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Getting into racing at 39?(13 posts)

Getting into racing at 39?zeeno
Apr 22, 2002 10:55 PM
I've aways been interested in trying my hand at racing but never mustered up the courage to give it a try. I've done a lot of century rides and a little Mt. Bike racing over the last 10 years. How would a guy like me at my age get into road racing? Would I need to join a local racing club. I live in Vancouver, WA and near Portland,OR. Does anybody know of any racing clubs in this area. If I raced weekly such as a series race, how much training time per week would I need to put in?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks DC
re: Getting into racing at 39?climbo
Apr 23, 2002 6:32 AM
i'm not in that area so clubs (?) I can't help you. But I would say that it's never too late. We have a guy out here in NJ who's over 60 and places regularly in the 45+ fields.

As for training? I'm not sure but I would imagine that since you are already fairly fit you just need to put in 10 hours a week and make them race specific, use a plan, intervals etc. It's all individual, I race with guys who train 5 hours a week and some 15, it just depends on your body.
re: Getting into racing at 39?mixinbeatz
Apr 23, 2002 7:22 AM
I would say, you should get into racing for sure! We got this guy on our team that didn't start racing till he was over 40 a couple of years ago and he does well in the 3's.
For teams, I would check the Oregon Bicycle Assosiation webpage(OBRA?) or and look under the regional links. There are a bunch of teams in Portland and you should have no problem finding a group to ride with.
Make the leap! You will never regret it!
As far as training hours go, I personally put in about 10 hours a week and am having a great season so far in the 4's. I think everyone is different, but I just try and make the best out of the little time I have.
if you are comfortable in groupsColnagoFE
Apr 23, 2002 7:37 AM
just do it. personally i'd suggest a road race or a hill climb as a first race. hooking up with a club is a great idea if you're going to race more than a few times and it also does wonders for your fitness and comfort in riding in groups.
re: Getting into racing at 39?hrv
Apr 23, 2002 7:43 AM
Hey Zeeno:

I'm 46, started riding last August, and tonight will be my first crit. You sound like you have way more of a base to begin than I did. To really find out what you need to train, go to PIR tonight: that's were I'll be (I live in Hood River). Heck, for the 4/5 race it's only 8 - 10 miles, 4 or 5 laps; how hard can that be? I heard the races there are really mellow, more training races. I got to believe you'll learn more from this experience, esp. talking to others, than anything else. Just do it!

ps. check out PIR races:
How was it?zeeno
Apr 23, 2002 7:10 PM
I couldn't make it this evening to the PIR. How did it go? How did you do? Let me know. I will try to make it next Tuesday. Thanks, DC
Happy, happy, because..hrv
Apr 24, 2002 7:22 AM
I've done my first crit! No longer first time jitters. It's all behind me. Yeah!

You have to go to PIR. As long as you're comfortable in groups, can corner smoothly and stay relaxed, it'll be awesome. It's so mellow, and the 4/5's are really mellow. It was 5 laps, about 10 miles, avg. speed 25 mph. Just a few surges, one in particular early on where I had to really work to bridge, and lots of time to recover. Not many major sprints/attacks toward the end. I finished in the back of the pack, and as long as I was in the pack, I was happy.

Since it's on a race car track, the corners are really smoothe, with no curbs and there's grass on the inside -- can't get much more mellow than that for a crit. And when you're done, you can watch the 1/2s race and witness some real speed!

I'll probably be there next week if it's not raining. I have a yellow/gray jersey with 'Disco Velo' on it and black/yellow shorts with 'NY City Sub Shop' on the sides, and a blue Spec. Allez. Maybe see you there!

Race CAR track!?!shirt
Apr 24, 2002 7:39 PM
Race BIKE track. Your man shirt used to do 1:13s on his ZX-6R at PIR. Four wheels are for poofs.

There used to be a Tuesday night series up at SIR (I'm back to pedal power, now) that was awesome. Check it out if you can; there's a massive hill on every lap.

Congratulations hrv.zeeno
Apr 24, 2002 9:06 PM
Glad to hear that you really had a great first time experience with a Crit. I haven't ridden much in a group other then with 1 or 2 friends in a few years. I moved to Vancouver about 6 months ago from Seattle and haven't got hooked up with anybody to ride with since I've been here. Just been doing solo rides lately. I'm going to try my hardest to make it to PIR next Tuesday. I will be wearing a blue jersey, black shorts, Green helmet and I have a black Vitus bike. If I make it I'll be looking for you. Now I just need to get up the Guts. :)
Go for it !! with a Race reportPatM
Apr 23, 2002 8:28 AM
I would say go for it, I am 36 and just did my first real race this past weekend. Got spanked, bad ! But that was in part due to a tactical error. The speeds are going to be higher than you are used to, I have been a century rider all my life to, but the changes in speed are the hardest thing to get used to. I am going to do my local training crit all summer, see if I can fit in some more races. I am doing the racing in part to increase my overall speed for longer distance. Not sure if its wrong to train this way or not.
So what happened in the race ? Well the course is a 2.5 road race in a state park, roads are not the best. I raced the cat 5, only because I have heard that the 35+ masters is harder. Mostly a rolling course with on short 4% climb I think its about a third of a mile long. 20 mile race, 8 laps, first lap no problems, missed a shift on the hill but no big deal, no crashes. Notice that I was close to the back, but I was passing people and moving back and forth in the last third of the peloton. Second lap, still doing OK, got to to the hill, didn't miss the shift, started passing people on the hill, things are looking good - right ? Wrong ! just before the top huge speed burstin the peloton, fell off the back, could not get my breath - tactical mistake of going to hard on the hill. Could not catch the group, then my front tire punctured and I was out. Oh well got to see some very good racing, and some amazing riders. As for speeds the Cat 5(20 miles) race finished in 49:06(I think) average 24+. My goal going in was to finish, well I guess I have to say that I will do better next time.
re: Getting into racing at 39?brider
Apr 23, 2002 10:24 AM
Portland area is pretty active for racing, so you have a lot to choose from. The PIR series might be a good place to start out. As suggested, check out the OBRA site and for teams in your area. Do you HAVE to be on a team? No, but it's highly recommended for a few reasons:

1) Lower entry fees. Most races tack on an unattached rider fee. The reasoning is that the races are put on by the clubs, so they want to make sure that the clubs are supported, and the races are run well.
2) Lower costs of racing (different from above). Most teams will carpool together and get team rooms at hotels when traveling, so that helps to defray the costs of racing.
3) Learning curve. You'll get much better much faster by working with a team that (a) works well together, and (b) has some experienced riders that are willing to help out new racers. Just riding with a racing-type group is a great learning experience, and weekly club rides will do this VERY well.
re: Getting into racing at 39? And another race reportdownunderracer
Apr 23, 2002 5:10 PM
I started riding seriously about 9 months ago, after I hit 40. Many years before that I'd been really involved in kayaking and had cycled a bit for recreation and as part of a team in cross-country multi-sport events. I joined a Vets (Masters) club and was thrown into C grade, but got dropped in my first couple of races (crits) and decided I needed to train more. So I started doing 130km weekend rides, hills and intervals during the week. Went back to racing with another Vets club in D grade and won a few crits.

Entered my first road race a couple of weeks ago, back in C grade with my own club. Three laps of a 16km out-and-back course with about a dozen riders. First real attack came about a quarter of the way into the second lap. Chased the guy down and thought three of us might be able to get away, but the bunch caught us. Attack after attack followed then and a few guys dropped off the back. Tried to keep the pace high on the last lap to blow off the sprinters, but didn't really get any help. I was near the back of the bunch approaching the finish, expecting it to be further down the road. Sh*t! Changed up a gear and got out of the saddle. Started passing other riders, went to change up another gear. Sh*t again! Due to the pressure I've changed down instead of up. Changed back in time to pass a couple more and get third place.

The winner was a strong sprinter who later said he'd had trouble keeping up the earlier pace. Major lesson learnt: practice those gear changes until it becomes automatic, like driving a car.

I suggest you try a Vets/Masters club, if there is one in your area and it's anything like the clubs here. There's no lack of competition and there's plenty of experienced riders who'll be able to help you out with the finer points of racing.
re: Getting into racing at 39? And another race reportcp123
Apr 23, 2002 5:35 PM
way to go Steve!!!