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kbarch 11-10-14 08:01 PM

What hope?
Soooo.... Kind of a long post here, but really a simple question, and I hope others will just take it as a springboard for describing their own success story as much as they might give some advice and encouragement.

What hope do I have to ever upgrade from Cat 5? I've finished enough races to qualify, but I refuse to ask until I've at least finished with the field a few times!

I ask this here (rather than the road cycling forum, where I normally hang out) because, a year and a half ago, racing age 49, I picked up my first bike in decades for the express purpose of taking up racing, with the added benefit of being able to get some aerobic/cardio/whatever-they're-calling-it-these-days kind of exercise in a more pleasant atmosphere than the gym. (in case you're wondering what prompted it, I'd been moto official for a while, and when on a stationary bike at the gym after working a race one day, it struck me how obvious the choice was).

I've never been any kind of athlete, but I've definitely made some progress. I've done a couple of centuries, and of course participated in a number of races. I even got my first Strava KOM the other day, though admittedly that was on a silly cobbled street that only 150 others have bothered to record. I continue to improve a little, I think, but I am often disappointed to find myself not doing as well as I thought. I've managed to get pretty good at sprinting up hills, but I'm terrible at maintaining an even effort above a lollygagging level. Like today, even though I managed to sprint up a hill at 22 mph, faster than any of the 72 others who tried it today, I only managed an average of less than 17 mph for the whole loop! On the flat 6-mile route to and from the park (only a couple of stop lights), I barely managed 14 mph. I just took my time! I've done group training rides where we average 20 for 18-19 miles and it feels good. I try to hang with a group that does 21 mph? I last maybe 10 miles before I get dropped like a rock. And it could be anywhere, but surprisingly more often than elsewhere, on descents. I think it's mental.

I asked a friend once how long it took from the time she started racing to the time she became competitive, and she said about a year and a half. But she wasn't much more than half my age. Can anyone here confirm whether that might be a reasonable expectation at our age? Do I have a realistic chance of not getting dropped from every race next season?

qcpmsame 11-10-14 08:06 PM

Congratulations on your racing, you exceed most people by doing the races and not just wishing. Its been a coons age since I was racing (a really old coon, at that,) no advice to offer you there. One thing to offer from my view point, if you don't get into the Master's Racing Forum here, check in there for some great people to glean tips and pointers from. Best of luck on your continued success (being there and doing the racing is a success) in racing, it will be nice to follow some reports from you, here, if you would, please.


John E 11-10-14 11:10 PM

Well, you are way out of my league, so I can't advise you on racing, having never been race material myself. If you enjoy it, give it a shot!

kbarch 11-11-14 04:00 AM

Originally Posted by qcpmsame (Post 17295021)
... the Master's Racing Forum here...

Wait - there's a forum just for Master's racing? This site is so big!
Anyhow, it's not just about racing. As far as fitness goes, it seems there are a lot of guys and gals out there who'd never consider it, but are certainly fit enough. I see guys in their 50s and 60s doing 60+ mile rides in the country at a 21 mph pace all the time; if you can do that, you're definitely fit enough to hang in a Cat 5 peloton. It's intimidating.

qcpmsame 11-11-14 06:25 AM

here's a link for the "Masters Racing" forum, its a sub-forum in the Racer's Forums group.Masters Racing (All Disciplines) Lot of good folks there.


crazyb 11-11-14 10:23 AM

If you are getting dropped in cat 5 races, why would you want to get whooped up on even worse as a cat 4?

kbarch 11-11-14 05:49 PM

Originally Posted by crazyb (Post 17296400)
If you are getting dropped in cat 5 races, why would you want to get whooped up on even worse as a cat 4?

That's the thing - I wouldn't look for an upgrade until I stop getting dropped, and then, at this age, I'd go straight to Masters, which, while it is sometimes MORE competitive than Cat 4, it's usually a group of better riders altogether (i.e., more predictable, safer, etc.) - at least from what I've seen as a moto official and participant/spectator over the course of the last three seasons.

Racing is fun, even if you don't get a podium. Just being in a peloton is a unique thrill, and it's something I want to get better at; I believe it's something I may actually be suited for, late as I may be coming to it. I just wonder sometimes if I'm deluded.

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