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Big ring = No chainsuck
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am 17 (almost 18) and race as an expert. Generaly, I can easily hang with the fastest guys in my area on the road (including Wes D. for those of you who read the NC forum), and can climb very well for my 170 pounds. I have been racing for the past 2 years.
My question is, how much power (and speed in general) can I expect to gain as I get older? Can I expect a huge jump in the near future (I would like to move up to Semi-Pro when I turn 19) or will improvement come more slowly?

Thanks for your thoughts.
 

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nc-rider said:
I am 17 (almost 18) and race as an expert. Generaly, I can easily hang with the fastest guys in my area on the road (including Wes D. for those of you who read the NC forum), and can climb very well for my 170 pounds. I have been racing for the past 2 years.
My question is, how much power (and speed in general) can I expect to gain as I get older? Can I expect a huge jump in the near future (I would like to move up to Semi-Pro when I turn 19) or will improvement come more slowly?

Thanks for your thoughts.
You are at the peak of your physical capabilities around 21-23. Then it decreases, and after 40 it decreases almost exponentially for most people. Cyclists can be different though.

You can easily make Semi-Pro by 19, Pro if your committed enough in your 20s. Do NC races do U23 or U18 or what?
 

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en are es said:
You are at the peak of your physical capabilities around 21-23.
Thankfully for most of us, that isn't true. There's no reason that you can't continue to progress until you are in your 30s. There are quite a few examples on the road of riders who have their best years after 30. For the most part, 23 is still considered very young for a cyclist, and you can definitely get much faster after that.

As to how fast any specific 17-year-old might progress, it's impossible to say. It depends on where you are now relative to your genetic potential, how much growing you have left to do, how well you train, how much college will change your life, etc. But don't worry, you still have a lot of time left to get fast. By no means should you think that wherever you are at 23 is as fast as you can be.
 

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Yep, endurance athletes peak in their early 30's

You lose the fast twitch, ultimate bit of power earlier[ie you can't jump out of the building anymore: look at video of Michael Jordan in his 20's vs 30's]. Endurance systems don't seem to show the same kind of decrement as early.

The relevant question is how much can you improve...and the answer is, you will never know until you dedicate yourself enough, follow a structured [and smart ;) ] training program, and stick with it.

Period.

And yes, in one's 40's, the "ceiling" is dropping. That is, your maximal/theoretical/genetic limit is dropping.

BUT here is a little story: I was a steady, regular runner, including intervals, in my early 30's. Had [my final] knee surgery at 35.

Started riding bikes.

Started racing in 2 months [and I was S-L-O-W!!!]. Kept at it. Applied basic principles of training. Raced beginner vet. Started placing at times in my 2nd yr. Late in my 3rd season, moved up to sport [had just turned 38]. 4th season raced sport vet; won state titles in GA and NC. Tied for SC Vet state champ.

Moved up to expert [39 y/o] next season [5th]...got shelled! Not last, but mid-pack or worse. Almost dead last at 7Springs NCS race. At the end of the season, I hired Dave Morris and begin that journey.

Each year, my power output for particular intervals was increasing [advantage to training on the Computrainer]. By the time I'm 43-44, I am fast enough to virtually always win or place in Expert 40+; lap times are mid-pack for younger experts, back of pack semi-pros.

If I had been a competitive bicycle racer in my teens, and continued training hard into my 30's, I have no doubt I would have been stronger, and would have seen the decrease. But I didn't really see any decrease until 44-45, and honestly, I think it was as much motivation as anything. Dave and I were going to see how OLD guys responded to supplemental oxygen training...but I just lost the desire to hurt as much as I had been hurting over the years. I likely would have gotten even a bit stronger.

MORAL: stick with it! There is no way to know where you can get, or how fast you can be.

There is a guy in Atlanta [Greg Turner] that will be 50 y/o next year. There are not a lot of experts that want to race against him, particularly at longer distances! He IS slowing down a bit, but is still a monster.

Stick with it.
 

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nc-rider said:
I am 17 (almost 18) and race as an expert. Generaly, I can easily hang with the fastest guys in my area on the road (including Wes D. for those of you who read the NC forum), and can climb very well for my 170 pounds. I have been racing for the past 2 years.
My question is, how much power (and speed in general) can I expect to gain as I get older? Can I expect a huge jump in the near future (I would like to move up to Semi-Pro when I turn 19) or will improvement come more slowly?

Thanks for your thoughts.
for Pro cyclists you typically see they maximize their winning ways between the ages of 27-33.

You have a long time to get stronger and stronger.

If you knew your VO2 max, that would be a strong parameter in how far up the food chain you can eat.
 

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Greg Turner(left) and Shey Lender(sp?). Both very fast dudes no matter where they race. Fort Yargo GAP race this summer. Turners the man, and gives me hope since I'm not far from his age...:).

Just had a pic laying around...

 

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nc-rider said:
I am 17 (almost 18) and race as an expert. Generaly, I can easily hang with the fastest guys in my area on the road (including Wes D. for those of you who read the NC forum), and can climb very well for my 170 pounds. I have been racing for the past 2 years.
My question is, how much power (and speed in general) can I expect to gain as I get older? Can I expect a huge jump in the near future (I would like to move up to Semi-Pro when I turn 19) or will improvement come more slowly?

Thanks for your thoughts.
You've got the potential for serious strength gains in the next few years. Expect to max out on that about 25 or so. Endurance you shouldn't peak until your 30s.

All of that dependent on your workouts.

Start working on strength now if that's a weakness for you and it'll come.

Ron
 

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Lots of variables in determining when someone will peak. Genetics being one of the primary determiners of potential. Favorable genetics make it easier but hard work makes it possible even if you don't have good "genes", although a little harder. Strength/endurance wise, you won't peak for a while.

When can you move up, when you feel capable of riding at that level. I've seen very fast riders in their teens, 20's, 30's, 40's, and 50's. Some of the fastest riders I know are in their 40's. In general people lose fitness (muscle mass) as they get older unless they exercise regularly. As you age you will lose some strength but you aerobic capacity takes much longer to decline if you keep exercising aerobically.

With good nutrition and training, who knows when you will peak.
 

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Big ring = No chainsuck
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
en are es said:
You are at the peak of your physical capabilities around 21-23. Then it decreases, and after 40 it decreases almost exponentially for most people. Cyclists can be different though.

You can easily make Semi-Pro by 19, Pro if your committed enough in your 20s. Do NC races do U23 or U18 or what?
Right now I race U18, but I'm planning to race with the senior experts next season. There isn't really a U23 cat in NC, I would just race with the older guys.
 

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no. Endurance athletes often peak between 27-32.

In cycling there is a special class called Under 23 because young cyclists cannot even hope to compete with the top athletes who are often in their 30's.

en are es said:
You are at the peak of your physical capabilities around 21-23. Then it decreases, and after 40 it decreases almost exponentially for most people. Cyclists can be different though.

You can easily make Semi-Pro by 19, Pro if your committed enough in your 20s. Do NC races do U23 or U18 or what?
 

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power with age

biking is about power, endurance, and mental concentration. as for power and age - I lifted alot of weights in college and had a max bench press of about 330lbs. I then did not lift again for about 10yrs. my bench now is about 380, and I am 35. I have way more power at 35 then I did at 20. I know this doesn't exactly translate to biking, but I think at 18, you have a few years to go before you see your peak.
 

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turdburgle said:
In cycling there is a special class called Under 23 because young cyclists cannot even hope to compete with the top athletes who are often in their 30's.
This is taking it a bit too far in the opposite direction. Under-23 riders can be very competitive, even winning World Championships (in the Elite, not U-23) and Grand Tours. And Adam Craig was still 23 during 2004 when he placed top 5 at a World Cup race.
 
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