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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I started riding two months ago mostly to get into shape and stay in shape. I am 49 and was getting pretty lazy and over weight until I decided to do something about it In February. I started by walking and doing calisthenics then bought a bicycle and started riding near the end of April. I have lost 40 lbs and am keeping it off so far. I am 5'9 160 now. I have been riding by myself so far and am up to 32 mile rides at about 18 mph avg. I am thinking of riding in a race in July of 52 miles. My goal is basically to finish the race. I was wondering if you guys have any advice/suggestions for me to get ready for this. I have been able to ride about 4 to 5 hours a week and that is really all the time I have right now. Thanks for any help. Kevin
 

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You might want to find a shorter race such as 25 miles, give or take a few. If 4-5 hours per week is all you can spare to train, you may find yourself biting off a lot more than you can chew with a 52-mile race. I know your goal is simply to finish, but races are for competition, and the other participants will be treating it like that. Event rides like gran fondos and the MS150 are things where the goal is to finish. I don't mean to dissuade you from participating in this race, but what I do want to convey is that your mindset should be a bit more realistic when you're new to it.
 

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Carbon Fiber = Explode!
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Any race, even short ones like a 10km time trial is a PITA.

Also, masters is a very experienced field of riders.
 

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'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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Not to be a d*ck, but as Sauron posted, bike racers race to win. Lots of triathletes 'compete' to just finish their events. Gran Fondo is sorta like that too. Bike racing even at the lowest levels is no joke. I'd try to get in on some group rides w/ local racers and see how that goes.
 

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I just did a road race in Master's 50+, which is about what you would find yourself in. We averaged 23 mph for 50 miles on a flat course, which was on the slow side, but there were peaks at 35 mph. I've done crits of 24 miles in the same category which averaged between 26 and 27. If you're riding 32 miles max at 18 mph (not a bad average at all for solo), are you ready to go half again as far and faster? Riding solo off the back around a road race course gets old real quick, and if you get too far back they're going to wave you off the course anyway because they have other races to get in that day.

My advice is to put in more structured training and intervals in the time you have available, and as others have suggested do some weekend fast rides with local racers. Plus, if you are able to hang in the pack you're going to need more bike handling skills than you've been able to get in two months of riding, both to avoid trouble and to not cause it yourself.
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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... if you are able to hang in the pack you're going to need more bike handling skills than you've been able to get in two months of riding, both to avoid trouble and to not cause it yourself.
A key point, IMO. Not to diminish your efforts thus far, because I think you've accomplished a great deal, but you haven't even experienced a group ride and what that entails, let alone doing so in a competitive environment.

Similar to what's been stated, find some group rides with abilities similar to your own, learn group ride etiquette and (in graduated steps) go from there.
 

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A wheelist
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Race? What is your definition of a "race"? If it's a real race - one that you need a license for - they will rip your legs off in the first two miles (or less). You do need much group riding (and club racing) experience first and lots & lots of interval training. Without well honed group riding skills you will be dangerous (for as long as you last) and floundering.

If it's just a ride then go for it.
 

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copy on what everyone said above...

If it is a charity event or something go for it, you could do it today if you had to, just make sure to take in plenty of water and plenty of food, I like gels, but on longer rides I do the little shot blocks too, some guys I ride with eat the Gu beans, and alot of them drink pickle juice for cramping (it gets hot in South Texas). Remember your body needs glucose (sugar) to turn your fat into energy, it you run out of it thats whats called "Bonking" and the rest of your ride will be a living hell...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the advice everyone. I do believe it is more of a charity event group ride, not a true race. I am not "licensed" and it costs $15 and you get a free t-shirt, so it is a ride not a race I believe. It even has family sign ups on the registration form. Thanks again for the advice, I will definitely wait a while before I ride in an actual race.
 

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Thanks for the advice everyone. I do believe it is more of a charity event group ride, not a true race. I am not "licensed" and it costs $15 and you get a free t-shirt, so it is a ride not a race I believe. It even has family sign ups on the registration form. Thanks again for the advice, I will definitely wait a while before I ride in an actual race.
In that case, by all means have at it. Have fun, be careful and learn as much as you can.
 

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Thanks for the advice everyone. I do believe it is more of a charity event group ride, not a true race. I am not "licensed" and it costs $15 and you get a free t-shirt, so it is a ride not a race I believe. It even has family sign ups on the registration form. Thanks again for the advice, I will definitely wait a while before I ride in an actual race.
In that case, just try to increase the distance of your long ride by about 10% per week. Try to do one "long" ride per week plus 2-3 shorter rides at a harder effort. Let's say, next week, 35 miles plus 20 miles x2 but at a harder pace. Following week, 40 miles plus 24 miles x2 but at a harder pace. You get the idea. Rest lots, take at least a day off between rides and more riding isn't necessarily better. On the long ride (and the event itself) never go into the red. Pace yourself. Go into the red on the shorter rides - like up a low hill or to that house with the red roof then back off to recover.

Drink a bottle of water per hour of riding (not all at once) and if you're riding more than two hours, eat something.
 

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"I have been riding by myself so far and am up to 32 mile rides at about 18 mph avg."

Assuming average really means average......that's really good given your lack of experience (and not that shabby if there was more experience). And I say that under the assumption that the 32 mile course is kind of flat. If it's a challenging course then you're doing really really well.

You'll definitely have no problem in any 52 mile ride that has family sign ups.
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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Again, agree with the others. Assuming no huge changes to terrain, if you can do a 32 mile solo ride at an 18 MPH average, you'll have little trouble with a 52 mile charity event.

Not a bad idea to prep some for it - maybe do a 40-45 miler or two between now and then - but considering your progress in a relatively short time, odds are you could do this tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Jay, I would say it is probably a fairly easy course I ride. I use Strava for my stats and it was actually 17.8 avg. The elevation was only about 850' gained with lots of up and down small hills, and the wind was about 12 mph( that's from the weather channel!) . I basically ride a east north west south route so the wind obviously helped as much as hindered. I appreciate the compliment on my achievements so far and hope to keep improving with the help of every ones great advice.
 

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Jay, I would say it is probably a fairly easy course I ride. I use Strava for my stats and it was actually 17.8 avg. The elevation was only about 850' gained with lots of up and down small hills, and the wind was about 12 mph( that's from the weather channel!) . I basically ride a east north west south route so the wind obviously helped as much as hindered. I appreciate the compliment on my achievements so far and hope to keep improving with the help of every ones great advice.
Strava "cheats." Recalculate the average yourself with the distance and elapsed time. If you don't take breaks and ride in a low-traffic area, it won't change your number much. If you do... Keep in mind that you're recovering whether you're moving our not.

That's somewhat beside the point. Sounds like you're as easy as you need to be for this ride. Second that racers are lunatics who rip the legs off the unprepared when you stumble into their parties. Never happened to me, of course. :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks Andrw...Strava is actually coming up less than my computer, But Ill re calculate and see what I get. No breaks on my rides yet at these distances and traffic is not enough to consider . I need my legs so ill stay away from the lunatics!
 

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Thanks Andrw...Strava is actually coming up less than my computer, But Ill re calculate and see what I get. No breaks on my rides yet at these distances and traffic is not enough to consider . I need my legs so ill stay away from the lunatics!
Racing, for me, is very humbling. I love it, but like these guys said...it's the real deal. The charity ride will be a better venue.
 
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