. I dropped close to 30lbs when I started riding in 2008 at the age of 48 and started racing in the spring of 2009. Won my age group in my first local masters race. I started riding in mid may that year and rode about 7,500km.

Here's my weight loss chart that year:
I dropped also almost 30 lbs and it showed the same funny pattern with little humps followed by fast drops, producing an overall steady decrease.
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Old 10-13-12, 07:48 PM   #8
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The bumps can be caused from all sorts of stuff from partially digested food or stool to the amount of water your body is retaining. If you weigh yourself in the nude first thing in the morning after voiding your bowel the spikes are a little less drastic, but still there. The best way to look at weight loss charts is to even out all the hills and valleys into a smooth trend line, else you just get lost in the static.
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Old 10-14-12, 04:25 AM   #9
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The bumps can be caused from all sorts of stuff from partially digested food or stool to the amount of water your body is retaining. If you weigh yourself in the nude first thing in the morning after voiding your bowel the spikes are a little less drastic, but still there. The best way to look at weight loss charts is to even out all the hills and valleys into a smooth trend line, else you just get lost in the static.
I have read something about how when energy from a fat cell is used, it first fills up with water before letting it all go after a couple of days.
But it can still be demotivating to see the scale go up by a few pounds especially if it coinsides with a period that you think you ate a bit more then you should.
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Old 10-14-12, 05:10 PM   #10
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The real issue is your tolerance for injury. Cat5 races are a mass of testosterone, and unless you are a really good handler or can be in front of the mess, your odds of going down is great. I consider myself a supreme bike handler after 1000's of miles on the road, but am gun shy about riding in a Cat5 where riders are generally younger, more aggressive and free of worry about injuries.
I'd ride and train for a few more seasons then ride in a masters race where the chaos isn't that great.
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Old 10-14-12, 05:33 PM   #11
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The real issue is your tolerance for injury. Cat5 races are a mass of testosterone, and unless you are a really good handler or can be in front of the mess, your odds of going down is great. I consider myself a supreme bike handler after 1000's of miles on the road, but am gun shy about riding in a Cat5 where riders are generally younger, more aggressive and free of worry about injuries.
I'd ride and train for a few more seasons then ride in a masters race where the chaos isn't that great.
Over exaggerate much? Your chances of getting injured (beyond road rash) are pretty low. And for someone with 'supreme' bike handling skills they should be very low. Waiting until you're old enough for masters racing won't help much as the racing will be much faster.
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Old 10-15-12, 07:33 PM   #12
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Are you kidding RiPHRaPH? Masters racing is for people who know what they are doing. Cat 5 is for learning.

enroper - start training and cleaning up your diet now, get a race license on 1/1/13, enter the first local race you can get to, get shelled, lather rinse repeat.
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Old 10-16-12, 11:27 AM   #13
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I know what I am doing?
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Old 10-16-12, 11:43 AM   #14
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Are you kidding RiPHRaPH? Masters racing is for people who know what they are doing. Cat 5 is for learning.

enroper - start training and cleaning up your diet now, get a race license on 1/1/13, enter the first local race you can get to, get shelled, lather rinse repeat.
I agree with valygrl. The best preparation for racing is racing. In the meantime, avoid pie (or beer or cookies or french fries or whatever's your particular dietary downfall) and ride your bike. Do some intervals and hit the local race rides.
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Old 10-16-12, 11:45 AM   #15
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I agree with valygrl. The best preparation for racing is racing. In the meantime, avoid pie (or beer or cookies or french fries or whatever's your particular dietary downfall) and ride your bike. Do some intervals and hit the local race rides.
Crap, I have to avoid pie? No deal.
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Old 10-16-12, 01:19 PM   #16
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I'd ride and train for a few more seasons then ride in a masters race where the chaos isn't that great.
He's 34. That means that next year his racing age will be 35. So next year he can race in any M35 fields that allow cat 5s.

Some districts discourage promoters mixing 5s and masters. Depending on where he is, he may be racing 5s anyhow. But it's not really that bad. And it's not like you can relax in the masters fields, because there are still people who do dumb things or have genuine accidents.

OP, if you're not doing race oriented group rides already, you should be.
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Old 10-16-12, 03:55 PM   #17
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He's 34. That means that next year his racing age will be 35. So next year he can race in any M35 fields that allow cat 5s.

Some districts discourage promoters mixing 5s and masters. Depending on where he is, he may be racing 5s anyhow. But it's not really that bad. And it's not like you can relax in the masters fields, because there are still people who do dumb things or have genuine accidents.

OP, if you're not doing race oriented group rides already, you should be.
I did my first race when I was 36. There were two fields I was eligible to race: Cat 5 and M35+. I thought the Cat 5 would be the easier race. I was incorrect.

(I later learned that it was an anomaly, that it's fairly rare to have an open category M35+ race. It occasionally happens, but I wouldn't recommend it.)
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Old 11-20-12, 09:26 AM   #18
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I am in a very similar position. I'm 23 and probably about 15-20 pounds overweight. I have been riding for a while but I tried a small local crit and got dropped almost immediately (maybe because I had no clue about what I was doing). I'm hoping to start training now and actually keep up next season!
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Old 11-20-12, 03:43 PM   #19
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...OP, if you're not doing race oriented group rides already, you should be.
+1
godda get some fast, race -pace group hammerfests under your belt.

join a racing club, there are a bunch in the greater Philly area. Find one with a decent group of masters racers. But don;t get too picky, key is to join now and get ta ridin!
as you're working into racing shape you need to get as many of those tight grouped, fast paced rides in, as possible. Used to be Philly always had weekly local races, especially during the off season. Some might not even require a license, or they have an 'open' field for those without.
like valygrl said "get shelled, lather rinse repeat"
there's no way to know how you'll fare until you start.
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Old 11-20-12, 04:05 PM   #20
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Who was the big name coach that stated he could take just about anyone from 0 to Cat 3 quality in two years if they were willing to demonstrate the discipline and put in the work?
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Old 11-20-12, 04:08 PM   #21
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One of the mistakes I made last year was an absence of race pace group rides. Now that it is the off season I am getting more and more of them under my belt.
They work very well. A mix of various category riders makes for an interesting time. An additional benefit is being able to figure out some of your weaknesses without paying for a race. However, racing prepares you for racing like nothing else.
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