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Masters Catagory, when do I know I am ready?

RfmulligRfmullig Posts: 4
edited September 2015 in Road beginners
I am 51 years old and am interested in competing in the Masters catagory.
I am somewhat new to cycling, and due to my natural competitive nature I am very interested in racing.
Today I did a short 20 mile ride with moderate-hilly terrain and my average speed was 17mph. I want to be competitive. On longer rides with moderate terrain the computer has my good averages at about that speed as well. Should I consider competing?
R

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  • beskibeski Posts: 542
    Have you got a Garmin Edge? If so then uploading to Strava will give you an idea of how your times compare to others
    Giant Defy 4 2014
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  • I agree with beski, you don't need a Garmin though, you can just use an iPhone or Android phone for now, it will be accurate enough to compare yourself to others.

    I'd advise going premium too, you can then filter the leaderboards to see how you're comparing to others in your age range. Google "60 day Strava trial" and you can upgrade to premium for 60 days to test it out for free. The standard trial is 30 days but there is some promo on at the moment.

    Strava is a great motivational tool (for me at least), competing against others/your own PB is fun and keeps you interested/obsessed (in my case anyway).

    Have you considered trying out a time trial?
  • There's only one way to find out.

    If you're small and bouncy you might be OK. If you're larger and steady then not. Can you ride very close to other riders at 30mph? I suggest finding a group or club and starting there to get experience of bunch riding before diving in too deeply. At our age hitting the ground hurts more.

    Paul
  • whoofwhoof Posts: 756
    I suggest finding a group or club and starting there to get experience of bunch riding before diving in too deeply. At our age hitting the ground hurts more.

    Paul

    Agree, if you are new to cycling learn to ride in a group before entering a race. Spend the winter going out on club-runs then possibly in the spring try a chain gang. This will provide some of the skills necessary to race and give you an idea if you have the ability to do so. Bunch cycle racing is not like say running a 10k where you go your own pace. In a bike race you can either ride at the pace of the bunch (or off the front in a break) or your are not racing.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Yes you need to join a club. 17mph is OK but nothing flash. And there will be attacks in races that would be far faster than that too.

    You do need to be able to ride a wheel and ride in a bunch.

    Join a club and hone your skills. You're definitely not ready yet.
  • andcpandcp Posts: 652
    Have a look through here too:
    http://www.lvrc.org.uk/

    As long as your own expectations are in check (i.e. you're not going to win) give it a go.
    "It must be true, it's on the internet" - Winston Churchill
  • If by that you mean 'is that fast?', the answer is an emphatic no. But if you want to race, find a local cycling club, get some advice and experience of group riding.
  • I am 51 years old and am interested in competing in the Masters catagory.
    I am somewhat new to cycling, and due to my natural competitive nature I am very interested in racing.
    Today I did a short 20 mile ride with moderate-hilly terrain and my average speed was 17mph. I want to be competitive. On longer rides with moderate terrain the computer has my good averages at about that speed as well. Should I consider competing?
    R

    Masters racing will include ex-pros, international roadmen and 1st cats. It won't be a walk in the park.

    Racing isn't only about fitness and speed – you need to work on your bike handling skills, like riding on a wheel, cornering in a large group etc

    The best way to do all this is to join a club
  • There's only one way to find out.

    If you're small and bouncy you might be OK. If you're larger and steady then not. Can you ride very close to other riders at 30mph? I suggest finding a group or club and starting there to get experience of bunch riding before diving in too deeply. At our age hitting the ground hurts more.

    Paul
    I hope that that 30mph you mention is not an average speed. If so these 50+ riders should stop thinking about retirment and join the tour. Average speed for tour riders seems to be about 25-28 on the flats. Don't get me wrong, i have no delusions of competing on a national level. My interests are in local events in Michigan with some gusy my age and comradery. Btw. i am guessing that my average speed was a little better than 17mph as I had to stop for 2 stop lights. Maybe I need to find a better place to ride. :)
  • You can probably look at averaging ~25mph if the circuit is flat with the bunch hitting over 30mph at times though of course that is far easier to achieve in a group than solo...if you can ride well in a group.
    AFC Mercia women - sign for us
  • 964cup964cup Posts: 1,359
    There's only one way to find out.

    If you're small and bouncy you might be OK. If you're larger and steady then not. Can you ride very close to other riders at 30mph? I suggest finding a group or club and starting there to get experience of bunch riding before diving in too deeply. At our age hitting the ground hurts more.

    Paul
    I hope that that 30mph you mention is not an average speed. If so these 50+ riders should stop thinking about retirment and join the tour. Average speed for tour riders seems to be about 25-28 on the flats. Don't get me wrong, i have no delusions of competing on a national level. My interests are in local events in Michigan with some gusy my age and comradery. Btw. i am guessing that my average speed was a little better than 17mph as I had to stop for 2 stop lights. Maybe I need to find a better place to ride. :)

    Look at the finishing times for the UCI Amateur Worlds (www.denmark2015.dk). The guy who came 50th in your age category finished a 165km hilly race in 4h33m. That's a 22.8mph average. The winner in category averaged 24mph. That's what you're up against. Join a club, get some miles in, see how you feel. But don't kid yourself. I was in that Denmark race (in the age category below yours) and was roundly annihilated. I'm reasonably strong by club standards (in my club, at any rate), and have a couple of KOMs and all, but this was racing and I was nowhere.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    There's only one way to find out.

    If you're small and bouncy you might be OK. If you're larger and steady then not. Can you ride very close to other riders at 30mph? I suggest finding a group or club and starting there to get experience of bunch riding before diving in too deeply. At our age hitting the ground hurts more.

    Paul
    I hope that that 30mph you mention is not an average speed. If so these 50+ riders should stop thinking about retirment and join the tour. Average speed for tour riders seems to be about 25-28 on the flats.

    Completely different kettles of fish there - your local races are probably going to be 50 miles or so and not over the Alps or the Pyrenees.

    If you check out Youtube there are plenty of local crit footage on there. Sometimes they overlay their garmin data on top so you can see the speed. 50 year olds aren't much slower than they were in their 30s. Scary but true.
  • There's only one way to find out.

    If you're small and bouncy you might be OK. If you're larger and steady then not. Can you ride very close to other riders at 30mph? I suggest finding a group or club and starting there to get experience of bunch riding before diving in too deeply. At our age hitting the ground hurts more.

    Paul
    I hope that that 30mph you mention is not an average speed. If so these 50+ riders should stop thinking about retirment and join the tour. Average speed for tour riders seems to be about 25-28 on the flats. Don't get me wrong, i have no delusions of competing on a national level. My interests are in local events in Michigan with some gusy my age and comradery. Btw. i am guessing that my average speed was a little better than 17mph as I had to stop for 2 stop lights. Maybe I need to find a better place to ride. :)
    I have the first continuous 5 miles of the Aalborg race at 45kmh in the 50-54 age group. I was in the process of being dropped after 10 miles, by which time the average was down to just over 40kmh. But it's not so much the absolute speed as the process of riding with a lot of other riders at speed. I think it is worth getting some experience of fast group riding outside of an actual race prior to jumping in. But then just jump in and see what you can do.

    But don't focus on improving your average speed on a short loop. I think you're better off going really fast for a bit then resting, then repeating. Even if the average speeds don't change much to begin with.

    Paul
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Join a club and forget all the Strava nonsense because it won't teach you to learn how to ride safely in a group. My local vets races are typically 2 hours and average speeds between 35-40kph - if you don't have a bike racing background then expect to find it hard - it's not the speed as such, it's the big surges in acceleration that result in riders getting dropped.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
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