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Too old to go Pro??

thephishermanthephisherman Posts: 3
edited November 2009 in Training, fitness and health
First post, long time reader. I have recently turned 23 and have been riding road for nearly two years, and have been thinking about taking it to a professional level now. My question is am I too old to get fit/strong enough to compete at say a national level? I am a long time runner and weight train regularly.

I have pro/ex-pro friends who say it's too late to consider it as a career move, and wondered if anyone has similar views? Thanks

Posts

  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,496
    First post, long time reader. I have recently turned 23 and have been riding road for nearly two years, and have been thinking about taking it to a professional level now. My question is am I too old to get fit/strong enough to compete at say a national level? I am a long time runner and weight train regularly.

    I have pro/ex-pro friends who say it's too late to consider it as a career move, and wondered if anyone has similar views? Thanks

    It's not particularly about how old you are, witness Lance at 38. It's about talent. Can you win races?? It's nothing more than that. Win races, move up in class, win races again,
    move up. Repeat until you are signed to a Pro team. Then win more races. It's really quite simple if you look at the big picture.
  • LangmanLangman Posts: 178
    No way is it too late. Get on with it - you only live once.
  • Percy VeraPercy Vera Posts: 1,103
    Have you raced yet?

    What Cat are you currently?
  • Only raced track so far, and only at an amateur level. Been on plenty of club runs and sprints but nothing that counts. I guess my second question would be how best to get into racing properly? Forgive the ignorance :oops:
  • jim onejim one Posts: 183
    You need to start racing at cat 4 and work your way up. Once you get to a good 2nd or 1st cat then you might get on a sponsored team that will give you kit and a bike. Only once you are riding well for a sponsored team can you then hope to impress someone enough to pay you wages as well.

    In the UK you need to be in the top 20 or so riders to have a chance of earning enough to do it as a living. Even top UK riders have to work during winter to make ends meet.
  • phil sphil s Posts: 1,128
    Don't you think you should have a go and see how good you get at racing before coming on a forum and asking whether you can do it as a career?
    -- Dirk Hofman Motorhomes --
  • Percy VeraPercy Vera Posts: 1,103
    What are your track times?
  • inseineinseine Posts: 5,772
    Am I too old to concider a career as a rocket scientist? I'm 46 and love science fiction films.
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    if you're asking that question then you don't have the required drive.
  • Percy VeraPercy Vera Posts: 1,103
    inseine wrote:
    Am I too old to concider a career as a rocket scientist? I'm 46 and love science fiction films.

    You're half way there! Do you like rockets?
  • inseineinseine Posts: 5,772
    Rockets..........now you're talking!
  • inseine wrote:
    Rockets..........now you're talking!

    Genius!! I can't stop laughing! :D

    Vive les All Blacks!!! [:D]
  • vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
    phisherman,

    Read
    Rough Ride by Paul Kimmage

    Before he went pro he never lost a race
    After he went pro he never won
  • Percy VeraPercy Vera Posts: 1,103
    inseine wrote:
    Rockets..........now you're talking!

    Read this book...

    http://www.childrenslibrary.org/icdl/Bo ... ng=English
  • Even racing at cat 4 is very competitive, I suggest you learn to walk before you can run! Nothing stopping you competing at a good amateur level, but professional? Take one step at a time, it's one very high ladder and you aren't one step up yet.

    ps I don't intend on being negative by the way, just a dose of reality might be needed that's all. :roll:
  • You must be a 28/29 minute 10K runner to feel confident enough to start a post like that.

    If it was that easy we would all be pro and earning a living riding a bike. I am a mere 32minute 10k runner and having read the book Percy posted I think I am better placed to go for the Rocket Scientist. I do know a brain surgeon so I may be one of them instead. :D
  • andypandyp Posts: 8,352
    I'd say it depends on your ambition. There's nothing to stop someone starting cycling seriously at your age from being competitive at national level, assuming you have the natural ability.

    If, however, you have plans to ride at the highest level, i.e. racing as a pro in a Pro Tour team then it's highly unlikely you'll achieve that. That said, the likes of Tony Rominger, Pascal Herve and Russell Downing show it is possible for someone to reach this level in their late 20s or even early 30s. They are exceptions though.

    Put it this way, I wouldn't give up your day job (especially if you're a rocket scientist) to concentrate on cycling just yet. Get to Premier Calendar level before considering that.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Ludo Dierckxsens didn't really get going in pro cycling terms until his 30s.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • mididoctorsmididoctors Posts: 8,630
    its an ask...

    IIRC pascal herve turned pro at 28... was epo'ed to the eyeball thou
    "If I was a 38 year old man, I definitely wouldn't be riding a bright yellow bike with Hello Kitty disc wheels, put it that way. What we're witnessing here is the world's most high profile mid-life crisis" Afx237vi Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:43 pm
  • steve23steve23 Posts: 2,202
    interesting thread!

    guy in our club who is 23. his first year of BCF road racing this year, and has gained his cat 2.
    also he has done a 50min 25TT and a 20min 10TT!!!

    been riding for three years, last year he just road time trials, and did the road racing aswel this year!!!

    however, he hasnt had any sponsorship or anything like that, and as far as we know, hasnt had any offers!!!

    IMO he needs to get to a high cat 1 at least before people come knocking..........
    _______________________________________________________________________________________
    If You Can't Cut It With The Big Dogs, Then Don't Pi$$ Up The Tall Trees!
  • 23 is still young. Coming from an athletics background you are ahead of the couch potatoe wannabe. Cycling is easier than running so just do it. Aim for 2nd Cat next year and Elite the year after. Turn Pro at 26!
  • Percy VeraPercy Vera Posts: 1,103
    rickhotrod wrote:
    Cycling is easier than running........

    In what way?
  • For somebody we're assuming hasn't raced, aiming for Elite cat in the next 2 years is one high target!

    I second the question above- in what way is cycling easier than running? It certainly won't be easy at cat 2, nevermind racing with the big boys in this country. And that's before getting your censored kicked in Belgium!
  • dodgydodgy Posts: 2,890
    Yes, surely if cycling is easier than running, the top Pros are just coasting along and although they're finding it easy and could ride faster if they wanted, all the other riders are observing the "this is easy rule", too and don't challenge for the lead.

    Bolleaux.
  • I don't think 23 is too old, especially given that you have a 'fitness' background.

    A tough career choice though.

    Bon Courage
    SB
  • ProssPross Posts: 25,328
    They used to say the peak ages were in the late 20's so with natural talent it's a long way to go if you haven't ever raced. Before my first race I thought it would be easy - I knew the best racers in the area so I would just sit behind them and sprint past. Took me a good few races to even finsih in the bunch. Even if you are talented you may make it to Elite level and be able to ride in Premier Calendar events but there are lots of others looking for those few professional slots that come up every year and many will have raced internationally for years. Take Russell Downing - he is in his early 30's and has won consistently at UK level for years. OK he has been a British based pro for years but only now, with the introduction of a top flight British Pro team has he made it to the higher echelons of pro racing. Add to that all the young talented riders being picked up by BC for their development plan and, in short, you aren't too old but your chances are very slim. That said you can still take part in the highest level of racing in the UK such as Premier Calendar events without becoming pro by winning enough points to get to first cat standard so you'd still be in what passes as professional racing in the UK.
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriel_Rasch

    Turned Pro at 31(ish), but he had already had a "career" of elite level racing before that.
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  • softladsoftlad Posts: 3,587
    Boardman was 25 when he turned pro (which is late), but he was already a top UK rider before that time.

    I hate to say this, but if you haven't even turned a wheel in a race yet, then I think the idea is pure fantasy. Many of the most promising UK amateurs have already gone through the junior or elite ranks by your age and would be riding for pro/am teams in Belgium or France...

    Realistically, if you were already at UK elite level I would say you have a chance. Seeing as you don't even have a 4th cat licence, I would say you don't.
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