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Compared to 5 years ago, are Cat 4/5 racers faster now?

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Compared to 5 years ago, are Cat 4/5 racers faster now?

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Old 05-04-18, 11:14 AM
  #101  
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Originally Posted by TheKillerPenguin View Post
It's because we take ourselves too seriously.
Cause this aint no participation event!
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Old 05-24-18, 11:55 AM
  #102  
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When I read this....

Originally Posted by arai_speed View Post
I think you are 100% on point.

Older fellow in his 60s started racing at the same time I did (Cat 5 - Socal area). He did 3 crits, got dropped in all of them, got pulled in all of them. His results online only show 1 race with a DNF.

He hasn't been back since.
I had to respond to this thread, because I understtand that! 2 years ago, when I started, I was doing some neighborhood 5k jogs...when I decided I wanted to race bikes, for the first time, at age 46. And I wanted to fin the equivalent of a 5k for cyclists...but it doesn't exist, but anyway...back to my story

I made the decision to race in October of 2016, and a race was coming up in April of 2017. I trained hard for it. Poorly trained, as a noob, , but I did go on a few group rides, and lost weight - came in to the race at about 170lbs, which is normal weight.

Well of course I got pulled from the race before completing the first lap. So, $35 spent and at the time I would've told you I only got 3 minutes of racing.

Now I would tell you, I got zero minutes of racing. Because if you aren't riding with the peleton, but off the back, you aren't gaining any experience you wouldn't have gained from a solo training ride. So, for 2017, I did 10 races, got an upgrade from Cat 5 to Cat 4, but had actually logged zero minutes of racing time - and had gained no experience of any kind.....sad, but honest evaluation of what occurred.

It makes sense not to come back, in fact, I shouldn't have gone in the first place. The nature of these races, is you must be ready. And to make matters worse, your local group may refuse to do any race training. It's not uncommon for even a race team to 'save it' for race day...again speaking from experience. But you must have the ability to surge, recover, surge again, so you must group ride - and at fast speeds. Well maybe you learn to surge on zwift, but solo rides, don't have the variablility needed. What I did in 2017 - 150 to 200 miles a week of mostly solo rides, does not work.

I hired a coach 3 months ago, and while still failing at every race, I am better, just at my age, I need a few more months to get up to speed..to date, I maybe have 5 or 10 minutes, lifetime total, of riding with a peleton at race speeds.

Good news is - I attend group rides at 19 to 20mph every week, nowadays, and have found a local racers group ride that usually goes a fair bit harder...and will start attending that.

I still feel a little off giving any advice, not having succeeded, just yet...but I am getting better. I do go to crits, even now knowing I will be pulled. It is a gamble, I am training myself to accept losing the peleton, and I'm not sure that is wise. On the other hand, I need to put out race efforts, I feel, so as not to fall too behind on the season. Yesterday, the first lap I rode with the peleton - still so unusual to me, all the bumping and cutting people off, and craziness of it. Then on the second lap, the first surge to 28mph I was OK, but on the the third lap it went off at 28mph again, and I held the lap at about 27mph and that's all it took - once in the wind riding solo it was over. I did do 24mph solo after that, and was pulled with one lap to go...my best result on that course. I have found a few races that don't pull, and so have not always been pulled.
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Old 05-24-18, 12:34 PM
  #103  
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I can't stress enough that the above story is proof in specificity in training.

Don't bring a sharp knife to a gun fight. Or a gun to an archery match. That kind of thing.

Pick the right tool for the event, and hone that tool.

Think about it, if most Cat 5 races at a max of 75min to 90min why do so many people burn so much TSS per week on Z2? You need some power intervals. Some HIIT.
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Old 05-24-18, 01:50 PM
  #104  
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Originally Posted by rdupuy11 View Post
I had to respond to this thread, because I understtand that! 2 years ago, when I started, I was doing some neighborhood 5k jogs...when I decided I wanted to race bikes, for the first time, at age 46. And I wanted to fin the equivalent of a 5k for cyclists...but it doesn't exist, but anyway...back to my story

I made the decision to race in October of 2016, and a race was coming up in April of 2017. I trained hard for it. Poorly trained, as a noob, , but I did go on a few group rides, and lost weight - came in to the race at about 170lbs, which is normal weight.

Well of course I got pulled from the race before completing the first lap. So, $35 spent and at the time I would've told you I only got 3 minutes of racing.

Now I would tell you, I got zero minutes of racing. Because if you aren't riding with the peleton, but off the back, you aren't gaining any experience you wouldn't have gained from a solo training ride. So, for 2017, I did 10 races, got an upgrade from Cat 5 to Cat 4, but had actually logged zero minutes of racing time - and had gained no experience of any kind.....sad, but honest evaluation of what occurred.

It makes sense not to come back, in fact, I shouldn't have gone in the first place. The nature of these races, is you must be ready. And to make matters worse, your local group may refuse to do any race training. It's not uncommon for even a race team to 'save it' for race day...again speaking from experience. But you must have the ability to surge, recover, surge again, so you must group ride - and at fast speeds. Well maybe you learn to surge on zwift, but solo rides, don't have the variablility needed. What I did in 2017 - 150 to 200 miles a week of mostly solo rides, does not work.

I hired a coach 3 months ago, and while still failing at every race, I am better, just at my age, I need a few more months to get up to speed..to date, I maybe have 5 or 10 minutes, lifetime total, of riding with a peleton at race speeds.

Good news is - I attend group rides at 19 to 20mph every week, nowadays, and have found a local racers group ride that usually goes a fair bit harder...and will start attending that.

I still feel a little off giving any advice, not having succeeded, just yet...but I am getting better. I do go to crits, even now knowing I will be pulled. It is a gamble, I am training myself to accept losing the peleton, and I'm not sure that is wise. On the other hand, I need to put out race efforts, I feel, so as not to fall too behind on the season. Yesterday, the first lap I rode with the peleton - still so unusual to me, all the bumping and cutting people off, and craziness of it. Then on the second lap, the first surge to 28mph I was OK, but on the the third lap it went off at 28mph again, and I held the lap at about 27mph and that's all it took - once in the wind riding solo it was over. I did do 24mph solo after that, and was pulled with one lap to go...my best result on that course. I have found a few races that don't pull, and so have not always been pulled.
Good, 19 to 20 isn't going to cut it. That may get you acclimated to pack riding but you should be shooting for 25-28 mph. The power required for that becomes easier the more comfortable and tighter you are riding behind someone's wheel.
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Old 05-24-18, 02:53 PM
  #105  
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Originally Posted by furiousferret View Post
Good, 19 to 20 isn't going to cut it. That may get you acclimated to pack riding but you should be shooting for 25-28 mph. The power required for that becomes easier the more comfortable and tighter you are riding behind someone's wheel.
+1

26mph is the average for most crits in my neck of the woods. 24mph for the "slow" ones that are more technical - this is in 4/5 field.
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Old 05-24-18, 02:59 PM
  #106  
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
I can't stress enough that the above story is proof in specificity in training.

Don't bring a sharp knife to a gun fight. Or a gun to an archery match. That kind of thing.

Pick the right tool for the event, and hone that tool.

Think about it, if most Cat 5 races at a max of 75min to 90min why do so many people burn so much TSS per week on Z2? You need some power intervals. Some HIIT.
No arguments there! But you have long Cat 5 races...around here you see 25min to 30min for crits (in the 5s) and maybe an hour for some circuit racers or RRs.

But I agree that training should be specific to the discipline you are racing in.
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Old 05-25-18, 12:34 AM
  #107  
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Originally Posted by rdupuy11 View Post
I had to respond to this thread, because I understtand that! 2 years ago, when I started, I was doing some neighborhood 5k jogs...when I decided I wanted to race bikes, for the first time, at age 46. And I wanted to fin the equivalent of a 5k for cyclists...but it doesn't exist, but anyway...back to my story

I made the decision to race in October of 2016, and a race was coming up in April of 2017. I trained hard for it. Poorly trained, as a noob, , but I did go on a few group rides, and lost weight - came in to the race at about 170lbs, which is normal weight.

Well of course I got pulled from the race before completing the first lap. So, $35 spent and at the time I would've told you I only got 3 minutes of racing.

Now I would tell you, I got zero minutes of racing. Because if you aren't riding with the peleton, but off the back, you aren't gaining any experience you wouldn't have gained from a solo training ride. So, for 2017, I did 10 races, got an upgrade from Cat 5 to Cat 4, but had actually logged zero minutes of racing time - and had gained no experience of any kind.....sad, but honest evaluation of what occurred.

It makes sense not to come back, in fact, I shouldn't have gone in the first place. The nature of these races, is you must be ready. And to make matters worse, your local group may refuse to do any race training. It's not uncommon for even a race team to 'save it' for race day...again speaking from experience. But you must have the ability to surge, recover, surge again, so you must group ride - and at fast speeds. Well maybe you learn to surge on zwift, but solo rides, don't have the variablility needed. What I did in 2017 - 150 to 200 miles a week of mostly solo rides, does not work.

I hired a coach 3 months ago, and while still failing at every race, I am better, just at my age, I need a few more months to get up to speed..to date, I maybe have 5 or 10 minutes, lifetime total, of riding with a peleton at race speeds.

Good news is - I attend group rides at 19 to 20mph every week, nowadays, and have found a local racers group ride that usually goes a fair bit harder...and will start attending that.

I still feel a little off giving any advice, not having succeeded, just yet...but I am getting better. I do go to crits, even now knowing I will be pulled. It is a gamble, I am training myself to accept losing the peleton, and I'm not sure that is wise. On the other hand, I need to put out race efforts, I feel, so as not to fall too behind on the season. Yesterday, the first lap I rode with the peleton - still so unusual to me, all the bumping and cutting people off, and craziness of it. Then on the second lap, the first surge to 28mph I was OK, but on the the third lap it went off at 28mph again, and I held the lap at about 27mph and that's all it took - once in the wind riding solo it was over. I did do 24mph solo after that, and was pulled with one lap to go...my best result on that course. I have found a few races that don't pull, and so have not always been pulled.
If you can do 24 mph solo, you easily have the fitness to ride 28 mph surges without breaking a sweat. 32 mph surgesmay be harder. But this whole post indicates it isn't fitness or specific training you lack, its practice riding in a group. You mention bumping and stealing wheels at the back of the first lap of a cat 4/5 crit... Its in your head I guarantee. If you have race rides in your area (group rides of racers or fast dudes that just like racing the group rides) you do those and learn to draft. Cuz you obviously aren't drafting well or reading what's going on around you. Get that part down first. Cuz then you can focus on racing. I remember my first few "group rides" I thought it was hard just to draft one dude 3 feet from the edge of the road lol. Bumping drills are good even if you only do them once just to prove that a good hard shove won't knock you down. But the race rides are great for getting comfortable in a crazy ass pack.
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Old 05-25-18, 11:41 AM
  #108  
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Originally Posted by aaronmcd View Post
If you can do 24 mph solo, you easily have the fitness to ride 28 mph surges without breaking a sweat. 32 mph surgesmay be harder. But this whole post indicates it isn't fitness or specific training you lack, its practice riding in a group. You mention bumping and stealing wheels at the back of the first lap of a cat 4/5 crit... Its in your head I guarantee. If you have race rides in your area (group rides of racers or fast dudes that just like racing the group rides) you do those and learn to draft. Cuz you obviously aren't drafting well or reading what's going on around you. Get that part down first. Cuz then you can focus on racing. I remember my first few "group rides" I thought it was hard just to draft one dude 3 feet from the edge of the road lol. Bumping drills are good even if you only do them once just to prove that a good hard shove won't knock you down. But the race rides are great for getting comfortable in a crazy ass pack.
Amen. You did it backwards. You raced, then started thinking about fast group rides. I did it the other way (many say to a fault). I got 2nd place in my first crit, and I credit most of that to doing fast group rides with guys who race. And yes, it took a lot of work to get to the point where I had the fitness and mental wherewithal to be comfortable with that.
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Old 05-26-18, 05:25 AM
  #109  
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
I can't stress enough that the above story is proof in specificity in training.

Don't bring a sharp knife to a gun fight. Or a gun to an archery match. That kind of thing.

Pick the right tool for the event, and hone that tool.

Think about it, if most Cat 5 races at a max of 75min to 90min why do so many people burn so much TSS per week on Z2? You need some power intervals. Some HIIT.
Because ideally you're doing both in your early years; building up a good amount of volume with lots of easy rides, and then doing 2-3 workouts/rides/races on top of that. The more training you do, the more training you can do. And the more hard training you can do. Which eventually will make you faster.

A crit is still 99% aerobic, and developing that aerobic ability takes many years of increasing training stimulus. Being too specific with lower volume when you're a newer rider will likely stunt your overall growth in the coming years if you never add it in. If and when you get to a 1/2 level, it can be pretty important to have those prior years of bigger miles to fall back on. I started doing 12-14 hours of base/build in winter time as a 4, then a couple more hours as a 3, then up to 20-21 hrs as a 2 and a 1. But that was when I had the time and energy to do all of that. But after doing that for almost a decade, I don't really have to do it anymore, and I get along pretty well with half that (though ideally I'd like to be in the 12-15 hour range if I wanted to do more road races and such). A 3-4 hour ride is still a huge piece of the puzzle according to Hunter Allen and guys like that, just because you're getting such a big stimulus when you're pushing through all that fatigue and glycogen depletion. If you've never had a few years of doing those, then you're really missing out on a big piece of potential fitness.

Specificity is the last part of periodization from a macro point of view. There are two more arguably more important parts that precede it. Bigger the base, the higher the peak.
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Old 05-31-18, 11:44 AM
  #110  
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Because ideally you're doing both in your early years; building up a good amount of volume with lots of easy rides, and then doing 2-3 workouts/rides/races on top of that. The more training you do, the more training you can do. And the more hard training you can do. Which eventually will make you faster.

A crit is still 99% aerobic, and developing that aerobic ability takes many years of increasing training stimulus. Being too specific with lower volume when you're a newer rider will likely stunt your overall growth in the coming years if you never add it in. If and when you get to a 1/2 level, it can be pretty important to have those prior years of bigger miles to fall back on. I started doing 12-14 hours of base/build in winter time as a 4, then a couple more hours as a 3, then up to 20-21 hrs as a 2 and a 1. But that was when I had the time and energy to do all of that. But after doing that for almost a decade, I don't really have to do it anymore, and I get along pretty well with half that (though ideally I'd like to be in the 12-15 hour range if I wanted to do more road races and such). A 3-4 hour ride is still a huge piece of the puzzle according to Hunter Allen and guys like that, just because you're getting such a big stimulus when you're pushing through all that fatigue and glycogen depletion. If you've never had a few years of doing those, then you're really missing out on a big piece of potential fitness.

Specificity is the last part of periodization from a macro point of view. There are two more arguably more important parts that precede it. Bigger the base, the higher the peak.
Great summary! I've always been convinced there is a training cycle longer than a season. Every one (that I've known) of those Masters or "Time Crunched" training program riders kicking ass on 6 hrs/week at some point did long hours in the saddle, or on ski's or in the pool or rowing.

Not only are you building a bigger engine, you are also improving ability to recover. Without that background all except the most gifted are going to break down if given a stead diet of high intensity.
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Old 05-31-18, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Voodoo76 View Post
Great summary! I've always been convinced there is a training cycle longer than a season. Every one (that I've known) of those Masters or "Time Crunched" training program riders kicking ass on 6 hrs/week at some point did long hours in the saddle, or on ski's or in the pool or rowing.

Not only are you building a bigger engine, you are also improving ability to recover. Without that background all except the most gifted are going to break down if given a stead diet of high intensity.
I had arunning coach explain it as Macro vs meta cycles in training. Your meta was like your season plan. Your macro was your long term. There is science to back it up, but don't have any handy at the moment.

One of my friends went to a talk with Andy Coggan (I think) and he layed out a plan that had new athletes to the sport (even if experience from other high level athletics) that involved basically tow years of just volume and learning before diving in too much.
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Old 06-01-18, 06:38 AM
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I almost never ride more than 8 hours per week. I just don't have the time. I imagine I'd be better if I had ever been able to do 12 hours per week.
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Old 06-16-18, 09:19 PM
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Here's the results from this years TT Masters National. 11 Cat 1s and one Cat 5, haha. I think it worked out how it was supposed to work out.

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Old 06-17-18, 06:50 AM
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Wow. Pretty solid result!

Those guys are all heavy hitters! I know the guy in 3rd and he's about the strongest dude this side of the Mississippi. Won the nats road race yesterday. Won Sunny King masters crit solo. Won it last year by lapping the field solo. Wins over half the races he does. Phenom. The guy in 2nd is also a national cat 1 contender on the elite circuit, so yeah, they're pretty fast.

Now you know what to expect, and frankly, you're not that far off if you've just started racing. I'd be pretty encouraged if I were you! Good job.
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Old 06-17-18, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
The average cyclist (not the average racer) would be dropped in the first lap of the crits I do. No doubt about it. In all the 4/5 crits i have done this year, I was on the podium 3 times, and my FTP is near 300w. That's 3 out of many, many.
That is good info right there. FTP is very trainable and critical to riding crits, IME.

It's hard to learn to race crits without racing a lot. A high FTP allows you to make mistakes and recover, and still stick with the pack. A not-so-high FTP gives you little room for error. A few poorly gauged efforts and you're out the back.
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Old 06-17-18, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Wow. Pretty solid result!

Those guys are all heavy hitters! I know the guy in 3rd and he's about the strongest dude this side of the Mississippi. Won the nats road race yesterday. Won Sunny King masters crit solo. Won it last year by lapping the field solo. Wins over half the races he does. Phenom. The guy in 2nd is also a national cat 1 contender on the elite circuit, so yeah, they're pretty fast.

Now you know what to expect, and frankly, you're not that far off if you've just started racing. I'd be pretty encouraged if I were you! Good job.

Thanks! I showed up to Nationals with 0 expectations. Of course it lit I fire because, yes, I wound up a lot closer to the field than I imagined. Also, I didn't know everyone was a Cat 1 when I was there, haha. Including the Nationals TT- that was the 8th race I did on a TT bike. Of course I have ridden one quite a bit, but only the 8th race. Some awkward moments arise when you've never been to nationals as well, like right before we start, the nice lady with the iPad said that she needed to scan me, and I thought there was a bar code on the bib number... so I keep turning around and literally showing her my ass while she was trying to get around me and scan the bike for motors, ��.

I have pinned down a coach and I'll be back to Nationals next year, should be Cat 4 by then. Thanks again for the encouraging words.

Edit: I'm also from Nashville TN, and come back often for visits, I'll hit you up for a ride maybe next time I'm in town? I have a house in Forest Hills
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