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How do you transition from racer to enthusiast rider?

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

How do you transition from racer to enthusiast rider?

Old 12-09-19, 04:16 PM
  #51  
SpeedyBlueBiker
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I used to be a competitive runner back in college and post college for a few years. Managed to just barely get under 30 minutes for the 10,000m and some low 14's for the 5,000m. I understand the "competitive" nature of the racing and training. For me, when I knew I didn't want to run competitively anymore, I stopped cold turkey. I took two years completely off and just focused on job and career. After adding a few too many pounds I decided to get back into running but toned it way down, running maybe a quarter of the mileage of what I used to do. I tended to run fast but only 3-4 miles at a time. It was later that I got into mtn biking and then later road cycling. I even raced mtn bikes for a little bit. Now, I primarily focus on road riding and don't mtn bike at all. I still run but much slower and not as far. I'm probably a better biker than runner now! I generally ride solo most of the time but do join in on some club rides now and then. I generally ride at 17-21mph with 19 being the average. I don't do a lot of "event" rides but have notched five RAMROD'S (152 miles and 10,000ft of climbing in a day) over the past 10 years. Not bad for a guy who turned 60 this past summer.
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Old 12-09-19, 04:17 PM
  #52  
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Could get a semi recumbent. I love my bike but heck it is SLOW. I ride with friends and we chat, that slows it down too. And I ride so I do not have to get my knees replaced. They were supposed to be a few years ago by what the Dr said but so far-so good. The back is another issue, thus the funky bike.

Big red when she was new.
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Old 12-11-19, 03:56 AM
  #53  
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I ride vintage racing bikes because of the way they fit. I am 6’ and have a 35” inseam so very short trunked. The tighter cockpit with longer seat tube is very comfortable. I had a friend who built his own frames back in the seventies and he did centuries a lot . He fitted me to my first racer and I would street race anyone who was on the road. Sometime in my fifties I decided to let that go and enjoy the ride. I am 65 now and still push myself but I don’t worry if someone passes me. I also started a vintage racing bike collection and spend some time wrenching on them. I still ride quite a bit and occasionally I will find myself pacing another rider and even passing them just to prove to myself I can. It’s an ego thing , but most of the time it’s about the ride and scenery . Joe. joesvintageroadbikes.wordpress
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Old 12-11-19, 09:21 AM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by Kabuki12 View Post
I ride vintage racing bikes because of the way they fit. I am 6í and have a 35Ē inseam so very short trunked. The tighter cockpit with longer seat tube is very comfortable. I had a friend who built his own frames back in the seventies and he did centuries a lot . He fitted me to my first racer and I would street race anyone who was on the road. Sometime in my fifties I decided to let that go and enjoy the ride. I am 65 now and still push myself but I donít worry if someone passes me. I also started a vintage racing bike collection and spend some time wrenching on them. I still ride quite a bit and occasionally I will find myself pacing another rider and even passing them just to prove to myself I can. Itís an ego thing , but most of the time itís about the ride and scenery . Joe. joesvintageroadbikes.wordpress
We have similar tastes. Check my collection, though not exotic it is all centered on steel racebred frames and factory racers with the exception of the Ď88 Cannondale Criterium. Iím only 5í9 but with shorter arms I just cant deal with a stretched out touring bike geo...and I love the handling!
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Old 12-11-19, 12:13 PM
  #55  
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I enjoyed racing even though I sucked at it.
I excel at being an enthusiast; that made the transition easier.
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Old 12-11-19, 03:12 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
I enjoyed racing even though I sucked at it.
I excel at being an enthusiast; that made the transition easier.

Who has more climbs up Mount Diablo?
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Old 12-11-19, 04:32 PM
  #57  
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OP, unless you can find a group as fit and competitive as yourself, you probably would be well-served to try and stop being 'that guy' who has to win every ride, even the 'social' ones. When I was in a club many years ago I did not appreciate the 'fast guys' taking off and leaving everybody else. This ain't the frickin' Tour, ya know? Recreational riders are concerned about fitness - its the main reason we ride, but most of us are looking for the group to more or less stay together. These rides should not be races. Its fine if you want to race, just make sure that everyone in that group also wants to race.
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Old 12-11-19, 05:19 PM
  #58  
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1saxman brings up a good point and reminds me that you can still get a really good workout just by staying at the front and pulling the group around. That's your steady state workout. For high intensity intervals, let yourself get dropped and chase back on.
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Old 12-12-19, 05:43 AM
  #59  
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Buy a recumbent and enjoy the ride, no worries!
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Old 12-12-19, 09:43 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by 1saxman View Post
OP, unless you can find a group as fit and competitive as yourself, you probably would be well-served to try and stop being 'that guy' who has to win every ride, even the 'social' ones. When I was in a club many years ago I did not appreciate the 'fast guys' taking off and leaving everybody else. This ain't the frickin' Tour, ya know? Recreational riders are concerned about fitness - its the main reason we ride, but most of us are looking for the group to more or less stay together. These rides should not be races. Its fine if you want to race, just make sure that everyone in that group also wants to race.
I never got the impression the OP was "that guy". I would say he was just the opposite. For that matter, most group rides clearly define the speed, rules and sometimes level of fitness required and the information posted on a website. In one of the clubs to which I belonged, we had a A ride that was a keep up or get dropped and a no drop B ride. If there are specific ride rules and requirements that are not met during the ride, one complains or does not return and finds another ride. That can go both ways i.e. fast guys show up for an advertised fast ride and several less fast riders show up and complain the entire ride and ruin it.
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Old 12-12-19, 03:07 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
Who has more climbs up Mount Diablo?
This year so far: 93 times from the north, and 3 times from the south.
People are always wanting to pose with me because of my enthusiasm:


I'm the pretty one (in blue).
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Old 12-12-19, 03:14 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
This year so far: 93 times from the north, and 3 times from the south.
People are always wanting to pose with me because of my enthusiasm:


I'm the pretty one (in blue).
Nice pic. If OP reads about your 93 climbs he will go back to racing.

I live on the side of Mount Soledad and climb it all the time and no one wants selfies with me. Did it this AM. I need to do 5xSoledad to equal one Diablo. I never thought that I would say this but I miss Mount Diablo. There I said it.

My wife likes selfies with me at the top of Soledad.


Last edited by Hermes; 12-12-19 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 12-20-19, 07:38 AM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
Now that I'm approaching 60, I think I've decided that it's time to grow up. For decades, I've raced bikes of some sort. Kept a meticulous daily training log. Tracked my ATL and CTL every single day. No . . . didn't just track them. Lived by them. Obsessively. Feared what would happen if I missed a workout. Lived in terror of a missed week. And, approaching 60, the consequences of missed workouts just become greater. For 2020, I just plan to ride two gran fondos and lots of weekly group rides. No racing. (But I still like riding hard group rides with the fast young guys.)

But here's my question: How do I stop the daily obsession and the need to be fast? It's practically a lifelong habit. A lot of my identity has been wrapped up in it. And I suspect I will have to cut down radically on caloric intake to maintain a decent body composition. How do you happily move from obsessively-trained racer to being a respectable enthusiast rider (with a better life-training balance)? If it were a bad habit, it would be easier to quit cold turkey. But I don't want to quit cycling. I just want to enjoy it in a new, better balanced way. Is it possible?
See a psychiatrist.
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Old 12-29-19, 02:37 PM
  #64  
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For me, the transition from racing to enthusiast was hard. Inside, I still felt 30, but If I could look past my ego I could see my abilities scaling back. I was struggling to maintain that Ďedgeí needed to be competitive & wasnít enjoying myself at all. Eventually I stopped training with my racing friends as itís humiliating for me & frustrating for them.

Now, probably 95% of my riding is entirely solo; increasing gravel on quite back roads. I no longer care about tracking my FTP & chronic training stress Ė I just enjoy researching & trying new routes. I seldom post rides on Strava as I donít really need acknowledgment from peers or anything.

I still have PMís on most of my bikes only because I own them. However, I no longer analyze the data (I would be depressing!). Mostly I use the computer to keep track of the time & as navigating in following routes.

Health wise; since Iíve backed off, my weight is up and I have arthritis in one knee.. Iím beginning to feel like the old man that has been starting back at me in the mirror for some years now.. !
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Old 12-29-19, 05:33 PM
  #65  
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It does seem hard for folks to give it up. There's a guy, semi local, no more than average enthusiast, who has his championships from 10-20 years ago irrelevantly prominent on his Strava profile. Ummm, pretty sure no Strava back then but by golly we know he was bad BITD.
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Old 12-30-19, 03:39 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
A lot of my identity has been wrapped up in it.
This, I think, is the operative statement. It may be hard to unwrap your highly organized and competitive nature. A slower bike may not do it. So maybe find a new think to wrap your identity around that is still related to competitive cycling? Volunteer as a coach to junior riders? As a race marshall? As a volunteer or organizer of a race/event group?

Maybe it's time to give back to this sport that has brought us decades of joy. I'm thinking about volunteering with a local bike charity group fixing up old bikes for lower income kids.
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Old 01-03-20, 09:44 AM
  #67  
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UPDATE: The "reprogramming" process is moving forward. I have reduced my bike workouts to 4 per week (from 6) -- 3 of them with high intensity intervals and one longer ride. Why am I still doing high intensity intervals? Because I see my friends (who don't do interval workouts) declining at an accelerating pace. One friend is ten years younger and even he is declining pretty fast. On New Years Day, the group was trundling along at about 12.5 mph and I was stuck in zone 1 -- just barely above resting heart rate. I can't do it. (I had to ride on in order to complete my planned metric before sunset.) In order to slow the inevitable decline, I will keep doing high intensity workouts when nobody else is riding with me. And to ride with my long-time friends, I will mount 38mm tires on my gravel bike for those group rides. That way I can get my power / heart rate up into zone 2 at the pace they are comfortable with.

But going to 4 bike workouts per week allows me to separate bike workout days from gym workout days. Doing just one workout per day almost feels like every day is a light day.

I set my 2020 mileage goal at just 2/3 what my annual mileage has been for as long as I remember. The last time my mileage was this low, I had shoulder reconstruction surgery followed by knee surgery. I had months off the bike that year.

And finally, because I suspect I will get cranky with so little activity after the weather turns nice, I decided to get another time-consuming hobby. I decided to learn to play piano. Should have done it decades ago.
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Old 01-03-20, 11:56 AM
  #68  
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From what I read, we generally need more strength training as we age. Less bike time, more gym time. I intend to start that, maybe even this year....
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Old 01-03-20, 02:37 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
UPDATE: The "reprogramming" process is moving forward. I have reduced my bike workouts to 4 per week (from 6) -- 3 of them with high intensity intervals and one longer ride. Why am I still doing high intensity intervals? Because I see my friends (who don't do interval workouts) declining at an accelerating pace. One friend is ten years younger and even he is declining pretty fast. On New Years Day, the group was trundling along at about 12.5 mph and I was stuck in zone 1 -- just barely above resting heart rate. I can't do it. (I had to ride on in order to complete my planned metric before sunset.) In order to slow the inevitable decline, I will keep doing high intensity workouts when nobody else is riding with me. And to ride with my long-time friends, I will mount 38mm tires on my gravel bike for those group rides. That way I can get my power / heart rate up into zone 2 at the pace they are comfortable with.

But going to 4 bike workouts per week allows me to separate bike workout days from gym workout days. Doing just one workout per day almost feels like every day is a light day.

I set my 2020 mileage goal at just 2/3 what my annual mileage has been for as long as I remember. The last time my mileage was this low, I had shoulder reconstruction surgery followed by knee surgery. I had months off the bike that year.

And finally, because I suspect I will get cranky with so little activity after the weather turns nice, I decided to get another time-consuming hobby. I decided to learn to play piano. Should have done it decades ago.
Sounds perfect. After reading the posts here and my own observations of my peers, I will never stop doing intensity or strength training. I attended the first structured training session with my coach at the 250 track last night. It consisted of 3x(10(2laps on, 1 off). I was at FTP for the 2 on. Tough workout fixed gear on the track and one has to go fast enough not to slide off the track during the off segments.

Interestingly, I learned to play piano in 1975. I play classical. I took 6 years of lessons. I took about 3 decades off and I restarted 3 months ago. I hired a teacher and she has me playing Bach and Carl Czerny. Good luck with your piano. Fun stuff.
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Old 01-04-20, 07:25 AM
  #70  
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Simple as just quit entering races, and just ride.
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Old 01-04-20, 07:44 AM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by LAJ View Post
Do some distance stuff. https://rusa.org/
That's like trading meth for crack
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Old 01-04-20, 07:58 AM
  #72  
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more beer rides. if you don't drink, make it more food rides.
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Old 01-06-20, 10:56 AM
  #73  
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I told my long-time group ride about my plans yesterday. It soaked in for a couple hours. Then, near the end of the ride, the question came out of the blue . . . "Who is going to enforce this mileage limit?"

The group is not convinced.
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Old 02-20-20, 10:20 AM
  #74  
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Seven weeks into "enthusiast rider" status. So far, so good. I'm about 14 miles behind my lower projected mileage pace. (I will make that up the first week of good spring weather.) I think I'm going to be fine with the reduced mileage -- mainly because there are no races I can't live without anymore. And all the guys I used to train with are backing off, too -- the old guys because of health issues and the young guys because of growing families.

But being a good bike racer requires a certain degree of OCD. That hasn't left me. So now, there's bass guitar practice 7 days a week and guitar and piano practice alternating on every other day.

And I'm thinking of divesting the road racing bike once the weather gets warm -- becoming a one-bike, all-purpose bike guy. We will see. That would seem very permanent. Probably a good thing.
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Old 02-20-20, 10:32 AM
  #75  
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I feel like I'm going through this myself this year, although involuntarily. I have a work assignment that's made it virtually impossible for me to do the kind of consistent training that will let me be competitive. I raced two weeks ago and barely hung on to finish with the pack in a race that I usually can contend for the podium. And in the two weeks since, my only riding has been a handful of commutes. I'm still fitter than your average 52-yo office worker, but that's not saying much sadly.
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