Masters Racing (All Disciplines) Race on the track or road or on your mountainbike in the Masters Category? Want to talk tactics, strategy and training with your peers?

I Need a Break

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Old 09-26-18, 03:06 PM
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sarals 
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I Need a Break

With one week to go to Worlds, the last (serious) racing I'm going to do this season, I am struggling a bit to regain the excitement and anticipation for the race that I felt a month ago. For the last couple of weeks I've been surprisingly ambivalent about racing, and Worlds in particular. I love racing on the track, and it does fit me physiologically in a way that racing on the road really never has. Seeing the registrant list, with the MANY 55-60 y/o women (most events for 66 y/o women are in a 55+ or 60+ field) didn't pique my enthusiasm, what a surprise, but it didn't really enhance my ambivalence, either. I've come to realize (with the sage input from those who have more big races under their belt than I do) that I am tired. Tired. I've had two peaks this past season, I've come back from serious injury, and I never really let up in my training since last years UCI Worlds iteration. My body is tired, and my brain is even more tired.

I need a break.

At my age, I can't stop completely. Getting back to form would be difficult if I do. I have in mind doing some "easy", "mindless" riding and a little bit of racing. Cyclocross racing (which I will NOT train for). Long rides. Group rides. Unstructured rides. Perhaps two months worth of that. And, I need to retool my diet and figure out how to loose weight without loosing too much muscle and then how to keep it off when I return to the velodrome next season. The big thing is that I need to let go of the laser focus I've had on finding track success for the last year. I have learned how taxing that is, how hard it is to sustain, and how much I need to get away from it.

In short - I need to fall in love with the bike again. And to get some semblance of a life back!

Thanks, all.
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Old 09-26-18, 03:30 PM
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You deserve that break after the world's. It has been a big year for you!

Know that feeling though. Melbourne where I live has a similar climate to where you are so there is no off season. This means racing is continuous throughout the year and so when you are focused and driven it is easy to forge on without a break; especially when you race multiple disciplines.
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Old 09-26-18, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Dalai View Post
You deserve that break after the world's. It has been a big year for you!

Know that feeling though. Melbourne where I live has a similar climate to where you are so there is no off season. This means racing is continuous throughout the year and so when you are focused and driven it is easy to forge on without a break; especially when you race multiple disciplines.
Thanks!

I've been warned (ahem) that breaks are necessary, and I've now felt the result of not really heeding that. Ah, time will heal all. So they say!
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Old 09-26-18, 08:18 PM
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Might I suggest a mountain bike??

I understand where you’re coming from though. It’s annoying/frustrating/demoralizing as a woman to race in the context that the “real” racing is the men’s fields. Seems like there’s always plenty of men’s fields divided logically by physiology whereas women get lumped together such that sometimes/frequently you’re put into a racing group that you can’t really be competitive in. Yet somehow you’re supposed to stay engaged in the process, “believe” that racing makes sense. For women our age, frequently it’s not actually a race. You just go out and race for something intrinsic, something internal to yourself. Sometimes that is adequate, sometimes it’s just flavorless.

So I question it too. Why am I doing all this work, putting so much into it? I like the precision of the TT stuff- the quest for aero optimization, riding a perfect TT, reading the wind and environmental conditions perfectly. But sometimes the racing “scene” is just frustrating. A FB post goes up congratulating all the local State TT champs, and I’m not mentioned (thankfully one of my teammates chimed in to correct that). I get mansplained about aero position until I mention who my (male) fitter is. There’s an assumption my races are easier and my results less meaningful because there’s less people in my fields.

Then on top of that, for me to be prepared for my TTs, I have to ride solo mostly. Get my workouts done. I have no peers to ride with doing the same thing. It mostly doesn’t form friendship, it’s isolating. To a large extent that doesn’t bother me, it somewhat suits me. But there’s also a sense of giving up friendships and relationships so that I can race. Again: is it worth it?

I will say for me that the mtb does make it much more viable. My mtb buds are some of my favorite riding friends. The scene is chill. I enjoy it hugely. It’s mentally great for me, just really so decompressing. Epic scenery. Can combine it with travel. Every aspect of it is challenging- sometimes literally every 6 inches of trail has something new and engaging.

Overall, I love bikes but am a little sick of how male-dominated it is. That’s accentuated I think with racing. But I’m hanging in there with the TTing because it and mountain biking seem like almost the perfect yin-yang to me. I’m really jazzed because my local TT, Piru, is run by a guy who really gets racing. He makes it about the racers, male or female, your presence is equally valued. He’s putting together a TT series and I’m going to race that starting in Jan. It’s close, he gets it right, I like him and his approach to racing. So my goal is to try to see racing a little differently- to focus on the intrinsic motivators and to ignore the BS aspects of it all. We’ll see how successful I am. But I decided I’m staying in the game for now, with becoming predominantly a mtb-er being my fallback position.

Also: you are tired. Remember that. Your brain and body are making you crazy right now.
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Old 09-28-18, 10:52 AM
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This year was my tenth year of racing. I have not done a formal count but conservatively, I have averaged 12 race days per year consisting of road and track time trials and team events and road hill climbs. The first couple of years of racing, I did mass start races in both road and track to upgrade to a Cat4. Then I stopped doing mass start races.

Last year, I decided to just focus on sprinting. Sprinting is about strength/weight and CdA/power. The stronger and lighter one is while being aero, the faster one can accelerate and go. The ballistic nature of sprinting was extremely fatiguing on my muscles and other systems. And it typically made me sick. However, being sick after a hard sprint or Wattbike workout is normal for elite sprinters. I also managed to pull a muscle / tendon in my ass that plagued me most of the season. It is better now and only took 1.3 years to heal.

Sprinting does not burn many calories so weight control is more difficult but the equations in the above paragraph do not go away. Many sprinters however, think that weight gain is okay and more power / strength will result with increased weight. I am not sure of that and if I look at the Brits notably Jason Kenny 5' 10" 176 pounds, he is in impeccable shape. IMO, sprinting is much harder on the body, mind and life than classic endurance racing. Also, just sprinting was not that much fun. I would be at the track for 3 hours and get a warmup, jumps and 4 efforts lasting maybe two minutes each including a windup with most of my time hanging around in the pit feeling like crap waiting for my ATP-PC system to recharge.

I had success doing it and improved my 500 meter time at an age when we are supposed to be slowing down. Which BTW, I do not buy into just stating classic dogma.

This year, I decided to go back to pursuit which seems to be more complimentary to my road time trials and quite frankly hill climbing. My ass got better and I prefer the endurance aspect of racing over pure sprinting. And, I know how to train for sprinting and throw in some sprint work that I think helps with my 2k pursuit. I believe that having more strength is always a game changer for athletes with maybe the exception of world tour grand tour racers.

With respect to fatigue, I have found about 6 months is a cycle for me. That makes training for the world championship track very difficult if one starts racing in February and training in October the previous year. If I start racing in February, I peak in July for districts and maybe nationals and get slower as I approach October if I continue to train. At worlds in 2011, I talked with one of the British coaches about how the brits handled a long season. They take a mid season break and then rebuild for track worlds.

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Old 09-29-18, 01:20 PM
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You both are totally, dead on, correct.

@Hermes, all I have done this past season, since Worlds last, is concentrate on sprint. My numbers and physiology say "pure sprinter", Coach has told me that for a long time. I talked with one of the coaches at VSC, well complained a bit about how I'd lost my abilities to do just about anything other than sprint, and he was non-plused and essentially told me a great athlete finds their best sport and builds that. Other aspects will suffer. They have. The weight control issue has become out of control. When I crashed and broke all of those ribs, I gained ten pounds and only managed to loose eight of that gain. Yes, I am stronger than I have ever been, as in ever, however it's only been worth .7 of a second, because my weight has gone up in proportion to my strength, so my power to weight is essentially the same. My jump has slowed a bit, I am not as quick off the line as a smaller, equally strong, athlete is (Lan). Yes, sprinting, the all out maximal effort it is is VERY hard on my body. I have a vision of literally tearing myself apart every time a I throw down a huge sprint effort. And, let me tell you, I have never felt my body feel as bad as it does after a 500 Meter effort. That speaks to something.

Speaking to @Heathpack's point, was it worth it? Worlds won't answer that, because there is just no way I can compete with a top tier athlete five to twelve years younger than me. I'm looking for PR's, maybe a record somewhere, but that's all I can hope to do. In the intrinsic sense, I've done about all I can there. I can only tell myself "it's about the small victories" so many times. That's about used up.

After Worlds I'll consider directions. Mountain bike? I don't know, maybe.

Thanks, you two!
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Old 09-29-18, 03:36 PM
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@sarals does power to weight really matter in track sprinting? I understand not being happy about weight gain (I’m in the same place with that right now), but I’d think the important thing would be power to CdA and since your weight likely doesn’t affect your CdA, I question whether that matters.
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Old 09-29-18, 06:08 PM
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If you are looking for validation from the road racing community keep in mind it's like high school on wheels. Watch your back. You need to find meaning in the effort because it isn't coming from anywhere else.
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Old 10-01-18, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Voodoo76 View Post
If you are looking for validation from the road racing community keep in mind it's like high school on wheels. Watch your back. You need to find meaning in the effort because it isn't coming from anywhere else.
Road racing? Been there, done that. Got a few of the jerseys. I know the community well, and the women generally are quite supportive of each other. Getting meaning from the effort, and from peers and to peers is there. As for track, at the world level, recognition from the world sanctioning body to masters women isn't there, and it isn't likely to be. Go bake cookies, grandma.
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Old 10-01-18, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post
@sarals does power to weight really matter in track sprinting? I understand not being happy about weight gain (Iím in the same place with that right now), but Iíd think the important thing would be power to CdA and since your weight likely doesnít affect your CdA, I question whether that matters.
It matters in acceleration. I have more mass to get moving, which takes more power to do. From a roll, I would think inertia comes into play. From a very slow speed or standing start, it's all about power to weight.
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Old 10-04-18, 02:42 PM
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Break or not, Worlds, here I come.....
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Old 10-04-18, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by sarals View Post
Break or not, Worlds, here I come.....
Enjoy sarals!
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Old 10-09-18, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Dalai View Post
Enjoy sarals!
Thanks, Dalai!
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