Tandem Time Trial Podium

Coach Matson and his tandem partner receive the Silver Medal at the 2011 USA Cycling Masters National Championships for the 110+ Tandem Time Trial. These athletes exemplify the burgeoning competition in masters cycle racing.

Masters racing is the fastest growing demographic in U.S. bicycle racing, and maybe it is time for you to board this train. USA Cycling and most state bicycle racing organizations give you the opportunity to race not only in your Senior ability category, but also in age brackets with competitors your own age. Interestingly, these races are not necessarily slower than their senior category counterparts. In fact, as more and more Cat 1 and Cat 2 racers get older but continue racing, Masters races have become more competitive than ever. You might set a personal time trial record for yourself in an over fifty category only to discover the winner is a 53-year-old Cat 1 racer—who if he had raced in the Cat 1 race that day would have placed in the top 10!

But the real joy of racing Masters is that the guy next to you is like you. He has to balance family, work, and racing just like you do. He has to get up Monday morning and go to work just like you do. There’s a camaraderie in Masters racing that is hard to find in the Senior categories. Masters racers will bang shoulders and butt heads in the sprint, then hang out together in impromptu tail gate parties back in the parking lot. With Endurox and bananas.

Masters racing is my specialty, and if you want help making it happen for you, I would love to work with you. With all the demands on your time, having expert help in planning your season and your daily workouts can make all the difference.

As with all racing programs, Masters athletes should train 8–10 hours per week, building to 10–12  hours per week, and then reducing volume when working on V02 max intensity or when racing many weekends in a row. Cat 3 and 2 racers should expect even more volume, especially if they are trying to upgrade to a higher category. While Masters riders don’t have to slow down, adequate recovery is essential for Masters riders, something I will help you monitor and maintain.

And with maturity comes guile and canniness. I’ll suggest ways to trick yourself into finding that extra bit of motivation to train, or how to squeeze in a little more training into your busy schedule. Early morning spin classes, commuting to and from work, late-night sessions on the trainer, splitting your workout into two-a-days: something will work for you and we will just have to figure it out.