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are you to old to start racing

ram038ram038 Posts: 187
I am 48 years old and have got the cycling bug. I have done a couple of sportvives and I am looking for a new challenge. I was thinking of trying Cat 4 racing but feel that I am too old too slow and will embarass myself. what are the parameters for a CAT 4 rider i.e speed , distance age etc.

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  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    I don't know how fast you are but you're definitely not too old. There are plenty of guys in their 50's, 60's and 70's taking part in road races and time trials every weekend. They would all look at you and call you a youngster. Take Alan Colburn (MI Racing Team), aged 76, rode a 25 on Sunday in 1hr 3min 22s, that's 23.4mph average.

    British Cycling 4th-cat racing would probably involve a course of 40-50 miles at a speed of anything from 21-25mph. If you can average, say, 18mph on solo training rides you wouldn't be a million miles off the pace, once you factor in the advantage of riding in a peleton.

    However, I'd recommend you take a look at the LVRC here: http://www.lvrc.org/ They organise events exclusively for vets and they're a bit more relaxed about things than BC. For instance, if you're not sure whether you're fast enough to ride in your own age category, (you're only a 'B' cat in LVRC terms, so you would probably race with all the 40-50 year olds who can be extremely fast - say 1st and 2nd Cat roadmen) they'll let you ride with the older guys to gain experience. The advantage of riding with the older guys is that many are very very experienced roadmen, they ride a 'sensible' race and you would learn a lot from them. Your average 4th cat BC event is full of novices with very little experience. I know which bunch I'd prefer to find myself in.

    Ruth
  • mossycpmossycp Posts: 233
    Malcolm Elliott is 47 I think and still competing in Premier Calendar races. You're never too old!

    I've just started racing myself at the age of 40 and was chuffed to finish my first race last weekend at the fourth attempt. It's difficult to judge what speed you need to achieve. The BC used to say that if you could average 18mph for an hour over undulating roads then you were ready for road racing as 4th Cat. Personally I think that's a little optimistic but it depends on how you ride the road race. In my opinion the most important thing to be able to do is ride in a bunch near the front and is the thing I find most difficult. Everyone says, make sure you stay near but not at the front. If you're following a wheel at the back of the bunch and the guys in front lose the wheels and you get distanced, that's it, race over. I always find it particularly hard at the beginning of a race when the pace is high, if I can keep in the bunch for the first 30 mins or so then I should be OK.

    A typical 3/4 road race will average somewhere between 23 and 25 mph. On my own I will typically average 18-19 mph over 40-50 undulating but not hilly miles.

    Make sure you join a club and get on some fast club runs.

    Give it a go, what have you got to lose. If you get dropped after a few miles, enter another race and have another go.
    Today is your day, your mountain is waiting, so get on your way {Dr Seus}
  • ToksToks Posts: 1,143
    ram038 wrote:
    I am 48 years old and have got the cycling bug. I have done a couple of sportvives and I am looking for a new challenge. I was thinking of trying Cat 4 racing but feel that I am too old too slow and will embarass myself. what are the parameters for a CAT 4 rider i.e speed , distance age etc.
    Age has absolutely nothing to do with it. Lots of VET (40 and overs) win and place well in competitive races. If you're comfortable in a bunch, can sit on wheels, take the racing line, etc and can average 18-20mph on a flattish loop for 40-60mins without dying at the end - you're ready to race in the average crit or short road race. Good luck and let us know how you get on :D:D
    PS Remember 4th only will be less stressful/intensive than 3/4 or 2,3,4 races
  • SteveR_100MilersSteveR_100Milers Posts: 5,987
    Why not try time trialling first to get a benchmark against other riders. The advantage is you wont get dropped and demoralised during the event. Last sunday at the welsh 25 one of my clubmates who is nearly 72 did a sub hour ride so age is no barrier to doing well and being competitive.
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    Toks wrote:
    PS Remember 4th only will be less stressful/intensive than 3/4 or 2,3,4 races
    Physically less stressful maybe, but not mentally less stressful :wink:

    Like Ruth says, the general standard of riding in LVRC races is better than 4th cat races. The only downside with LVRC is that all abilities (not age related) are lumped in together, and some of the A's and B's are still racing at 2nd cat level in BC races, although as she says they will probably let you start with the older riders at first anyway.

    RAM038 - have a look at this recent post for more tips on introduction to bunch racing:
    http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtop ... t=12569412
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 3,830
    Being honest age does have quite a lot to do with it - 48 isn't too old but it's putting you at a disadvantage over someone that is 25. Personally I'd try some 4th only events if you can find them - they are noticeably easier than 3/4s and 2/3/4s. Yes there may be less experienced riders but most are still OK - they aren't all novices - and anyway it's easier to stay nearer the front. When I was a 4th I enjoyed being competitive in a 4ths race more than trying to finish a 2/3/4.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    Bronzie wrote:
    Toks wrote:
    PS Remember 4th only will be less stressful/intensive than 3/4 or 2,3,4 races
    Physically less stressful maybe, but not mentally less stressful :wink:

    Like Ruth says, the general standard of riding in LVRC races is better than 4th cat races. The only downside with LVRC is that all abilities (not age related) are lumped in together, and some of the A's and B's are still racing at 2nd cat level in BC races, although as she says they will probably let you start with the older riders at first anyway.

    RAM038 - have a look at this recent post for more tips on introduction to bunch racing:
    http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtop ... t=12569412

    Only trouble with LVRC is there are also some grumpy old buggers in there :D Like the TV programme grumpy old men :D but dont be mistaken about the pace and quality of riders, some of them can be as fast as 2,3,4 races.
  • ToksToks Posts: 1,143
    Being honest age does have quite a lot to do with it - 48 isn't too old but it's putting you at a disadvantage over someone that is 25. .
    Er...really please explain why?
  • xover_runnerxover_runner Posts: 228
    Did my first race at the age of 49 and 11/12ths last week. It was LVRC and I got 15th out of about 40/50 - very pleased. We averaged 23.2 mph but it was only 85 minutes. I can do 18/19 on a fast group ride. It was easier than I was expecting, I didn't make any moves just sat in fairly near the front the whole way round. Probably wasn't very popular, next time I will certainly try a dig off the front just for the hell of it. Standard of riding was excellent generally, everyone kept straight and it was a great morning. Was a bit of moaning from would be "Patrons" about people not taking a turn but I just ignored that. Have a go. I'm glad I did. I've been building up to this for a year at least thinking I might get dropped in the first few minutes
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 3,830
    Toks wrote:
    Being honest age does have quite a lot to do with it - 48 isn't too old but it's putting you at a disadvantage over someone that is 25. .
    Er...really please explain why?

    How many 48 year olds are there in the pro ranks - if the answer is none there's your answer. I'm 40 myself and not saying he can't race at 48 - and of course there are some very fast 48 year olds - just that they would probably be even faster were they 25. Even Malcolm Elliott isn't likely to win a points jersey in the Vuelta now is he ?

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • ram038ram038 Posts: 187
    Did my first race at the age of 49 and 11/12ths last week. It was LVRC and I got 15th out of about 40/50 - very pleased. We averaged 23.2 mph but it was only 85 minutes. I can do 18/19 on a fast group ride. It was easier than I was expecting, I didn't make any moves just sat in fairly near the front the whole way round. Probably wasn't very popular, next time I will certainly try a dig off the front just for the hell of it. Standard of riding was excellent generally, everyone kept straight and it was a great morning. Was a bit of moaning from would be "Patrons" about people not taking a turn but I just ignored that. Have a go. I'm glad I did. I've been building up to this for a year at least thinking I might get dropped in the first few minutes

    Very inspiring xover_runner gives me hope for the future. I am not currently in a club but think that I would improve faster if I was so will find one locally to join. Like you i will be building-up to this over the next 12 months depending on progress. Thanks
  • Alex_Simmons/RSTAlex_Simmons/RST Posts: 4,161
    Toks wrote:
    Being honest age does have quite a lot to do with it - 48 isn't too old but it's putting you at a disadvantage over someone that is 25. .
    Er...really please explain why?

    How many 48 year olds are there in the pro ranks - if the answer is none there's your answer. I'm 40 myself and not saying he can't race at 48 - and of course there are some very fast 48 year olds - just that they would probably be even faster were they 25. Even Malcolm Elliott isn't likely to win a points jersey in the Vuelta now is he ?
    How many Pros ride in Cat 4? None I hope. I think we are talking about racing riders with similar abilities. A strong 25 yo will be in a higher category. In cat 4 you're more likely to get beaten by a rider with good sprint nouse or more experience (or a burglar), than anything age specific.

    Never too old to start racing. I have a client who did his first racing this year at age 65. On the podium at national Masters Individual Pursuit to boot (and the competition was pretty good too)! You're never too old to uncover talent either!
  • ToksToks Posts: 1,143
    Thanks Alex, I couldn't have put it better :D I think you should read the thread on the 63 old bloke year who trained up from ploding commuter pace power to 'under the hour' power in two years Tom. Common mate think positive, I don't think the OP was planning on becoming a Domestic Pro Road Racer. :D
  • Alex_Simmons/RSTAlex_Simmons/RST Posts: 4,161
    Toks wrote:
    Thanks Alex, I couldn't have put it better :D I think you should read the thread on the 63 old bloke year who trained up from ploding commuter pace power to 'under the hour' power in two years Tom. Common mate think positive, I don't think the OP was planning on becoming a Domestic Pro Road Racer. :D
    I know the Tyson (Silly Old Twit) story quite well (and Tyson knows who I am).
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 3,830
    What a lot of nonsense - I wasn't being negative I was encouraging him to have a go - why does accepting the fact you wont be as fast at 48 as you would be at 25 equate to negativity. Are either of you seriously disputing that the OP at 25 would not find it easier to get into road racing ?

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • SteveR_100MilersSteveR_100Milers Posts: 5,987
    Tom, I think the point you are trying to make is that for each person we are likely to be faster at 25 than we are at 48 or whatever older age, simply because our bodies wear out, and respond less well to training stimulus as we get older. However, the variation from person to person is much greater than that within the ageing effect of most of us, which I think is the point made by Toks and Alex.
  • ToksToks Posts: 1,143
    Toks wrote:
    Thanks Alex, I couldn't have put it better :D I think you should read the thread on the 63 old bloke year who trained up from ploding commuter pace power to 'under the hour' power in two years Tom. Common mate think positive, I don't think the OP was planning on becoming a Domestic Pro Road Racer. :D
    I know the Tyson (Silly Old Twit) story quite well (and Tyson knows who I am).
    oops my bad just re read my post, yeah of course you know Tyson, Alex. That part of the reply was aimed at Tom :D
  • Alex_Simmons/RSTAlex_Simmons/RST Posts: 4,161
    What a lot of nonsense - I wasn't being negative I was encouraging him to have a go - why does accepting the fact you wont be as fast at 48 as you would be at 25 equate to negativity. Are either of you seriously disputing that the OP at 25 would not find it easier to get into road racing ?
    Yes. What has age got to do with getting into racing (or how hard the training is)?

    How hard you train is more related to your level of fitness than age.

    I agree that at 25 the OP may be able to manage a higher rate of physiological development and become much faster but that doesn't make it any easier than training when at 48. The 25 year old simply races in a higher category, trains at higher absolute wattages (but so do his peers). Both would have to work as relatively hard as each other to make progress and enjoy competition.

    It is true that masters age athletes tend to require more recovery but again the "hardness" of training/racing is relative to your level of fitness.
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 3,830
    "Being honest age does have quite a lot to do with it - 48 isn't too old but it's putting you at a disadvantage over someone that is 25."

    That is the line that you and Toks seem to be taking issue with. I'm at a bit of a loss to see why - I think perhaps you've jumped in with both feet and don't like to admit you've misinterpreted what I said.

    You can be disadvantaged by something relative to someone else and still prevail. I would give a few examples but really it's self evident. Just to make it clear to you - all other things being equal it will be harder for a person of 48 to reach a standard where they can be competitive in a road race of any standard than it would be for a 25 year old. If you don't disagree with that then you don't disagree with me.

    To put it another way the OP says he feels he is too old to race at Cat 4. Clearly for everyone there will be an age where - in combination with their natural ability, the training they are able to put in etc - they will be too old to race or at least take a meaningful part in such a race. No 48 isn't too old - but it's a disadvantage compared to younger competitors - but for many people not an insurmountable one.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • Alex_Simmons/RSTAlex_Simmons/RST Posts: 4,161
    Maybe we're just arguing semantics :D

    Anyway - we agree on one big thing - to the OP - get out there and give it a go!

    You can't win if you don't start. :wink:
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 3,830
    Too true.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • SwannieSwannie Posts: 107
    I know the Tyson (Silly Old Twit) story quite well (and Tyson knows who I am).

    Hah. You b*******.

    I started reading the thread over on them other forums... and couldn't stop! It has eaten a LOT of time to get through it. What a HUGE inspiration.

    RDO and Tyson made it engaging from the start, and at 155 pages long, it still has an appeal. Now the old (65, 66 fast approaching) chap has an FTP (Functional Threshold Power - what you can maintain for 1h) over 300W, up from 130ish, I want to know how he does on his races this year.

    An inspiration for sure. I'm already looking at getting a turbo trainer. Power meter is a little out of my range - especially considering my primary training this summer is to get a sub 1:30 half marathon. But going to get a rear wheel speedo for the trainer, and with a "constant" resistance, use that to work out a 1hr FTP "speed", and work intervals with that. Road riding just has too many variables for me to feel confident in measuring small improvements.

    Thanks to that thread I now have a much better understanding of Lactate Threshold (LT), VO2 Max, Anaerobic Work Capacity (AWC), Neuro Muscular (NM) adaptions (L1-7). And looking forwards to applying the same ideas to my running. (No Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) for me though, except to do some benchmark recovery times.) I even checked a book on Triathlon training out of the library, and will be devouring that shortly :D
  • Alex_Simmons/RSTAlex_Simmons/RST Posts: 4,161
    Swannie wrote:
    I know the Tyson (Silly Old Twit) story quite well (and Tyson knows who I am).

    Hah. You b*******.

    I started reading the thread over on them other forums... and couldn't stop! It has eaten a LOT of time to get through it. What a HUGE inspiration.

    RDO and Tyson made it engaging from the start, and at 155 pages long, it still has an appeal. Now the old (65, 66 fast approaching) chap has an FTP (Functional Threshold Power - what you can maintain for 1h) over 300W, up from 130ish, I want to know how he does on his races this year.

    An inspiration for sure. I'm already looking at getting a turbo trainer. Power meter is a little out of my range - especially considering my primary training this summer is to get a sub 1:30 half marathon. But going to get a rear wheel speedo for the trainer, and with a "constant" resistance, use that to work out a 1hr FTP "speed", and work intervals with that. Road riding just has too many variables for me to feel confident in measuring small improvements.

    Thanks to that thread I now have a much better understanding of Lactate Threshold (LT), VO2 Max, Anaerobic Work Capacity (AWC), Neuro Muscular (NM) adaptions (L1-7). And looking forwards to applying the same ideas to my running. (No Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) for me though, except to do some benchmark recovery times.) I even checked a book on Triathlon training out of the library, and will be devouring that shortly :D
    :D

    Wheel speed on a trainer (if conditions of trainer use are kept constasnt each time) is a good proxy for power.

    You may even consider hiring a powertap wheel for a short time to test the trainer over a week and build up your own speed-power curve model.

    Also, for outdoor testing, time up a known and reasonably well sheltered climb of at least 5-min but prefereably 10-min or longer, is also a good guide to fitness changes.

    For running, pace is best proxy.

    for more reading, go here:
    http://www.trainwithpower.net/
    and here:
    http://www.cyclingpeakssoftware.com/power411/
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