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TO MY ELDERS: just starting, want truth(6 posts)

TO MY ELDERS: just starting, want truthhungry
Jul 30, 2003 10:55 PM
I am twenty years old and just getting into cycling at the encouragement of friends who believe I have a natural talent. I am currently borrowing a nice bike and looking to buy my own. some questions:
1)Is there honestly a marked difference in performance between classes of components, i.e. from shimano ultegra to dura-ace, campangolo chorus to record? dont care about price, only performance.
2)I am looking to train very hard. my background is in serious distance running(80 mpw or more). How should I go about training at this point, keeping in mind that I want to go as far as possible in cycling, so won't be scared of large volume/intensity work. What is the plan to go from beginner to racer?
3)Does anyone have any experience with wrenchscience.com? is this a good way to get a good bike?
4) Is leg shaving about performance, or easy injury clean-up, or vanity, or some combination of the three?
5) I know I am a little late in the game agewise, but if I am successful, what is the route to become a pro?
thanks for your time elders, I am at the very bottom of the cycling world right now, please help steer me the right way to find the top. peace
The cold hard facts right here:Synchronicity
Jul 30, 2003 11:28 PM
1)No not much. In fact sometimes, the cheaper parts of some groups are lighter than the corresponding dearer ones. You probably won't notice the difference, unless the whole bike is significantly lighter, especially if you're a beginner. If you can afford it by the best frame you can. Individual components are always being swapped, they're only secondary, but they still make up almost all of the weight of a bicycle.

2)The best pros do, what, about 20,000 miles per year or more. You will have to work up to it though. Some say an extra 10% more mileage per week. I'd start with the right techniques by getting the book "Long distance Cycling", which I've reviewed here:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1579541992/ref=cm_cr_dp_2_1/102-3069460-5085730?v=glance&s=books&vi=customer-reviews
Mine is the review with the title: "This is the best $ I ever spent (seriously!)"

3)No

4) It is a combination of all three. Probably about 2% performance; 75% vanity and 23% injury-related.

5) Go to local races - win them. Go to state races - win them. Go to national races - win them. Get a sponsor. No idea, I'm just guessing

I asked myself these same questions, especially number 5 when I was even younger than you. At the time I thought being 17 or 18 was too late to start. Now I look back and think I could have been /really/ bloody good by now. Look at some athletes, they're in their thirties! BUT I don't regret not carrying it further. I went to a few races at national level & I got absolutely hammered, and figured it wasn't my cup of tea.

You'll have to wake up early in the mornings, go riding 'til it hurts. It won't be "fun" anymore. Training in the rain was also enough to turn me off. Looking at how much power some of those boys produce on an ergometer and trying to match it was a turn off as well.
Now I ride my dream-bike solo. I do my own sort of "time-trials" and hill climbs. For me, burning up the miles is what makes me happy, not bowing to the pressures of the UCI and sponsors. For me, it is all about freedom. As soon as goes from an interest/hobby to serious competition I think you lose something (but you'll probably gain a whole lot more if you make it).

You'll have to decide what dicipline you're good at & stick with it. Do you like long road rides, criteriums, track cycling, etc. Climber/Sprinter, etc. Olympic games? Tour de France? What is your aim, son?
[Although some will say alternatively to focus on your weak points and train there becoming a good all-rounder.]

Just my 2 cents worth from somebody that isn't into competition

(I'm 26 *today*, by the way)

:-)
Happy Birthday! (nm)Creaky Carnivore
Jul 31, 2003 6:34 AM
Cool goals. Its a lot of work.Kristin
Jul 31, 2003 6:33 AM
I'm no pro. I don't even have much experience riding. But I know some racers--even some with strong potential. The key to pursuing any activity professionally is to get great training. So land yourself on a decent local team. If you do well and make the right inquiries, you'll soon be invited onto a better team, and a better team and... you get my point. Talk to the wrenches at a few local bike shops and find out who the best local coaches are. Set your sights. Good luck.
I'll Take A Whack At That -Gregory Taylor
Jul 31, 2003 7:05 AM
(1) Difference in performance: In over the road performance, there is really little advantage in the more expensive parts that I can see. The materials and finish is usually nicer, overall weight of the component set is usually lighter, but the performance advantage is really not that great. Frankly, for a beginning racer, it is hard to beat Shimano Ultegra stuff. Functionally, it works great, it's cheap enough that you won't cry if you wreck, generally bombproof, and you can find spares anywhere. This is coming from a guy that has Campy on his "good" bike and races (occasionally) on a Cannondale with Shimano. Ultegra is the perfect stuff for the journeyman racer. If you just have to have Campy, the Centaur stuff works perfectly well. Bottom line: save your money for other things that you will be paying for, like race entries.

(2) Training Hard: I came to this game relatively late (started riding "seriously" when I turned 35, I'm now 42) and race only intermittently (when I take my Geritol), so I can only offer limited help. Get a training plan, and stick to it. Check out this month's Velonews -- it has a good section devoted to the rise in cycling coaches (like CTS, Chris Carmichael's company). Or pick up a book -- Joe Friel's book is about the best. Given your background, you should be used to the basics of what a good training plan consists of - periodization, good nutrition, and races.

(3) WrenchScience.com: didn't use them. Go to a "good" shop that is trained in fitting cyclists to bikes.

(4) Leg Shaving: good for injury clean up, and marking you as one of the tribe. Not a biggie.

(5) You are not late to the game. The route to becoming a pro is winning and moving up.

One last word -- don't let the goal of becoming a pro get in the way of enjoying the ride. Do well, maximize our potential, but have fun too. Winning is meaningless if you don't have fun along the way.

GOOD LUCK!
I agree...Synchronicity
Jul 31, 2003 11:40 PM
At the bare minimum, get shimano 105 components. Other racers are gonna look at you funny if you have anything less than ultegra & it won't do your confidence any good.

Save your money by buying that ultegra or 105, and after 6 months to a year, then get those expensive lighter parts that you may have heard about in the meantime. I say hold off a bit before investing too much, you may find you hate cycling after a while?!
Also, I think you can waste a lot of $ by buying the wrong thing - only a few months later to buy something else better. If you intend to spend a real lot, buy the right parts first go. When buying parts, do plenty of research about what's around. DON'T just go to the local bike shop & think all that they sell is all that exists!

GOOD LUCK!