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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have started racing this year.

I did fairly well in Cat3 in my age group (won my races :) but my age group was a bit slow).

However, I have seen numerous signs over the last few months that makes me doubt my ability to progress and be competitive in upper categories.

I am 39, 5'10", 150lbs. Stayed in decent shape all my life, but not competitive until recently.

Here are the issues:
  • My HR is always through the roof while riding hard or racing. Can reach over 180 regularly when riding hard. On a solo training ride today, I averaged 166 over 1.5 hours.
  • When going at Altitude (e.g. Crested Butte, CO), I am much more impacted then all my riding friends (and wife). I can barely follow friends that I beat easily at low altitude. And I can;t follow my wife hiking.
  • I have a very small chest cavity. OK, I am small built which should be good for the weight. But still. Seeing pictures of Lance's chest baffled me.
  • I always seem to have plenty of power for climbing, accelerating, sprinting, but my lungs/heart always seem to be the limiting factor. HR climbs over 180, I redline and have to slow down.
  • At the end of very hard sprints (finishes), I can barely stand, I have to lie down to recover. Maybe I push hard, but I seem to be the only one in that state at the end of races.
  • My VO2Max was measured at ~60ml/kg/min
  • Resting HR ~50 BPM

So, should I give up racing? (Not really)

Can I expect this to improve over time with training? I read that VO2Max is not much trainable and is more genetic.

Did Lance have a surgery to enlarge is Chest Cavity? Just kidding... well, maybe not.
 

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All I would say is you need a better source of information on what is a good VO2 Max. Why do you think 60 is weak?

I am not surprised you have been winning races. A VO2 Max of 60 is excellent. You probably couldn't be a world class cyclist or endurance athlete, who are often 75+, but you are light years ahead of "average." If you can average a heart rate of 166 for 1.5 hours, that would also suggest you have a pretty good lactate threshold. That is a high percentage of your maximum heart rate of something in the 180 (or just above that) range.

In terms of why you don't adapt to altitude as well as others, I'm thinking there are other explanations. Maybe it just takes you longer to acclimate.
 

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flafonta said:
I have started racing this year.

I did fairly well in Cat3 in my age group (won my races :) but my age group was a bit slow).

However, I have seen numerous signs over the last few months that makes me doubt my ability to progress and be competitive in upper categories.

I am 39, 5'10", 150lbs. Stayed in decent shape all my life, but not competitive until recently.

Here are the issues:
  • My HR is always through the roof while riding hard or racing. Can reach over 180 regularly when riding hard. On a solo training ride today, I averaged 166 over 1.5 hours.
  • When going at Altitude (e.g. Crested Butte, CO), I am much more impacted then all my riding friends (and wife). I can barely follow friends that I beat easily at low altitude. And I can;t follow my wife hiking.
  • I have a very small chest cavity. OK, I am small built which should be good for the weight. But still. Seeing pictures of Lance's chest baffled me.
  • I always seem to have plenty of power for climbing, accelerating, sprinting, but my lungs/heart always seem to be the limiting factor. HR climbs over 180, I redline and have to slow down.
  • At the end of very hard sprints (finishes), I can barely stand, I have to lie down to recover. Maybe I push hard, but I seem to be the only one in that state at the end of races.
  • My VO2Max was measured at ~60ml/kg/min
  • Resting HR ~50 BPM

So, should I give up racing? (Not really)

Can I expect this to improve over time with training? I read that VO2Max is not much trainable and is more genetic.

Did Lance have a surgery to enlarge is Chest Cavity? Just kidding... well, maybe not.
An FYI...a VO2max of 60ml/kg/min is better than the vast majority of the population.

A second note: if your legs are fine and your lungs are hurting, you'd probably be better off dropping the chain down a cog or two on the cassette, and lowering your cadence.

Third point: If you aren't acclimated to altitude, and others are, or spend more time at altitude than you do, they'll be better than you way up in the mountains, until you get used to it to. That's not exactly a little known fact...

If bike races were decided by our VO2max test results, we'd train year round for a VO2 max test, take it, mail in our entry fees and forms (listing VO2max, of course), and they'd select the winner by comparing numbers. And as you know, that's not how it works.

Sure, genetics help. But hard work can make you pretty damn competitive, if you put in the time.
 

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Waiting for Godot
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get a training book or look up how to train on the net. training bible...etc....

most likely your vo2max is fine, but your lacking in base training and get worn out or winded easy because of it.

late fall/winter is when we work on this and progress into race season. try the search button as well here. much info to be absorbed.

you and your small chest will be fine as long as you enjoy yourself.


BTW my vo2max is hugh, but without me doing the right training you would leave me in the dust.
 

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If you're winning races in your CAT, why quit? If you hadn't posted that you were thinking about quitting, I would've thought you were a pretty accomplished/competitive rider. Don't sweat the numbers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone for the responses.

Note that the "weak VO2max" title might have been misleading.

The point I was trying to make is that even with quite a bit of training, my lungs capacity is always the limiting factor for me.

I will try bigger gears (I am usually a fast spinner).

I will continue to increase my base training.

I am currently reading Friel's book.

Regarding the Altitude adaptation, the people I was with live and traveled with me from Texas, same acclimatisation.

One last example. I did a quick 1 hour fun ride on the road with one of my friend (who tends to be faster than me). Despite is 8 week-old broken collarbone which kept him off the trails and roads, I had to draft behind him most of the time. And I eventually redlined anyway at 188BPM, with my HRM beeping like a little girl. (Despite his broken collarbone, he has been spinning and riding indoors on the trainer, but still... it was his first ride in 8 weeks...). Humbling...
 

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Don't under estimate what can be accomplished on a trainer. I feel that I usually get my best quality workouts on one. Also, after being pinned up for 8 weeks spinning on a trainer he probably had a little extra "something" just from actually getting out for a ride. Sounds like you are doing great. Look at the positives and quit doubting yourself. You are in a better position than all of your competition that you have been beating.
 

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Maybe you just aren't training the right limiting factors - sounds like you like to go and ride hard, but lower intensity endurance training seems to be what may really help you.

If you are so convinced that you are disadvantaged by something perhaps you should visit your doctor and check that you are not anemic or low on iron.
 

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you are comparing yourself to others too much. we each have our own strong points and weaknesses. we also all have good days and bad days. just focus on improving and training smart. over time, you will get stronger. focus on the positive (like the fact you have been winning). some people train for many years and never win a single race.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Thanks again guys.

I have been thinking more during my shower this morning, and I think what prompted me to write about this was I think I reached a plateau in my training.

And I assumed that it was more of a genetic/intrinsic limitation and this is it, I won't be able to get any better than I am currently, fitness wise.

And I assumed that my aerobic capacity has reached its maximum potential, and I am limited by how large my lungs are.

But now that I think more about it, there are tons of other factors.

I'll try to start training smarter.

Whatch out Cat2 racers :)
 

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flafonta said:
Thanks again guys.

I have been thinking more during my shower this morning, and I think what prompted me to write about this was I think I reached a plateau in my training.

And I assumed that it was more of a genetic/intrinsic limitation and this is it, I won't be able to get any better than I am currently, fitness wise.

And I assumed that my aerobic capacity has reached its maximum potential, and I am limited by how large my lungs are.

But now that I think more about it, there are tons of other factors.

I'll try to start training smarter.

What out Cat2 racers :)
If you read further in friels book, he explains how a structured training plan will complement your plateau in fitness. I think every racer will hit a plateau in fitness at one time in their career, but you really have to keep trying to surpass that immovable wall. I have a quote from the foreword, written by Ned Overend, of The Mountain Biker's Training Bible, "Over the past fifteen years I have seen scores of talented riders become frustrated at their lack of progress and quit racing. Many of these athletes were more physically gifted than I was at the time. They possessed the talent, the driver and willingness to endure intense training, but they didn't have the knowledge to create a program tailored to their specific needs." I believe that you are gifted with talent, proven through your success, but you have to see deeper into your limiting factors and not use genetics as an excuse because you cant change that.
 

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Lung capacity has very little to do with athletic performance/aerobic capacity (as long as it is "normal"/not compromised via emphysema,etc.). The surface area of normal healthy lungs are able to diffuse far more oxygen than the rbcs in your blood are able to pick up (or will ever bo able to pick up). Additionally, the size and # of mitochondria in your muscles limit your aerobic capacity .......jusy saying b/c it's a very comon misconception.
 

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gsomtb said:
Lung capacity has very little to do with athletic performance/aerobic capacity (as long as it is "normal"/not compromised via emphysema,etc.). The surface area of normal healthy lungs are able to diffuse far more oxygen than the rbcs in your blood are able to pick up (or will ever bo able to pick up). Additionally, the size and # of mitochondria in your muscles limit your aerobic capacity .......jusy saying b/c it's a very comon misconception.
Exactly. Now if you had a super low hematocrit level, that would be a genetic limiter. Chest cavity size (example: google image Janez Brajkovic...former world U23 TT champ) has very little to do with aerobic capacity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
duke of kent said:
google image Janez Brajkovic...former world U23 TT champ
Hey, he is about my size. :)

I am currently at ~145-150lbs and 5'10", with plenty of fat on my belly. Chicken frame.

I know I can get down to 135, and then I would show my six-pack abs. ;)

But then my wife would probably want a divorce because I would look like Rasmussen on some of the pictures where he looks so sick.
 

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Depends.

If your goal is to be a paid proffesional and go to the olympics then I am sorry that probably isn't going to happen.

If your goal is to race and have fun then I don't see a problem. Remeber it takes 10 years of hard, dedicated and smart trainning to reach your genetic potential. Chances are that you are a long ways away from your limit.
 

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Let me add this also as food for thought:
The BIGGEST determinant to success (beyond the amatuer level/Cat 2 more or less I'd say in this case) in aerobic endurance sports is VO2 Max...there is no question about that.
But, look around you in Cat 3 and to some extent 2 or the equiv in MTB terms......everyone else has the same basic VO2 Max as you......if it were significantly higher - with the same training - they'd be well ahead of you....so, with some exceptions I know, everyone in your cat has been dealt the same basic set of cards. Some might have 2 aces and you have 3 king but what really matters is how you play YOUR cards thru training and strategy.
GOOD LUCK!!! Alot can be acheived with proper training and determination (ESPECIALLY on race day).
 
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