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Riding in the pro peleton
Last Post 04/01/2014 04:16 PM by jacques anquetil. 40 Replies.
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Dale

Posts:442

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03/31/2014 05:07 PM
At the Tour of Missouri a few years ago there was a time trial coming out of Branson. Pretty steep in several sections, definitely not a pancake flat get-in-the-tt-bars-and-hammer course. They let regular people ride the course ahead of time and the number of people that were mouthing off about how they were within X number of seconds or minutes of some pro was laughable:

1) They hadn't done several days of hard racing prior to their TT

2) Many of the pros were just riding the course and not trying to flame out.

I noticed none of the guys mentioned how far back they were from the GC contenders who went flat out but it could have been measured with a sun-dial, a stop watch was not necessary
Cosmic Kid

Posts:987

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03/31/2014 05:07 PM
Posted By Keith Jackson on 03/31/2014 04:56 PM
I would never go up to cat 2 unless they made me, to be honest.

As I tell all my friends when they get to cat 2, "no more easy days for you!"

For the average recreational racer, cat 3/masters racing in your age group is plenty of entertainment without too much sacrifice.


This.

At one point when I was in CO, I really wanted to get to a 2. Started working my way towards it and thought "WTF am I doing?" yeah, I coulda upgraded but why? I would never be more than pack filler and was approaching Masters categories anyway, where I could race a bunch of the same guys.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Orange Crush

Posts:1148

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03/31/2014 05:34 PM
Posted By Frederick Jones on 03/31/2014 03:54 PM
I still think only a tiny minority of the population would ever have a shot at a pro tour contract. Choose your parents carefully!


OK, this is my limited 2-sample perspective.

Uncle, won a ton of races including precursor to Amstel Gold and almost made TdF squad only to have to abondon career due to misdiagnosed back injury. Dad: a miner, mom a housewife, neither with any apparent athletic ability.

Good friend, German track champ at age 18, easily could have made pro if it wasn't for being more focused on partying and smoking. Neither parent has athetic inclination.

Both got to where they got by being hardnosed hard working.
Keith Richards

Posts:700

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03/31/2014 10:11 PM
Posted By Cosmic Kid on 03/31/2014 05:07 PM
This.

At one point when I was in CO, I really wanted to get to a 2. Started working my way towards it and thought "WTF am I doing?" yeah, I coulda upgraded but why? I would never be more than pack filler and was approaching Masters categories anyway, where I could race a bunch of the same guys.


This is why I say just being young makes a huge difference, a guy in the same position at age 19...he'd be cat 2 in a season.
----- It is his word versus ours. We like our word. We like where we stand and we like our credibility."--Lance Armstrong.
Ride On

Posts:416

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03/31/2014 10:21 PM
I often wonder how many people/kids start out with a good fit on a bike and how many don't. If you don't and you don't really love it and stick with it long enough to get a better position do you just give up before you show your talent.
Patched Tube

Posts:29

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04/01/2014 05:35 AM
I had one experience riding with a former pro that convinces me that you either have it - or you don't. I won't rehash the details (some of the old VN folks might remember the story) but suffice to say that I was in really great shape, riding well and got hooked up with some guy who rode in Belgium for a bit.

We decided to distance ourselves from some congestion caused by a big club ride and when this guy put the hammer down I was just cannon fodder - he used me to spell himself every couple of miles and could have EASILY rode me off his wheel any moment he wanted to. I was barely hanging on and he was barely breaking a sweat.

I agree with Keith that 1) if you start early enough and 2) girls and intoxicants don't derail you along the way anybody of average ability, given a lot of hard work, can go pretty far in the sport. But after that - its all about your parents.

-- that which cannot be proven as true must be regarded as false or not affirmed as true
jrt1045

Posts:357

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04/01/2014 09:56 AM
Cat 5: clueless
Cat 4: having fun
Cat 3: delusional
Cat 2: unemployable
Keith Richards

Posts:700

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04/01/2014 11:18 AM
Cat 5: Beginner
Cat 4: Novice
Cat 3: Expert
Cat 2 and above: Pro

That is how I look at it. If you are a fast cat 3 you can jump in an occasional 1/2/3 race to get your swerve on or race cat 3 and get a decent result.

If you are a cat 2...you have no easy racing. Ever.
----- It is his word versus ours. We like our word. We like where we stand and we like our credibility."--Lance Armstrong.
stronz

Posts:297

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04/01/2014 12:42 PM
since we're swapping stories: Was in France in 2004 riding the etape and other stuff. Met up with Connie Carpenter and Davis Phinney's group one day. They had their scrawny 13 year old Taylor with them. There were three very strong riders and I was the best climber in our group. Our route was very hilly that day and I soon found myself way out in front. Toward the end of a very long (and wonderful) day of riding. I was caught by Taylor and one of the other strong riders - who was a very fit 30yr old. He looked ragged and spent. Taylor was just having a great time and looked like he could go on for days. They told me they had been trying to catch me for a while and had taken alternating pulls. So between Taylors youth - I mean how many 13yr olds have the mental and physical ability to surpass two very fit, very dedicated adult cyclists? - and obvious genetic gifts my breakaway was doomed. Point is that at some point genetics clearly trumps everything else. Especially for the super elite which I would say TP is. But for the not so super elite I'm not so sure.
Keith Richards

Posts:700

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04/01/2014 01:14 PM
Stronz, I personally think there are more relative genetic outliers than we think. They just never pick up the proper sport.

On the swapping stories front...

I was on the local group ride at the end of my first full season racing, I was a cat 4 but had not finished out of the top 10 in any event that season. In short, the legs were great.

I ended up in a break with nothing but cat 1 and 2s. One of the cat 2s gave me a hard time because I didn't pull, mainly because I knew I could catch the other cat 2s on the next climb, which I did. I got to the finish with them and the cat 2 was complaining that, "someone held him up" not knowing it was me. I admitted it was me and said I was the only cat 4 in the break when the cat 1 (Russell Langley for those who know the local scene), cut me off "you are here right? RIGHT? Fucking ride then and don't sell yourself short!" It was then that I stopped having any intimidation or respect for cat 1s and 2s as far as them being special.

You work hard, train hard, ride hard and you can go further than one thinks. I know I am nothing special genetically, at least I don't think I am.

But an elite level pro...that is different. Like you said.
----- It is his word versus ours. We like our word. We like where we stand and we like our credibility."--Lance Armstrong.
jacques_anquetil

Posts:202

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04/01/2014 04:16 PM
i'm loving this thread. more war stories!
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