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Fitness Level of Cat 5 competition?(10 posts)

Fitness Level of Cat 5 competition?niteschaos
Apr 24, 2002 5:59 PM
I used to race mountain bikes in high school, since then I've been rowing on the collegate level for the past 2 years and am looking to do some road racing when I go home this summer since I can't row there. I have a measured VO2 max of 62 while rowing (so since I won't be using my upper body as much in cycling I'll probably only have a 60-59 effective VO2max for cycling). I was wondering what kinda V02 max I'll be seeing in the Cat 5? I wanna know if I'll have what it takes to be competitive by the end of the summer if I'm putting in 2 to 4 hours a day on a bike. Thanks for your time guys.
You never knowshirt
Apr 24, 2002 7:26 PM
That may sound flip, but it's true. You have absolutely no way of knowing what a Cat5 race is going to look like. It could be dominated by first-time, wobble-kneed, tool-kit equipped novices who think 22mph is fast, or you may have a few professional triathletes show up to get a workout. I've seen Cat5 TT races won with a time that would have won a Cat2 TT. I've seen Cat5 races that my 7 year-old could take on his scooter.

If you really want to know how you'll stack up, do your requisite Cat5 races as quickly as possible and upgrade to Cat4. There are many (myself included) who still see Cat4 as the entry level racing category. Because of the diverse group of non-committed racers, it's impossible to use a random Cat5 race as a yardstick. This will also help you see that it's impossible to gauge your potential success based on your rowing-achieved VO2.


By the way, it's 'collegiate' college-boy. :-)
re: Fitness Level of Cat 5 competition?allervite
Apr 25, 2002 8:41 AM
As far as V02 max, beats the hell out of me. As far as riding 2 to 4 hours a week, you should be competitive if you train fairly well. I have read that the average competitive CAT 5 trains 13 hours a week.
re: Fitness Level of Cat 5 competition?brider
Apr 25, 2002 9:02 AM
Sounds like yopu've got the aerobic engine, but can you capitalize on it? It's not totally about VO2max, but also how close to it you can sustain an effort. And puttin gin 204 hours on the bike isn't going to do a lot of good unless you tailor your training toward racing. I suggest doing some research on this site and developing a training plan, then put the time on the bike.
re: Fitness Level of Cat 5 competition?Bil Bikie
May 5, 2002 9:45 AM
How 'bout joining a local club sponsored by a local pro shop. Do the training rides...that should give you some idea.
re: Fitness Level of Cat 5 competition?bicyclecoach_com
Apr 25, 2002 11:18 AM
Based on my experience and on a comment I heard from a well-known cycling coach, I think that someone with a 59 VO2max can be competitive to at least a Cat 3 level, maybe better. (The majority of the racers I've seen have an estimated VO2 max in the mid to upper 50's.) I say "can be" because, as someone else already pointed out, VO2 max is only one indicator of fitness level and/or ability. (I personally do not give VO2 max a lot of emphasis.) I suspect that if you spend the amount of time on the bike that you're talking about and if that time is structured to meet your needs, you'll be fine.
re: Fitness Level of Cat 5 competition?No_sprint
Apr 25, 2002 1:13 PM
Don't put a lot of stock in an estimated VO2 max either. My Polar estimation is not close to my clinically tested VO2 max. I've been in Cat 5 races that were just as fast as 4s only a touch shorter. As the poster above stated, some are drastically slower.

I've known guys on our training rides that I thought were unstoppable until I saw them get into a race, and vice versa.

Just go out and do it.
re: ATTN: No_sprint a question for youcyclejim
Apr 28, 2002 10:40 AM
You mentioned that your Polar estimated VO2 max is nowhere close to your clinically measure Vo2 max. I was wondering what the difference was? I have a S-510 and according to it my Vo2 max is (depending on fitness level) 56-59.

I was curious to see what you found the difference was when you had yours clinically measured...was it higher or lower and by how much?

Thanks in advance
re: ATTN: No_sprint a question for youNo_sprint
Apr 30, 2002 3:17 PM
My clinically tested VO2max was 49 kg/l/hr. I was burned out that day from a prior weekend race and much partying the night before, so, my guess is, if I tested again, it would be very slightly better. My Polar estimation fit test was 57 if I remember correctly.

Firstly, I was not rested sufficiently as the Polar book instructs. If I did it again it would probably be different. Secondly, they are running mathematical formulas based upon your age, weight, perceived (very subjective) fitness level. How can they possibly measure your oxygen uptake by using just your heart rate? There's no smoker/non smoker switch. Sure, they get in the ballpark just not necessarily on the field.

Lastly, I think it's a great tool to use for those of us who might have a lot of trouble finding a lab or paying out the nose to visit a lab.

Check with your local University medical program.

If you're not a snorkler or diver, you'll find the testing apparatus tough to deal with. It sends many quickly into hyperventilation.
Thanks guysniteschaos
Apr 26, 2002 5:56 PM
Yeah, I'm doing lots of homework on the subject. Experience is invaluable in the end, so I plan on getting some this summer. Thanks again.