How a Masters Cyclist went from the Couch to the Podium
When I turned 60, lots of things changed in my life. My children were on their own, and my career required me to work fewer hours oh and Covid. Suddenly I had more spare time on my hands…it was time to make a change. Here’s my story of how a Masters Cyclist went from the Couch to the Podium
Decision time – Couch Potato or Masters Cyclist
At this point, I could have taken my life in any direction including sitting on the couch watching television, drinking like a fish, and a million other directions that would have eventually taken me to a not-so-healthy place. I ended up going the cycling route and becoming a serious masters cyclist.
Getting back in shape as a masters cyclist
I made the commitment to get back into my former race shape. What I learned was that It’s hard, really hard to get back in cycling shape when you’re over 60. Progress was slow, painfully slow and I found it really hard to recover between rides.
For help with training, you might want to read my Comprehensive Review of Masters Cycling Training Programs post.
I was frustrated at my slow progress. Unfortunately, there is no shortcut, no secret pill, or training regimen to getting in shape. Here’s a simple truth; it just takes time, patience, and consistency.
Weight loss for the masters cyclist
Part of getting race shape is to get to a proper race weight as well. In my experience getting to the proper race weight is all about balancing making sure you’re fueled enough to train properly while still losing weight. You might find my post The Ultimate Weight Loss Guide for the Masters Cyclist helpful. See the chart below to determine your proper racing weight.
How to get started as a masters mountain bike racer
The first question to answer is what is masters category in cycling? According to the UCI, masters age categories start at age 35. Cycling masters age categories are generally broken down into 5-year groups. Additionally, racers are broken up into categories based on experience and fitness. Amateur mountain bike racers are broken into 3 categories per below.
Beginner/Novice: This category is for riders who are new to mountain bike racing or who have limited experience. Typically, this category is for riders who have not placed in the top three of any previous mountain bike races.
Sport: This category is for intermediate-level riders who have some racing experience and are looking to improve their skills. Riders in this category may have placed in the top three of beginner races or may have some experience riding off-road.
Expert: This category is for experienced riders who are looking for a challenge. Riders in this category have usually placed in the top three of sport-level races or have significant experience riding off-road.
If you’re new to racing, always race in the Beginner/Novice category.
That’s me on the first-place podium spot. If I can do it, you can too!
My career as a masters cyclist has gotten to the point I’m competing in the 2023 US Masters XC Mountain Bike championships this Summer.
Do you have any masters cyclist stories you would like to share? Please leave a comment.