What’s to old for pro level performance?

How old is to old to try for cycling at an A level or even the pros?

I am 41. I have not trained hard cardio in many years. I know my potential with vo2 but I am seeing it does not matter due to my age. How many can drop 1800watts on a whim? I don’t want to get a sponsor, lol I am not delusional. It’s just for fun. But I want to make it to the top level because that how I am. I know it’s most likely impossible but is it possible?

Look I get it. I am not a cyclist. I am old. I have been lifting for 20 years. I have not even been outside on a bike in 20 years and I have no idea what it will actually take but is it impossible to come close to A or pro levels at my age?

What would I need to vomit/commit to make it to this level?

Just for fun. What would it take? I am about 175lbs and have some loose fat to loose.

I started at a vo2 max at 1.5 w/kg. I am at 2.1 and I am not trying. I just do cardio to keep the pounds off.

What training would be needed? I am clueless and have no idea.

Thanks for the discussion.

Already too old for (real) pro level numbers (sorry)

Very much it depends but roughly:

Elite level AG:

5-10 years of consistent aerobic conditioning (15+ hours a week)
A good coach
Good genetics

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VO2max and w/kg are different measurements :slight_smile:

For pro level, you’re looking at around 6 w/kg FTP. So for your current weight, that would mean you need to be able to hold around 477 watts for an hour effort. Sprint wattage won’t be as big a deal, as your sprint won’t matter if you can’t stick with the bunch to the end of the race.

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Yep to old as I figured. To bad. With my power and vo2 capacity when I was younger it would have been fun. I had this power and much more at 145 lbs at 18 years old.

you still have about 10 years to get stronger so if you enjoy lifting heavy and sprinting then you should lean into it. 1800w is rare


Need some more details, height for instance, current FTP if you know it.

You can train to improve for sure but it will take time.

You are near my age and personally I can still ride well if I train properly (and don’t get injuries) but the recovery is a lot slower than it was when I was 35 or younger.

The training covers all of it - you want to do lifting weights, starting with repetitions and just getting the correct techniques then you start increasing the weight. Base training in lower zone levels and next stage you start building in other intervals.

What kind of riding do you want to do, that will influence what kind of training you are doing.

I am 5’7” tall and mainly base train at low rpm to get my numbers up. Started at 100w ftp and am at 170 now. 2.1w/kg in the last two months. Not really trying. I was doing this for fat loss lol.

That math at my current body weight is pretty jarring. Thanks for that. I have no intention of losing more than about 10 maybe 15 pounds because I value my size. I’m not a big guy but I spent a very very long time getting this big lol so losing more than about 10 pounds it’s just out of the question. Which means I’d have to push my FTP to over 400 W, holy ■■■■. Yeah, I can see now it’s pretty unrealistic at my age. Not to mention I drive a truck for a living. Honestly, if I didn’t have a job and I had nothing but time I feel this might actually be possible but not working 12 hours a day.
It looks like I’m going to go to Greg Doucette way and simply work towards some crit races, and have a little fun where my power actually mean something. Sucks for the c and d cat lol because that’s where I will end up racing and know one has the power to beat me for a finish if I am in the final pack.
Let’s be clear my sprint power is only on a whim I can barely drop more than 1600 W at the end of a30 min FTP effort. So it’s not like I have the full 1800 W at my disposal unless I walk off the street on a good day lol. I will with training and time get that number to 1800+ watts. My goal is 2000w after a 30 min ftp effort. I went from 1100w to 1618w for a finish in two months while loosing 25 lbs on no carbs. I am coming for you WATTsWHEELHOUSE!

The other honest truth is I’ve been on TRT now for many many years and competing at any real level would be completely illegal the way the current rules are written, and the way the rules discriminate against people such as myself that have a medical requirement. I lost my testosterone levels through military service and chemical exposures or that’s what the doctors think, there’s no way to really know.

It will be fun to see what my old ass can achieve when I am not really invested. I was thinking of going all in because of the power I have but it’s not worth it really. I plan to just have some fun and work the lower ranks and get a used of cheating lol.

I used to train with people who were about 65kg and 375w FTP. They were just local pro riders (National Road Series in Australia aka NRS), at the international level they are even more extreme. So the level you are thinking to get to is very, very high.

Your 2000w goal is like track sprinters. A current A grade rider in my area who wins a lot of races will regularly do 1600w sprints at the end of a crit race (in real life, not Zwift). Even when he was riding to work he’d do 1500w+ away from traffic lights.

My own FTP at 60kg was 313w. I just kept riding a lot because I enjoyed it.

I suspect you would do better training for the track instead, yet used to riding fixed gear and learn how to ride on the velodrome. For your medical condition and treatments, you’ll have to talk to the cycling governing officials in your country and work with the doctors.

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The really sad part is I had more power than this at 145 pounds when I was 17 years old. In my area, we did not have cycling in anyway as a sport. I literally rode a specialized hard rock mountain bike and towed a trailer with fishing equipment as much as 15 miles one way to go fishing. That’s what I used my cycling ability for lol.

Now, I realize I might’ve actually had some thing back then, but because here in Oklahoma, everything’s about football… I never did more than dragging my fishing equipment to a pond with all that potential :joy::face_vomiting:. But I caught lots of fish!

Thanks for the reality check.

175 lbs is by no means large, but if you’re truly wanting to lose some fat, you might try fasting for a day, or two, every so often. This will help you lose the fat (your body will use it for fuel, instead of ingested calories) as well as increase your leptin and insulin sensitivity. It might be difficult the first time, or two, as your body may not be accustomed to using fat as a fuel, but it will get easier each time.

I recently did a 60 hour fast, losing about 7 lbs, which I have kept off, as I’m just not as hungry.

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I am good at loosing body fat. It’s a simple equation and you are correct fasting is the best way. I have been 220lbs before.

Being a good A online or irl is equivalent of an 500lb+ deadlift at your weight.

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Getting an A level Zwift classifaction is easier than becoming a real life Cat 1 racer, e.g. IRL at 5’7" you’d typically be 135-140lbs and doing something like 355w 20min efforts if you were a Cat 1. Zwift A is not as hard as that but a level of physical suitedness for cycling is still required. You’re at 2.1w/kg FTP without trying… a de-trained (like completely off cycling for half a year) true A rider (no weight/height fudging or trainer tricks) is still going to ride around on Zwift at 3w/kg after warming up, on pure muscle memory just getting base miles in, and that’ll be chit chat pace. And for sure still do a 4+w/kg 20min effort on muscle memory alone. So consider that as a true A (would be an IRL Cat 1) not at all trying, detrained base level and you’re about 2w/kg off the not trying level of base fitness. That’s the miles and miles of riding and hours and hours of intervals that you don’t have. Pro is another level altogether.

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There’s a slightly old but really good blog post on how “normal” people stack up in terms of power:


Your “ceiling” is really more genetic than anything unfortunately, you’ve either got the genes for it or you haven’t, no amount of training can make up for that. And being perfectly frank the odds are fairly long that you (or any given person) has the genes to “make it”, regardless of training you do.

As for age, just some random info:

  • David Rebellin (RIP) was still in the pro Peloton at age 51
  • Chiara Doni from Zwift academy didn’t start cycling until 31, almost made it into a pro team at age 37
  • Alex Morrice (another ZA finalist) only started cycling in university and now has a pro cycling contract only 2 years later

So if you have the right genes you can make it with not that much training, or you can make it starting at a relatively late age, or you can continue to cycle at a high level even at a relatively veteran age. You almost certainly can’t do all these things combined (start late, do little training) and make it. And you can’t do either of these things unless you have amazing genetics (I, and likely you, do not).

But does it matter? Whatever level you are at, you are racing against others at your level. If you enjoy that process, then you can have just as much fun as a cat D as a cat A, or continental or world tour pro. Zwift (and real world races) stick you in categories to try and ensure you are racing others at the same level. So if you’re competitive in personality, dive in now :slight_smile:

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What device did you use to measure your power numbers?

And what is your vO2max?
How did you measure it?

You have stated your FTP, weight and age, yet.
How did you measure your FTP? Have you done a “real” FTP test?

I am using a cyclops hammer (original) to measure power with a pos Walmart gravel bike. I am trying to brake the Walmart bike before I go back to my Revolt. Just to see how a $128 bike holds up lol. Zwift gives me my power readings. But I have hit same or higher numbers on an H3 and my Revolt as well.

No idea what my vo2 max is.

I am using the figures zwift gives me. No full test as yet. I am sure I can do better in an actual test.

I am taking two days off so I can get blood work then I should do a real test.

I should also point out I am still in a cut and on low carbs. Down from 197 to 175 in two months. Still another 10 lbs to go so I won’t have full strength until I switch back to a higher calorie and carb diet.

That’s not an easy lift but I get 495 without hitching.

Masters racing is big these days, and in some cases masters athletes are almost pro in the sense of having some form of sponsorship so as to be close to full time athletes, or be in masters teams that are sponsored although obviously nowhere near the levels of real pro teams. You may need to be good enough to make a national team to UCI masters though to be able to get to that point though.

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I am just going to work on my 30min crit distances. Today I just did a simple 20min sprint session. Only 4 sprints on low carbs. This is my best 5 sec on record and my best 1min was lost but I did grab a pic. I could hit 500 for 1min power if I want pretty easy.

Today was a short sprint session. Fasted workout. I only got to 1540w max. I am tired and need more carbs.
So ya I got a very long way to go lol. One day at a time.

I weigh myself in full gear.

For VO2Max that’s definitely the case. It’s less the case for FTP. Everyone still has limits of course, but FTP is more responsive to training for most people. There are some who simply won’t be able to increase VO2Max at all, and that’s not really the case with FTP.

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