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Can I get ready for my home town crit?

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Can I get ready for my home town crit?

Old 03-08-18, 08:17 AM
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threeteas
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Can I get ready for my home town crit?

I am returning to (an admittedly low level) of masters racing this year. I was a decent junior back in the day, raced in a National Championship, and was also a decent Cat. 3 for a few years. But that was many moons ago. Classic story--I now have a very busy professional life and two girls 8 and 12 with a ton of activities going on.

But I love cycling still, and racing especially. Giving it a go this year.

My question is; my old hometown is running a criterium in 6 weeks. Because of a harsh central Midwest winter, getting the flu, and a real reluctance to step on the trainer, I'm still pretty out of shape. I could whip myself into shape in 4 weeks back in the day, but at 48 I realize it will be much harder now. I have been riding seriously on a recreational level again for 4 years (before that I pretty much had stopped riding).

Is 6 weeks a reasonable goal? Maybe just do it for fun? What is your guy's take on it? Any special training advice?

Thanks for the input!
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Old 03-08-18, 08:26 AM
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I don’t know. Maybe. What does “riding seriously on a recreational level” mean? What kind of frequency/intensity/ duration does that mean? Do you do any group rides?
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Old 03-08-18, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I don’t know. Maybe. What does “riding seriously on a recreational level” mean? What kind of frequency/intensity/ duration does that mean? Do you do any group rides?
Cyclocross training series in the fall. Hard gravel rides. Fast (sub 5:30) century. Copper Triangle last year. About 4500 miles total last year. A few of the group training races (I got shelled).

But haven't done a crit since 2008 or so.
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Old 03-08-18, 09:53 AM
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A structured training block of six weeks is pretty good and you could break it into maybe 3 weeks train rest 1 week and train 2 weeks and then race or something similar.

I guess the real question is does it matter if 6 weeks is enough or not? Since that is all the time you have, I would suggest setting the goal for the race and go for it. Most racers get shelled in their first crit and it is due to not being able to take the surges and lack of bike handling skills i.e. fast cornering.

I would work on VO2 max efforts 3 to 5 minutes and AN O2 30 second on 30 seconds off. The 30/30 simulates the surges in the crit and forces you to put in power again and again by the clock versus how you feel or your brain thinks you feel. You have to train your brain, once more, to know that you can keep putting in the surges of power.

Learn to love your trainer. I like doing 30/30 on the trainer or the velodrome since it is hard to find terrain that accommodates that workout and it is much easier to time on a trainer versus the road where you have to watch everything else plus the clock all while you are gassed.
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Old 03-08-18, 10:52 AM
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If you feel like you have enough base, starting right into higher intensity VO2max and anaerobic workouts like Hermes is recommending will get you fit pretty quick. Those 30/30s should feel familiar from CX. I also like 6x5'+1'. (If you have a powermeter they are 5' @ 105-110% of FTP, then 1' rest, then 5' back on. 5 or 6 repeats. If you don't have a PM, you can still do them by feel: 5' dial a notch below "as hard as you can sustain for interval.")

And work on bike handling and positioning if possible. A wily and experienced old guy has a lot of advantages in a crit that a young, strong guy doesn't.
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Old 03-08-18, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
If you feel like you have enough base, starting right into higher intensity VO2max and anaerobic workouts like Hermes is recommending will get you fit pretty quick. Those 30/30s should feel familiar from CX. I also like 6x5'+1'. (If you have a powermeter they are 5' @ 105-110% of FTP, then 1' rest, then 5' back on. 5 or 6 repeats. If you don't have a PM, you can still do them by feel: 5' dial a notch below "as hard as you can sustain for interval.")

And work on bike handling and positioning if possible. A wily and experienced old guy has a lot of advantages in a crit that a young, strong guy doesn't.
Thanks to both of you for good suggestions. This crit is actually a rectangular course with a screaming descent and a nice climb up the back-side, so skilled cornering (which I'm decent at) should be at a premium. I'm a terrible climber so it will all probably be a wash in that regard but I might be able to hang longer.

I have a so-so base, but have already integrated some intervals into my training schedule along with base rides. I'm not running a power-meter but do have an HR monitor. I will give 30/30s and 6x5+1 a try.

As long as they don't pull lapped riders it should be fun, LOL! I'm also running a sweet vintage Italian frame from 1994. I'm going to go for it.

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Old 03-08-18, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post

Learn to love your trainer. I like doing 30/30 on the trainer or the velodrome since it is hard to find terrain that accommodates that workout and it is much easier to time on a trainer versus the road where you have to watch everything else plus the clock all while you are gassed.
That's been a difficult task for me this year. The weather turned really awful for riding outside around Christmas and I just couldn't get motivated to get on the trainer. I also kind of messed up my right knee on a magnetic trainer last year (gears that were too big).

I played hockey and skated for a good deal of the winter, but really didn't start riding again until about 3 weeks ago. I'm very mentally fresh though, which can go a long way.

Since this is a masters forum I just have to ask the inevitable question--at 48 is there still hope to perform at least close to my old Cat. 3 level in the next few years? When does age truly start factoring in in terms of drop in ability to perform?

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Old 03-08-18, 05:37 PM
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What I have found is if I think I cannot do something for any reason, generally, I cannot or do not do well. If I am around great competition and think I can, then, generally I can. If one thinks that being older is a limiter then, in my experience, it will be a limiter.

Quantitatively, one can look at hillclimb times and sprint times to see degradation due to age. For example, NorCal has a hillclimb every New Years day. I did it for years. The fastest times from the elite 1/2 climbers was approximately 14:30 whereas the Masters 55+ was 17:XX. If Kevin M or Racer Ex shows up the 55 times may be faster yet.

At the track, a 500 time for a younger elite 1/2 may be 33 seconds. Our 65+ gang at worlds had a couple of guys at 37 seconds.

Also, when I do the 30/30, I do 3 to 6 sets of 10 reps with 10' rest between sets. And I do them as an acceleration versus stomp on the pedal. Also doing them by accelerating versus stomping may be easier on ones knees.
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Old 03-13-18, 10:40 PM
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6 weeks is plenty to carve out some semblance of fitness. I'd suggest concentrating on crit specific efforts (think lots of on/off intervals in the 0-3 minute range), and some sprint workouts.
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Old 03-19-18, 11:06 AM
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Thanks again for all the great suggestions. This is my plan: I started making my Sunday rides pretty hard--a group of friends, many of them ex-road racers, goes out for 2-3 hours and we do race simulation kind of rides on pavement/gravel (attacks, hard efforts, sprints). I'm also going to add 30/30 intervals mid-week and the rest of the time will just be Z 1/2 riding and upper body or core work. I feel like two very hard rides during the week is all I can handle right now.

As for 30/30 intervals--what should be the duration? 15 minutes? Or, do two sets of 30/30 each one 10 minutes?

Does this sound like a plan?

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Old 03-21-18, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by threeteas View Post
Thanks again for all the great suggestions. This is my plan: I started making my Sunday rides pretty hard--a group of friends, many of them ex-road racers, goes out for 2-3 hours and we do race simulation kind of rides on pavement/gravel (attacks, hard efforts, sprints). I'm also going to add 30/30 intervals mid-week and the rest of the time will just be Z 1/2 riding and upper body or core work. I feel like two very hard rides during the week is all I can handle right now.

As for 30/30 intervals--what should be the duration? 15 minutes? Or, do two sets of 30/30 each one 10 minutes?

Does this sound like a plan?
I'd suggest doing 1 and 5 minute over/unders. The under should be hanging on by your teeth to recover. It's the second and third surges in a crit that kill people.
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Old 03-21-18, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
I'd suggest doing 1 and 5 minute over/unders. The under should be hanging on by your teeth to recover. It's the second and third surges in a crit that kill people.
How are these structured?
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Old 03-21-18, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by threeteas View Post
How are these structured?
5-10 minutes of the one minute efforts, 15-30 minutes of the 5 minute efforts. Figure just over anaerobic capacity for the high on the one minute, and a bit under FTP for the lower. A bit above threshold on the 5, same recovery number. Build into them.

Key here is to be able to recover at a fairly high sustained wattage when you've taken a hit aerobically...pretty much what you'll need to hold a wheel when that second person decides to try to blow the field up after one surge and you're still recovering.

As much as the physiological benefit you derive from this type of interval, I think you derive a big mental benefit as well. Being able to regulate both the "on" and "off" efforts successfully keeps you from going "too deep" on the former. A lot of people fall apart not because they are burning matches, but because they let them burn too low and nothing's left.

You'll normally see shorter efforts of the same level in most crits. Training to longer durations makes the race easier.

The "full on then rest" intervals have their place, but they really don't replicate an actual race, and leave some empty spaces in the tool box.

Good luck!
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Old 03-21-18, 05:19 PM
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Dude, GO FOR IT! Who cares how you place? You池e racing your bike for the first time in years. Go have fun and figure out where your level is at. I知 sure you remember from your old days that nobody can tell you how you値l do, you just gotta go out and do it.

As for your other question, yes, you can achieve your old level, but that comes with a caveat. Will you be able to attain the same power levels and speed as before? Likely not. However, you can attain a level of performance relative to your peers as you had before. A Cat 3 is like a god to me, no matter the age. I知 a 52 yr old Cat 4 and the 50+ 3s I race with are monsters. You値l do fine. Have fun.
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Old 03-21-18, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by F16F22 View Post
Dude, GO FOR IT! Who cares how you place? You池e racing your bike for the first time in years. Go have fun and figure out where your level is at. I知 sure you remember from your old days that nobody can tell you how you値l do, you just gotta go out and do it.

As for your other question, yes, you can achieve your old level, but that comes with a caveat. Will you be able to attain the same power levels and speed as before? Likely not. However, you can attain a level of performance relative to your peers as you had before. A Cat 3 is like a god to me, no matter the age. I知 a 52 yr old Cat 4 and the 50+ 3s I race with are monsters. You値l do fine. Have fun.
Thanks man! I *think* I'm still a 3, but haven't even taken out a license since an aborted attempt at racing again in 2009. I'm also getting a nice MIPS helmet per recommendations on another place on this forum (I've had a number of cycling related concussions).

Do licenses eventually get taken out of the database? Mind you, I don't really care about starting again as a 5 if I have to. I'm at about a Cat. 7 level right now,
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Old 03-22-18, 05:31 AM
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Originally Posted by threeteas View Post
Thanks man! I *think* I'm still a 3, but haven't even taken out a license since an aborted attempt at racing again in 2009. I'm also getting a nice MIPS helmet per recommendations on another place on this forum (I've had a number of cycling related concussions).

Do licenses eventually get taken out of the database? Mind you, I don't really care about starting again as a 5 if I have to. I'm at about a Cat. 7 level right now,
I do not know about the status of your old license. The rulebook isnt exactly clear on that topic but I do not believe you are eligible to roll up and purchase a one-day license. There are several numbers and email addresses on the 田ontact us page at usacycling.org. I致e always had very good luck there, usually getting a reply within a day. I believe there are some officials and race directors on this forum who might be able to answer.
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