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New to cycling training for cat 5 road races

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New to cycling training for cat 5 road races

Old 05-15-11, 07:24 PM
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New to cycling training for cat 5 road races

This is my first post so please take it easy on me. I decided 5 1/2 weeks ago to start cycling / cat 5 racing. Before this I did absolutely no physical activity for 10 years. before that I was a competitive distance runner with prs. of 4:13 mile 9:27 2 mile and 14:58 5k (5000m). I though that with my past endurance I might be good at this if i could develop my cycling muscles.

For the past 5 1/2 weeks I have been training and riding with cat1/2 and some cat 5 racers who do training rides everyday. average speed between 20 to 25 mph. as of this weekend i have put in 1046 miles in 5 1/2 weeks and feel great. every week I feel stronger and want to ride more. My questions are like anyone else on here i guess.

1) what can I do to be in race shape for next february. ( dont want to race till after the first of year to be sure im in good enough shape to compete. am I on the right track or do i need to do something special. i keep hearing some people say go fast to get faster where as I would think as a ex distance runner, build a base of 1200 miles a month till february then do speed work.

2) i feel i have good endurance i believe my power isnt what it should be. should i go ride alot of hills in higher gears to burn my legs into strength?

3) Im not really into the whole crit thing much rather prefer racing longer distances (road races in cat 5). crits to me seem to be the equivilant to the mile which i hate by the way.

4) is this enough time to be be in a great position for racing next year.. ( the cat 1 guys keep telling me my learning curve is alot bigger faster than most as im pickng it up fast?

5)im hitting the gym also 3 times a week for lunges squats deadlifts leg presses and such to speed up muscle strength.

any suggestions or comments would be greatly appreciated.

my running weight 10 years ago was 132 5'7"
started riding i was 162 pounds
currently im 157 and dropping.
my struggles seem to be on bridges when we go from 27-28mph to over 30 near the end of the ride
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Old 05-15-11, 07:31 PM
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to truly know what you are missing, get a license and start racing. there's a sticky in the racing subforum you should look at. to be competitive in the 5's and 4's, you need to come up with about 9-12 hours a week for training. skip the weights during the racing season, a 12 week race prep programme in december is all you need as far as resistance training. why wait. start now.
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Old 05-15-11, 07:41 PM
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Good on you for getting it in gear.

Sounds like you'll be fine going the way you're going. But, don't preclude racing sometime before the new year should you feel up to it. Racing can also give you a better idea of where you are conditioning wise, and, in turn, would help you with your training plans for getting ready for 2012. Tough parts of racing are the surges and developing that top end for the times when the pace jumps for a bit. It'll come if you stick with it and train for it. Your weight is, arguably, fine, but, indeed, with respect to plenty of cyclists we see and know, plenty of room to drop a few pounds.

Good luck.

(btw, I'm a former javelin thrower and 100 sprinter, and some shot put and triple jump when needed; then got into marathons after college.)
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Old 05-15-11, 07:41 PM
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Geez, it's amazing how many runners get into cycling. People often say cycling is less competitive than running because there is a smaller competition pool, but it seems like that small pool is made up of some top-end competitors in other sports. A 4:13 mile is not average at all, even though it seems like that's what everyone's PR is on BF.

Good question though. I was wondering many of those things myself.
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Old 05-15-11, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by bostongarden
Good on you for getting it in gear.

Sounds like you'll be fine going the way you're going. But, don't preclude racing sometime before the new year should you feel up to it. Racing can also give you a better idea of where you are conditioning wise, and, in turn, would help you with your training plans for getting ready for 2012. Tough parts of racing are the surges and developing that top end for the times when the pace jumps for a bit. It'll come if you stick with it and train for it. Your weight is, arguably, fine, but, indeed, with respect to plenty of cyclists we see and know, plenty of room to drop a few pounds.
Good luck.

(btw, I'm a former javelin thrower and 100 sprinter, and some shot put and triple jump when needed; then got into marathons after college.)
Yup, the sooner you start racing, the sooner you start learning and can apply what you've learned.
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Old 05-16-11, 07:26 AM
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Since bike racing encompasses tactics as well as fitness, it's virtually impossible to "train" for an introduction to racing. Yes, you can get in shape. But no, you can't learn how to read a race by training.

I would bet that if you raced this weekend or did a weeknight training race and continued on through the summer doing races, you'll be in much better racing shape in February than possible if you only trained for starting racing in February.

I'm sure you're very strong - I can't even conceive of the idea of running a 4:13 mile - but if you start racing now, and you race intelligently, I'd guess that you'd be a Cat 2 in February 2012. You wouldn't be asking for advice at that point, that's for sure. Yesterday I raced with a Cat 2 that started racing in 2010 as a Cat 5. By the end of the season he'd placed 4th in a Pro12 race, i.e. he was not only a Cat 2, he was a competitive Cat 2.
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Old 05-16-11, 08:04 AM
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You'll be good - with a 4:xx mile, you'll easily have one of, if not, the best-running engine onboard your bike on Cat5 race day. You'll be way up in front, if not the lead rider as long as you play your cards right.

I'd still expect to get snagged by tactics and sprints on race day, though. Even if you're 25% stronger than the guy behind you, if he's sucking your draft the whole way and can outsprint you to the end in the final moments, it counts for naught.

Runners x-over well to cycling (much better than vice-versa) but there's still a lot of leg power for speed that needs to be developed that you don't get in running. Ryan Hall, the top USA marathoner of all time, just last week rode a local famed hill climb as an all out time trial in 18:xx, which is about how fast a Cat2 guy would do it, but still way off what a Cat1 or pro could do it in. (The records is 14:xx, and someone calculated that LA/Contador should be able to do it in 12:xx).

Cat5s also have a huge range of ability - there will be some really experienced and strong riders there who will dominated and be competitive in Cat1/2 nearly immediately, as that's where their ability/experience is.

You'll be good, but not as dominant as you are in running with a 15:xx 5k, where only good collegiate runners can beat you. Give at a year though, and you'll probably similarly good if you keep up your training.
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Old 05-16-11, 08:18 AM
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Just go race. Don't wait. And it is debatable how much the weight lifting will help you.

As others have said, racing is a different beast from riding and just doing races is often the best training for racing.

As a side note, I ride with a guy who was a competitive runner in college. He picked up cycling about ten years later and within two seasons he was a Cat 2.
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Old 05-16-11, 09:28 AM
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as long as your group riding skills are fine, which I'm gathering they are, I'd start racing now. I'm a Cat 5 (only raced 4 times) and as some of the others have said, you'll see a wide range of abilities in this group. I've hung with the pack the whole way in a road race and been dropped immediately in a crit. You'll also find that tactics in training rides and races won't be the same. Tactics are just something you pick up with time. I still have so much to learn myself. I turned what should have been a top 10 into 18th a couple weeks ago simply because I lost my focus and let my group get away from me. In summary, get in the game! It's a lot of work, but also a lot of fun (at least for me).
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Old 05-16-11, 12:56 PM
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Get out there and race! It is hard to say how you will do, but you sound fit. Don't forget, as mentioned before, there are tactics involved. Can you hold a sprint for the last few laps? Are you at the front of the pack for the sprint, etc. I am fairly new to this CAT 4 but I can tell you, fitness alone won't win races. I am at the point where I am fairly fit, but now focusing on tactics. My advice - just do it - and look at is as a way to train and more importantly learn. Each race I am learning more and more as well as improving my racing shape.
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Old 05-16-11, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by JAMES_AMTRAK
my struggles seem to be on bridges when we go from 27-28mph to over 30 near the end of the ride
Bike races (and racing-oriented training rides) have a much more variable pace than distance running. You'll pick up some of that in training, and you can do intervals to work on it. Being able to read the pack and know when the jam is on helps a lot. That'll come with experience.

But with your running speed you will probably have a big engine for bike racing. Don't be in too much of a hurry to cat up.

Weight training won't help your riding much. Low cadence work can help but it's not something I would recommend to a new rider because of the injury potential. Save it for a year or two down the road. You are going to improve from any riding you do for the first year.
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Old 05-16-11, 01:46 PM
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surge is gonna be the one thing you'll have to adapt to coming from a running background.

My first experience as a cat5 came last month when I rode against guys who I regularly dropped on training rides who outsprinted me in the crits. There are lots of sandbaggers to contend with too. They should cat up, but don't because they like to podium. Also you've got people with not enough races to cat up and so they are potentially 1/2s in the mix.

The first variable I found is knowing how to think in a crit, and how it is different than group/club/training rides. People will elbow you, they will crash for no reason and they won't think twice about boxing you in and keeping that engine parked.

Show self-control out the front, and don't get caught in the box.

Also, learn to NOT brake in turns, and if you feel like you are slipping get better gripping tires.
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Old 05-16-11, 02:00 PM
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In general, most of this year's class of Cat 5s has graduated on to Cat 4 or higher by now, particularly the motivated ones, because everyone started racing at the start of the season. There will likely be less Cat 2s-in-waiting sitting in Cat 5. You'll be fine if you start this weekend.
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Old 05-16-11, 02:39 PM
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I agree. start races as soon as possible to get a feel for them as long as you're comfortable riding close to others and can handle your bike safely and accordingly. even 1-day license races can be added to your license later; you just need to email usac to add them. if you're not planning on doing 6 races this year don't bother with the license yet, apply for the 2012 license since they cost $60 and each one-day license costs $10.

I've learned so much, but have only been able to keep up with the peloton this year after training over the winter. basemiles, weights, and cross training in the off season and camping up for the season with intervals, single leg drills, rest days, and tempo rides will get you plenty prepared. if you ride with others try to ride with riders that are faster than you. it'll help to make you faster.
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Old 05-16-11, 06:01 PM
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WOW THANX FOR ALL THE RESPONSES.

You guys do have to understand I have been not actiive in any physical activity for 10 years. i'm sure i could run in the mid 5:00 minute range for a mile but not like i was pushing 10 years ago.

I hold my own on our sprints during the training rides which seem to turn into races at different points. we have up hill sprints at the end that im getting better at. like you said my problems right now are switching gears which I would like to blame on lack of leg power even if thats not really the case which is the reason Im trying some cycling related exercises like squats lungs leg press dead lifts. trying to work the gluts.

I dont think I have the strength swash endurance to hold 26 -30 mph for a long distance or time. I believe if i had to enter a race where the speed was 24-25 and i rode in the peloton i would be alright but once again im back to surging problems then trying to recharge

I have only been at this for about 6 weeks. cant get enough of my bike want to ride it 24-7

(the thing that aggrivates me though is when other cat 5 racers that I sometimes ride with give me the ( you wont make it on such and such ride) like a century ride at 20mph. or a 80 mile training ride through hills. it really puts me in a bad mindset cause i believe my endurance will push me through it at the speeds or just below their going. I dont hear this from the cat 1 -2 -3 riders all i hear is how awesome it is that im doing these kind of rides after 6 weeks. Its like these guys are trying to keep me down or talk me out of doing them because they know it will make me better. i mean I know at this stage I cant beat these cat 5 guys. but I also feel that by february I should be. they on the other hand dont believe so.

should i keep with the base building of long miles excess of 50-60 miles and keep doing these high paced training rides also. or just do the 25-30 mile higher speed training rides. my thoughts are this...

I would like to build a base of 1200 miles a month between now and february. including alot of hill climbing
then in february start interval training hard.

what you guys think?

also I think i would be non competitive at this early point in riding but in 3 months I would re evaluate and possibly do a couple road races when i feel stronger. ( I really am not into crits at this point as I think I could possibly be a better road racer longer distances) but once I do a crit that could all change!
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Old 05-16-11, 07:31 PM
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you can choose to race or not to race

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Old 05-16-11, 07:31 PM
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I still think the best thing you could do for yourself right now is to enter a few races and experience what the surges feel like. You'll learn a lot and it will give you an idea on where you need to improve. Then you can tailor a training program to your needs and you'll start 2012 with some actual race experience.
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Old 05-16-11, 07:44 PM
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PDEDES: I choose to race I do. I just want to be in better shape than I am right now.

ILUVUK: I will do a few races later near the end of summer. I just believe that 6 weeks of riding after 10 years of potato chips and T.V. may be to early. the other problem is the lack of road races compared to crits. I'm not 16 years old with nothing to lose. Im shooting to be a good competitive road racer, my bike handling skills need to improve at high speed turns in crowds before I can go out and put any of those guys in danger.

I will try one crit and a road race by the end of summer.

let me ask you guys this. how long do you think it will take(rough estimate) before i see that dramatic improving in my riding speed and power. ive been at it 6 weeks and 1046 miles later. 3 month 6 months a year?

thank you all for the responses
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Old 05-16-11, 07:46 PM
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id like to also say that I wanna race. heck I want to race right now. Once i feel comfortable in crits Im sure ill like them and want to do them all the time. But to me there is something about being out on a 50 to 60 mile ride in a pack with a big sprint at the end.
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Old 05-16-11, 09:12 PM
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I don't have a lot of experience with either, but so far, I prefer road races to crits. I think part of it may be my lack of confidence diving into 90 degree corners and then being ready to accelerate out of them like a bat out of hell. Sign up for the race and go into it with no other expectations besides observing and learning.
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Old 05-16-11, 09:17 PM
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Ok - you didn't clarify that running those 4:xx miles was 10 years ago. If you're not in that kind of shape, the comments of you potentially dominating the field early on won't apply. I'd expect to just hang on in the middle of the pack as long as you can - and you will likely get dropped near the end or in the field sprint to the finish. Which isn't so bad.

It'll also take a year of regular riding to even get partway to what you can do. It would be different if you were still running 15:xx 5ks now, but after 10 years of doing no regular exercise, I'd be surprised if you can crank out a 20:00 at this point (which also isn't so bad.)

I've met a good number of ex-racers and ex-collegiate competitive runners and if they've been out for a really long time, it takes them as long as it takes me to get better, unfortunately. Which isn't so fast.

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Old 05-16-11, 09:35 PM
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don't overthink it. The best training is racing. and these fast group rides you do are probably a mix of racer and non-racers and probably (hopefully) some strong Cat 1,2,3 motors. Mid season cat 5 crits will not have that kind of power. Sit in, stay of the wind, stay off the ground. And in Cat 5 road races will probably be a fast club ride until the end because every one will be afraid to attack because they don't think it will work and if it doesn't work they'll get dropped after they get caught.
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Old 05-16-11, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by JAMES_AMTRAK
WOW THANX FOR ALL THE RESPONSES.

You guys do have to understand I have been not actiive in any physical activity for 10 years. i'm sure i could run in the mid 5:00 minute range for a mile but not like i was pushing 10 years ago.

I hold my own on our sprints during the training rides which seem to turn into races at different points. we have up hill sprints at the end that im getting better at. like you said my problems right now are switching gears which I would like to blame on lack of leg power even if thats not really the case which is the reason Im trying some cycling related exercises like squats lungs leg press dead lifts. trying to work the gluts.

I dont think I have the strength swash endurance to hold 26 -30 mph for a long distance or time. I believe if i had to enter a race where the speed was 24-25 and i rode in the peloton i would be alright but once again im back to surging problems then trying to recharge

I have only been at this for about 6 weeks. cant get enough of my bike want to ride it 24-7

(the thing that aggrivates me though is when other cat 5 racers that I sometimes ride with give me the ( you wont make it on such and such ride) like a century ride at 20mph. or a 80 mile training ride through hills. it really puts me in a bad mindset cause i believe my endurance will push me through it at the speeds or just below their going. I dont hear this from the cat 1 -2 -3 riders all i hear is how awesome it is that im doing these kind of rides after 6 weeks. Its like these guys are trying to keep me down or talk me out of doing them because they know it will make me better. i mean I know at this stage I cant beat these cat 5 guys. but I also feel that by february I should be. they on the other hand dont believe so.

should i keep with the base building of long miles excess of 50-60 miles and keep doing these high paced training rides also. or just do the 25-30 mile higher speed training rides. my thoughts are this...

I would like to build a base of 1200 miles a month between now and february. including alot of hill climbing
then in february start interval training hard.

what you guys think?

also I think i would be non competitive at this early point in riding but in 3 months I would re evaluate and possibly do a couple road races when i feel stronger. ( I really am not into crits at this point as I think I could possibly be a better road racer longer distances) but once I do a crit that could all change!
If you want to do long rides like centuries and 80mile hilly rides, then you really do want a good mileage base. Since you haven't been training for very long, I would guess that you haven't trained your body to utilize fuel very efficiently, and this could become a major liability on longer rides. The more solid your base, the easier it will be to get through those long rides, and the easier it will be to recover from them.
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Old 05-18-11, 07:21 PM
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I want to do long road races, not really into century rides unless its for building mileage. my goal is to be a good road racer. then later think about crits. I think my streghts will be at 2 to 4 hour races. i cant get into the whole crit thing yet. i see it as a race where a racer trains to ride a certain amount of time and thats like 30 to 40 minutes. its probally pretty easy to take someone with the leg power of a running back or 400 meter rider and train him to ride for 40 minutes and sprint all out at the end. it seems like 40 minutes isnt really all that much. possible to make make any really powerful legs campable of racing. to me thats more of a sprint in a track meet where as road races where 40 to 100 miles races seem to bring in alot more endurance and true distance racing into play.

LET ME STATE AGAIN THAT I AM BRAND NEW TO SPORT AND MY VIEW IS PROBALLY NOT EVEN CLOSE TO CORRECT. I LIKE WATCHING CRITS BUT IF I HAD TO ANSWER A QUESTION AND SOMEONE ASKED ME WHICH RACE WOULD YOU MOST LIKELY EXCEL AT AND BE ABLE TO BE A TRUE THREAT ID SAY ROAD RACES OF 40 MILES PLUS NOT 40 MINUTES OF MEYHELM.
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Old 05-18-11, 08:07 PM
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for your own safety and the safety of others, get comfortable with high speed turns before you race. We probably all overestimate our handling abilities, and if you aren't certain of yours, learning how to turn in the pack will help a lot. Road races aren't any easier just because you don't make 90 degree turns every 400 meters.

To start, get to a parking lot and practice 90 degree turns for an hour.

PS. Read this
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