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At 32 would I be wasting my time training to enter crits?

matt-hmatt-h Posts: 847
edited February 2014 in Amateur race
I'm tempted to enter a couple of crits this year but worried of making a complete censored of myself.
I'm 32 in a couple of weeks, in good shape but certainly not in the top half of my club cyclists.
I am however, prepared to put in the work.
I enjoys club runs, did 3000 miles from May to December and entered a couple of club 10's
I know age isn't really an issue with TT's but not so sure on crits

Thoughts guys

Matt

Posts

  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,085
    32 is hardly old - not even close. There are guys well into their 50s still racing (and winning)...
  • Your never to old!
    I do science, sometimes.
  • ToeKneeToeKnee Posts: 376
    mentalalex wrote:
    Your never to old!
    +1 except I might have worded it differently :mrgreen:
    Seneca wrote:
    It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.
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  • DavidJBDavidJB Posts: 2,019
    Lol not even close! I'm 28 and some the 40+ vets rip my legs off!
  • matt-hmatt-h Posts: 847
    Cheers guys.
    I'll delve a bit further.

    Matt
  • bucklesbuckles Posts: 694
    Hahahaha
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  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 6,340
    Easiest thing is have a look at some 3rd and 4th cats in your club, if you can train with them then have a go, if you get left behind every time it gets hard the same will happen in a race. Crits are probably harder than an open road race for a beginner as bike handling and specific race fitness play a bigger part than just having a good engine.
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  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    Yep far too old. You should stop all forms of cycling right NOW!

    What age did Wiggins win the Tour De France at again?
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com
  • racingcondorracingcondor Posts: 1,434
    Don't worry about it. All getting older does is mean you get to shake your fist at the young whipper snappers if they have the cheek to beat you ;-)

    I suspect your mileage is too low for you to be competative (mileage isn't everything though) but DeVlaeminck gives good advice, if you can hang in with the 3rd and 4th Cat riders in your club give it a go, you'll soon find out.
  • Go watch some local races and see if you feel the itch. I did a few years ago, as a friend of mine had a team and asked me to join... I went to see the races and got terrified...

    I did race in a crit in Belgium last year... but it was a very small field, kind of 20 or so and, although the course was treacherous, it wasn't too scary... the buzz was awesome, but once back I didn't feel like replicating the experience in a large field
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 6,340
    One advantage of LVRCs is that the fields are generally smaller, think the most I've ridden in for an LVRC would be 50 odd, and they break up more too due to more attacking riding and a bigger spread of ability. Lower cat circuit races round here can easily top 100 early season.
    AFC Mercia women - sign for us
  • giropaulgiropaul Posts: 414
    There is a guy, Patrick Cocquyt who is 52 and is regularly winning kermesses (not vets ones either) in Belgium. His total wins are 350 and counting!

    I was OK for the odd place and win in crits and kermesses in my 30s and early 40s. 3/4 races were usually easier than LVRCs!


    What I would say is don't just try the odd one, I reckon one or two a week are needed to just get into the groove. Before the Kelloggs city centre races many UK pros went for 2 or 3 weeks in Belgium, riding kermesses two days then an easy ride on the third, then repeating.
  • milesemilese Posts: 1,233
    I started racing at 27, with a view that I wanted to take advantage of my 'youth' and race whilst I could. I only raced a season, but am now coming back after a couple of years off and am now 30.

    As soon as I got involved I realised that I was a youngster in the sport and that most competitors were probably 35-45. It seemed like the younger racers were all 16 to 20 and everyone else was more like 40+. It felt a bit like I was in an age category all of my own, which probably reflects that lots of people dont have the time to commit once they discover jobs, women and beer, until the mid life crisis when they make a come back.

    As said, there are plenty that are 20 years older than me that whip me. If you look at races that are age classified (CX / MTB), the vets (over 40) category is normally the most competitive.

    Your age isnt an issue. Just dont be disheartened if it doesnt go well to start with, as it takes a while to get used to grips with it and to build the fitness needed to be competitive.
  • SouthgateSouthgate Posts: 246
    Of course 32 isn't too old!! I've just started racing crits and I'm 50 this year - if I was your age I would be aiming at progressing to Elite category within three seasons! At my age it might be 20 years before I make it :wink:

    I had no problem staying with the bunch, sure it hurt like hell, but I was never in danger of being dropped. And I'm no skinny whippet either.

    Train smart, i.e. good endurance base + intervals to overlay speed, get the nutrition right, and keeping up should not be a problem, at least not at 3rd or 4th cat. What you will need to learn (and what I'm having to learn) is how to race so that you're in with a chance of winning or placing. I'm not doing this to "take part". I fully intend to win races, and if I don't then I will work out why not and train harder / race smarter until I do.
    Superstition begins with pinning race number 13 upside down and it ends with the brutal slaughter of Mamils at the cake stop.
  • I was 30 when I started racing (a year and a half ago). Best thing I ever did!
  • samg123samg123 Posts: 275
    I suggest you ditch the crits, put in some serious base miles, do a bit of training in Tenerife and go for the Vuelta in about 10 years time.
  • philbar72philbar72 Posts: 2,228
    i'm 41 and its given me a new lease of life on the bike, though i'm still learning after 7 or 8 races. its all about being trained correctly, base miles and intervals goes a long way as well as actually racing.
  • matt-h wrote:
    I'm tempted to enter a couple of crits this year but worried of making a complete ars* of myself.
    I'm 32 in a couple of weeks, in good shape but certainly not in the top half of my club cyclists.
    I am however, prepared to put in the work.
    I enjoys club runs, did 3000 miles from May to December and entered a couple of club 10's
    I know age isn't really an issue with TT's but not so sure on crits

    Thoughts guys

    Matt

    I made my crit debut last summer aged 45, so you are but a youngster! I learned the hard way that hairpins, cobbles and speedbumps aren't really my thing, but learning the hard way is very effective. (I wasn't the first to be lapped, at least.)

    Second time out I did a Cat 4 only race round an airfield. I don't know exactly how this should be described as it's neither open road nor crit, but I was pleasingly competitve, beating a lot of the guys who'd wallopped me in the crit.

    This highlighted a key element of entry level racing - pick your course carefully. If you're not so good at hills, have less than stellar bike handling but a decent sprint, then the airfield/motor racing circuits are your thing, as all you need to do is wheel suck, stay out of trouble (easyish on a wide circuit) avoid getting boxed in (tricky) and sprint. Conversely, if you can't sprint, then the shorter circuit races are always going to be difficult for you as there are always plenty of big lumps on circuits like that who can.

    You need to try a few different types of racing to find out what you're good and bad at, so you can practice the old adage of "train your weaknesses, race to your strengths".

    Race day is a great atmosphere. I was so hyped up after my second race that I was still bouncing round at tea time like I'd been drinking coffee all day and I can't wait to get back to it this year!
  • giropaul wrote:
    There is a guy, Patrick Cocquyt who is 52 and is regularly winning kermesses (not vets ones either) in Belgium. His total wins are 350 and counting!

    I was OK for the odd place and win in crits and kermesses in my 30s and early 40s. 3/4 races were usually easier than LVRCs!


    What I would say is don't just try the odd one, I reckon one or two a week are needed to just get into the groove. Before the Kelloggs city centre races many UK pros went for 2 or 3 weeks in Belgium, riding kermesses two days then an easy ride on the third, then repeating.

    HAHA but Cocquyt is NOT NORMAL, neither is Mario williams
    http://www.veloveritas.co.uk/2009/08/05/mario-willems-most-successful-kermis-rider-this-season/
  • pinnopinno Posts: 40,270
    Crits can be tough as heck. The pace can be relentless. There's a lot of hocus pocus about what sort of mileagge you should be doing. I think you can be fit on less than 100 training miles a week - they will just have to be very good quality miles.
    Physically, everybody responds to different types of mileage. My optimum seemed to be 200 miles per week. Anymore than that and I was goosed for competitive stuff and any less and I didn't have the legs. Some of my mates who were track riders seemed to thrive on a 5 day a week schedule. Sunday run or Race, Tuesday TT, Wednesday track, Thursday Crits or RR and one other day! ..but, chuck a decent hill in the route and I used to say 'adios muchachos' to them. Some only get fit by actually racing.
    Give it a go. Pick your event. See if you can scout the route and pedal round it beforehand. Look for key points where the attacks may come and cause splits. An entirely flat course is going to be hell but a hilly course may be hell too but less painful if you can climb. Some smaller climbs (Lewes*, Goodwood) can be sprinted up by the 'big boys' and may not be enough of a lull in pace to get back on.
    Have a go. Jump in and don't get disheartened initially.
    *Lewes crits - Still going?
    seanoconn - gruagach craic!
  • I'd be more worried about your comment ntence that you're not even in the top 1/2 of your club. You might get your doors blown off, but the best way to mark yourself to the market is to try a race.

    Don't worry about your age, just do a race or 3 and see what works, what your weaknesses are, etc. Then maybe take a break while you work on your weaknesses. Of course you might win your first race.

    Come back and tell us how you get on!
    When a cyclist has a disagreement with a car; it's not who's right, it's who's left.
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