End of Race Season Recap---Enjoy The Prose and add your own for fun reading

This is from a 52yo Cat 4 Masters Racer. Entertainment Purposes ONLY. Thank you TrainerRoad for getting me to this point in 2022!

Recap of Race Season 2022

This year was my first full summer of racing since 2015. Now a Masters Racer at 52 I have been enjoying my time both training and racing my bike. With my return trip to Italy being tossed about due to COVID taking over Milano and the world, I have been trying to focus on what I can do in PA and surrounding areas. Italy is on the calendar for June 11, 2023 for Milano SanRemo Sportiff. I am nervous since 186 miles is pretty long. More on that later.

I have been training using TrainerRoad for 3 years and will continue into 2023 doing the same. This format gives me focused structure I need while the academic year rolls along. College professor were with a family of three people and two dogs. I have only missed 2 workouts since December 2021. That’s incredible. With adaptive training I am riding my best in recent years. Low Volume all year so I can keep the weights going in the gym. I will be switching to mid-volume in November to get ready for an early June 11 goal and this will be my “A” Event.

I rejoined Blue Mountain Velo. Loving the new format of the team and very much like having a Tuesday night race training ride. Sometimes the Stamp ride ends up being a waiting game and think there should be a C ride for those who cannot imagine an 18+ MPH pace. If people were just smart enough to assess their ability the mounting frustration for some of us in the group would not be there. I rode Stamp Club (18+) because I was not sure where my fitness fell. Next season, I will Stamp a few times and then move up to Garden Club (20+) to have my ass handed to me. But that’s okay. It is part of the ever-changing learning curve.

I joined USA cycling again with the hopes that there would be more road races. Alas, not many organizers or communities want the headache of road races and are settling for criteriums. I might* try my hand at one this season. First up Delaware Gran Fondo----MISSED because I got COVID.

I did ride plenty of Time Trials. I do not and cannot afford a fancy TT bike. I am not interested in Triathlon. My training after Milano San Remo will be focused on whatever I can achieve in a TT on a road bike. No matter how much I ask, USA Cycling has some pompous dudes at the headquarters in Colorado who bump my questions down to less experienced organizers. I cannot seem to get a separate NON AERO division established. It’s too bad for them, since they cannot gain membership for what is the easiest and best way to get into road cycling. Race atmosphere without the group nerves, right? My results are good even though this is the case.

Argyle TT-8th/12 17 miles 19.3 Mph AVG
Flanders TT 5/5. 11 Miles with 20% Climbs (18.8 Mph AVG)
BMV 443 TT 1 /8 12.8 Miles Out and Back (20.1 Mph)
Tour De Brandts TT 6/8 10 miles loop (22.4Mph Avg)

A NON-AERO division could tip the numbers in my favor. I am a big power rider. Someone out there in USA Cycling could make a difference for those of us who cannot afford a SHIV. You can definitely see improvement in those MPH averages. It would be nice to have some reward for it. Example 443 TT called non-aero “citizens” making my effort seem worthless. I am holding my head up high. I rode that thing fast AF. Not even a payday candy bar was awarded….hahahahaha.

A week before BMV TT I rode 100 miles in memory of my mother who passed away on June 2, 2022. Look at those 2’s. With a heat index of 108 degrees in VA this one was deliriously tough. Nutrition was on point that day with the magic of ANZAC Bars, Maurten Hydration and Skratch Chews and Electrolyte. Mom rode 100 miles at 71 and 72 years old on a HEAVY hybrid. Once with me in the rain for 11 hours. I get my guts from here. The second century she rode solo. I will do the same if not more—INSPIRATION.

Now for my true folly of 2022. My “A” race was set for the end of the season. The placement could not have been worse…last race of the year. Brace yourself for this one……

Last year I rode the Milton Road Race to test my fitness. I flatted on course, semi-fixed it and rode in for a big 8th place finish in my age group. This year I was ready to better that. My fitness on point, my training and nutrition almost immaculate. Two weeks before the race my 2021 Emonda Handlebars are recalled. JC Wilkinson kept me training and started the recall without bringing in my bike. The Monday before my TT a valve was leaking on the rear wheel. I fixed it with a new valve core all the while thinking…no flat this year. While riding the Brandts TT I noticed a clunk sound in my drive train. Brought it in and after Collin tore everything apart and cleaned it he found…….a completely destroyed Zipp 404 hub. Flanges not connecting and a real mess. Now, it’s Tuesday after Labor day and Zipp has to send a new hub UNDER WARRANTY. It doesn’t make it in time and my wife is kind enough to let me use my old 404’s on 25mm tires. I am used to the ride feel of 28mm. We switched all of our rotors to 160’s so we can now do a wheel swap any time. Her rotors were 140mm because well she is tiny. She is the best wife!

Race day arrives. I am focused and with three BMV teammates. We roll out and after the first horrible climb, I am sitting in a group of age groupers and ready to rumble. I mean Noah Kopenhaver is here with his college SHIP team and will win the overall…so I defer to an age group goal of a podium in sight. I am burning watts 634 at times and laying down some mean speed. Then it happens….the Milton Rotary Club has a yahoo (course marshal???) on course directing people the wrong way. At speed in the turn I follow the marshal’s directions as you would a USA Cycling event. No signs, only crappy orange paint on the road, and now I am in a group of three and we are off course by 4 miles. 4 EFFING Miles. I end up 6/9 with one DNF in that group. I have never raised hell at an event, but my whole season was geared to this ONE—1—SOLITARY Road Race and now I have Road Race Rage. The response by the organizer “Have you run a race?” No you idiot, I race them and have not had a course so poorly marked. Half of the field ended up lost in the country side and to get back had to ride in heavy truck traffic. But I guarantee if I do organize a race (thinking about it) it will be well marked. Needless to say I was more than angry. BUT My Zen self complained and walked away. I will not pay to play unless you take my pay and get things right.

My season ended in a crap heap. But hey, no flat, no gear issues, no frozen hub, ad no CRASHES or Serious Injuries or …death. It was a good race season. So where to now?

After 72 hours of complete frustration, I rode my bike. I trained. And it was alright.

I hope somewhere, someone will ORGANIZE road racing again in PA. Just not in March or April when it’s freezing. Let’s have a summer race calendar without it being Crit/TT/Gravel only. But if that’s your thing…have a great race season on that calendar! FOR REAL!

I learned a ton this season about myself. I learned a ton from others on the BMV team. I will renew my USA Cyling + membership. I will don the BMV kit and just be better in 2023. I will train and race and work on my nutrition and my power. Why? Because in the end, I love riding my bike. Racing or not, just being able to do what I do is GREAT. Being pack fodder in a top ten is fine. My improvement is not for a box of poweraid gummy bears, or a medal. It is my improvement as I age that matters. I will always be kind, but I have expectations of myself and yes sometimes foolishly of others.

I am grateful for my new friends at BMV, Holmes Cycling and Fitness, Collin, JC, my wife who races too, my fortunate circumstances to ride the high-end machine and components I do. I am grateful for my health, my positive attitude (mostly, except when you don’t mark your course!) and everyone who laughs at my enjoyment that my mother started me with in 1977 and then in 1986 when she bought me my “last bike”. It was the Schwinn Greg Lemond rode, with friction shifters. for an expensive 1986 price of $200… It’s all about the bike. It is the lie detector, the therapist, and the freedom I require to be some sort of Zen version of me that I can share with those I like and those I love.

3 Likes

Nice summary write-up and good to read that you are enjoying your cycling.

I really relate to the (quoted above) statement.

At age 49 (50 in March next year) I decided to try my hand a Crit racing again this summer, having last rode in any races back in 2019.

After only a handful of races (end of July to start of September) I’ve got enough points for my upgrade from 4th category to 3rd category.

This is (for me) a big deal and I now have a solid goal for next year on which to base my winter training and motivation😃. Making continual (if slow) progress and enjoying the process / just riding my bike at my age is very much the foundation of my motivation, any achievements that may come along the way are just the cherry on the cake.

TR has helped me a lot to get my fitness back after I was knocked off my bike by a hit-and-run in April 2020.

My FTP was 225 when I got back on the trainer in Jan 2021. It’s now circa 315 and I reckon without TR I wouldn’t be anywhere near this. In fact, if I hadn’t caught Covid in March I would have probably hit 325 back in April this year, meaning 100w on my FTP in 18 months which is well beyond what I had ever expected.

Keep on enjoying your cycling and progress :+1:t2::+1:t2: :smiley:

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Thanks for the nice response. My FTP is 270 but I sense bump in the force. That puts me at 3.1w/KG if it increases. I was close to 285lbs in 1998 and now ride strong at 198 but am working towards a 190 weight with at least a 310 ftp. For me that is more than a happy place. AI has really been a game changer.

No matter how much weight I lose I’ll always have the residual skin and it is something I struggle with mentally, because I am the fastest I have ever been. Example–An Endurance zone ride outside with staying within the power targets, I am smoothly running 18-20mph. When i was a sickly 175 in 2012 I looked great but could not produce power over long distances. Climbing is my weakness, and lucky for me Milano San Remo is mostly flat. There is one 3% montain and the Capis thenCipressa and Poggio in San Remo. I rode the last two 3 times in 2017. But after 178 Miles those will taunt me.

I am working with a mobility person now and trying to strengthen and gain flexibility in my hip flexors.

Achievement is important but like golf it is for my use and if I can make headway with results then okay.

Having a life outside of cycling is more important. I give much to many, but do realize that I need to give to myself as well. Hence the bike.

Congrats on Cat 3!! I was happy to see a Cat 4 for me. I started racing in 2005 at Michigan State. But life happened over and over and race organizers stole money and cancelled events etc…You know the deal. So I just rode recreation rides and charity events with various clubs for many years with events here and there.

Stay strong and remember to be in the present. It is truly all we have. May you hit those goals one workout at a time.

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