Seriously thinking my future with cycling after getting to cat1

Been cycling now for about 5 years and 2-3 of those years more seriously. At the end of last year i got transferred/accepted to ride in our cat1 team.

Got excited, but quickly realised how terrible i am compared to the top 20 when looking at raw power data. It’s so large of a power gap, that i think i will never even come close those numbers.

This year i tried to take it to another level. Started gym routine and quality scheduled workouts with TR. Well spring came and we had our first team workouts outside aaand got my ass handed to me. Altho i am at a different stage in training and havent started anacapacity ones yet, it got me kinda depressed. I’m kinda obsessive perfectionist, so this bothers me a lot.

Tdlr: help find a reason to continue before i sell my bikes and start bouldering (fell in love with it this year when i found out in first session that i’m a natural due to my physique and went to semi-advanced climbs in first session)


Give it time before you bail….moving up to that level is a tough adjust em t for almost anyone. Just because it is hard now doesn’t mean you won’t improve across the course of the season.


You’ll probably run into similar with bouldering too. You’ll hit grades that are a massive struggle while others fly right through them. I was able to climb/boulder as a decent level without much effort … and then I saw locals smash those for warm up. And our locals are a few steps below climbers that would be classified as good :person_shrugging:

Long story short - you’ll always run into people better than you. If it was that easy, everyone would be a pro. Even those that are “naturals” have to work at it for years before they don’t get their assets handed to them.


Was about to say the same. :point_up:

That’s very true and good point. Maybe why the bouldering felt so good is that in cycling at the moment the barrier to advance feels ridicilously large. I’m doing numbers and speeds i thought wouldn’t be possible few years ago. So like you said, that same barrier would eventually come in other sports as well.


I think you’re on the right track here — whatever you think you can do, you’ll be right!

I’d also go as far to say - if it was easy, would you still do it? Would it still be fun? I personally wouldn’t :person_shrugging: big part of the fun is the challenge of getting better, faster, better handler, beating your friends, etc.

I went up to Cat A for cross races locally a couple years ago mid season. Went from top 3 spot in every race to being lapped in the first one. Second race I managed to be third last and not get lapped (they’re small fields). I’ve no hope of winning Cat A anytime soon or even a podium, but I still have a blast and have steadily improved.


With bouldering it’s easy to test that barrier - hop on whatever the top 3 most difficult grades they have set is and see how you do. That’s basically being thrown into a Cat 1 race for a lap. Then do it a few more times and see if the muscles hold up :joy:

Back in the day I had the opportunity to train on a professional / Olympic development team. Got destroyed every day. I was literally one of the three slowest guys out there. I had made nationals in college but this was a huge jump… everything was so dang fast. Even the warm up felt like a tempo and at times workouts were the races.

At my level (bottom of the group) I was definitely overtraining as I was giving it everything just to keep up. I left a lot out there in practice and I don’t think my races represented what I was capable because of this. I still ran faster than I ever had but looking back I wish I would have scaled back just a bit and put that time into recovery.

Those few years I was out there were awesome. I got to see how professionals trained day in and out. I definitely would do it again… just with the wisdom to do what’s best for me. My advice: don’t pull the plug. Give it a chance and see how you adapt. If it doesn’t work at least you know it doesn’t work. I don’t regret going all in, I gave it everything to be my best and I’m not wondering how good I might have been.

Best of luck to you!


I feel for you. I never made it out of cat 4 (28 years old - working full time, etc). I’ve seen guys blow through cat 4 and then stall out in 3s. Some guys would get to 2s quickly and then stall though I never saw anyone breeze their way to cat 1. By getting to cat1, you’ve achieved something most do not.

Philosophically, why do you do this? Is it for fun, for the ego, for profit?

We all hit this point. I quit racing because on top of working 40-50 hours per week because I was spending 20 hours a week training and traveling to races every weekend. The grind was no longer fun. The only glory was beating my friends up a hill, getting a top 10 in a race, or winning a PowerBar for a prime.

Even at the World Tour level, there’s the top 10 guys (WVA, MVDP, Pog, Rog, etc) and then there are 200+ other guys that can’t hardly ever beat them under any condition.

So, decide what fulfillment you get out of training and racing and focus on that.


What @Power13 wrote. I’ve seen it and talked to many who experienced and thought the same thoughts as you. Give it some more time. Just keep training smart.

Different sport but competed at an international level. At best was top 15 in the world. I can say if I focused on comparing myself to the rest of those better than me I would have lived a miserable life.

Now, as a recreational cyclist I marvel and aspire to those stronger than me but also know that at best I’ll never be better than cat 3. I’m still as obsessive and competitive as ever but I derive much more pleasure and contentment from personal growth. And that doesn’t necessarily mean watts.

One thing I can assure you is the battle never ends. Whether you’re the best in the world or a weekend warrior.

Enjoy the ride my friend. :heart:


Yeah, I think what you’re going through is entirely normal and part of the process. Improvements are comparatively easier to come when you’re a beginner than at a high level, so I think it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the time/investment required to get to that next level. The good news is you’re in exactly the right place- you’ve already proven that you deserve to be there, and getting outside of your comfort zone is the best ways to improve (though it can often go against the nature of a lot of high-performing athletes.)
It’s jarring being a small fish in a big pond all of a sudden, but i’d imagine most of the guys you’re racing have gone through exactly the same thing- and worst case scenario you’ll learn a ton and be a better racer for it. :slightly_smiling_face:

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It sounds like you are very genetically gifted and able to adapt to things easily. Five years is nothing in terms of reaching your potential .

Stick to it, or at least do some riding and don’t sell your bikes. Otherwise you may find yourself disillusioned with not being able to be the best boulderer and wish you could jump back in. (Let alone the extra couple of years aerobic development)

How old are you?

It’s easy to move up when you’re talented, but once you get to elite and there’s no next step, then you see where you’re at in that new pool. You can still get better, but yeah you might never be as good as a lot of them. That’s why you need to find a niche and specialize at it. Not everyone is an ‘all-arounder’.

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Consider that even in a World Tour race there’s riders who finish 10+ minutes behind the winners. In today’s Paris-Roubaix the last rider finished 25 minutes after the winner (not naming in case of spoilers) crossed the line. Maybe OP’s power output is lower but in a team situation there might be something useful they can do.

What is your age?
Do you have a degree?
Do you have any other aspirations?

It’s hard to give life advice without knowing about you. The advice would be different if you’re 17 or 27.


There is so much missing information here. However, let me first say that if a good team let you join, they must have seen something in you. Do you know what that was? Where I live (Japan), they either let you try out or you join them on the basis if race results. What was the procedure in your case?

So to me, your positions sounds perfect: you are surrounded by very good people who have likely trained for longer and know more about the sport. Rather than get disillusioned that you won’t be able to hang with them right away, try to learn from them. The best people I know are all too eager to share their knowledge. Ask your team what you can do for them with what you have right now. What you should learn. Listen carefully. Try to be open to honest criticism.

I reckon you still have a lot to learn in terms of race craft, and how to use the power you have as best as you can. Oh, and power doesn’t mean anything, what matters is speed.

That sounds like an evasive maneuver, as if you are in search of the next shiny thing. What do you do sports for?

If you are a natural athlete, you might get good fast very quickly and the initial bit of the learning S curve comes very easy to you. But I don’t know any sport where you can get excellent without years of hard work, be it one of the many forms of cycling or rock climbing.

There will always be people who are so much better than you. And the best people got there with hard work. Ultimately, you gotta learn to deal with that and think long term.

Of those, I reckon a good share of them did exactly what their team asked of them. After they had done their job for the day, it didn’t matter when they’d come in. Their measure of success and failure has nothing to do with their placement. Road cycling is a group sport after all, oft-forgotten fact.

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You have two options; accept that you aren’t the best and enjoy the process and be obsessive about it if you want, or be miserable and move from hobby to hobby hoping that you’ll find the one you are naturally best at and that no one else is.

Do what you enjoy. :slightly_smiling_face:


Thanks everyone so far for your input and very good points! I have already kinda accepted my role is gonna be different from the dominant cat2 position, towards a more team oriented domestique.

Guess i just have to learn to see things differently and try atleast this year or more to see if the “fun & enjoyment” comes back to cycling.