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From CAT 4 to CAT 2

naavtnaavt Posts: 218
Hi all,

I've gained access to a brief month of CTS couching and it opened a world for me. For the first time I've came across with a structured workout and the reasons of it.

Shame that CTS couching is so expensive (at least for a guy living in a country where wages are so miserable).

I'm now at 47, bought Joe Friel's Training Bible book a week ago and read 125 pages already. Great book. Great info for a newbie in this matter (like me).

I've learned a lot. Discovered my power profile (Puncher), for the first time in my life, after many years on a bike. I've also discovered that I'm a CAT 4 cyclist and want to progress.

I'm in the midst of putting my own ATP together right now, and want to read from your experiences on how much time you've taken to go up 2 Categories in road cycling.

I know this is a very subjective question and much to it goes to genetics, but I'm sure that if many of you share your experiences, it can somehow represent a good ballpark to gain some insight about this matter.

Thanks in advance.
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  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Are you talking of racing categories ? Or some scale of fitness ?
  • naavtnaavt Posts: 218
    edited May 2018
    fenix wrote:
    Are you talking of racing categories ? Or some scale of fitness ?

    Racing category.

    EDIT: Strike above. It's fitness what I've meant.
  • timothywtimothyw Posts: 2,482
    You're 47 and you want to get to CAT 2? Have you ever actually done a bike race?

    There's one guy in my club (admittedly a fairly small club, 30 or so regular riders) who is Cat 3, but likely to be cat 2 by the end of the season.

    He's 23/24, must be sub 10% bodyfat, weighs about 57kg and can fly up hills like they're not there, but still has enough punch that he won a bunch sprint recently.

    This is his third season of racing.

    You might want to set yourself more modest targets (eg top ten finish in a cat 4 race), or investigate LVRC.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Yes I think you need to try racing first before setting targets.
  • naavtnaavt Posts: 218
    timothyw wrote:
    You're 47 and you want to get to CAT 2? Have you ever actually done a bike race?

    There's one guy in my club (admittedly a fairly small club, 30 or so regular riders) who is Cat 3, but likely to be cat 2 by the end of the season.

    He's 23/24, must be sub 10% bodyfat, weighs about 57kg and can fly up hills like they're not there, but still has enough punch that he won a bunch sprint recently.

    This is his third season of racing.

    You might want to set yourself more modest targets (eg top ten finish in a cat 4 race), or investigate LVRC.
    fenix wrote:
    Yes I think you need to try racing first before setting targets.

    Sorry. Explained myself wrong. I was talking about categories which shows up at TrainingPeaks dashboard.

    So that's perhaps fitness and I've messed it all up. That's why I've mentioned my power profile previously (hope this makes any sense!)
  • joey54321joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    Any comparison to any one else about how long it takes is meaningless (and, in my opinion, mentally unhealthy).

    I know this isn't the answer you wanted, you wanted me to say it took exactly 534 days. But if that were true for me there is 0% chance it would be true for you, so much will effect it. Genetics, training time, training response, other life stress, nutrition, etc... etc....

    Also, comparisons to anyone else are always dangerous. If you get to Cat 2 quicker than someone else are you gonna stop? If it takes you longer than everyone else are you going to stop? Focus on YOU. Focus on enjoying the process of getting yourself as quick/fit as YOU can be. Focus on the process, the training, the recovery, learning what works for you, what interval sessions YOU respond well too. Everything else is just a distraction (except Bikeradar forum, of course).
  • naavtnaavt Posts: 218
    joey54321 wrote:
    Any comparison to any one else about how long it takes is meaningless (and, in my opinion, mentally unhealthy).

    I know this isn't the answer you wanted, you wanted me to say it took exactly 534 days. But if that were true for me there is 0% chance it would be true for you, so much will effect it. Genetics, training time, training response, other life stress, nutrition, etc... etc....

    Also, comparisons to anyone else are always dangerous. If you get to Cat 2 quicker than someone else are you gonna stop? If it takes you longer than everyone else are you going to stop? Focus on YOU. Focus on enjoying the process of getting yourself as quick/fit as YOU can be. Focus on the process, the training, the recovery, learning what works for you, what interval sessions YOU respond well too. Everything else is just a distraction (except Bikeradar forum, of course).

    I understand what you mean and I can't agree more. You're absolutely right and that's why I've mentioned the subjectiveness of my question.

    Nonetheless, don't look at my question as a "comparison to", but more as a "marker to" (if the majority can make it in 534 days, I'll make it my goal to attain it at 534 days) ;)
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,495
    joey54321 wrote:
    Any comparison to any one else about how long it takes is meaningless (and, in my opinion, mentally unhealthy).

    I know this isn't the answer you wanted, you wanted me to say it took exactly 534 days. But if that were true for me there is 0% chance it would be true for you, so much will effect it. Genetics, training time, training response, other life stress, nutrition, etc... etc....

    Also, comparisons to anyone else are always dangerous. If you get to Cat 2 quicker than someone else are you gonna stop? If it takes you longer than everyone else are you going to stop? Focus on YOU. Focus on enjoying the process of getting yourself as quick/fit as YOU can be. Focus on the process, the training, the recovery, learning what works for you, what interval sessions YOU respond well too. Everything else is just a distraction (except Bikeradar forum, of course).

    Sorry - don't agree with that entirely.

    Yes - you have to set your goals realistically - but there's nothing wrong with seeing someone comparable achieve a similar goal and incorporating that into your goals. No, it doesn't make you "better" or "worse" if you do it quicker or take longer - but it does give you a target to aim for and some motivation - should you need it.

    Yes, we're all different - but fundamentally we're the same. There's no point in me looking at one of the younger club members who climbs quickly and only with a few months on the bike and aiming to do the same - I'm considerably older and already had years on the bike so the starting points are not comparable. But there's every point in me looking at some of my peers who also climb quicker than me - been riding for similar, if not longer - and aiming to do the same - but I can do that with the understanding of my own capabilities and training time constraints.

    For someone setting out on their journey to improve whatever metric they've set - there is every reason to compare themselves against a "better" peer - learn what they do - replicate it if possible, see if it works for you - no point trying to re-invent the wheel.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    You need to train at a suitable level and workload for you.

    Put a sensible training plan in place and see how you get on. Listen to your body to check you're recovering.

    You will get fitter. Nobody can promise a certain level by XX date - waaay too many variables.

    Enjoy the process and focus on that rather than the outcome you want.
  • Alex_Simmons/RSTAlex_Simmons/RST Posts: 4,161
    If you are talking about how long it might take to increase your sustainable aerobic power to weight ratio from a range typically displayed by Cat 4 riders to a range typically displayed by Cat 2 riders, the answer is somewhere between a couple of months and never.

    There are a lot of individual factors involved, and one important one is your inherit physiological capability. In that sense you need to choose your parents wisely. So without any historical data on your response to training, no one can answer the question.

    This is why setting such power related targets is really only sensible once you have had a bit of time to understand how you respond to some quality consistent training over a period of a couple of years.

    Much better goals are process ones - IOW focus on achieving markers of training consistency and quality and the things that help you achieve those (which will vary for everyone).

    In that way you can get the best out of yourself, whatever that might end up being.
  • MishMash95MishMash95 Posts: 104
    Whilst I cannot comment on how long it takes given i'm still a Cat 4, I can talk a bit about my own experience. I haven't done a tonne of racing however that is mostly due to me now focusing on training.

    I've been cycling for about 14 months (10 months of something that loosely resembles training) and have an FTP of ~270-275w, I also weigh 64kg, and am currently targeting 62kg (which should be attainable in 3-4 weeks for me). This currently gives me a W/kg of 4.22. For other best-effort numbers (1 min, 5 min) I have 630w~9.8W/kg and 360w~5.6W/kg respectively, so I would say I classify as a "puncheur" as well. I get motivated when I look up the ol' Coggan chart and feel great about my numbers, however in practise, it really isn't enough for me to be competitive in Cat 4 races just yet.

    Unfortunately, most of the races I have access to are flat criteriums, the few open road races there are around here are 2/3/4 mixed and I haven't been tempted to enter any yet. In the few races I have done, I find I can hold on just fine, and I can attack the bunch, however my Threshold isn't high enough to solo away and haven't had a successful break-away companion just yet. Similarly, given that throughout one of these races, my average power runs close to my threshold, i'm often too cooked to take advantage of my short term 1-2 min power later on in the race.

    Alot of these bigger guys have quite proportionally lower W/kg's but higher raw power. Similarly, My end-race sprint isn't explosive enough mostly due to fatigue. Given these races are completely flat, the weight advantage is minimal and only comes down to a CdA advantage which is relatively irrelevant given that most of the time is spent drafting anyway. I would say when looking at other riders power, I do tend to save 20-30w over the course of the race however. Irritatingly, going for long sprints isn't great either. In the last race I did, I pulled 530w in the final minute and went into final turn first, but didn't have enough of a kick to get a gap, ended up just being a leadout and had 12 guys pass me in the last 100-200m :P

    The takeaway from this is I feel a lot of it depends on body type. I have this vision that once I get to Cat 3 and have access to open road races with hills, my potential for success will go up, however naturally I imagine there are quite a few riders just like me with similar ambitions. I will add that my positioning and conservation did improve with race experience, but not significantly enough for me to place highly and get lots of points.

    Currently for me, i've decided just to spend this season focusing on building, in the hope that I can push the threshold high enough and can be a bit more explosive towards the end of a race. I did have fun racing and will likely plop in a few more, but as it stands, I feel stuck in Cat 4, and after analysis of the riders around here who do break into Cat 3, would need close to 290-300w FTP to be able to consistently place in the top 5.

    There are 2 riders in my club who got into racing this year and have quickly gotten to Cat 3, though both of these guys are sitting in the low 300s. I also know of other riders who are upwards of 340w (tho both a bit heavier and only race crits) who seem to have been in Cat 3 for a while. The strongest Cat 2 riders tend to both be pretty light and have meaty numbers.

    I'd imagine you could get to Cat 2 quickly if you were already sitting on 5.0W/kg FTP, otherwise I feel from observation that if you were a stronger, but heavier rider, you could get to Cat 3 quite reasonably, but then the jump to Cat 2 would need that higher W/kg because the road races offer more points than circuit ones.
  • joey54321joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    MishMash95 wrote:
    Whilst I cannot comment on how long it takes given i'm still a Cat 4, I can talk a bit about my own experience. I haven't done a tonne of racing however that is mostly due to me now focusing on training.

    I've been cycling for about 14 months (10 months of something that loosely resembles training) and have an FTP of ~270-275w, I also weigh 64kg, and am currently targeting 62kg (which should be attainable in 3-4 weeks for me). This currently gives me a W/kg of 4.22. For other best-effort numbers (1 min, 5 min) I have 630w~9.8W/kg and 360w~5.6W/kg respectively, so I would say I classify as a "puncheur" as well. I get motivated when I look up the ol' Coggan chart and feel great about my numbers, however in practise, it really isn't enough for me to be competitive in Cat 4 races just yet.

    Unfortunately, most of the races I have access to are flat criteriums, the few open road races there are around here are 2/3/4 mixed and I haven't been tempted to enter any yet. In the few races I have done, I find I can hold on just fine, and I can attack the bunch, however my Threshold isn't high enough to solo away and haven't had a successful break-away companion just yet. Similarly, given that throughout one of these races, my average power runs close to my threshold, i'm often too cooked to take advantage of my short term 1-2 min power later on in the race.

    Alot of these bigger guys have quite proportionally lower W/kg's but higher raw power. Similarly, My end-race sprint isn't explosive enough mostly due to fatigue. Given these races are completely flat, the weight advantage is minimal and only comes down to a CdA advantage which is relatively irrelevant given that most of the time is spent drafting anyway. I would say when looking at other riders power, I do tend to save 20-30w over the course of the race however. Irritatingly, going for long sprints isn't great either. In the last race I did, I pulled 530w in the final minute and went into final turn first, but didn't have enough of a kick to get a gap, ended up just being a leadout and had 12 guys pass me in the last 100-200m :P

    The takeaway from this is I feel a lot of it depends on body type. I have this vision that once I get to Cat 3 and have access to open road races with hills, my potential for success will go up, however naturally I imagine there are quite a few riders just like me with similar ambitions. I will add that my positioning and conservation did improve with race experience, but not significantly enough for me to place highly and get lots of points.

    Currently for me, i've decided just to spend this season focusing on building, in the hope that I can push the threshold high enough and can be a bit more explosive towards the end of a race. I did have fun racing and will likely plop in a few more, but as it stands, I feel stuck in Cat 4, and after analysis of the riders around here who do break into Cat 3, would need close to 290-300w FTP to be able to consistently place in the top 5.

    There are 2 riders in my club who got into racing this year and have quickly gotten to Cat 3, though both of these guys are sitting in the low 300s. I also know of other riders who are upwards of 340w (tho both a bit heavier and only race crits) who seem to have been in Cat 3 for a while. The strongest Cat 2 riders tend to both be pretty light and have meaty numbers.

    I'd imagine you could get to Cat 2 quickly if you were already sitting on 5.0W/kg FTP, otherwise I feel from observation that if you were a stronger, but heavier rider, you could get to Cat 3 quite reasonably, but then the jump to Cat 2 would need that higher W/kg because the road races offer more points than circuit ones.

    While a lot does depend on body type, with your numbers you should be fine. I have been competative in road race (both 2/3/4 and 3/4) with similar power to you but being ~15kg heavier (and with the CdA disadvantage that likely comes with that). IMO, if you have sure your powermeter is reading correctly, a focus on bunch skills, cornering, drafting and 'race craft' will serve you well.
  • MishMash95MishMash95 Posts: 104
    joey54321 wrote:
    < snip >
    While a lot does depend on body type, with your numbers you should be fine. I have been competative in road race (both 2/3/4 and 3/4) with similar power to you but being ~15kg heavier (and with the CdA disadvantage that likely comes with that). IMO, if you have sure your powermeter is reading correctly, a focus on bunch skills, cornering, drafting and 'race craft' will serve you well.
    Yeah, am 100% sure it's correct, given that i'm comparing against the numbers of the guys who are also in the same race (and plenty of opportunity during training, comparing vs segment averages). Generally average power isn't miles off, so most do sit around ~260-280w over the 50 minute race, but the difference there being that they can squeeze out a 1000w+ sprint at the end, whilst I can't.

    Let me add that i'm not being dropped by any means, and often times the overall pace is fine, it's just being able to have watts that actually make a tangible difference when they matter. Though so far I have tried attacking early on and forming a break as I see that as my best chance of winning (or atleast getting top 3 where you get a decent number of points), given that I don't have a good enough sprint, but that hasn't been successful. I could probably collect random points here or there by just being ultra conservative and following wheels in the last lap, but given you need to do that 10 times to get promoted to Cat 3, and there's no guarantee.

    I did also have one race where I only avg'd 240w, felt like I could have kept on going for another hour, but yeah, still demolished in the bunch sprint :P

    Anyway, don't want to derail the discussion, just thought i'd provide my experience, as I know of others who have been in a similar boat!
  • timothywtimothyw Posts: 2,482
    I've no idea where you're based, but with your numbers a crit at Lee Valley (Olympic) velopark or Hog Hill, both North East London might suit if you fancy a weekend trip.
  • naavtnaavt Posts: 218
    MishMash95 wrote:
    Whilst I cannot comment on how long it takes given i'm still a Cat 4, I can talk a bit about my own experience. I haven't done a tonne of racing however that is mostly due to me now focusing on training.

    I've been cycling for about 14 months (10 months of something that loosely resembles training) and have an FTP of ~270-275w, I also weigh 64kg, and am currently targeting 62kg (which should be attainable in 3-4 weeks for me). This currently gives me a W/kg of 4.22. For other best-effort numbers (1 min, 5 min) I have 630w~9.8W/kg and 360w~5.6W/kg respectively, so I would say I classify as a "puncheur" as well. I get motivated when I look up the ol' Coggan chart and feel great about my numbers, however in practise, it really isn't enough for me to be competitive in Cat 4 races just yet.

    I'm averaging quite the same power as you but I'm 10kg heavier...
    joey54321 wrote:
    Yeah, am 100% sure it's correct, given that i'm comparing against the numbers of the guys who are also in the same race (and plenty of opportunity during training, comparing vs segment averages). Generally average power isn't miles off, so most do sit around ~260-280w over the 50 minute race, but the difference there being that they can squeeze out a 1000w+ sprint at the end, whilst I can't.

    Anyway, don't want to derail the discussion, just thought i'd provide my experience, as I know of others who have been in a similar boat!

    ...And doing 900+ on final sprints.
  • joey54321joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    naavt wrote:
    MishMash95 wrote:
    Whilst I cannot comment on how long it takes given i'm still a Cat 4, I can talk a bit about my own experience. I haven't done a tonne of racing however that is mostly due to me now focusing on training.

    I've been cycling for about 14 months (10 months of something that loosely resembles training) and have an FTP of ~270-275w, I also weigh 64kg, and am currently targeting 62kg (which should be attainable in 3-4 weeks for me). This currently gives me a W/kg of 4.22. For other best-effort numbers (1 min, 5 min) I have 630w~9.8W/kg and 360w~5.6W/kg respectively, so I would say I classify as a "puncheur" as well. I get motivated when I look up the ol' Coggan chart and feel great about my numbers, however in practise, it really isn't enough for me to be competitive in Cat 4 races just yet.

    I'm averaging quite the same power as you but I'm 10kg heavier...
    .


    If you are doing 275w at 74kg (MishMash's weight + 10) then you are in the middleish of Cat 3 according to Coggan's power chart.
  • naavtnaavt Posts: 218
    joey54321 wrote:
    naavt wrote:
    MishMash95 wrote:
    Whilst I cannot comment on how long it takes given i'm still a Cat 4, I can talk a bit about my own experience. I haven't done a tonne of racing however that is mostly due to me now focusing on training.

    I've been cycling for about 14 months (10 months of something that loosely resembles training) and have an FTP of ~270-275w, I also weigh 64kg, and am currently targeting 62kg (which should be attainable in 3-4 weeks for me). This currently gives me a W/kg of 4.22. For other best-effort numbers (1 min, 5 min) I have 630w~9.8W/kg and 360w~5.6W/kg respectively, so I would say I classify as a "puncheur" as well. I get motivated when I look up the ol' Coggan chart and feel great about my numbers, however in practise, it really isn't enough for me to be competitive in Cat 4 races just yet.

    I'm averaging quite the same power as you but I'm 10kg heavier...
    .


    If you are doing 275w at 74kg (MishMash's weight + 10) then you are in the middleish of Cat 3 according to Coggan's power chart.

    Here is a screenshot of my power profile taken of TrainingPeaks. You can see that I'm barely tipping CAT 3 at 5m (don't know if you were mentioning that), but not even reaching CAT 4 at 1 hour.

    Last FTP test @ 279w

    My%20Power%20Profile%2022.05.2018%20.png?raw=1
  • joey54321joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    Is your weight accurate in TP? Seems strange to publish an image of one chart and then use different numbers in the software (I was only talking about 1 hour)
  • naavtnaavt Posts: 218
    joey54321 wrote:
    Is your weight accurate in TP? Seems strange to publish an image of one chart and then use different numbers in the software (I was only talking about 1 hour)


    So I went to see if you were right and understood - also for the first time - that we have to put our own metrics in TP, including weight.

    I was under the impression that the connection between all sorts of APPs I have installed (iHealth, TP, Strava, Wahoo Fitness and my digital weigh scale), would do that automatically, but it seems not.

    Updated my weight by 2kg (which I've lost comparatively to what was previously on my TP metrics), but the chart remained about the same.

    Verified if my W/Kg is right, and it is. My 20m power shows up 3,770 W/Kg when I hoover my mouse over it.

    The 1 hour power is somewhat lower than multiplying my FTP by 0,95. I've only done short FTP tests until now. Is that possible that TP is calculating my 1 hour power from my rides, instead of my FTP tests and doing the math?
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    Why to people target power? I have targets for a couple of events I am doing (TT's)

    you will only ride at FTP on a 25mile TT and for the fast riders that is sub one hour anyway. 20 min power and true FTP while related in thoery, I know I would find it hard to sustain the FTP for an hour. People dont race at FTP as that kind of effort makes one sick.

    Last night I had a NP of 297W for 52 mins in a race. best 20 minute was 290W. Howver is the NP real (I know it is mathematically real but could i do it really) I dont't know because holding 300W consistantly is harder than short bursts of power then a rest then charge again, then a sustained effort, then charge...

    If I could do 300W for an hour that might help in a 25 mile TT but in a race having a high average is less useful as the power profile during a race is not close to consistant.

    Also getting points in racing depnds on ability to position not just power. Last night I got it wrong again (10th I never learn) whereas those who place themsleves better do better with less power sometimes. So go race and work it out that way. You could be rubbish at it like me and never progress or be good at it and progress with ease. targeting power goals will lead to no cigar probably as there is more to racing than raw power ubless you have enough to ride of the front and stay out for the whole race.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,495
    If the charts haven't changed then I would guess its recorded your weight against the activity and calculating from that - which would be reasonable.
    I believe Strava doesn't do that and will calculate W/Kg against your current weight - not so helpful when you're targeting weight loss and power gain together... but it doesn't matter that much.
  • MishMash95MishMash95 Posts: 104
    Why to people target power? I have targets for a couple of events I am doing (TT's)

    you will only ride at FTP on a 25mile TT and for the fast riders that is sub one hour anyway. 20 min power and true FTP while related in thoery, I know I would find it hard to sustain the FTP for an hour. People dont race at FTP as that kind of effort makes one sick.

    Last night I had a NP of 297W for 52 mins in a race. best 20 minute was 290W. Howver is the NP real (I know it is mathematically real but could i do it really) I dont't know because holding 300W consistantly is harder than short bursts of power then a rest then charge again, then a sustained effort, then charge...

    If I could do 300W for an hour that might help in a 25 mile TT but in a race having a high average is less useful as the power profile during a race is not close to consistant.

    Also getting points in racing depnds on ability to position not just power. Last night I got it wrong again (10th I never learn) whereas those who place themsleves better do better with less power sometimes. So go race and work it out that way. You could be rubbish at it like me and never progress or be good at it and progress with ease. targeting power goals will lead to no cigar probably as there is more to racing than raw power ubless you have enough to ride of the front and stay out for the whole race.

    I personally target power because it is a consistent means of tracking improvement, that said, in my previous post I specified a range of power where ultimately it wouldn't make a huge difference, but the final sprint power does matter in a race. The other point is, no matter what others say, having a higher threshold, or any zone for that matter will mean you are more fresh when you get to the end of a race.
    I also use it as a measure to work out what target power numbers would be required to make a successful break (which is essential for me, given a poo sprint), and generally, these would be a fair bit higher than sitting in the bunch, you also have to consider the power to attack in the first place.

    Equally for me, because I have a decent anaerobic capacity, it is actually easier for me to pull higher power numbers (regular and normalized) by having surges with recovery. This is because I have quite a big gap between my short term VO2max power and threshold. Probably mostly a by product of not doing longer threshold intervals all that frequently, but more racing and short, sharp hill efforts, paired with sweetspot riding.

    I'm not saying racecraft and positioning aren't important, of course they are! But, power does also matter with regard to how big your tank is, and you can only save so much by being crafty. I was also taking the general approach of wanting to win or atleast place top 3 to consistently progress. There's quite a big difference between doing that and just entering 30 races a year and picking up a few top 10s.
    For me, after having done a bunch of races, i'm now less interested in trying to place in top 10 by just using what I have now, and more interested in getting to a point where I can dish out some hurt and put pressure on other riders.

    There are two quite vastly different courses near me, one is hyper technical with a fair number of sharp turns and hairpins in a relatively short loop, the other is a broad car racing circuit with a massive bunch. In the latter, you could probably sit in for the entire race and win by having a mega sprint, the prior requires far more repeated efforts.
  • paul2718paul2718 Posts: 471
    ISTM that either you are in a part of the country with an extraordinarily high Cat 4 standard or racecraft and positioning are rather more important than you think....

    If you are running near threshold for the duration of the race then I think you must be on the front, otherwise in the wind or wearing a baggy top.

    This is from personal experience of getting to Cat 3, at 80kg my normalised power for a 50 minute race would normally be in the 220-240 region. I can hit 1000w for a second or two. I wasn't powerful enough to ride off the front solo.

    I think you need to focus on being more efficient and practice sprinting. You don't need to be a 'sprinter' to place well in sprints. Once you are out of Cat 4 you will probably find that the style of racing changes considerably and it gets much more interesting since most people are no longer in it just to score a few points and riding to that end.
  • MishMash95MishMash95 Posts: 104
    I don't think the standard is crazy high, I just think the courses near here favour sprinters a good amount, I also do agree that race craft is valuable, and yes, my NP is generally higher because in almost every race I have done, I have attacked to try and form a break (to no success), though the course also has a lot of turns which everyone surges out of. So, it is reasonable to sit in and save power, i've had one race with 236w NP where I stayed near the front and thus didn't have to surge as much, but despite feeling reasonable, I didn't have the kick to sprint (ended up 15th in the bunch).

    I agree that practicing super short sprints would be valuable for crits though, but equally, as said in my above post, its also that I don't like the approach just to race to place in top 10, it's not really fun for me and still pretty hard going, i'd rather come back with the watts to be able to break away and win more decisively. I have placed in top ten twice out of the 7 races, but I just feel those were quite situational and I wasn't in control enough to guarantee it. So reasonably getting to Cat 3 on that sort of trajectory would take 20+ races :P

    I have improved a fair bit since my last block of racing, so will report back here next time I do! I'll also give being ultra conservative a shot, and only following moves rather than trying to make them myself
  • paul2718paul2718 Posts: 471
    Cat 4 racing is Cat 4 racing. It will be interesting to find out what you achieve later this year!

    But three mid top ten finishes does the job...
  • Alex_Simmons/RSTAlex_Simmons/RST Posts: 4,161
    MishMash95 wrote:
    Whilst I cannot comment on how long it takes given i'm still a Cat 4, I can talk a bit about my own experience. I haven't done a tonne of racing however that is mostly due to me now focusing on training.

    I've been cycling for about 14 months (10 months of something that loosely resembles training) and have an FTP of ~270-275w, I also weigh 64kg, and am currently targeting 62kg (which should be attainable in 3-4 weeks for me). This currently gives me a W/kg of 4.22. For other best-effort numbers (1 min, 5 min) I have 630w~9.8W/kg and 360w~5.6W/kg respectively, so I would say I classify as a "puncheur" as well.
    IMO, your most important area of development (assuming your original stated goal is what matters most) is to improve your race craft. There are many ways to win bike races, even flat ones for the smaller rider...
  • joey54321joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    MishMash95 wrote:
    but I just feel those were quite situational and I wasn't in control enough to guarantee it.

    There is no guaranteed result in bike racing. It sounds like you want to 'come back' to racing when you are a big fish in a little pond and can just ride away from everyone in the race. But then what? You'll upgrade and be back to square one, just with slightly better racers.
  • DavidJBDavidJB Posts: 2,019
    I love how British amateur bike racers focus on losing every lb possible, then go ride flat 2/3/4 crits or something with a 1 minute climb in. You should focus on being healthy and fit and your weight is your weight. MInd you I'm not racing this year and fat as fk atm :)
  • nicklongnicklong Posts: 231
    If you look across the power figures, particularly the power pyramid graphs, of a group of racers in any given race then I'd normally expect to see the front 10 at the end having figures which would show,

    A) a significant amount of time at 0 watts - much more than those in the bottom 50% of the pack for example

    B) average power way below their threshold

    C) Huge max power and/or decent 20 minutes power

    All of which shows that racecraft (A+B) is invaluable to do well in a race, and then the ability to finish either in a big attack, strong break or sprint finish wins races. Being good at A and B means you have the energy to do C at the end of the race.

    I used to manage 20-30 mins at <100W in a 60km / 90 min race, the rest of the time was very spiky. Average power might be 190-210W versus an FTP of 260W at the time. As I got better FTP went up and average power in races stayed similar!
  • Alex_Simmons/RSTAlex_Simmons/RST Posts: 4,161
    nicklong wrote:
    B) average power way below their threshold
    What about Normalized Power though?

    Average power is a poor indicator of the relative stress level of these sorts of races.
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