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Racing over 50

Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Racing over 50

Old 02-08-10, 07:37 PM
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Racing over 50


I'm considering trying road racing this summer, in the masters cat 5, I'm 55 and have never raced before. This would be for fun and not with the expectations of winning, but also do not want to be last. Would like some information on what to expect from the masters cat 5, what kind of speed average should I expect to be able to maintain? My home town has an event schedule for June that will be a 50 mile race.

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Old 02-08-10, 08:50 PM
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I'll be 57 in a couple weeks and I began racing two years ago and now race with the Cat 4's and Masters. I started with the goal not being last or embarrassing myself. My first couple races were eye opening and quite the learning experience. Race speed varies by the course, number of riders and how the thing plays out. Sometimes during races the pace would be ridiculously low then go turbo in a heartbeat, other races had an early break and the rest of the guys just rode a hard group ride with a sprint for nothing at the end.

Where I live the Master's races mostly have Cat 3's and 2's with a few 4's like me. The competition is greater in the master's races than the Cat 4 races but the average speed for the race would usually be lower than the Cat 5. It's the attacks that you will need to train for to be successful in the races. If your race is a Master's 55+ Cat 5 race your competition will mostly be new racers like you. Try to find the results from earlier races to see how many racers competed and how the finish was. As for race speed I've done road races with 21+ mph up to a flat 52 mile circuit race last summer with a 27.4 ave.

Good luck. You have plenty of time to get ready.

Last edited by Allegheny Jet; 02-08-10 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 02-08-10, 08:56 PM
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I'd suggest finding a club and training with them. Training solo and then showing up at a race can be quite and eye opener [to say the least]. Or put another way: Holy hell, how come I'm so slow?
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Old 02-08-10, 09:06 PM
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May I ask what part of the country you are from?

Might you be reasonably expected to tell us?
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Old 02-09-10, 04:17 AM
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I'm from Mt. Pleasant, Mi. Our local cross is mostly flat with a few small hills mixed in. It is my hope to do some riding with a group to gain some experience. Would probably not consider racing until doing so. I just had/have no idea what to expect speed wise to avoid embarassing myself. Thanks for the feedback
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Old 02-09-10, 06:50 AM
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You could try doing the Avita Water Black Bear in July. It runs from Grayling to Oscoda, roughly along the Au Sable River. 100 miles for the full route, and there's a 50-mile option. With the wide range of capabilities there, from racers to tourers, you won't be the last person in.


Weather permitting, I plan on doing this one in 2010, although I may wimp out and team up with my buddy to do the McKinley route.
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Old 02-09-10, 07:25 AM
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Try some group rides first and see how you handle that. When you feel comfortable with that, then go for it.
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Old 02-09-10, 07:03 PM
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Thanks for the advice! Blazing Pedals, thanks for telling me about the Avita Water Black Bear ride, it sounds like something I will be interested in doing.
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Old 02-12-10, 01:43 AM
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learn to follow wheels if you don't already
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Old 02-12-10, 10:58 AM
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Find a group of racers to train with regularly. You will learn a lot. There is a lot to learn about positioning and bike handling in a group. Without experience riding in a pack you would be a danger to yourself and others. Also ... think time trials to get started and as a way to compare yourself to others in terms of speed and endurance without the dynamics of group riding.
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Old 02-12-10, 10:24 PM
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I'm starting my 3rd year of racing (55, racing age 56). I concur with those who suggest riding with groups. Additionally, I'd suggest doing races not on your current calendar. You can't appreciate the experience and practice until you do it. If there are any "practice" or mentoring races in your area you should take advantage of them as well.

I race women's CAT4 because the W45+ usually include CATs 1&2 and I don't need that kind of spanking on a regular basis. If offered in a time trial, however, I take it. OTOH, I have no problem besting women half my age in any kind of race. Yeah, I like a cheap shot...

Don't underestimate the value of practice. The more you race the better you get, regardless of placement.

Good luck, and keep us posted.
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Old 02-13-10, 10:22 PM
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I thought about doing it a couple of years back when I was suddenly in the fastest group of riders in Prospect Park and all the wheel suckers would be drafting behind me. I was holding a 21mph average pace on the loop, with a small up and a small down, and this was completely solo. But when I saw the real racers training I realized that I wasn't even close, although they were in their 20s and I was over 50. I guess if I joined up with a group I could have done it, but I didn't have the time.
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