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How many years (est) before a rider can really go fast ?(13 posts)

How many years (est) before a rider can really go fast ?Maartin
Sep 24, 2002 6:07 AM
Seeing the pros go so fast I was wondering how long it takes to be an accomplished amateur. How many years of training before an amateur can get to a decent average speed like 24 or so. Most decent average riders go 17-20 from what I have seen and the pros can go what 28- 30 mph.
It's a long term plan/goal...eschelon
Sep 24, 2002 6:15 AM
I was recently at a big time race in Windsor Canada with alot of pros racing that day and there was this one dude who raced in the masters 35+ group and these guys were fast. There was this one dude racing in that particular race that I see quite often at all other races in the area who usually wins most of the time and after he won the race, the announcer relayed to the crowd that this guy has been racing for over 20 years. This helped to put things into perspective for me...in that if you really enjoy what you do and you find the motivation to keep at it...eventually, you will get the priviledge of winning that race someday. Very rarely will anyone pick up a bike and start winning all the races from day one...and most likely those characters will fade away from cycling while you will still be around to really savor the earned victories.
I do hope to be around long enough to let you know . . . . .bill
Sep 24, 2002 6:28 AM
I will say this, though, of all the little aphorisms that actually seem to mean something, there are few truer than this one -- in order to go faster, you have to go faster. Seems a ridiculous tautology, but there is some wisdom to it. The boundaries are psychological as well as physical. In order to go faster, you have to gain fitness, and muscle memory, and technique, but a big part of it is simply to push your limits. This is best accomplished by hooking up with a group that you don't know very well, and all of a sudden they're cruising at 2 mph faster than you ever have gone in your life, and you're hanging on, and, bingo, you're faster.
Oh, and intervals. Don't forget intervals.
Have a planfiltersweep
Sep 24, 2002 7:11 AM
I think too many people "train" without a plan. The goal of "going faster" doesn't mean a thing... it needs to be broken down into intermediate goals. Many people probably have no goals at all... or the goal is simply "to ride," or to "enter a few races."

One of the paradoxes, of course, is that having a plan can easily take some of the "fun" out of the sport... but the old saw "no pain, no gain" often holds true in ANY sport. I spend a lot of time in the gym, and am amazed at the number of people I see day after day, year after year, with no noticeable results... doing the same thing over and over again. They are merely "just going to the gym" and putting in their time. It rather serves as a metaphor. Pros do much more than put in their miles... it is a lifestyle... and I doubt they worry too much about their 9-5.
Damn good question!hrv
Sep 24, 2002 6:55 AM
And it's a topic that's been on my mind for awhile now. I'm 47, just completed my first year riding/racing. My avg. speed is very inconsistent, and not even close where it needs to be to hang with the pack in a 4/5 road race, which normally have about a 23 - 27 mph avg, and that's on very hilly courses (Oregon).

Some on this board have said it takes 3 - 5 years to develop speed/racing legs. I'm going to try and be patient and do the training/racing but I'm getting to an age where my mind says 'I want to race bikes' but my legs say 'I want to go fly fishing' !! In any event, the one thing that I have to adhere to is patience and building up gradually. That will be the only program that will allow me to be doing this when I'm 65, and still having fun at it, esp. when I beat those 45 yr. old whipper snappers!

good luck,
hrv
Amen, brotherMcAndrus
Sep 24, 2002 7:01 AM
I'm 50 and am at the tail end of my first racing year. I've been riding for around 10 years, starting with touring, and have been getting fitter every year.

When I'm 50 and riding better than ever I have to start wondering where age will catch up with me. I've been doing well enough in the local training races and the Masters 45+ races that I'm encouraged that I can do still better next year - at the ripe old age of 51.

Somewhere, though, age -will- catch up with me.

(By the way, I did a crit this weekend and there was a 60-year-old guy in it. He was one of the stronger guys, too.)
might not everDougSloan
Sep 24, 2002 7:35 AM
I'd say it takes at least 5 years to get up to your potential, training consistently and the right way; nonetheless, one might not ever go "really fast." At some point, genetic limitations limit speed, and no amount of additional training is going to get you higher than that plateau.

For most pros, I get them impression that they are clearly identified as having outstanding potential while still teenagers. Even then, they could run circles around most amateur racers who have been doing it for three times longer or more.

Doug
Don't need to go 'really' fast, just not half - fast! (nm)hrv
Sep 24, 2002 8:09 AM
In my case, it is aspirational. Take the under; bet against it! nmLeroy
Sep 24, 2002 8:01 AM
re: How many years (est) before a rider can really go fast ?JohnG
Sep 24, 2002 9:08 AM
You should be able to get to your max potential in around 3 years. You should also be able to improve until the mid 50's with a slow decline beginning sometime after that. This is assuming you're coming into the sport in your mid to late 40's. A "maxed-out" rider in their 20's-30's would obviously drop off sooner.

FWIW: I know a mid 50's rider who can hang with (but not beat) cat 2 bad asses so I know it's possible to be fast and "old". Doug's right though........ you're only going to get as fast as the genetics will allow. :-(

JohnG
I don't mean to be a buzz kill but I disagree, a little bit.Old_school_nik
Sep 24, 2002 9:41 AM
I think that muscle memory/experience/ being excited about a new sport can allow you to keep getting faster for a few years even into the mid 50's in years as John G. says- however - O2 capacity does decline at a rate of about 1% every year after age 30 its not know why this is though it is though to be due to decreasing lean body mass and more stored fat arounf the organs thus increasing your non muscle weight and lowering your VO@ max. - that being said many top riders have continued to get better after age 30 because of experience, knowing how far they can push their bodies etc - but at some point the desire and increased knowledge of one's limits will not be enough to combat your VO2 max going from 65 to 45. I only mention it to be realistic about how much one can expect to improve over time.

Also that curve of fitness vs. experience is different in different sports.

Of course then there is Joop Zoetmelk, TDF winner and competitive in Pro Peloton into his 40's they even changed the rules for him to keep competing..

-Nik
7-10 yearsPODIUMBOUNDdotCA
Sep 24, 2002 9:14 AM
Its said that to reach the international level in any sport you need to train for 7-10 years at a very high level. Now of course there are over-achievers who take less time and then under-achievers who take longer. But just training isn't good enough. You need to have a well designed program that will maximize your training time giving the best results. Also theres another variable in the form of genetics which is impossible to control. Myself for example has no natural ability to sustain a pace for any extended period of time (endurance/low VO2 max) just due to my large build at 5'9 and fairly lean 190 lbs. But since I am a strong guy this makes me far better suited for the sprint events on the track.

I would just like to point out although genetics play a huge role in sports determination is another huge factor. Lance is an amazing athlete with a VO2 max naturally that is through the roof but he still spends 6 hours a day on his bike.

Cheers,
Nick
PodiumBound.ca
Need to actually raceLC
Sep 24, 2002 11:31 AM
I trained for a long time and got fit, but not really fast until I raced. There is something about a actual race that makes you go beyond what you normally could. After a race you get on a bike and you just know you can go faster so you do.