how long to cat 1/2 performance?



snaps10

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Apr 26, 2006
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find a local group of 3/4 racers (sounds like you already have)

practice with them when they are practicing crits. you will find out fast where you stand. alot of the lbs's organize weekly crit practice races. if they'll let you race in these with them, you will learn alot.
remember, there are many cyclists that are extrememly strong, and very fast, but will never hit the podium due to a lack in tactics. learn timing and peleton tact and you'll see big differences.
 

vio765

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Jan 20, 2005
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Snaps, the group riding thing is kinda of my problem that i desperately need. sadly, i live in a town that is fat (but not lazy), and inactive. My town is a car town. If you got a corvette, you are money in my town. got a Giant Advanced, then you are a nobody. this means that i have to drive about 45 minutes to a nearby groupride that has regular Cat2,3,4 riders. and i cant afford to drive there very often. however, this doesnt bother me. what DOES bother me is that my local group is focused on serious recreational riders. there are only 1-3 riders that compete. the good news is that they are stronger than me i force me to work hard to keep up (sometimes). the bad news is that they dont practice racing tactics! the grouprides that are 45minutes away practice racing tactics.

in my most recent race i saw a few things that i could have done had i the power to do them. so i think i have a good base for race smarts, just need to work on the raw power.
 

DJA

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Dec 15, 2005
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Tactics don't involve just power, its more to do with timing. In a recent club champs crit race I almost stole the race. I race C Grade and our club champs are age group so it is nilly always an A grader that wins. On the last lap 600m from the finish the group slowed about 3 to 5 kph I instantly accelerated from the back of the pack on the inside and quickly got a 50m lead before anybody chased.

How does a C grade rider out maneuver A grade rides - they were all watching each other not me. I end up getting 5th they caught me 50m from the line 3 A and one B grade and then daylight back to 6th.
I'm not a noted sprinter but I saw an opportunity and went for it, didn't quite get the win but it made them all work extra hard for it. If I had waited for a sprint they would have out accelerated me and I would have been luck to get 10Th.
 

velomanct

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Dec 21, 2003
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A strong cat 5 will have no problems trading equal pulls with cat 4s. The difference between the two levels is mostly racing skills.

Cat 2 is easy to get to. Just be a smart sprinter in the 3s. Cat 3 level fitness is not very hard to attain at all if you put your mind to it, and aren't past your prime.
 

helmutRoole2

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Jul 7, 2006
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tehpr3chr said:
aggressiveness is very important imo...i'm 22 right now, and i go out with an attitude that there are gonna be guys out there better than me, but if i'm a more aggressive rider, while still respecting the other riders, i can find this hole and that to move myself up!

Word.

I've been racing Pro 1-2 since I was junior. I'm 42 and mostly race Pro 1-2 locally, masters anywhere where I don't know the players. My first sports were basketball and football, two sports where aggression is key to success. (Sidebar: Mom talked me out of football after I broke my leg -- I'm 6'2", 162lb, probably 150lb in high school. I still play basketball and did all through high school. Ran xc in the fall.)

Anyway, I ride with guys loaded down with equipment like power taps, HR monitors, altitude tents, they're counting calories, the hours they sleep, they don't drink, they don't smoke, they hire coaches, they weigh their food, but when they get in competitive situations they crack like match sticks because they just can't bring it. It's like all that tech stuff is nothing without knowing how to bring "it." I see them after a race and not only did they not make the break they didn't even see it go off.

Now, I'm not capping on people who use all that bling (okay, I called it bling so I'm capping a little bit), but you've got to learn how to bring it too. I learned it from playing football and basketball and didn't give it a second thought when I started doing the same thing on the bike.

About getting to the p1-2 level, give it three years, then expect the improvements to slow. If you're not close in three, it's probably not going to happen. If you're close, your slow gains will get you there, likely another two years.

It's worth it. I've been racing for 25 years, probably got 700 races in me, and I never get tired of lining up with the pros. Especially a night time crit.
 

cucamelsmd15

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Apr 6, 2005
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vio765 said:
im currently a strong cat 5 in my second year of serious training and first year of serious racing. i routinely ride with a local group that has a couple strong cat 4s. i can ride with them, however leading is difficult and i draft about 80% of the time. they dont mind this on the flats, since they admire my willingness to attack them up hills when i have no chance of "winning". anyway, assuming i train train train and race race race, how long should it take to ride with cats 1/2/3 and do my share of the work? BTW, i am patient and willing to work hard. Am i looking at 2-4 years? 3-6?

i know there are many factors: age, genetics, diet, etc. so tell me YOUR stories and experiences.
Speaking from experience here: Stay a 5, race next year as a 5, win at least 3 races, then upgrade. In the meantime, train smart for the winter. Going from 5 to 4 is a big change, mainly because of what other have mentioned, tactics. Strength only gets you so far, tactics and ability can/will do the rest. Based on what youre saying now, youre not strong enough to ride Cat 4, yet.

My experience was that I was in the same place as you. I upgraded to cat 4 3 years ago, after winning strongly in 2 of the last 5 races in my season. BIG mistake. I followed my same training plan that winter, and got dropped on my first 4 road race. And the one after that, and the one after that. Part of this was fitness level, part training. By the end of the season, I was consistently in the front of the pack, but instead of making the same mistake, I decided to listen to some fellow teammates, and take the advice Ive just given you. I came back, dominated the 4's and upgraded at the end of that season to Cat 3, which I am now, and have raced this year as.
 

vio765

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Jan 20, 2005
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thank you for answering my Q. your reply is by far the most valuable. there are some others that are good also. getting off topic is very easy to do, after 20ish replies that have nothing to do with my Q, well....you get it. remember, folks, i want your stories and (more or less) your advice, no wondering off the beaten path. so please stay on topic. weighing in on side topics is totally fine, but if anyone wants to talk about east indian spices or eligant victorian decorating, go ahead, but dont leave without answering the original Q. happy riding/racing!
 

Icerider

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Sep 8, 2006
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mises said:
To be blunt you will probably never get there. That's just the odds. Get over it and enjoy yourself.
This is a horrible thing to say. Have you ridden with this person? Do you know this persons capabilities? How long have you been in the sport? Have YOU won races? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then you have no room to talk. So don't throw out blanket statements like that.
 

BlueJersey

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Jan 5, 2005
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I think fitness is the foundation and race tactics are executions. Seriously now, if you are having trouble just finishing a very long, hard road race with the main group, no amount of race tactics or smarts can give you better endurance. Know your fitness and strenght, execute them at the right time and the right place during the race. If you have good 1 minute power and suck at TT, don't attack the field and try to solo in with 5 laps to go. If an attack is happening and the group contains couple of guys who have excellent TT ability, don't think you should go with them. Their pace will ride you off their wheels. Worst case would be that sucking wheels in a break. :D
 

velomanct

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Dec 21, 2003
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Cat 2 fitness level is not as impossible as many seem to make it out to be. On average, a junior racer who focuses on training right should be able to make it to cat 2 by 20/21 yrs old. That's me, I'm really nothing special. It doesn't take huge athletic potential to make it in the 2s. You can't be a slouch though either. It took me 6 years, but I started when I was young, 14. For a guy in his 20s/30s, they should be able to reach full potential quicker. I was probaly an average junior. I got dropped every day at the international level junior race L'abitibi, as a cat 3. 108/165 in the ITT. Even at national level junior races I couldn't hang with the pack.

Bottom line: cat 2 is great goal to set. Very much so achievable for the middle age group.
 

vio765

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Jan 20, 2005
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the good news is that i am well-equipped. i just lack the exotic stuff like ceramic bearings, altitude tent, etc. my job also allows me plenty of time for training and i have no other responsibilites. the only thing that i feel i need to do is to put in the time. i have recently lost a lot of weight in order to help with racing. i have also realized the past mistakes i have made in my training and races. my goal this season is to be a strong cat 4 this season. and if im lucky, i can be a thorn in some cat 3's sides. last season i had about 410 annual hours. this season im looking at 500 hours. of course i cant tell y'all exactly what those hours entail, mainly because i dont know yet. i have a plan, though. keep ringing in with your stories!
 

rayhuang

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Jul 27, 2006
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ahhh-memories....


I moved from Cat 4 (There was no Cat 5 in the 80's) to cat 3 in about 4 or 5 races. Before that I won my first three club races and got moved out of novice right to the big boys (all Cat 4 to Cat2) and raced them. I won my first road race (60 miles in hills) and finshed 3rd or 4th overall (I made the break with the Cat2's). I'd say at least 60 racers (Cat4 to Cat2). I got 2nd or third in my next road race and in my first crit took a prime in the race and was off the front on the last lap, but experience was lacking and got swallowed by the pack before the last turn-DOH!! I always finshed Cat4 crits in the field. When I moved to Cat3 (again-in my first summer of racing) Cat3 crits were hard. I recall finishing most of them.

If I had to do it all again, I would still have moved to Cat3 as fast as I did because I loved racing the Cat2's in road race. But staying in Cat.4 would have been best fro Crits, which made up the majority of the racing we did back then.

Also, my NUMBER ONE regret for all those years racing in college was I wisd I had a coach as I overtrained chronically and never trained properly and my diet was awful. B00 hoo-sour grapes!! But Its true.

MY advice if any is dont overtrain, learn race tactics (especially in crits), identify and overcome your weaknesses!!
 

BullGod

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Apr 6, 2006
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I have only been cycling for 4 years, and racing for 15 months, and this season I raced Cat 1/2 in Holland and finished a few national races in the main field. I have also top 10'd at local level. Within 2 years I want to get to elite level. I believe that I have the physical capabilities, but I lack race smarts and experience, plus bike handling.

I reckon if you can ride 100km in less than 3 hours on a regular basis, and if you can have an FTP in the range of 320-380 you can hack it. You also need to be seriously fast over short distances (repeated efforts at 50km/h+) some people just can't ride that fast....
 

Jono L

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Apr 28, 2005
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BullGod said:
You also need to be seriously fast over short distances (repeated efforts at 50km/h+) some people just can't ride that fast....
That's the kinda **** where racing is by far the best training...
 

bikeguy

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May 31, 2004
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Here are some of my experiences racing... I honestly don't know what category I'd fit in, there are only two classes in Finland, elite and competitive.

In one of my races where I got dropped after a section of 90 degree turns in city streets, we got up to 60 kph for more than 300 meters down a slight decline. I managed to catch up (using some cars as wind shields, the field had moved 150 meters ahead), but the next round I got dropped in the same place and I was never able to recover and decided to quit after my speed dropped to 23-28 kph solo.
In another race my speedo showed max 63 kph again (on a flat) for about 200 meters, soon after I again got dropped when the speed fell to a more manageable 40 kph but I had run out of energy (other riders were dropped earlier) but I still managed to ride to the finish with a decent time. I find that I have difficulty keeping up during these surges and then feel held up (at this point I usually go to the front) when the field rides at like 30-33 kph for a good 2-4 minutes which they always do after these surges. I guess because I mostly train by myself and do even paced TT like efforts is why
I have some difficulty with these road race surges. I rarely go over 55 kph by myself on the flat.

-bikeguy
 

IndyRider

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Aug 13, 2005
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vio765 said:
the good news is that i am well-equipped. i just lack the exotic stuff like ceramic bearings, altitude tent, etc. my job also allows me plenty of time for training and i have no other responsibilites. the only thing that i feel i need to do is to put in the time. i have recently lost a lot of weight in order to help with racing. i have also realized the past mistakes i have made in my training and races. my goal this season is to be a strong cat 4 this season. and if im lucky, i can be a thorn in some cat 3's sides. last season i had about 410 annual hours. this season im looking at 500 hours. of course i cant tell y'all exactly what those hours entail, mainly because i dont know yet. i have a plan, though. keep ringing in with your stories!
Vio765,

I am also from Indiana and will be starting a serious racing schedule next year. What races in the IRS series will you be doing? Do you have a team you will be racing with? If not, are you looking for one?

IndyRider
 

Paulie-AU

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Mar 22, 2005
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Personally I moved up to Cat 2 (Club level) the other week after getting back on the roadie about 12 weeks ago. I moved up because they race at a more convenient time on a Saturday morning. The Crit racing is pushing me pretty hard and I have to work hard during the surges to keep the wheel in front. I generally try to get up the front for a few turns because I don't want anyone thinking I am bludging down the back. I manage to finish in the thick of the bunch but at this stage am not trying for the sprint. 55km/h is my limit on the flat and it isn't enough to win so at this stage I am not going for it.

I was fitter, lighter and faster late last year but then had an incident with a car on a training ride. Last year I was in Cat 3 stirring the pack up, making breakes, finishing top 3 in the prime and similar in the finish. But to be honest I didn't really feel a massive sense of achievement. I knew there were grades above me. I was going to move up the week I got knocked off. :mad:

Personally I feel like I have achieved more finishing a Cat 2 (and beating bling kit guys :D ) race in the bunch as opposed to winning a Cat 3. I won't even be real impressed if I manage to win a Cat 2 race one day as there is another local level above that. And that isn't considering National and International level racing.

At this stage my goal is to get into Cat 1 (Local) in the next 12months. And mabye race some Cat 2 real races also.

Personally my recommendation would be to step up. Whats the worst thing that can happen? You get dropped....whooop de do. At least you will feel the pace you need to work towards. Also if you are loosing due to tactics and not speed then moving up really wont hurt that much more. I have found the higher grades while surging hard and riding faster tend to let alot of break aways go because they know if they keep the power on they will 99% of the time bring them back anyhow. The lower grades tend to panic and get into a fluster trying to bring them back instantly, then blow up and almost stop. Arrrgggg so annoying.
 

otb4evr

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Apr 22, 2005
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bikeguy said:
Here are some of my experiences racing...

<snip>

I guess because I mostly train by myself and do even paced TT like efforts is why
I have some difficulty with these road race surges. I rarely go over 55 kph by myself on the flat.

-bikeguy
You have figured out your limiter...

Fix it by doing anaerobic intervals.

1 - 1 1/2 minutes on/5 - 7 minutes off

Lather, rinse, repeat until you are toast.

Do these 2 - 3 times a week about 6 - 8 weeks before your season begins and you should be ready for the accelerations...

Jim
 

vio765

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Jan 20, 2005
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IndyRider said:
Vio765,

I am also from Indiana and will be starting a serious racing schedule next year. What races in the IRS series will you be doing? Do you have a team you will be racing with? If not, are you looking for one?

IndyRider
i am in the kokomo area. i have ridden the mon,wed,fri rides with CIBA (smoky row elem. school). as far as i can tell, im wanting to hit the Battle Ground, St. Crispian race, all 5 of kokomo TT's, Ceraland, Hendricks crit, maybe The Great, Race, and a couple USCF races (like Carmel, Zionsville, Butler maybe). basically 5 TT's, 4 RR's, and 3 crits. give or take. as for a team, not quite sure. i looked at indiana hand center and speedway wheelmen, but still unclear at this time. i will probably ride unattached again this year and then look next fall if i think i can race Cat 3 or higher. what about you?
 

bikeguy

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May 31, 2004
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otb4evr said:
You have figured out your limiter...

Fix it by doing anaerobic intervals.

1 - 1 1/2 minutes on/5 - 7 minutes off

Lather, rinse, repeat until you are toast.

Do these 2 - 3 times a week about 6 - 8 weeks before your season begins and you should be ready for the accelerations...

Jim

Yeah, I think that would help quite a bit. That, and always having plenty to eat during the ride.

-bikeguy