Updated September 20th  2019

If you are an older Cyclist moving up to A1 category by gaining points in your current grade. you might consider some facts in this blog.

Hopefully this blog will address one aspect of this and some other issues regarding age and cyclists physical performance.

A1 Category Cycling Ireland

When the older cyclist is heading for A 1 category they need to consider the move carefully. Some riders goal is to move through the categories and reach A1 Category.

As the saying goes “be careful what you wish for”

London Marathon age group times

cycling to a faster Marathon


A few years ago I graphed ages and times of the London Marathon for an article I was writing on Physical work capacity and age.

I used an average of the top ten of each age group ( Male ) to get the average time.

Now as we know there are always the exceptions.There were some age group runners who were faster than the average for their age.

But they really were an exception and there were very few of them.

I chose running for the research as its very pure, no equipment or aerodynamics involved. Just the runner and the watch! Click on the Graph to increase.

Note:  Theres a Typo it should be minutes rather than Seconds for Time

Marathon times by age

Thousands of runners times

Its very clear that the peak years for endurance occurs between 25 and 35 years of age. there is a gradual decline from 30+ years on.

However good training and regular physical activity can slow the decline to some extent.

So if you are 35 years plus and thinking of competing in the Elite / A1 races you had better be able to train well.

You will also need have a lot of natural ability and live a sporting lifestyle.

If you are going to be flat out just hanging on to very strong cyclists at their peak age and fitness it might not be so much fun.

Listening to the birds whistling

And if you spend more time cycling alone after being dropped  minutes behind the bunch on lonely roads “listening to the Birds whistling”, it definitely won’t be much fun

Fitness and training

To compete at A1 level requires very good fitness levels and a high skill level. The difference in distance and speed of the races between A3 / A2 and the top level is substantial.

To survive and sustain a competitive season in Cycling Ireland A1 Category will be very demanding.

An understanding partner and a job that is not too demanding on time or stress could be essential.

Cycling Ireland’s point system

Cycling Ireland’s point system should also consider the effects of aging on physical work capacity. Are some people being lost to the Sport because of being upgraded?

National Calendar

Age related physical work capacity applies to national races where riders are being moved into A1 category at an older age.

Not much fun in that I imagine for those riders. Especially if they have gained the points through their experience and superior tactics in the lower categories. Speeds in A2 / 3 are generally a fair bit lower than A1 races.

Maybe there should be a cap on upgrades to A1 at a certain age?


And there are still lots of opportunities for cyclists to compete as their physical abilities decline.

There is a great vets organisation IVCA in Leinster and Ulster where the racing age range goes from 40 yrs. olds to 80+ yrs. olds still loving racing their bikes.

I’m not sure about Munster or Connaught? But theres probably room for Vets organisation in those provinces if someone took it on.

There are now Cycling Ireland Vets National championships for all age groups.

Whichever category your in Enjoy the bike!!

Paddy Doran Cycling coach at www.peakendurancecoaching.ie  See Testimonials here   Contact here

Coaching, Cycling, Triathlon, Sportives,  sports Nutrition, Coach mentoring, Club development

Benefits of exercise

First of all we should keep sight of the benefits and enjoyment of exercising. Whether its out on the bike or walking, running in the open air building physical fitness, enjoying the company of club cycling sessions.

Most of the above will increase fitness and happiness through social contact. See what the ACSM has to say about the benefits of exercise.

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