Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: The Bike Business!!!
Bikes: Cannondale Super Six High Mod, Evo, Sram Red, CAAD9 Rival
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Joining a club is best. One here in Indy hosts weekly races, practice sessions that, for someone interested in racing, they can get a feel for the speed and style needed to be reasonably competitive (they do small primes and if you get dropped, you can wait for the pack to come back to you and jump on again...it give you a good guage for where you are). You might see if any clubs do that near you. In this deal, you don't need to be a member of their club to get in the race. Also, riding by yourself all the time deludes you into thinking you are in reasonably good racing shape. One of the best ways to get in racing shape, is to practice racing and to do workouts (intervals, things like that) with others. You get competition that way.
To check if your speed is good, you might want to try a few time trials first. TT's are safer, too.
Some crits offer "public" races, where you can go as an indivudual and race...if you've never tried it, this is an "anonymous" way to see how competitive you are...