Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

necessary base for an aspiring racer

Notices
Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

necessary base for an aspiring racer

Old 06-28-12, 10:39 PM
  #1  
sixshot1
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 20
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
necessary base for an aspiring racer

Hi all, I took up cycling about 3 months ago. I have been riding about 6 hours a week since and have gotten a bit stronger. I want to start racing next year (cat 5) and dream of one day becoming a cat 1 racer.

I attend two weekly crit rides. One is a slower ride. Average speed is about 22 miles an hour reaching highs of 26, sometimes hitting 28. When I first started, I could not keep up for more than 10 minutes. 3 months later I can ride the entire hour and even sprint at the end ( I never win )

The second ride, I still cant keep up. The group usually breaks up into two. I think the faster guys compete at higher cats like 1 and 2 and ive heard theres some olympians that come out too. They reach 28mph on the first fast lap ( after warm up ). Its too sudden for me and I get dropped.

Here is my question, based on the information provided about my training rides, do I have the base to become a great racer ( as in cat 1 )

I say base because I havnt been training long but maybe 3 months is a decent amount of time.

I guess another way to phrase this question is, were all current cat 1s faster or more capable than I currently am when they started out?

Are my genetics too weak to aim so high?
sixshot1 is offline  
Old 06-28-12, 10:44 PM
  #2  
sixshot1
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 20
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I should add, I am 24 years old
sixshot1 is offline  
Old 06-28-12, 11:01 PM
  #3  
UmneyDurak
RacingBear
 
UmneyDurak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: NorCal
Posts: 8,994
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 245 Post(s)
Liked 33 Times in 18 Posts
Three month is a drop in a bucket. Ride more, see what happens.
UmneyDurak is offline  
Old 06-28-12, 11:04 PM
  #4  
jsutkeepspining
Banned.
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: ohioland/right near hicville farmtown
Posts: 4,813
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
my advice: go to a race (usacycling sanctioned or any other "official" race), pay the entry fee and race. You'll finish 10 races then move on to cat 4. Don't worry too much about how fast guys where, and worry about getting as fast as guys currently are. i was slow as balls when i first started race, and im still slow as balls.
jsutkeepspining is offline  
Old 06-28-12, 11:11 PM
  #5  
SlowOlympian
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Olympia, WA
Posts: 197

Bikes: 2010 Specialized Allez

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Only one way to know, and thats to train, practice, and compete. You can sit in and draft, making that 22mph a lot easier, which is different than if you're taking turns pulling. im in about the same boat, wondering the same thing, but there isnt much way to tell, short of one of those athletic tests that test your VO2 max and what not. Sounds like you've got a decent start, keep at it!

Try getting a trainer to ride at those odd times, like late at night. its boring as hell, but it helped me get quite a bit of riding in, since i dont like the rain(always rainy in olympia). Get a heart rate monitor, find your zones, and do some training. Ive heard suggestions about "the time crunched cyclist" and a few other books. theyre on my list to pick up. I need some help getting a structured training plan set up, and you might need it too.
SlowOlympian is offline  
Old 06-28-12, 11:36 PM
  #6  
kylemau
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 16
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Your average Cat 5 race is probably somewhere between 23-26 mph. Obviously that picks up in the closing laps.

Keep doing those crit practices with the faster guys. Set a reasonable goal each week to improve. Eventually you'll reach the point where you can hang on longer and longer. For next season, try to keep your base up over the winter. If you could up the training to ten hours a week, you'd probably see some improvement, as well. If you can go into next spring with a better base than the rest of the new 5's that will probably make the experience more enjoyable. Just get your 5's races in and get the experience.
kylemau is offline  
Old 06-29-12, 01:58 AM
  #7  
sixshot1
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 20
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks for the advice guys. I guess I should try to remember to just have fun and keep at it.
sixshot1 is offline  
Old 06-29-12, 04:51 AM
  #8  
pdedes
ka maté ka maté ka ora
 
pdedes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: wessex
Posts: 4,423

Bikes: breezer venturi - red novo bosberg - red, pedal force cg1 - red, neuvation f-100 - da, devinci phantom - xt, miele piste - miche/campy, bianchi reparto corse sbx, concorde squadra tsx - da, miele team issue sl - ultegra

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 25 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I started racywhen i was 23. Prior to racing I played soccer but ankle injuries cut that short. Started riding as a way to rehab, and by the end of a year worked my way up to 700km/week. Raced the next year. It took me three years to become a 2, and an additional year to become a 1. The difficulties were not physical, but tactical and situational awareness that you only get by racing. As a one, I trained 20-24 hours a week and raced 80 days a year. Good luck with your journey.
pdedes is offline  
Old 06-29-12, 04:59 AM
  #9  
patentcad
Peloton Shelter Dog
 
patentcad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Chester, NY
Posts: 90,508

Bikes: 2017 Scott Foil, 2016 Scott Addict SL, 2018 Santa Cruz Blur CC MTB

Mentioned: 74 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1136 Post(s)
Liked 19 Times in 14 Posts
Originally Posted by sixshot1 View Post
Thanks for the advice guys. I guess I should try to remember to just have fun and keep at it.
Fun?

There is no fun in bicycle racing, and if there is, you are doing it wrong.
__________________
https://www.cotsiscad.com
patentcad is offline  
Old 06-29-12, 06:31 AM
  #10  
simonaway427
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Fredericton, NB, Canada
Posts: 1,430

Bikes: 2010 S1, 2011 F75X

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Consider yourself lucky. I did my first race at 35 yrs old (and came 2nd ).....wish I had discovered cycling 10 yrs ago.
simonaway427 is offline  
Old 06-29-12, 06:56 AM
  #11  
big chainring 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Wilmette, IL
Posts: 6,772
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 570 Post(s)
Liked 179 Times in 103 Posts
Keep going at it. The crit races will do wonders for you. Try to get out at least once a week for a long ride - 60-70 miles. And work on technique. Smooth pedaling. Find your optimum cadence, the pedal speed you pedal most efficiently at. Besides the basic fitness, technique and smooth pedaling will increase your performance.

When i went up to cat2, first thing I noticed was how smooth the riders rode. The pace was faster, gears bigger, much smoother, controlled riding. Takes time and a lot of riding.
big chainring is offline  
Old 06-29-12, 07:06 AM
  #12  
Andy Somnifac
Annoyed.
 
Andy Somnifac's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1,091

Bikes: Siegler CCR, Lynskey R210 Custom, Felt S22 TT, Raleigh RX 2.0 CX, GT Helion Elite

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Liked 10 Times in 7 Posts
https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...s-a-tip-or-two
Andy Somnifac is offline  
Old 06-29-12, 07:36 AM
  #13  
Creatre
These Guys Eat Oreos
 
Creatre's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Superior, CO
Posts: 3,432

Bikes: Yes

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
It's going to take you a bit to develop. My progression for an example:

- Start cycling Feb 2010 (20 years old)
- Struggled going 200m up a climb
- Rode 4 times a week
- First Metric Century April 2010
- Able to climb 3+ miles at steady pace
- Began doing threshold climbing intervals Aug 2010
- First race October 2010 (Got dropped on first lap, but finished ~15/40)
- First century Sep 2010 (Hung with Cat3/4s)
- Started racing almost every weekend Jan 2011
- Upgrade to Cat 4 March 2011
- Got dropped in Cat 4 races at first
- Top 30 out of 1000 on mountain top century May 2011
- First top 10 in a Cat4 race June 2011
- Started riding 6 days a week Aug 2011
- Developed Huge base Aug - Dec 2011
- Lots of success in Cat4s Spring 2012
- Upgrade to Cat3 May 2012

Basically, I felt like I had a similar performance that I have now around 8-10 months after I started riding. Pretty much all I did up to that point was ride as much as possible, and keep a steady schedule. I was riding 4 times a week, but made sure to do a few medium rides, and at least one long ride to get the endurance up (3hr+). But, I was still really inexperienced and didn't have the recovery or the base to do great in races, and that has just developed slowly in time since then.

If you really want to hone in your focus to try and jumpstart you career cycling, I would look into a coach. I just got a coach and I know that will help me get to the next level. If you put the work in, and train hard, I think pretty much anybodies genetics can get them to at least Cat 2. I know I am at the Cat 2 level now, even though I am only a 3. That 2 --> 1 jump is pretty serious though, and really takes a lot of dedication, racing smarts, and maybe a little genetics.

Good luck, hope that helps some.
Creatre is offline  
Old 06-29-12, 07:42 AM
  #14  
Biscayne05
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 767
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
700km/week.
wait wut?
Biscayne05 is offline  
Old 06-29-12, 07:48 AM
  #15  
KoNP
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Windham, ME
Posts: 177

Bikes: BMC SL02

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Biscayne05 View Post
wait wut?
thats like 65 miles every day of the week

wish i had that time, or legs
KoNP is offline  
Old 06-29-12, 11:18 AM
  #16  
sixshot1
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 20
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Again, thx for the input guys. I generally ride about 55miles on sat, followed by about 35 on sunday and work in the hour long crits. I live closer to the ocean and havnt had a chance to climb more than 1000 ft in a ride. I will be doing my first century this weekend. Huge jump from 60 but I am riding with a group and thats their plan.
sixshot1 is offline  
Old 06-29-12, 11:22 AM
  #17  
sixshot1
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 20
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Creatre thx for that, I will use your development as a guidline.
sixshot1 is offline  
Old 06-29-12, 06:51 PM
  #18  
pdedes
ka maté ka maté ka ora
 
pdedes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: wessex
Posts: 4,423

Bikes: breezer venturi - red novo bosberg - red, pedal force cg1 - red, neuvation f-100 - da, devinci phantom - xt, miele piste - miche/campy, bianchi reparto corse sbx, concorde squadra tsx - da, miele team issue sl - ultegra

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 25 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Biscayne05 View Post
wait wut?
Originally Posted by KoNP View Post
thats like 65 miles every day of the week

wish i had that time, or legs
Mon. 60 km easy
Tues midweek race plus ride to and from 80 km
Wed. 160 km zone 2
Thurs. 80 km intervals
Fri. 60 km
Sat. 60-120 km depending on race distance
Sun. 100-180 km race

660-680 km week about 22 - 24 hours, didn' t work.
pdedes is offline  
Old 06-30-12, 03:02 AM
  #19  
robncircus
Gunner.
 
robncircus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Santa Clarita, CA
Posts: 1,732

Bikes: Giant TCR, Spooky Skeletor, Pivot Mach 6

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 9 Times in 3 Posts
My suggestion would be to just get out and race. CAT5 is for beginners, which you are. I rode for about 10 years,a nd entered my first race in 2009 thinking I'd be an easy top 10. I was dropped in 20 minutes. Lapped in 30. So, I started riding with the local team and about 6 weeks later did my second race and took a mid-pack finish. Did about 25 or so races in 2010, and upgraded to CAT 4. Only did a few races in 2011, then was mobilized so I've been off the bike since last October. Get out and race. It will give youa good indication of where you're at. I rarely do long rides on the road bike anymore (the MTB is more fun for all day adventures) but I still do a few tem specific rides like hill repeats and some intervals.

Go out, and have fun.
robncircus is offline  
Old 06-30-12, 08:20 AM
  #20  
carpediemracing 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Tariffville, CT
Posts: 15,173

Bikes: Tsunami Bikes

Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 297 Post(s)
Liked 24 Times in 16 Posts
If you're looking to see if you'll be a successful top level rider, probably not. It's depressing how talented those guys are. For example one ex-pro (Roy Knickman) apparently showed up at a time trial in sneakers and did a 23 mph avg for 10 miles. I think it took him 2 weeks to bring the speed up to 28 mph (no word on the sneaker bit so maybe he got toe clips and such).

He raced pro for a while (with La Vie Claire, i.e. Lemond and Hinault's team), then quit. When he was the Junior National Team coach he was dropping all the Juniors on training rides. He decided to race pro again (Mercury). After a bit he quit, this time for good.

Similarly guys that have ridden with ex-pros all are amazed at how fast they can still go, even though they're heavier and such.

To give you an idea of what a not-so-good rider does, my absolute best time in a flat 7 mi TT was a 16:28 after doing the TT regularly for 5 or 6 years (normal times for me were 17:05-17:45). I used a disk rear wheel, 24" front wheel, 17mm tires, aero bars, skinsuit, aero helmet, no bottles, etc. That may sound reasonable but my Cat 3 teammate on a non-aero (not even the brake cables) did a 15:55. The faster guys (strong Cat 3s and Cat 2s) were doing 15:15 (3s) down to 14:55 (Cat 2). That seemed untouchable until a high level duathlete showed up and did a couple 14:05s in a row in his first two times out at the course. I thought he turned around at the wrong place, he was that fast. He was kind of second/third tier in the country, okay in a very narrow age group but not good at all overall.

To put things in perspective he beat me by so much that he could give me a ONE MILE headstart and still blow by me before the finish.

A local ex-pro who gained about 100 lbs since he retired could still race in a Pro-1 race until a few laps to go (Harlem Crit, so a national level race). Okay, he won the race when he was pro, but as a really heavy overweight unfit Cat 1 he still hung in a race that shelled a lot of racers. His threshold wattage is about 400 watts which means he could hold about that level for an hour. I struggle to do that for 60 seconds, and by two minutes at 400w I'm cooked. My threshold is about 220 watts. No matter how much I train I will never have a 400w threshold or even a 340w threshold. I mention that second number because a Cat 3 teammate that has a 340w threshold was third in the country in cross in his age group, he's a phenomenally strong racer, a former mtb pro, and he's just a Cat 3 (and he's really not sandbagging - he has few results in races).

If you have a 400w threshold you'll be doing 28 mph in 10 mile time trials in a few weeks. If you can't then you don't have a 400w threshold and you'll be hard pressed to become a successful Cat 1. You can probably become a Cat 1 but after that it'll be hard to beat pros and such.

Genetics determines your peak potential. It's up to you to use it as best as you can, through training and tactics.

On sprints - I never trained to sprint because I thought at 103 lbs (going into college, 5'7") that I'd be a good climber. I never climbed well but even at that featherweight I could regularly hit 42 mph on a flat from a standing start and I always thought that the other guys weren't really trying in sprints (I figured they were letting me win because they felt sorry for me). My sprint never went away and every race I placed in, except one, I placed because of my sprint. I also learned I couldn't climb no matter what. I always get dropped on hills, even on local group rides. Again, genetics - I have a good jump. I don't train it, it's just there. My max wattage is about 1550 watts, and even after not training much at all I can regularly hit 1350 watts. If I had a head to head sprint over 100m with a lot of pros I could win. In a race they'd just average 30 mph until I got shelled and then my sprint wouldn't matter much.

So do what you will. Have fun. Accept any gifts/realizations for what they are - fortunate circumstance. Race your best. It's a lot of fun as long as you don't think winning is the end all (doesn't seem like you do). With a good attitude you'll be enjoying racing in 2032. I admit that that's about where my goals kind of peter out, but we'll see.
carpediemracing is offline  
Old 07-02-12, 06:03 PM
  #21  
sixshot1
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 20
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
thanks for the insight carp. My sprint tops out at 32mph =/ much slower than yourself. But like you said, I'll just keep having fun. At this point, i think I am so addicted that I don't really care if I ever make it past cat 5. It would have been awesome though! I have never been good at anything, I guess I was hoping cycling could be that one thing i am good at
sixshot1 is offline  
Old 07-02-12, 06:10 PM
  #22  
caloso
Senior Member
 
caloso's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Posts: 39,016

Bikes: Ridley Excalibur, Gazelle Champion Mondial, On-One Pompino, Specialized Rock Hopper

Mentioned: 62 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2246 Post(s)
Liked 937 Times in 487 Posts
If you are already doing race rides and can handle your bike reasonably well there's no compelling reason to wait until next season to start racing.
caloso is offline  
Old 07-02-12, 07:21 PM
  #23  
sixshot1
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 20
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
hi caloso, I want to race but by the sound of it, I'll get dropped fast. The crit that I can hang with averages 22 for an hour. I've heard averages of closer to 26 for cat 5.
sixshot1 is offline  
Old 07-02-12, 08:22 PM
  #24  
hammy56
coffee-stained punk
 
hammy56's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 6,630
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by kylemau View Post
Your average Cat 5 race is probably somewhere between 23-26 mph.
lol.
hammy56 is offline  
Old 07-02-12, 08:24 PM
  #25  
Homebrew01
Super Moderator
 
Homebrew01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Ffld Cnty Connecticut
Posts: 21,485

Bikes: Old Steelies I made, Old Cannondales

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 988 Post(s)
Liked 266 Times in 204 Posts
Originally Posted by sixshot1 View Post
hi caloso, I want to race but by the sound of it, I'll get dropped fast. The crit that I can hang with averages 22 for an hour. I've heard averages of closer to 26 for cat 5.
So what ... how else will you learn ?
Newbies often get dropped due to poor drafting, poor cornering, poor technique etc .... not just lack of power. Start racing & start learning.
__________________
Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike.

FYI: https://www.bikeforums.net/forum-sugg...ad-please.html
Homebrew01 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.