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  1. #1
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    Where would I rank if I were to race?

    Been training seriously since April, but have years and years of just riding around with friends around the neighborhood. I am now up to around 200 miles a week. I'm guessing you'd like to know some 20min TT times or half century times. I ride about 6.5 miles in 20 minutes, a 3:30 metric, and a sub 6hour century

    Riding about 200 miles a week like I said, one long ride, one hill day of 5000ft of elevation or just about, and 2 slow 1hour recovery rides, 3 moderate mileage rides. 6-7 days a week I'll ride. Just loving every bit and would LOVE to race but man, the closest is 3 hours away from where I am and just am not going to drive out that far for a race. So i basically ride to better my fitness and keep ranking in Strava and striving to get KOMs hahaha

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    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Are there any group rides in your area? They aren't races but they are training rides with racers and they'll give you some indication of your fitness.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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    I ride with my mates and smash them all. There was a group ride a while back, I had 60km's in my legs and they were climbing a 4%grade climb and I came around, rode with them for a bit, and just totally smashed them going up. I am a climber 59kg, small, and lean

    EDIT: smashed them without trying and not out of the saddle either

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    We can't tell you how you would do as a racer, the only way to find out is to pin on a number and compete. And times don't mean much, when racing it isn't the average speed that kills you, it is the repeated accelerations and your ability to recover -or not- while maintaining your position in the bunch.

    But on the basis of the times you have posted, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be competitive. The Cat 4 race I did on Tuesday averaged 24 mph. That is substantially quicker, for thirty miles, than you are going for twenty minutes. It is, of course, misleading to compare times because in the race one is in a bunch, drafting and so on, but still, the difference is stark. A couple of weeks ago I raced in a veterans road race, 50-59 age group, that averaged 23 mph for 50 miles over a not entirely flat course.

    Training 200 miles per week is great for building aerobic fitness and endurance. But racing requires intensity. If you want to give it a try - and despite the three-hour drive I'd encourage you to do so - you need to build in some high-intensity interval training. There's a host of good examples in the workout recipe sticky in the 33 in the racer's forum.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  5. #5
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    Ok, that was refreshing to hear. Thought my training was pretty decent but cat 4 averaging 24mph for 30 miles? Damn thats pretty good compared to what I can put out. I basically am taking this whole year until December/January for just long hours on the bike, gradually increasing my weekly mileage to build my aerobic fitness. Contemplating to possibly do the same next year so I have 2 years of solid aerobic base, THEN I'll add in efforts to increase my speed.

    I have Joe Friels Cyclist training Bible so I got a good idea of an annual peaking plan once I have the aerobic fitness to start.

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hambertloot View Post
    Ok, that was refreshing to hear. Thought my training was pretty decent but cat 4 averaging 24mph for 30 miles? Damn thats pretty good compared to what I can put out.
    It's pretty good compared to what I can put out, too, on my own. I can't break an hour for a 25-mile TT. But racing is different, one can hide in the bunch a lot of the time and sustain high speeds with lower power. That takes know-how rather than strength. A crit race is like a hideously long interval session, most of the time you are either going relatively easy or going like a bat out of hell to hold your position in the surges. Very, very strong riders get shelled because they can't deal with the changes in pace. Caloso, who has posted above, is an ex triathlete who found the adjustment to racing pretty challenging becasue of that. I am another example, I was like you, strong, could sit in at a consistent pace all day long, but was (and often still am) blown away by the repeated accelerations.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  7. #7
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    Yeah drafting helps so much it is ridiculous. what I am weak on is attacking up a climb then recovering my legs to keep going. I often will attack a hill on my own, lets say a decent 6-8%grade at 11mph then once I hit the top, my heart rate is at 185BPM I am breathing really hard, and my pace becomes an amazing <8mph.

    You seem experienced. Does speed come with high mileage and high volume as a newbie? such that at the beginning of the season I was riding pretty slowly, but after getting in my base miles and high volume/mileage, will my average speed increase then or do I need the speed work? I think it will be better to get 5000+mi of aerobic easy high volume riding before speed but ive heard other things too

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hambertloot View Post
    Yeah drafting helps so much it is ridiculous. what I am weak on is attacking up a climb then recovering my legs to keep going. I often will attack a hill on my own, lets say a decent 6-8%grade at 11mph then once I hit the top, my heart rate is at 185BPM I am breathing really hard, and my pace becomes an amazing <8mph.

    You seem experienced. Does speed come with high mileage and high volume as a newbie? such that at the beginning of the season I was riding pretty slowly, but after getting in my base miles and high volume/mileage, will my average speed increase then or do I need the speed work? I think it will be better to get 5000+mi of aerobic easy high volume riding before speed but ive heard other things too
    As a new cyclist, just riding lots will improve both speed and endurance. You have friel's training bible. It's a while since I read it but I think I'm right in saying that in the foreword, or the first chapter, he says that a new cyclist should just ride a lot of miles for a year or so before getting into his program.

    So yes, just putting in the volume will get your average speed up, and a big aerobic base is a sine qua non for deriving the maximum benefit from more specific training regimens. You've been riding for years and training 200 miles per week since April. If you decided to race next season, you're in an ideal position to start following Friel over the winter to prepare.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  9. #9
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    As a new cyclist, just riding lots will improve both speed and endurance. You have friel's training bible. It's a while since I read it but I think I'm right in saying that in the foreword, or the first chapter, he says that a new cyclist should just ride a lot of miles for a year or so before getting into his program.

    So yes, just putting in the volume will get your average speed up, and a big aerobic base is a sine qua non for deriving the maximum benefit from more specific training regimens. You've been riding for years and training 200 miles per week since April. If you decided to race next season, you're in an ideal position to start following Friel over the winter to prepare.
    Absolutely.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    But on the basis of the times you have posted, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be competitive. The Cat 4 race I did on Tuesday averaged 24 mph. That is substantially quicker, for thirty miles, than you are going for twenty minutes. It is, of course, misleading to compare times because in the race one is in a bunch, drafting and so on, but still, the difference is stark. A couple of weeks ago I raced in a veterans road race, 50-59 age group, that averaged 23 mph for 50 miles over a not entirely flat course.
    Drafting makes a huge difference. Here's a crit track of a guy who averaged 191 W and 25.5 mph for half an hour, and placed 26/53 in the category 4/5: http://app.strava.com/activities/6441896# This guy averaged 180 W and 26.8 mph: http://app.strava.com/activities/37546363# 191 W gets you somewhere around 20..21 mph in the drops without drafting.

    3:30 metric century is an okay time, I think, if it's flat. If 20 minute distance can be improved from 6.5 to 7 miles, that should put the OP in the right ballpark for cat 4/5 races.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    Drafting makes a huge difference. Here's a crit track of a guy who averaged 191 W and 25.5 mph for half an hour, and placed 26/53 in the category 4/5: http://app.strava.com/activities/6441896# This guy averaged 180 W and 26.8 mph: http://app.strava.com/activities/37546363# 191 W gets you somewhere around 20..21 mph in the drops without drafting.

    3:30 metric century is an okay time, I think, if it's flat. If 20 minute distance can be improved from 6.5 to 7 miles, that should put the OP in the right ballpark for cat 4/5 races.
    wow, that's cool to hear! great, well I actually havent been doing 200 SINCE april, but I am now up to 200 miles a week. It was pretty flat. I think 800ft tops of elevation gain in total, so yeah pretty flat I'd say

    I'll keep working on building my aerobic base. Probably shouldn't worry about speed since it is June already and I am not racing this year
    Last edited by hambertloot; 06-21-13 at 03:49 PM.

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    Drafting makes a huge difference. Here's a crit track of a guy who averaged 191 W and 25.5 mph for half an hour, and placed 26/53 in the category 4/5: http://app.strava.com/activities/6441896# This guy averaged 180 W and 26.8 mph: http://app.strava.com/activities/37546363# 191 W gets you somewhere around 20..21 mph in the drops without drafting.

    3:30 metric century is an okay time, I think, if it's flat. If 20 minute distance can be improved from 6.5 to 7 miles, that should put the OP in the right ballpark for cat 4/5 races.
    Yes, as I said racing is very different because of the draft. The average power, like the average speed, doesn't mean much, its the frequency of the peaks that do me in.

    But having said that, under 20mph for 20 minutes doesn't speak of a very high threshold. Nothing wrong with that, the OP hasn't been at it very long. I've little doubt that if he keeps at it he'll be in great shape to go racing next season.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  13. #13
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    Also folks, I am 17. So would those times at my age still be pretty slow when competing? I know it is hard to tell but maybe a ballpark? thanks so much!

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hambertloot View Post
    Also folks, I am 17. So would those times at my age still be pretty slow when competing? I know it is hard to tell but maybe a ballpark? thanks so much!
    I suggest you start posting in the junior racing forum. There are a couple of very strong juniors who post there.

    Fast juniors are very fast. Lots of them have been racing for several years and have very high power- weight ratios. It is common for them to be competitive in Cat 1 and 2 races. As a newbie you'd be much better off in Cat 5, and then Cat 4, than in junior races.

    But the good news is that at your age you will improve much faster than I was assuming in my earlier posts. Take caloso's advice, find some group rides. Better yet, look around for a club that takes some interest in junior racing. You'll come on pretty fast.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  15. #15
    Senior Member longbeachgary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hambertloot View Post
    Also folks, I am 17. So would those times at my age still be pretty slow when competing? I know it is hard to tell but maybe a ballpark? thanks so much!
    Wouldn't you be gear restricted as a junior?

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    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by longbeachgary View Post
    Wouldn't you be gear restricted as a junior?
    He's nowhere near to spinning out junior gears.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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    Quote Originally Posted by longbeachgary View Post
    Wouldn't you be gear restricted as a junior?
    Why? What are junior ages? I thought 17 was a junior age? I haven't looked into it, well, a while ago i did

    caloso: correct, I have for my biggest a 53x12 .. I don't wanna get a new cassette etc so next year I am just going to upgrade to a new bike

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    i dont get it though. yeah, USA Cycling wants juniors to "save their knees" but honestly, who rides flats in the 52x12? I only use the 52 and three smallest cogs when descending a hill and I never mash going downhill, i spin to 100rpm then shift down which I am sure many people do the same? idk,

    im usually in the middle of my cogs in the back on the 52 front or doing something on my 42 front

  19. #19
    Senior Member longbeachgary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    He's nowhere near to spinning out junior gears.
    I didn't say he was.

    Quote Originally Posted by hambertloot View Post
    Why? What are junior ages? I thought 17 was a junior age? I haven't looked into it, well, a while ago i did

    caloso: correct, I have for my biggest a 53x12 .. I don't wanna get a new cassette etc so next year I am just going to upgrade to a new bike
    Quote Originally Posted by hambertloot View Post
    i dont get it though. yeah, USA Cycling wants juniors to "save their knees" but honestly, who rides flats in the 52x12? I only use the 52 and three smallest cogs when descending a hill and I never mash going downhill, i spin to 100rpm then shift down which I am sure many people do the same? idk,

    im usually in the middle of my cogs in the back on the 52 front or doing something on my 42 front
    Junior Gear Restrictions: Is your race bike legal?

    Junior gearing can be a surprise to young athletes trying the sport of cycling for the first time. The young athlete attending his first USA Cycling-sanctioned event may be shocked to find his bicycle considered illegal. Parents may also wonder why this is so, especially when they have paid a lot of money for a bicycle they were told was race-ready. The main purpose of junior gear restrictions is to help the young rider develop a good pedal cadence and to avoid injury. Junior gear restrictions also level the playing field for developing juniors who may be at a disadvantage against rivals who possess physical advantages such as height and power.The test to see if a race bike is legal or not is called the "rollout method" or simply "junior rollout," which is the distance a bike travels backward in a straight line through one full pedal revolution when the bicycle is in its largest gear. The junior gear restriction for road events is 26 feet (7.93 meters).
    To calculate how far a bike will travel relative to its gears, USAC suggests gear ratios with respect to race age and discipline. The gear limit for a rider is determined by the age of the rider and the discipline, and applies in all events in that discipline.
    There is no restriction for cyclo-cross. For road and track the limits are:
    Road
    17-18: 7.93 meters (26’)(52x14)
    15-16: “
    13-14: “
    10-12: “
    Track
    17-18: Unrestricted
    15-16: 6.78 meters (22'3")(48x15)
    13-14: 6.36 meters (20'10.5")(48x16)
    10-12: 6.00 meters (19’8”)(48x17)
    Note that the gear ratios listed are merely suggestions – the distance rolled out is the governing standard.
    Race officials will usually provide a courtesy gear check prior to the start of a junior race but ultimately it is the gear check immediately after the junior race that determines whether a junior's bicycle is legal or not.
    The official checks a junior's bicycle's gears not by counting the number of teeth on the largest chain ring and smallest cassette cog, but by rolling the bicycle backward in a straight line for 26 feet. If the bicycle travels 26 feet or less when rolled backward one full pedal revolution, the bicycle is legal. If the bicycle rolls past 26 feet, the rider is disqualified for not complying with the junior gear restriction.
    Ultimately it is the athlete's responsibility to make sure his bicycle is compliant with junior gear restrictions. The purpose of the courtesy check is to offer the junior the opportunity to block their gears prior to competing in his event. Note that blocked gearing is not permitted at USAC National Championship and UCI events. Depending upon the rear derailleur's stop limits and rear cassette cog combination, there is no guarantee that a bicycle with blocked gearing can be made legal, since it all comes down to the distance traveled in the largest accessible gear. Blocking means adjusting the rear derailleur's high stop limit screw to prevent the chain from going to a small rear cassette cog.
    It is also important to note that not all cycling tires have the same diameter, which can give a bicycle a rollout distance different than the distance provided by the gear recommendation.
    Junior riders need to roll out their bicycles on their own prior to attending a USAC-sanctioned event to determine whether they will be compliant with the rules.

  20. #20
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    Who honestly here mashes 52x14 on the flats? I am a natural spinner. Below 95 and it feels too slow for me

  21. #21
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    If you want to race as a junior, get the junior gears and get used to them now.

    But if you turn 18 in 2013 then your racing age is 18. So you may not be a junior after all.

    >I don't wanna get a new cassette etc so next year I am just going to upgrade to a new bike

    this statement makes no sense. Cassettes are consumeables like tires and chains.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    If you want to race as a junior, get the junior gears and get used to them now.

    But if you turn 18 in 2013 then your racing age is 18. So you may not be a junior after all.

    >I don't wanna get a new cassette etc so next year I am just going to upgrade to a new bike

    this statement makes no sense. Cassettes are consumeables like tires and chains.
    haha whoops, didnt finish that sentence. I meant I am going to just upgrade my bike next year because I will be 18. 18 isnt junior then?

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    You also need to ride with stronger riders on training rides. You simply cannot put yourself in enough pain to improve by riding on your own. By pain, I mean sustaining high speeds while your heart and lungs feel like they are going to explode.

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    so sustaining around 185-190BPM? I probably shouldn't be hitting close to max heart rate more than once a month right? so do those fast rides maybe once a month?

  25. #25
    VICTORY IS MINE! Snowman219's Avatar
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    I can do like 6 miles in 20 mins and I'm towing a trailer and backpack using my mountain bike. And I don't feel very good after that LOL. I doubt I'm a racer based on these facts.
    2009 Kona Jake.
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