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How do you transition from racer to enthusiast rider?

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How do you transition from racer to enthusiast rider?

Old 12-04-19, 09:16 AM
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FlashBazbo
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How do you transition from racer to enthusiast rider?

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?
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Old 12-04-19, 09:23 AM
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get rid of your speedometer. Stop tracking everything
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Old 12-04-19, 09:28 AM
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Wildwood
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It's a mental thing.

edit: maybe mustache bars, or a mixte frameset.



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Old 12-04-19, 09:32 AM
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Get a recumbent trike.
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Old 12-04-19, 09:38 AM
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Oh, man. You guys are killing me!

I HAVE seriously considered selling my racing bike and making my OPEN into my do-it-all, maybe only bike. On the OPEN, I'm too slow to race or stay with the young guys on the fast group rides. I'm not sure I'm ready to be a 'bent person. I don't even wear cardigans!
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Old 12-04-19, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
Oh, man. You guys are killing me!

I HAVE seriously considered selling my racing bike and making my OPEN into my do-it-all, maybe only bike. On the OPEN, I'm too slow to race or stay with the young guys on the fast group rides. I'm not sure I'm ready to be a 'bent person. I don't even wear cardigans!

Start a vintage collection and take up wrenching. Less time to ride, just as much fun and more satisfaction.


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Old 12-04-19, 09:46 AM
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Do some distance stuff. https://rusa.org/
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Old 12-04-19, 09:47 AM
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Drop your competitiveness and self focus. Your goal is not about your own fitness obsession it is something else.

Helping others get as good as you are (or were) gives you permission to back off where needed but be a role model and step up where needed.

Savor the setting. Maybe it is cold and your objective is to be comfortable, put your minutes in and to relish the beauty of the crisp, short days.

Make the ride about the “mecha” not the “orga” to quote the movie “A.I.” What I mean is, forgo that latest greatest, fastest road bike. I try to optimize my vintage rides and quiet all the parts down by waxing my chain and lowering tire pressures and such - these things matter to me and enhance my enjoyment of cycling as a mechanical endeavor. Sometimes these things surprise me and actually make me faster, if they do that’s a bonus but it isn’t my primary objective.

Injury free, efficient, or as race car driver Jackie Stewart used to say “smooth and progressive”.
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Old 12-04-19, 09:54 AM
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Approaching 60 puts you approaching a new Masters age category.
Double your training and make history.
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Old 12-04-19, 09:55 AM
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I still own a road "racing" bike - I.E. lighter, skinnier tires, more aggressive position and will still ride this bike on the weekend road warrior rides, that is, by nature of being 25 years older than in my racing days, slower. Actually this is my go-to bike for most road riding. I know I cannot maintain the average speed of my relative youth so don't really try and no longer pay attention to effort levels and HR, etc... and I've no use for the power meter a buddy's been trying to sell me on. I enjoy pushing the pace on occasion, but some days when riding solo will take the heavier steel bike out and just cruise at a mellow pace. I do like to push on the mt. bike though, like to fall - hard, as well as I did a month ago. Ribs and knee still hurting. I know I don't recover as fast and knowing that don't push quite as hard or ride technical either.
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Old 12-04-19, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
Approaching 60 puts you approaching a new Masters age category.
Double your training and make history.
I had thought of that, but not many races hold a 60+ Masters class. Even if they do, more times than not, it ends up being lumped together to make a decent sized 45+ or even 40+ class and loses its own identity. (I was a whole lot faster before 50. I can't compete with those guys.)
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Old 12-04-19, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
I had thought of that, but not many races hold a 60+ Masters class. Even if they do, more times than not, it ends up being lumped together to make a decent sized 45+ or even 40+ class and loses its own identity. (I was a whole lot faster before 50. I can't compete with those guys.)
If I'm not mistaken there are more age groups for State by State competitions, where held. Olympics years only? Maybe not sanctioned by US racing authority? Let me find some references. I forget.

edit:
https://www.road-results.com/race/12086

https://tbra.org/


Race locally, make history!

Last edited by Wildwood; 12-04-19 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 12-04-19, 11:20 AM
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Gravel bike.
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Old 12-04-19, 11:25 AM
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Why would you want to quit training? You want to be on the ashheap of history ASAP? Feel your body disintegrate? Stop being able to do the things you want to do? Fall down in the bathroom and break a hip? Not be able to run up stairs? I mean, really, where are you going with this? Just keep at it, but do something a bit different. When I turned 60, I took up randonneuring. Completely different sport, different people, different ethic, and lots of run (and some discomfort, too.) I did some bike touring, too. Wonderful fun and fabulous conditioning. I met a not-young guy who'd toured solo from Florida to the west coast, doing 100 mile days and with a lawn chair on the back of his bike. Wanted to be comfortable in his old age.

I still keep on with the weekly group ride, still watch my numbers, watch my diet and weight. Health first, right? Sure my peak CTL has come down and I don't do intervals like I used to, but my numbers would tell me to do that anyway, even if my mind objected. I test and keep moving my zones down. Oh well, but still having fun with it. Health becomes the goal rather than competitive success. Numbers will still reflect health.

It is exactly like you say: the consequences of missed workouts become greater. I live in fear of consequences. Well, not really, but you get the idea.
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Old 12-04-19, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Gravel bike.
I've been doing gravel for seven or eight years -- started well before gravel was cool. I was an early adopter / racer. But at great risk of incurring wrath, let me say that I'm also an early departure. I've grown kind of tired of gravel. As fields have gone from 35 to 50 for the big gravel races to, now, 1500, 2000, and more, I don't find gravel as much fun. I have cancelled all my plans to do intentional gravel in 2020.

Having said that, my OPEN (gravel bike) is almost certainly the bike I will ride into the future, wherever I go. It's just a great bike.
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Old 12-04-19, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Why would you want to quit training?
I never said I want to quit. To the contrary, I still intend to do a couple hard interval workouts every week. But I'm thinking that dropping from 14 hours per week on the bike to 7 hours might give me better work/training balance -- a better life. (And besides . . . why do 14-hour weeks if there are no races to win? It seems foolish.) But getting slower will be hard to deal with.
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Old 12-04-19, 11:33 AM
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On my 60th birthday, 10 years ago, I raced a match sprint tournament at the velodrome all ages and was at the top of the B flying 200 meters. The entire gang sang Happy Birthday to me. It was pretty special. I do over 10 race days per year road and track and hope to get another 10 next year. I thought this thread was going to be about the number of races being offered were less. In SoCal, the number of promoted races are way down so it is a lot harder to race a lot.

I have always been drawn to the next level and I like to have events as goals to drive training. I can help with getting to the next level but downgrades are out of scope for me.

I think this organization is interesting. https://www.hauteroute.org They organize events globally and it seems like it could be fun and provide some juice that is not quite USAC racing but definitely not easy and needs an A game.

This is not a downgrade idea but more of a rebranding idea. Develop a strategy that keeps a cycling A game in both fitness and skill. You define what the A game is and apply to events if it suits you.
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Old 12-04-19, 11:44 AM
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I came to the realization that the amount of training one has to do to stay competitive was no longer fun and had become a chore. Now, I go out when I really want to, never in bad or really cold weather like I used to when training and just enjoy my surroundings. Now, when
I go on vacation, if I take a bike, it's my old Stumpjumper. And I still eat to ride and ride to eat, just not as hard.
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Old 12-04-19, 11:48 AM
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Honestly, the only guys I personally know who've done that did so by stepping away from the sport for a time.

Having said that, rando is one avenue that will challenge you, will reward you if you stay fit, but not require you to be so focused on performance. Take caution, though: there are always guys on the front pushing things to the limit. Things can get stupid with distance and sleep deprivation if you get sucked on to that group.
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Old 12-04-19, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
I never said I want to quit. To the contrary, I still intend to do a couple hard interval workouts every week. But I'm thinking that dropping from 14 hours per week on the bike to 7 hours might give me better work/training balance -- a better life. (And besides . . . why do 14-hour weeks if there are no races to win? It seems foolish.) But getting slower will be hard to deal with.
How fast are you now? Is it your belief that you have to sustain training for 14hrs in order to maintain current fitness?
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Old 12-04-19, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by sewupnut View Post
I came to the realization that the amount of training one has to do to stay competitive was no longer fun and had become a chore. Now, I go out when I really want to, never in bad or really cold weather like I used to when training and just enjoy my surroundings. Now, when
I go on vacation, if I take a bike, it's my old Stumpjumper. And I still eat to ride and ride to eat, just not as hard.
That's kind of where I am now . . . or where I would like to be. I still work as hard as I did five years ago, but I'm not as fast as I was five years ago. Training hard, good weather and bad, is worth it when you're getting even slightly faster. But when training hard doesn't quite keep you as fast . . . it becomes a chore. Even though I've worked my hardest to stay ahead of it, age has caught up.
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Old 12-04-19, 01:14 PM
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Learn to ENJOY the riding you are doing. If it makes you happy to track everything and maintain a regimen, do it. If it doesn't, don't do it. Sounds like what you were doing is becoming less enjoyable and more of a burden than it was in the past. Maybe just cut out a piece of the regimen, a little at a time, to see which part no longer brings the pleasure it once did. You may not need to stop all you were doing, maybe just a piece of it.
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Old 12-04-19, 01:29 PM
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I did club rides (100 per year) for years and was at or near the back of the pack but the last few years of work took a toll on my riding, plus that whole age thing, (I'm 65).
I retired in April and lost a little weight, (down to 200) and regained a little of my endurance but it's not as easy as years ago. Plus, there has been an influx of younger hammerheads in our club and some of the older guys have left. Some of the rides are no longer fun for me, depending on who is there among other things.
I used to say that if I got 10 hours per week on the bike I was ready for anything. Now I am doing more than that and I'm not ready for anything.

I did a mountain bike ride last Saturday where I was one of the faster riders and I had a blast. 4 hours with lots of climbing but also lots of waiting and regrouping. A nice break from going 100% until I feel like I'm bleeding out of my eyes.

I think if you cut your training back too much you can regret it. Maybe try to find a group ride of the right pace with like minded individuals.

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Old 12-04-19, 04:19 PM
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Join a bunch of non-competitive pleasure riders. You'll be faster than the bunch without even trying. They'll be impressed and your ego will be intact.
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Old 12-04-19, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
That's kind of where I am now . . . or where I would like to be. I still work as hard as I did five years ago, but I'm not as fast as I was five years ago. Training hard, good weather and bad, is worth it when you're getting even slightly faster. But when training hard doesn't quite keep you as fast . . . it becomes a chore. Even though I've worked my hardest to stay ahead of it, age has caught up.
Exactly my experience, even though my "racing" was being the ride leader for the fast group ride. I was hollering at them from the end of the line on the hills. Like I said, I switched to the Dark Side, randoing, where I was age-group reasonably fast. When that got hard, I took up a new challenge: tandeming with my wife. We're still doing that and I'm ride leader again, though we don't ride anywhere near the front. I just have a vast route library and am good with weather predictions.

There are new challenges out there which don't require 14 hours a week. This fall I've been very gradually ramping up my CTL to the tune of about 400 TSS and 6:30/week. Some of that is gym time for which the hrTSS doesn't accurately reflect the damage done.
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