Rower Has Got The Bike Bug

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robhen
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Rower Has Got The Bike Bug

Post by robhen » February 2nd, 2015, 9:33 am

I have been rowing/sculling for 34years and just got hooked on cycling. The reason is I bought an inexpensive bike, which is basically a road bike with flat handlebars and it feels so good to ride.I turn 49 this year and I am considering masters bike racing at 50.

Anyone out there compete in rowing and bike racing?

I got no idea on bike racing. Is the 30kph theory of bike riding an indication of ability? I recently did 80 mins of sculling in the morning and 90 mins of bike riding in the arvo with 12kms at 22:20 thrown in the middle of the 90mins.
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jackarabit
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Re: Rower Has Got The Bike Bug

Post by jackarabit » February 2nd, 2015, 2:08 pm

18mph maintained for 20 minutes may be a reasonable indicator of basic aerobic fitness. Thousands or perhaps millions of U.S. cyclotourists can maintain 18-20mph average on a flat (plains or coastal topography dominates) century (100mi ride) with not too much adverse wind. There would be potty breaks and at least one long lunch stop so not really a single effort. Not sure what the equivalent would be in OZ; is there an equivalent?

Masters racing is a hard school because: 1) dominated by guys who learned how well before their fiftieth birthday, 2) typical race short criterium which emphasizes repeated effort and partial recovery rather than steady state; 3) rewards the ability to tolerate and manage fear of personal injury. You have to learn to "take" pack riding.

The sit up and beg bar: 1) won't put your weight far enuf forward to yield a 40/60% weight distribution front wheel to rear to avoid washing out the front while cornering, 2) won't allow you to assume an efficient aerodynamic road position, and 3) will assure that you beat your spine to death on rough roads or courses.

Is there MTB masters racing in Australia? If so, all the same problems and add a few more. The positive is you have the desire to race. Good luck! Jack
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robhen
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Re: Rower Has Got The Bike Bug

Post by robhen » February 7th, 2015, 1:03 am

Thanks for your reply Jack. I agree you about pack riding and I suspect that there is plenty of MTB racing out there.

My plan is from here:
1. Get the best carbon bike I can afford.
2. Do some tests on a watt bike to see where I am at.
3. Sus out the masters bike club and see what they can offer; time trials and pursuit riding could be for me, though it would require investment in equipment.
4. Do some sportives at least they can be fun.

I suspect my bike is actually quite good, it is a road bike with a flat bar as mentioned but with carbon forks and good shimano gears and adequate shimano wheels and I can keep up with some posers in their flash bikes where I ride.
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jackarabit
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Re: Rower Has Got The Bike Bug

Post by jackarabit » February 7th, 2015, 1:36 pm

TT a great venue! Track pursuit might just be your thing also. You do understand the equipment requirement and I don't doubt for a minute that you might very well whup ass among the zooters in the Full Pantani. When you can do so on a 30lb springer w/ handlebar bag while wearing cordurory slacks, loafers and a bow tie, you'll know genuine satisfaction! Say, I think I recognize your mate in the foto. Dirt rider? Jack
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Re: Rower Has Got The Bike Bug

Post by Cyclist2 » February 15th, 2015, 1:21 am

I was in your shoes in my early 50s (I'm 64 now). Got into "serious" cycling - I had been a commuter and recreational rider forever. I've been rowing and erging since my early 30s. Other cyclists on the forum, I'm sure, will relate the same following general experience.

What a rude wake up call! Racing a bike is WAY more than being in what you THINK is good condition and having a nice bike. Riding in a pack of 25-75 guys who have been doing it for a long time is extremely humbling. Consider yourself lucky if you can hang with the pack for half of your first race. It took me about a year before I could finish a race with the pack. It was the most fun, scary, exciting, adrenaline filled competition I have ever done, though. There is nothing like it!

Just when I was fit and skilled enough to begin thinking about tactics and strategy in races, I was involved in a serious crash that almost broke my neck - the downside (literally) of bicycle racing, especially at the amateur level. Having a mortgage and family to consider, I decided that the risk wasn't worth it no matter how fun it was. So I'm back to recreational (but pretty intense) riding, and erging in the winter.

Enjoy the learning experience, and eventually the exhilaration of riding in a big, fast peloton, sprinting for the line at the end of a 50 mile road race or hour long criterium (the NASCAR of bike racing, with all the crashes, too).
Mark Underwood. Rower first, cyclist too.

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Re: Rower Has Got The Bike Bug

Post by Zach » February 23rd, 2015, 10:58 am

I will echo the others and say that without years of pack riding experience, your first race as a master racer in a crit or road race will be a very unpleasant experience. You gotta have the ability to jump repeatedly into the anaerobic pool and recover quickly, else you'll be spit out the back. Handling and fearlessness is also a requirement.

You may be interested in focusing more on solo efforts that test your aerobic experience and are more beginner friendly. Time trials can be done with a regular road bike with no additional equipment –– or you can sink thousands into specialty aero stuff. Your choice. If you're concerned with improving as a rider and building your aerobic engine, then there is no need to participate in the arms race that is the TT discipline. TT bikes make for terrible all-around riding bikes because the positions are so aggressive. With a regular road bike, you can just hunker down on the drop bars and go at threshold for a race and then ride comfortably 95% of the other times you're riding. A set of clip-on aero bars is a good investment, if you care.

Mountain bike racing is also worth considering. It requires technical capabilities (handling is critical) but it's more a solo effort once past the initial start scrum. Cyclocross racing is the same way, too, but I don't know if Australia has much of a CX scene.

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Re: Rower Has Got The Bike Bug

Post by Hillclimber » March 13th, 2015, 1:54 pm

Have you tried racing yet?

There's usually a spring training crit (closed circuit, less than 1 mile) series in most regions. Do all of those to get a taste for racing. Join a club. Find out when the area shops hold their evening / weekend rides. Do all of the club / shop rides that you can, bigger the better so you get used to road racing in a pack. Fitness is only half of the ingredient for successful racing, bike handling skills, pre race prep, race strategy, knowing the course, knowing the abilities of all other riders, bike maintenance - that stuff takes up the other 95%.

Practice crashing because if you race it is not a question of if but when. Ride in an open field and fall down at various speeds. Roll, relax, etc., almost always better to wrap arms around head and relax vs. than putting arms out straight - that's called a broken collar bone.

If crit racing is not your cup of tea, focus on road racing, which is a bit more forgiving re fitness level. And don't forget the big charity rides - MS, etc., there are usually 20 riders who go off the front and race those rides, or a second strong group will form behind that, which can be fun.

You'll need a bike with road racing handlebars, straight bars are not allowed in road/crit racing.
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Re: Rower Has Got The Bike Bug

Post by Bob S. » March 13th, 2015, 4:27 pm

I see no mention of touring. In my bicycling days, I was a commuter, a mountain biker (no kamikaze stuff, just fun rides), and an exercise cyclist - but the real fun rides were the solo, self-contained 5-14 days tours and a few small group self-contained tours, especially in Latin America (Baja and Costa Rica) on a hybrid. Another was bike/sail touring with small groups in the Caribbean area on empty bikes (no luggage).The bikes on those were stored in the hold of the cruise ship when we were at sea and the rides were relatively short day rides at each island stop.

The one race (some time in the 1960s) I entered was a 20 miler with staggered starts on flat streets in more or less open country. I was alone the whole time. I passed no one and no one passed me. We just stayed staggered out. The starting times were based on expected times and, as a newcomer to it, I was assigned an arbitrary time. Evidently they picked the right starting time for me. Very shortly after that, my bike (a Raleigh 10-speed) was stolen and that was the end of it.That was with the Bicycle Club of Irvine (CA) which was supposed to have had a good reputation, but I went on 1 or 2 of their club rides and did not like the way a lot the riders ignored traffic rules. After that I stayed clear of organized bicycling and stuck with solo riding and a few small group tours. None of this pack-riding crap. In small group tours, you are by yourself most of the time.

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Re: Rower Has Got The Bike Bug

Post by jackarabit » March 13th, 2015, 6:36 pm

Sounds like your only race was the ITT, the "race of truth," Bob. I used to do 4000 miles a year on a road bike. Did a lot of club riding weekends, some sagged tours, century rides, toured in Italia in Y2K. I bet the Irvine club used the "C" word (as in The Coast is CLEAR!) at the intersection of autobahn and country lane and damn near every where else. They all do. Jack
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