Anyone can become an A grade rider?

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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby mjd » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:44 am

PawPaw wrote:
mjd wrote:I have to think anyone can make it to CLUB A grade, because I just did it. 48 years old, 6ft tall & 72 kg, 3rd year of riding & 2nd year of racing.


How many hours a week are you spending in the saddle this year?

Around 14hrs a week. Moving up grades is not only about your ability to gain strength through training although that's the biggest factor, its about making the right decisions at the right time in any race your in. This is the hardest thing to learn about racing I think. Jump 20 meters to early in the sprint game over, jump 20 meters to late in the sprint not in the game, get into a break away with wrong group you just waste your energy & same as chasing the break to hard when nobody else is interested in the bunch. So many little things in a race have a big impact on your overall result. I'm no sprinter that's for sure but not so bad that I cant contest them either. Best thing I can do is make it as tough as I can with some collaboration with others to soften the sprinters up before it gets to the last 300 meters :D Catching people out is part of the fun, just not being caught out is the trick but it happens often that's why we keep going back so we can work on our experiments isn't it.
The original question is answered in the yes based on my experience, but you have to have the right training plan from a expert in that field. The younger you are I would imagine it is a little easier if you are somewhat athletic in any way shape or form & you also have a bigger window to gain experience & to build a solid number of years in the legs.
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by BNA » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:50 am

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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby Ken Ho » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:50 am

mikesbytes wrote:
Ken Ho wrote:
mikesbytes wrote:Ken, in my earlier racing days I was hitting maximum breathing quite significantly when pushing the limits. Nowadays I'm a lot quicker and rarely hit those maximum breathing issues. So perhaps you will go the same path as me, as your cycling performance develops


Just out of curiosity, what grade are you racing now ? I know you are an RPM instructor.
I'm not too bothered about racing, but inevitably I'm inclined to being my own best.

In masters I'm A grade. In open club racing, I'm either A or B depending on where it is, though I don't often do club racing.

Are you familiar with RPM classes? They are the bulk of my training. Have you been to one of my classes?


Wifelet does RPM, so yes, I'm familiar. I have not done any, but recall you talking about being an instructor from time to time. I think the classes my wife has done will have made her much stronger on the road, but she disagrees and I have not managed to get time and weather to coincide to test the idea. She is intimidated by hills, though her general fitness is very good (she smashes all the Les Mills classes, often does several in a row and is signed up to do her instructors course soon). Maybe on my next break at home I'll get her on the road again, if I can get her off her motor-bike.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby Ken Ho » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:57 am

jacks1071 wrote:
Ken Ho wrote:PawPaw, it's still a gas transfer issue isn't it ? Bigger lungs equates to more gas transfer. Good swimmers always have a big FVC. Sure, I could train to a higher grade. Today, I could barely hang in a D Grade pack, evidenced by getting dropped out of one on the weekend, though to be fair, I made a large tactical boo-boo on a small hill that didn't help. I'm also in a training trough at present, but those things aside, I would have a lot of work to do just to get to C Grade, let alone A. Physical limitations aside, I also prefer to play to my strengths, which is longer, less fast-paced rides, like LC tri or Audax type thingies.


Ken,

I thought you might find the average speeds interesting from last weeks race.

A Grade 35.7km/ph
B Grade 35.7km/ph (A & B were a combined race)
C Grade 33.1km/ph
D Grade 31.9km.ph

Not much more than a 10% performance increase from our D Grade riders and they'd be rolling with the A Graders. No wonder our club handicapper has such a tough time!!


Thanks for that. I was seeing that average on my iPhone. When more at my peak fitness, I have clocked that kind of average (D Grade time) over 30km riding solo. I was hoping to do some racing this winter, but work keeps getting in the way. Oh well, plenty of time.
I'm guessing those speeds would be typical for most clubs ?? Not much between C & D grade is there......1.2kph.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby ozstriker » Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:07 am

And then you have riders who ride in the tdf and such events and average 39kph for the WHOLE tour.

BIG difference between elite an A grade so with the right training come on surely anyone can, although i would be happy for a win in E at the moment :lol:
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby PawPaw » Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:49 am

10% faster might seem like nothing, but go try it.
On a flat course, it takes around 21% more power.
Of course, you could always just sit in the pack and draft...but that's not racing is it.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:57 am

jacks1071 wrote:I thought you might find the average speeds interesting from last weeks race.

Not much more than a 10% performance increase from our D Grade riders and they'd be rolling with the A Graders. No wonder our club handicapper has such a tough time!!

Two points:

a. average speed is a poor indicator of how hard a race is. In the same way, average power is not a good indicator of how hard a race was.
b. a 10% increase in speed from 32km/h requires nearly a 30% increase in power.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby PawPaw » Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:49 am

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:b. a 10% increase in speed from 32km/h requires nearly a 30% increase in power.


actually, that's true.
My 21% is the diff between the C and A grade av speeds Jack posted.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby Ken Ho » Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:04 am

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:
jacks1071 wrote:I thought you might find the average speeds interesting from last weeks race.

Not much more than a 10% performance increase from our D Grade riders and they'd be rolling with the A Graders. No wonder our club handicapper has such a tough time!!

Two points:

a. average speed is a poor indicator of how hard a race is. In the same way, average power is not a good indicator of how hard a race was.
b. a 10% increase in speed from 32km/h requires nearly a 30% increase in power.


The joy of exponential factors. So, lots of work ahead for those who would aspire.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby doggatas » Mon Jul 30, 2012 4:12 pm

Open crit in Hobart earlier this year.

A Grade(Including some of the Genesys team): 41.344

B Grade: 39.095

C Grade: 39.082

D Grade: 37.984

E Grade: 36.818

Tough course, uphill for 400 meters, downhill/flat for the other 400 meters with a hairpin at the end of downhill into the uphill so full gas out of the hairpin all the way to the top of the rise. Numbers tell me I averaged 300 watts, NP of 398, peak 5 secs of 1511 (one of the intermediates), I raced silly and went for intermediates and did too much work on the front, this was my first proper race so I have to learn some race craft. This was all in D as well.

Just want to reiterate avg speed isnt a good indicator on how tough a race is. With just a touch over 1km/h difference between D and B, I can tell you I would have been dropped after around 5-7 minutes in the B field.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby vander » Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:43 pm

doggatas wrote:Open crit in Hobart earlier this year.

A Grade(Including some of the Genesys team): 41.344

B Grade: 39.095

C Grade: 39.082

D Grade: 37.984

E Grade: 36.818

Tough course, uphill for 400 meters, downhill/flat for the other 400 meters with a hairpin at the end of downhill into the uphill so full gas out of the hairpin all the way to the top of the rise. Numbers tell me I averaged 300 watts, NP of 398, peak 5 secs of 1511 (one of the intermediates), I raced silly and went for intermediates and did too much work on the front, this was my first proper race so I have to learn some race craft. This was all in D as well.

Just want to reiterate avg speed isnt a good indicator on how tough a race is. With just a touch over 1km/h difference between D and B, I can tell you I would have been dropped after around 5-7 minutes in the B field.

Either this is a very strong open D or your quite heavy or your powermeter is wrong. Those numbers are what a lot of the approx. 80kg guys in the TdF are maxing out at, makes me wonder. Peak 20min for Eisel (approx 80kg) for the whole of the TdF 431NP. So if yours was an hour your almost at TdF level, hope you demolished D grade.

As a reference around Sydney what I have seen is for a flat course (wattages are approx and are 1 hour unless otherwised mentioned):
Open A grade (1 race very strong field): 44-45km/h Avg power (for 70ishkg person): 300W NP: 350W (this is based on a friends numbers not 100% sure if its correct this was also 2 hours)
A grade: 40-42km/h Avg power: 280W NP: 320W (have had over 350NP for about first 20min till it settled a bit)
B grade: 38-40km/h Avg power: 240-260W NP: 300W
C grade: 36-38km/h Avg power: 200-240W NP: 260-280W
I found in the lower grades it varied a bit more then the higher grades, number are for someone 75-80kg except the open A grade one.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby doggatas » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:13 pm

Vander

I am quite heavy. Played Aussie rules for all my life and have given it away this year. 90kg was my playing weight, ballooned out to 105 in about 3 months, then started riding and riding and riding. Lightest I have seen on the scales was 84kgs this was after a very long ride, I was attempting to measure how much liquid I'd lost on the ride. Steady state weight around 87 kgs.

Now this summer I am starting at 90 instead of 105 so I will attempt to get to 82kgs steady weight, going to be a long process but I am ok with that. But yeh I am definitely a sprinter type. Never had top top endurance as my results in school cross country and footy 3km time trial suggest. Fast guys at footy doing them in low 10 mins, me 11:45 pb.

Edit: Nah the 300watts was for roughly 40 mins. In saying that my best ever 20 minute effort has been 378 watts at 86 kgs. Never put myself through the 1 hr pain test. Using the estimates 378*.95 = 359watts / 86 = 4.1 w/kg hardly tdf like numbers, in fact pretty close to Alex's figure of 3.9
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby vander » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:29 pm

doggatas wrote:Vander

I am quite heavy. Played Aussie rules for all my life and have given it away this year. 90kg was my playing weight, ballooned out to 105 in about 3 months, then started riding and riding and riding. Lightest I have seen on the scales was 84kgs this was after a very long ride, I was attempting to measure how much liquid I'd lost on the ride. Steady state weight around 87 kgs.

Now this summer I am starting at 90 instead of 105 so I will attempt to get to 82kgs steady weight, going to be a long process but I am ok with that. But yeh I am definitely a sprinter type. Never had top top endurance as my results in school cross country and footy 3km time trial suggest. Fast guys at footy doing them in low 10 mins, me 11:45 pb.

Edit: Nah the 300watts was for roughly 40 mins. In saying that my best ever 20 minute effort has been 378 watts at 86 kgs. Never put myself through the 1 hr pain test. Using the estimates 378*.95 = 359watts / 86 = 4.1 w/kg hardly tdf like numbers, in fact pretty close to Alex's figure of 3.9


Yea the point was they are A grade type numbers. The big surprise is your down in D grade not in minimum B grade but probably A grade.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby toolonglegs » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:37 pm

D grade with a 350w plus ftp and over 1500 sprint power :shock: ... 4w per kilo ftp on a flat course and a good sprint, I am surprised that you don't find B grade relatively easy.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby doggatas » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:54 pm

TLL, My goal is to eventually build up enough experience and form and race in B. I have ridden with a few As on group rides and those guys are freaks. So to answer the original question, without the genetics becoming an A is probably not acheivable.

To put things into perspective I have raced a total of two races so I definitely have plenty to learn.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby skull » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:57 pm

vander wrote:Either this is a very strong open D or your quite heavy or your powermeter is wrong. Those numbers are what a lot of the approx. 80kg guys in the TdF are maxing out at, makes me wonder. Peak 20min for Eisel (approx 80kg) for the whole of the TdF 431NP. So if yours was an hour your almost at TdF level, hope you demolished D grade.
.


That is Tassie for you, strong riders.

And he did demolish people when he put the power down.


vander wrote:
Yea the point was they are A grade type numbers. The big surprise is your down in D grade not in minimum B grade but probably A grade.


Tassie riders.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby toolonglegs » Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:00 pm

doggatas wrote:TLL, My goal is to eventually build up enough experience and form and race in B. I have ridden with a few As on group rides and those guys are freaks. So to answer the original question, without the genetics becoming an A is probably not acheivable.

To put things into perspective I have raced a total of two races so I definitely have plenty to learn.


Yeah I had the feeling that you were a novice :D , but you are definately in the "Anyone can become an A grade rider?" ... club level anyway.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby twizzle » Tue Jul 31, 2012 3:29 pm

doggatas wrote:Using the estimates 378*.95 = 359watts / 86 = 4.1 w/kg hardly tdf like numbers, in fact pretty close to Alex's figure of 3.9


Yes, but 4.1/kg for an hour puts you into Cat 2 territory. Around Club A/B level.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby Rider123 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:42 pm

twizzle wrote:
Yes, but 4.1/kg for an hour puts you into Cat 2 territory. Around Club A/B level.


Surely not.

I started racing criteriums at the end of last year down in the Southern-Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne. In total I would have raced about 20 crits and placed in 4 races for the whole season.

This season, I increased my training by a little bit (increase by perhaps 1 hr a week on average) and purchased a power meter. I did the FTP Test (Full 1 hour test on a bike trainer) and averaged 240W. Now that puts me at exactly 4kg/watt (I'm light :P)

I know I don't have much of a sprint (although never tested), but I am pretty sure my 240W FTP (4 kg/watt) is not Club A/B level. If it is, there is something horribly wrong with my racing tactics.
For those who know the 1 in 20 climb, my best time is 17:30 (Mid C-Grade Result) which I averaged 272 W for.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby twizzle » Tue Jul 31, 2012 10:08 pm

4.1W/Kg for FTP, plus being a sprinter, plus being 86kg meaning he has excellent power-to-frontal-area... adds up to strong B/maybe A level.

60Kg is, unfortunately, too light. On an hour climb, most others would drop, but you need power-to-frontal-area for the speed.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby PawPaw » Tue Jul 31, 2012 10:33 pm

I race C grade in my club, have placed once in about 30 races, and would classify myself in the slower 1/3 of C graders.
My FTP is currently ~3 watts/kg (mathematical estimate), and with weight loss I expect to raise that to no more than 3.5 watts/kg.

If I could do 3.8-3.9 watts/kg, I'd definitely expect to be in B grade.

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edit:
It should be apparent that watts/kg are not a good universal indicator of competitiveness in each grade.
This is due to the denominator, weight, especially as it applies to flat course performance.

Consider two riders rated at 3 watts/kg, 60 and 90 kg.
The 60kg rider will generate 180 watts giving an FTP speed of 34kph.
The 90kg rider, 270 watts, FTP 38kph.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby Ken Ho » Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:29 am

Is it just me, or has the argument swung back on favour of "it's bloody hard to make A Grade power", and just cos you are a strong C or B, dos not mean that A is within reach ?
I've been following the power discussion, with nothing to add, since I have no power data, but it would seem that the serious riders make serious power.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby PawPaw » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:11 am

My view is the FTP of A and B should generate at least 40kph for an hour, solo on a flat course.
I don't know any C graders who can achieve this, even those who take it ultra seriously and have elite coaches.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby twizzle » Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:31 am

In my experience of observing Vets A grade from a car, and hanging on in handicaps and age events, you have to have above average FTP plus a sprint. Those guys can hammer along all day, then surge up every hill to "remove the weak".

If I reach my goal weight of 90Kg, and get my power back to 380W, I will be solid Vets B at 4.2W/kg. I will, on TT's, be up with A grade (I already am). I might even have a go at some crits, but I will be riding on my own, as I will have to ride it as a TT.

Lol - I've now lost 6.5Kg in 30 days, 8.7Kg's to go.

89 TSS this morning, eight 4 minute climb repeats, one 12 minute climb at the end. Max HR is coming down already after six days of hills.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby mjd » Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:47 am

Its all subjective I think & all the external factors come into play with the biggest one being weather conditions. 40kph for a hour solo on a flat course in still conditions would be hard work but throw in a 20 to 25kph wind & this changes quickly. Bigger guys can produce more power but seem to suffer under repeated attacks from the skinny guys :D
Regardless of all the factors its hard work to race in any grade because your graded where you should be and your usually on the limit regardless of the grade. I have seen huge improvement in the last 8 months but the last 2 months have seen a solid boost in my numbers which can be attributed to all the work over the previous months.
If you want to really improve then you need a training program from somebody who knows what they are doing & be prepared to do the work. I thought I was training & until I got a power meter & a program from Alex all I was doing was riding my bike. I had very little experience & no idea on what I should do or how to do it. Like I said I'm 48 & did not believe I could get to A grade but I have so it proves to me that it can be done. Whether I can hang on when all the big guns put the hammer down well, I will soon find out.
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Re: Anyone can become an A grade rider?

Postby nickobec » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:27 am

I have enjoyed this thread and it has got me inspired, especially by MJD's performances, to reassess my targets.

Background 51years old, 181cm, 79kg but could be 75kg or less, on PDD performance decreasing drugs ( beta blockers - reduces heart rate, but working that to my advantage in races, max HR at beginning of race is 160, after 1 hour max HR is 175 for final sprint) after myocardial infarction and resulting coronary stent. Been riding for a few years for fitness, only started racing at the beginning this road racing season (May). Been riding with a power meter for almost a year, slowly understanding how to use it. It is a heavy training wheelset, so I used it in my E grade races, but not in the hilly handicap or D grade races. My FTP at the moment is just under 3 watts/kg (2.91) 230 watts, was under 190 watts in January.

When I started racing in May, my aims other than survive were:
1. Be competitive - did that 4th, 6th, 4th, 1st, 2nd, 2nd
2. Get promoted to D grade by mid season - done, after 6 races I placed with the D graders in my 1st handicap, so I asked to be promoted
3. Be competitive in D grade by end of season - suffering with winter cold and the like, plus lack of training at moment (usually my morning 40km commute), finishing at back of bunch after putting in suicidal attacks with a couple of kms to go.
4. Get promoted to C grade by middle of next road racing season
5. Be competitive in C grade by end of next season

After last Saturday, where I felt like crap with a cold, I stayed with the bunch on a lumpy course, which was controlled by 3 riders who should be in C grade. We lapped was at a faster pace than the C grade. And I chose to put in a suicidal attack, instead of riding for a top 6 spot. I am now thinking I should be aiming at getting promoted to C during the summer crit series and to B by middle of next road racing season.

Is anybody going to tell me I am a crazy dreamer.

Or should I be emailing Alex, once I clear my usual winter malaise (every year lack of light, less riding and I get a cold that is hard to shake) and build my racing wheel with my new powertap + 50mm carbon rim is on the way from China.
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