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Getting to Cat 1 with 8 hours/week?

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Getting to Cat 1 with 8 hours/week?

Old 09-30-17, 01:23 PM
  #51  
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OP is in Austin. I don't know. Maybe collecting points at crits in Dallas easier than in Austin.
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Old 09-30-17, 01:27 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post

The OP likes to do group rides. I'm not aware of any cat 1 riders in my area who do only group rides and races. There is one group ride where some of these guys join in. Sat or Sun morning. It's a race more than a group ride.

Maybe it's different in California, where you have different kinds of terrain (mountains) or just different kind of riding culture.

One thing I have surmised - really fast guys do very specific workouts, most often solo.
CA might be different but I definitely am c1, and I only race or do (fast) group rides. I don't have the will or heart to train "the right way" so I do what's fun and try to make it worthwhile. I do spend more than 8h/week tho.
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Old 09-30-17, 01:28 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
... at my age. I don't think I could ever be a cat 1, no matter how hard I tried. So I wonder if Cat 2 is the level where natural talent/genetics comes into play, where not everyone can make it, no matter if they have unlimited resources/time.
Cat 1 is very broad in the USA. Much more than it used to be. Cat 1 is a super long way from the top tier of cycling, so I don't think genes are the limiting factor - unless you want to say genes are responsible for will and focus (and I buy that). I can't say anyone <30 and healthy couldn't be a USAC Cat 1 if they wanted to train and angle (see post above) for it. But many don't, so it does come tho the more gifted more easily.

Training means doing what it takes, over having fun and recreating to achieve the goal. That means if 1 hour with the weights helps more than 1 hour on the bike - you do the weights. It also means control diet and sleep. That generally means giving something up.

Most like cycling too much to do that, as the goal of training in not fun.
It may be fun, for some, but that is a byproduct.
And generally if it is not fun for too long - people quit.
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Old 09-30-17, 01:40 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
CA might be different but I definitely am c1, and I only race or do (fast) group rides. I don't have the will or heart to train "the right way" so I do what's fun and try to make it worthwhile. I do spend more than 8h/week tho.
I know if I'm left to do intervals between races I usually do them too hard and show up on race day underrested, whereas group rides let me go hard enough to stay fit without blowing out my legs, practice soft skills, and have a good time. I'm only a 2 though so this is above my pay grade!
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Old 09-30-17, 01:48 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
CA might be different but I definitely am c1, and I only race or do (fast) group rides. I don't have the will or heart to train "the right way" so I do what's fun and try to make it worthwhile. I do spend more than 8h/week tho.
On your group rides, what type of guys are on them? Do they include guys like me (cat 4). And fast rec riders.
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Old 09-30-17, 01:51 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
On your group rides, what type of guys are on them? Do they include guys like me (cat 4). And fast rec riders.
guys who have never and will never race -> pros. usually the fastest guys are a mix of cat 1/2 guys, ex pros, "retired" racers and whatnot.

My thursday lunch ride had a pro just back from Belgium. Not like a euro-pro, but that has happened before too.
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Old 09-30-17, 03:53 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
CA might be different but I definitely am c1, and I only race or do (fast) group rides. I don't have the will or heart to train "the right way" so I do what's fun and try to make it worthwhile. I do spend more than 8h/week tho.
But you know how to race and win.
I regularly see stronger juniors get spanked by older smarter guys that know how to race.

I tend to think it is a combo of age/maturity and time racing before they really start understanding. That generally comes later than having the power and fitness to win.
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Old 09-30-17, 04:35 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
At the end of the day no one really cares if you become a cat one or not. Just you and maybe a few of your friends. You are probably going to have to sacrifice fun for results. You'll have to make that decision. I've gotten slower as the years progressed because I stopped doing structured workouts on the trainer. Instead I've just been doing group rides.
Not sure if you’ve ever been a cat 1, but I disagree.

Nothing is more fun than upgrading to the top of amateur racing and winning along the way. (and hopefully still winning when you get there)

It’s not like you need to quit your dayjob, break up with your girl, etc, to get to cat 1..
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Old 09-30-17, 04:49 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post
Not sure if you’ve ever been a cat 1, but I disagree.

Nothing is more fun than upgrading to the top of amateur racing and winning along the way. (and hopefully still winning when you get there)

It’s not like you need to quit your dayjob, break up with your girl, etc, to get to cat 1..
For some people. Not for everyone.

He may have to give up some social aspects of cycling (like some of these weekly group rides) that are fun for him.

I know a guy that races all the time. Cat 3. He wants to be a Cat 2, I think. He told me that not doing any trainer work has held him back. He still doesn't do any trainer work. He's still a Cat 3. Because I assume he's happier doing it the way he's doing it.
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Old 09-30-17, 05:50 PM
  #60  
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If he made it to Cat 2 with zero structure, there is a good chance that he will be able to make it to Cat 1 without having to completely change his approach to bike riding.
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Old 09-30-17, 06:12 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
For some people. Not for everyone.

He may have to give up some social aspects of cycling (like some of these weekly group rides) that are fun for him.

I know a guy that races all the time. Cat 3. He wants to be a Cat 2, I think. He told me that not doing any trainer work has held him back. He still doesn't do any trainer work. He's still a Cat 3. Because I assume he's happier doing it the way he's doing it.
Again, Radish Legs, you are going on and on about something you admittedly know nothing about, and at least three different people have pointed this out now. I don't understand why you continue to do this repeatedly.

You're a cat 4 who's raced like, 5 times? Seriously, man.
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Old 09-30-17, 06:52 PM
  #62  
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My point is that there is something Universal in what the original poster asked about. We all have to decide what we're willing to sacrifice for what we want to obtain. The people here who suggests that there aren't trade-offs at stake , they're not telling the truth.
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Old 09-30-17, 07:05 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
...He's still a Cat 3. Because I assume he's happier doing it the way he's doing it.
Everyone makes choices. It was too hard for me to do the things required to upgrade and not as hard for others. I figured it would always be that way. And since I was a genius I applied my abilities to saving the country from our enemies. That was satisfying too.
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Old 09-30-17, 07:45 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
My point is that there is something Universal in what the original poster asked about. We all have to decide what we're willing to sacrifice for what we want to obtain. The people here who suggests that there aren't trade-offs at stake , they're not telling the truth.
Do people who become proficient at golf talk about what they 'sacrifice'? Like any sport, the people who progress enjoy what they're doing. They're not sacrificing anything, they're doing what they enjoy.
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Old 09-30-17, 08:36 PM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
Do people who become proficient at golf talk about what they 'sacrifice'? Like any sport, the people who progress enjoy what they're doing. They're not sacrificing anything, they're doing what they enjoy.
Yeah they do. They talk about the amount of time it takes. And how they can't do it anymore because they choose to spend time with family and so forth. Do you not know anyone who plays or played golf?

I know there seems to be a high proportion of cyclists who are not married and have no kids, maybe that's something going on here in this thread.
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Old 09-30-17, 08:36 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by Doge View Post
Everyone makes choices. It was too hard for me to do the things required to upgrade and not as hard for others. I figured it would always be that way. And since I was a genius I applied my abilities to saving the country from our enemies. That was satisfying too.
Thank you for your service. I think I value you working against our enemies more than I value you achieving Cat 1.
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Old 09-30-17, 09:00 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
For some people. Not for everyone.

He may have to give up some social aspects of cycling (like some of these weekly group rides) that are fun for him.

I know a guy that races all the time. Cat 3. He wants to be a Cat 2, I think. He told me that not doing any trainer work has held him back. He still doesn't do any trainer work. He's still a Cat 3. Because I assume he's happier doing it the way he's doing it.
Sure, everyone is different. But your buddy is probably wrong that he's not cat 2 because he doesn't do trainer work. Maybe he sucks at tactics/bike handling/pack handling. (and doesn't know it)

I rarely do rollers, and I do group rides pretty frequently. I don't even have a coach. And I have a full-time+ job. According to you it's a formula for "time to give up something if you want to get to cat 1," but I'm already there..

And I doubt it's purely genetic; I have a lower FTP than most people in this thread probably.

There's so much that goes in to upgrading, and it's not all about fitness. Sure that's a part of it, but there's a lot more to it.
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Old 09-30-17, 09:03 PM
  #68  
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I watched OP's latest big race. Many attacks that he led.
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Old 09-30-17, 09:48 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
I watched OP's latest big race. Many attacks that he led.
OP states in post 1 - "I just became cat 2" - he has no idea if he needs more time to get to cat 1. He hasn't raced p12 yet.

OP also states "I spend most time in z3 and above" - anyone will tell you this is dumb. Fast track to being good at riding "pretty hard" and getting very tired. Improvement is more likely in someone who rides group rides in mostly z1/2 and the rest in z7 when it matters (sprints, getting the break going, etc...)

I do 12 hours a week, but 4-5 of those hours are commuting and recovery rides. I bet I could hold 99% of my form on 8 hours/week, just group rides, but using those rides wisely to work on the zone I want.
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Old 09-30-17, 10:19 PM
  #70  
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i don't think i agree with @Doge's assessment that anyone in the US who really goes for it can get to cat 1.

i think that getting to cat 1, even with the softer points rules, is still a solid achievement, and saying that anyone can do it diminishes that a bit.

i do agree that with enough effort many people can get there (or close to it), but it usually involves some trade-off in life. whether one views those as 'sacrifices' or not is a bit of semantics. how many of us have cut back on a dessert or a drink, left a party early or didn't go at all, blew off a family/relationship obligation on a weekend, gave less than 100% on a particular task because their mind was focused on training/racing, wasted a day because they were trashed after a huge workout/race, did not ride with friends because they needed to do intervals/ride easy/whatever, etc.

most of us do not think of these as sacrifices (maybe we didn't really want to go to that uncle's wedding that was at the same time as XYZ race?), but most if not all cyclists who are getting to or near cat 1 have given up something.

i lost track, but i think @Radish_legs seemed to be saying that in order to get *good* (and cat 1, even though amateur, definitely qualifies as "good") at something -- anything -- it requires dedication. the less available time to spend on that activity, the more strict one tends to have to be.

i know people who have 4 kids and still race; they do workouts at 4am and finish them before the family gets up. me? if that was my only training option i would just give up the sport.

fundamentally, cycling (esp racing a bike) is selfish, and it's not hard for those of us who hang out on a racing forum to find justification for doing it as much as we think we need, in the way that we need (intervals, not intervals, etc.).

using @mattm as an example: he built up a great base as an endurance athlete, and then he rides a bunch while still maintaining a challenging job and a relationship. however, one could even argue that not every relationship would stand up to a partner racing 50, 100x a year (or doing ANYTHING 50-100 weekend days).

personally i wouldn't choose a partner/spouse that would not be cool with something like that so i get it, but MANY people would consider spending that many weekend days racing to be at least some sort of 'sacrifice.'

Last edited by tetonrider; 09-30-17 at 10:59 PM. Reason: removed an incomplete thought at the end.
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Old 09-30-17, 10:24 PM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
True. I imagine most like the process or they would have quit. I suppose some are miserable along the way, and just push through.

But MANY do not progress because they want to focus on what is fun for them.

The OP likes to do group rides. I'm not aware of any cat 1 riders in my area who do only group rides and races. There is one group ride where some of these guys join in. Sat or Sun morning. It's a race more than a group ride.

Most every other group ride - rare to have a cat 1, or for that matter a cat 2. Maybe it's different in California, where you have different kinds of terrain (mountains) or just different kind of riding culture.

One thing I have surmised - really fast guys do very specific workouts, most often solo.

LOTS of cat 3s and cat 4s do group rides all the time. I know. Those are the guys I ride with.

My theory is that just about anyone can become a cat 3 if they put the effort in. Genetics be damned. I could have easily catted up to 3 in my very first racing season as a fat old man (I have 21 points in USA cycling from about 10 cat 4 races--nobody cares of course, not even me). What I do wonder is to do what degree there are limiters to someone becoming a cat 2. I don't think I will ever be a cat 2. I think it *might* be possible if I dedicated MUCH more time and effort and expense. But possibly not, at my age. I don't think I could ever be a cat 1, no matter how hard I tried. So I wonder if Cat 2 is the level where natural talent/genetics comes into play, where not everyone can make it, no matter if they have unlimited resources/time.
I think there's value in group rides. Our Saturday one (Raincross) usually has a fair bit of 1's, ex pro's and 1 or 2 DPro's. There's a warm up then its full gas, 28-30 and up a hill or 2. That's also probably one of the slower group rides in the region. There are dudes in those rides that never race but if they're easily Cat 2 or 1 talent.

Anyway, you don't really do it for fitness, you do it for the experience and to be comfortable in a group going 28-30. I've been yelled at, I've been corrected. Guys aren't nice there if you do things wrong. However, if I were to stick my butt on the trainer for 4 months than jump into a crit, I'd probably put myself and 4 other guys in the hospital. The guys in this thread that do it have been racing for years.

I'll be honest, advocating avoiding group rides to get faster scares the crap out of me. Racing against an army of Zwifters or guys that never ride in groups sounds like a disaster.
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Old 09-30-17, 10:39 PM
  #72  
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The OP is a Cat 2. He has done plenty of racing. He only does group rides. Doing stuff on the trainer is not going to make him dangerous.

Doing a fast group ride twice a week is how I was able to prepare for the mental aspect of racing and get 2nd in my first cat 4/5. So I definitely believe in group riding as important. Esp group rides that simulate (to some degree) racing. While it is pointed out to me how little actual racing experience I have, these group rides have given me some experience (I think) that is like racing experience in the bank.
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Old 09-30-17, 11:05 PM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by furiousferret View Post
The guys in this thread that do it have been racing for years.

I'll be honest, advocating avoiding group rides to get faster scares the crap out of me. Racing against an army of Zwifters or guys that never ride in groups sounds like a disaster.
Sure....but the people who have experience doing that generally have experience, and if they don't have experience they are in cat 4 or 5, where we'd likely all suggest that everyone is best on their guard for other riders' mistakes.

In some areas, riding a trainer is a necessity during at least a few months of the year. In my region it is due to snow-/ice-covered roads and non-existent shoulders. For others, it is simply due to lack of daylight during their ride windows. (I'm leaving out the whole 'I prefer the rollers' folks here.)

I've done winters where I rode all structured hours on the trainer, and I've also done winters where I do a bare minimum on the trainer and instead get my base through other means (nordic skiing, for example).

I've also jumped into bike races straight off the trainer (February and March) -- like, literally, my first pedal stroke outside is the warm-up before the race. Rollers (eMotion) help quite a bit vs straight-up trainer.

If I felt unsafe or -- more importantly -- that I'd be a danger to others, I'd definitely not do it.

Even though I pretty much NEVER do group rides (don't think I did a single one this year!), I still feel comfortable jumping in an "A" group ride anywhere in the world, though. I wouldn't advocate that to someone new.
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Old 09-30-17, 11:08 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by tetonrider View Post
i don't think i agree with @Doge's assessment that anyone in the US who really goes for it can get to cat 1.
...
i do agree that with enough effort many people can get there (or close to it), but it usually involves some trade-off in life. ...
Those seem like a contradiction. IT DOES require executing. "Anyone" I posted was an <30 year old.
It is a huge accomplishment because of the focus, and commitment and sacrifice, not because it is so out of reach.

When small countries like Belgium, Netherlands (etc.) can turn out such a high percentage of riders cat 1 level and beyond, I just don't think it is out of genetic reach for a <30 year old. It is a choice.

Of course I expect exceptions, I just don't know the Americans that have a coach, execute to a structured program that can't do it.
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Old 10-01-17, 12:01 AM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by Doge View Post
Those seem like a contradiction. IT DOES require executing. "Anyone" I posted was an <30 year old.
no... "many people" (my phrase) is not roughly equivalent to "anyone under 30" (yours).

Originally Posted by doge
It is a huge accomplishment because of the focus, and commitment and sacrifice, not because it is so out of reach.
as a friend of mine said, cat 1 is being the best out of not really making it. and it's kind of true -- but that doesn't mean it is not hard work nor does it belittle the accomplishment.

cat 1 is not getting drafted into the NFL, NBA, etc. it's not riding for Quick Step or even Jelly Belly.

Originally Posted by doge
When small countries like Belgium, Netherlands (etc.) can turn out such a high percentage of riders cat 1 level and beyond, I just don't think it is out of genetic reach for a <30 year old. It is a choice.
There are plenty of people who can't make their varsity high school team (or even JV) despite any amount of work.

Originally Posted by doge
Of course I expect exceptions, I just don't know the Americans that have a coach, execute to a structured program that can't do it.
Tons of exceptions -- so many that it's probably more the rule.

Cat 3 is the destination category for USAC (part of that is not being able to make some of those choices). Cat 1 is impossible for some, even with appropriate help.

Some people just can't break through (not enough power, inability to implement the tactics, injuries, etc.).

I definitely DO understand your point. I wonder if your perception is skewed because you ran in a circle with the most talented juniors in the nation.
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