What’s special about the upcoming 2014 race season?

As I wrap up the 2013 racing season with a month of easy aerobic recovery rides (roughly 100 miles per week), I’m looking forward to the upcoming 2014 season for a couple of reasons. First, I will be competing at the “young end” of a new age group. USA Cycling (USAC) separates its licensed racers into Youth (under age 10), Juniors (ages 10 to 18), U23 (ages 19 to 22), Senior/Elite (ages 23 to 29), and Masters (age 30+). Local race promoters further sub-divide Masters riders into 10 year age groups, such as age 30 to 39, age 40 to 49, and so forth. There is a wide disparity in fitness (and speed) between a 40 year old and a 49 year old racing together. This disparity becomes even greater in the age 50+ and age 60+ races.

Second, I have scouted my competitors and their race results in my new age group. My current average speed would have placed me on the podium in just about every one of their races this past season, including the state and regional cycling association time trial championships, state and regional cycling association “best all around rider” (BAR) competition, and a regional time trial series.

And, finally, I can go faster. I’ve discovered that I gain a mile per hour in speed for every 10 pounds I lose. Since the start of the 2012 season, I have lost six pounds per season. My goal for the 2014 season is to lose another six pounds. An increase in average speed of even a half a mile per hour can mean the difference between first and second place.