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Old 09-19-07, 11:10 PM   #1
brianappleby
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Collegiate Racing?

So I just started grad school and i'm thinking of doing some of the college racing next year. I'm pretty new to racing in general (1 year in) and I know nothing about collegiate racing so humor me please.

1. Are the races broken up into categories like 4-3-2-1?

2. Must you be on your college's team in order to race? Or can I just show up w/ a student ID and go for it?

3. Are collegiate races any less safe than standard ones? In terms of pack sketchiness etc? There is NO WAY i'm going to race a criterium w/ 20 year olds who think they're indestructible, but what about road races?

Part of me says "you're too old for this crowd" and the other says "you should race as much as you possibly can." So I'm sort of torn as to whether I want to do it or not. Luckily, i've got lots of time to figure it out.

For people that may happen to be in the Colorado area, do you know how much the collegiate racing schedule conflicts with the standard (ACA?) one? I'm mainly concerned w/ road races.

thanks for any info,

Brian.
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Old 09-20-07, 12:00 AM   #2
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1. yes A, B, C and some conferences have D
2. you can just show up and go for it
3. depends on what you're comparing them to. I find them just as safe, dont race above your ability and ride in the front if this scares you.
Dont feel like you're too old, check it out first. Races are really cheap and its always a blast seeing what courses different schools put together.
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Old 09-20-07, 05:30 AM   #3
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It seems liike I de-lurk here only to say how great collegiate racing is. The ECCC (eastern) even has a E cat now for beginners. With all these categories I've found that most everyone races at their level. I find them more fun (more of a party atmosphere, people race with their legs not their attitudes) than some USCF races.

And don't worry about being too old! 5th year grad student here, and most of my team are also grads.
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Old 09-20-07, 07:10 AM   #4
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In our conference, as far as I know, there was one (1) crash the entire year in the A's crits (aside from the day that it was snowing before and during the race, half the teams went home, and some people decided they were going to race, weather be damned).

That one crash happened when we had crested the hill at the top of the circuit, and were starting our descent, and the rider from Michigan (we were in Ann Arbor) decided to take a flyer, went into the turn a little hot in front of some fans, and washed out.

Otherwise, all of the A's races were very safe. When you get to know everyone out there, which you will, people tend to ride a little safer, because they have to see the guy they chopped in a corner for the next XXX weekends.

However, you should note that an A's race can be just as fast as a Pro/1/2 field. Many times, it is just that. Just smaller than your usual 100+ deep P/1/2, as our races usually had 50-60 dudes.

I can't speak for the B's, C's or D's in terms of pack behaviour, but I know that the guys on our team who raced those categories thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Last edited by Duke of Kent; 09-20-07 at 07:42 AM.
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Old 09-20-07, 07:21 AM   #5
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1. yes A, B, C and some conferences have D
2. you can just show up and go for it
3. depends on what you're comparing them to. I find them just as safe, dont race above your ability and ride in the front if this scares you.
Dont feel like you're too old, check it out first. Races are really cheap and its always a blast seeing what courses different schools put together.
Wrong. You have to be in good standing with the School and the Cycling Club at the school (Which could be just paying a $10 due and signing a waiver). Also you can only race for the School you are enrolled in. Go read the NCCA Rulebook.
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Old 09-20-07, 07:46 AM   #6
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I should also say that of the 7 total A racers (male + female) on our team, 3 of them were graduate students. One was 29, getting his PhD in Physics. Another two grad students, one of whom was married, in the B and C ranks.

And they did plenty of crits...
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Old 09-20-07, 07:49 AM   #7
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Now that is some inspiration to get my masters. So i can join the cycling club and race more races.
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Old 09-20-07, 08:02 AM   #8
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Yeah, you'll need to join your school's team. You also can't wear any trade team clothing, and a couple of other semi-goofy rules like that.

Anyways, it's a lot of fun, there's lots of older grad students (though I'm not one). Go for it!
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Old 09-20-07, 08:03 AM   #9
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Wrong. You have to be in good standing with the School and the Cycling Club at the school (Which could be just paying a $10 due and signing a waiver). Also you can only race for the School you are enrolled in. Go read the NCCA Rulebook.
You have to be a full time student as well. I'm getting my Grad Cert then Masters through a distance learning program...aka internet correspondence through my professor..but I will not be eligible to race for the team. I'll only get 6 of the 12hrs necessary per semester to be a full time student.

I should point out, however, that you don't have to be enrolled at the school that you race for. I know of one specific example, of a law student in our conference (both Nitro and Eskimo might know who she is) who was enrolled at a school that did not have a cycling team, but was allowed to continue to race for the team that she recieved her undergraduate degree from.

She went to IU, and now goes to IUPUI.
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Old 09-20-07, 08:26 AM   #10
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Wrong. You have to be in good standing with the School and the Cycling Club at the school (Which could be just paying a $10 due and signing a waiver). Also you can only race for the School you are enrolled in. Go read the NCCA Rulebook.
1st, you sound like a jackass. and 2nd, i was referring to what the OP asked about. you do not need to "officially" be on your schools team. we just hosted a race and many racers were not.
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Old 09-20-07, 08:37 AM   #11
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You are not too old by any means. We have a 36 year old husband and dad on our team.
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Old 09-20-07, 09:21 AM   #12
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Go for it. I race in the RMCCC and its great. Only a few really good road races a year, but those ones are certainly not to be missed. Make sure you make it down to Colorado Springs for the Air Force's road race, it's a truly great one.

Don't worry about being too old and don't worry any more about the crashes than normal...statistically collegiate B and A racing (I don't know about C) is much safer than 3/4/5 USAC racing.

Enjoy it man, hope I see you out there. Where are you for grad school? DU?
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Old 09-20-07, 09:53 AM   #13
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I'm also racing collegiate in Colorado. Very, very fun. Great team atmosphere and all that. Road season isn't until spring though, so you have a while to find your team, join up etc. If you race mountain bikes at all, you should start racing this weekend! Fort Lewis is hosting their race in Durango.
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Old 09-20-07, 04:02 PM   #14
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Your school may have other rules if you do want to be affiliated with them. For example, my school requires that the jersey or vest or whatever your top layer is on your torso be the current team kit. The waivers and team membership are also necessary if your school covers any of your race costs and you want to get reimbursed. You also must be a full-time student, which means you need to meet minimum credit requirements during the spring (or fall if you're doing CX or MTB).

Even if you don't need to be a member of your school's team, it is a good idea to join. Usually the cost is minimal to join and there's no requirement that you race--we have tons of people who just show up for training rides. It's always good to have team support during a race, people to travel with, etc.

Don't worry about the age. I'm working on my 3rd degree and I just got into it this past spring. A large percentage of our regular racers are grad students.

As for safety, there are more beginner categories for inexperienced or slower cyclists. Some of the fields tend to be small, depending on the conference. Of course, some of the beginner categories can develop reputations for recklessness (i.e., poor bike handling skills).

Ask around at your school and meet the people on the team. Go on some training rides with them and see what you think of the team.
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Old 09-20-07, 04:56 PM   #15
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Yeah, I second the thing about beginner collegiate fields being sketchy as all hell (speaking from experience in NC and VA). There were almost as many wrecks in the B races I was in as in cat 4 or 5 races around here. So yeah... racing A's this year. Hopefully I won't get my butt whooped by a bunch of sandbagging 29 year old grad students...lol.
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Old 09-20-07, 08:57 PM   #16
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I rode C and D last year. D had some sketchy moments, but not many. C had a few more, due to our proximity to a certain NC school...
Many of my teammates are grads, myself included. I don't think that the races are any more dangerous than the crazed loons you can find in USCF racing who think sprinting with their heads down is cool.
The racing is relaxed, and has a great club atmosphere. I've made friends at many other colleges through racing, and am looking forward to ripping it up next year. Cross season first though!
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Old 09-21-07, 12:17 AM   #17
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alright, so I've checked out the RMCCC roster for last year, and most of the rides are USAC races anyway. So my choices are to race them with a normal non-school team, or join the school one and do those, but I'd still need another team ( or ride unattached ) for the rest of the season.

thoughts? Thanks for the advice so far. I'm definitely going now, the only question is to whether I race the college cats or the USAC ones, and which team I do it for...
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Old 09-21-07, 06:07 AM   #18
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I'm 30 and considering it, as I'm in grad school in addition to my job. I might not travel that much...
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Old 09-21-07, 12:03 PM   #19
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Yeah, I second the thing about beginner collegiate fields being sketchy as all hell (speaking from experience in NC and VA). There were almost as many wrecks in the B races I was in as in cat 4 or 5 races around here. So yeah... racing A's this year. Hopefully I won't get my butt whooped by a bunch of sandbagging 29 year old grad students...lol.
considering A is the highest collegiate racing level, i fail to see how anyone in that category could be considered "sandbaggers." they work hard and race the category they belong in.

and as for sketchiness, men's B is approximately the cat 4 equivallent. out here in the MWCCC, the sketchiness in general of any category is significantly less than what you'd find in your typical cat 4/5 crit out in socal. this is mainly due to the fact that people who race collegiate race on a team. teams tend to promote an understanding of the sport and tend to produce safer, smarter racers come spring. great experience and id reccomend it to anyone who has the opportunity. i def consider the collegiate season alot more fun than my summer racing uscf crits.
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Old 09-21-07, 01:32 PM   #20
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you're sandbagging if you are a 28 year old cat 1 who is still racing collegiate against a lot of 20 year olds.
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Old 09-21-07, 01:43 PM   #21
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I fail to see how a 28 year old Cat1/2 guy racing against 18-22 year old Pro/1/2 racers is sandbagging...
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Old 09-21-07, 02:09 PM   #22
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I fail to see how a 28 year old Cat1/2 guy racing against 18-22 year old Pro/1/2 racers is sandbagging...
Some people need excuses for why they get their ass handed to them.
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Old 09-21-07, 03:31 PM   #23
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alright, so I've checked out the RMCCC roster for last year, and most of the rides are USAC races anyway. So my choices are to race them with a normal non-school team, or join the school one and do those, but I'd still need another team ( or ride unattached ) for the rest of the season.

thoughts? Thanks for the advice so far. I'm definitely going now, the only question is to whether I race the college cats or the USAC ones, and which team I do it for...
If you're a member of a college team, have your collegiate license and regular uscf license add-on, you can race uscf without a non-school team without paying the unattached fees. Lots of people have their collegiate team and another local club for the other races. Things can get a little tense when a school hosts a race in conjunction with a local uscf race, because you might want to race for the local club and win some prizes, but your school wants you to race in the collegiate category and earn points for them.
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Old 09-26-07, 01:22 AM   #24
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OP:

Sounds like you might be racing the MWCCC with me this year. I havnt started races yet, (we are just holding off till spring) but I did get some details. You will need your racing liscense, have to be full time, and mostly of the mwccc races are crits, since the season starts in feb and the roadraces are too icy alot of the times and get cancelled. I was told im probably fast enough to stay in the top 10 of D, where there wont be crashes. They said much behind that, you better be able to react fast, and be ready to wreck. The higher classes are completely different though. There is no cash prizes for stages, and you cant be paid by your team i dont think. the majority of students on the teams are grad students from what i understand.

just join, it cant hurt, and if nothing else, you find some riding buddies, and maybe can get in on some of the sponsor deals!
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Old 09-26-07, 05:35 AM   #25
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OP:

Sounds like you might be racing the MWCCC with me this year. I havnt started races yet, (we are just holding off till spring) but I did get some details. You will need your racing liscense, have to be full time, and mostly of the mwccc races are crits, since the season starts in feb and the roadraces are too icy alot of the times and get cancelled. I was told im probably fast enough to stay in the top 10 of D, where there wont be crashes. They said much behind that, you better be able to react fast, and be ready to wreck. The higher classes are completely different though. There is no cash prizes for stages, and you cant be paid by your team i dont think. the majority of students on the teams are grad students from what i understand.

just join, it cant hurt, and if nothing else, you find some riding buddies, and maybe can get in on some of the sponsor deals!
He's going to be in Colorado...which is not MWCCC.

The first 10 of the D's is not safe either. I'd focus on moving up and out of the D's ASAP. Most of them have a hard time taking turns by themselves, let alone with a pack around them. The OP is a Cat3 I believe, so he should be racing A's or B's, and shouldn't have this problem.

Half of the races are crits, if that, in any given year. Five of the eighteen races were crits last year.

You can be paid by your team by way of scholarship.

The majority of racers are undergrads. Lots of graduate students, but far, far more undergards.
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