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"The 33"-Road Bike Racing We set this forum up for our members to discuss their experiences in either pro or amateur racing, whether they are the big races, or even the small backyard races. Don't forget to update all the members with your own race results.

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Old 10-19-07, 04:34 PM   #1
3rdschulz
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Noob interested in road racing.

Hey guys,
I am interested in road racing world, but I am a complete noob with no racing experience.
Maybe some of you can help clear some things up for me and offer some guidance.

ME: 25/M I have only been cycling a year. Last year I gave up my car for a bicycle, and I haven't been able to stop riding since. I ride everyday, but other than riding by myself, I have only done a few Century group rides and events. The last ride I did was a double century, I road in a pace line for the first time and it was such an incredible experience.
I am not really outfitted to race currently. I have a Trek Portland, SPD shoe's and pedals, some basic gear, and no REAL racing experience.

GOAL: To continue to develop myself with the goal of entering the lowest entry level racing category for my age bracket to start out, and see what this is like. What speed, distance's, and cycling ability's/knowledge will I need to reach this goal? What advise can you offer me to look into starting out? Will I have to try and join a team to start out, what kinds of organizations and places should I look into in order to get something started?

I don't know where to begin, and its a bit intimidating with my current experience, setup and lack of knowledge.

thanks in advance for any advise you may offer.
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Old 10-19-07, 05:11 PM   #2
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-Go to www.usacycling.org and get a lisence next year for the 2008 season.
-Keep on riding, but instead of riding like you probably usually do, ride very hard until your legs start hurting, and keep on riding like that. Then slow down and rest, then do it again. You can also do sprints, it's eaaier if you choose a tree or sign to start a sprint, and choose something else to stop at. Sprint at your maximum in between points. This will make you strong.
- Do some group rides, they help in getting you used to being close to other riders.

Otherwise, you're now ready. You'll be in Category 5 with other beginners, you you'll be fine.
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Old 10-19-07, 05:12 PM   #3
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My advice is to find a group ride with various levels of riders. Start off riding with the B-riders and see how you feel and get experience riding in groups. As your fitness and experience grows start riding with the A-group. You can learn a lot in weekly group rides. Talk to the old guys who have been riding for 30 years...they will humble you and give lots of solid advice.

Racing isn't that big of a deal but you have to be comfortable riding with ppl and ride in a predictable fashion.
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Old 10-19-07, 06:02 PM   #4
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-Go to www.usacycling.org and get a lisence next year for the 2008 season.
Well, wait to do this or else you'll have a 2 month license for 2007. I think you can get 2008 licenses in December?
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Old 10-20-07, 08:17 PM   #5
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My advice is to find a group ride with various levels of riders. Start off riding with the B-riders and see how you feel and get experience riding in groups. As your fitness and experience grows start riding with the A-group. You can learn a lot in weekly group rides. Talk to the old guys who have been riding for 30 years...they will humble you and give lots of solid advice.

Racing isn't that big of a deal but you have to be comfortable riding with ppl and ride in a predictable fashion.
Concur with every word above.
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Old 10-22-07, 11:53 AM   #6
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Ditto. Lots of group rides and read this: http://tinyurl.com/3aey3z
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Old 10-22-07, 12:04 PM   #7
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Bike Racing for Beginners: How to get started

1. Find some group rides, fast group rides. Sit in the back.
2. Don't get discouraged if/when you get dropped from those group rides.
3. Go back the following week and do the fast group ride again.
4. If you're dropped a 2nd time, repeat steps 2 & 3
5. Once you're comfortable with the group and pace (and vice versa), take some pulls.
6. Once you're comfortable taking pulls, try some attacks (if it's that kind of group ride).
7. Once you're comfortable with steps 5 & 6, it's time to enter a race.
8. At your first race, repeat steps 1-6, but substitute 'race' for 'group ride'.
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Old 10-22-07, 02:44 PM   #8
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Pick a race.
Show up.
Buy a day license.
Ride your heart out.

It really is that simple.
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Old 10-22-07, 02:52 PM   #9
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Get plenty of practice riding in group situations.

(I got taken out on Saturday because someone was stupid)
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Old 10-22-07, 03:16 PM   #10
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Ditto. Lots of group rides and read this: http://tinyurl.com/3aey3z
I might have to pick that up... anybody else have any good reading? I'm thinking of racing next year, and I could use all the information (and training) possible. Botto, I saw a link of yours to that site yesterday, and I've started reading it, too.
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Old 10-22-07, 03:25 PM   #11
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-Go to www.usacycling.org and get a lisence next year for the 2008 season.
In Oregon all the races are run by OBRA (www.obra.org), so don't bother with usacycling. Go to the obra website, I think it has information on regular rides in Portland, or links to websites that have that info. I'd recommend doing as many group rides as you can between now and next spring. The website will have a race calendar up for 2008 in a couple months. Pick a race, show up and race in Cat 5. The weeknight races at PIR are a good place to start. Good luck - maybe I'll see you at a race next spring.
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Old 10-22-07, 05:33 PM   #12
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Just keep in mind that cat 5 races fill up really quick due to their small size (generally 50), so sign up as early as possible so you don't miss a spot.
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Old 10-22-07, 06:19 PM   #13
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Just keep in mind that cat 5 races fill up really quick due to their small size (generally 50), so sign up as early as possible so you don't miss a spot.
I have never seen a 'full' race. I don't know if they fill up in Portland or not.
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Old 10-22-07, 08:18 PM   #14
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I have never seen a 'full' race. I don't know if they fill up in Portland or not.
Happens around here all the time. You end up having to decide if you want to drive an hour or more while being on the wait list. It's rough.
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Old 10-23-07, 11:40 AM   #15
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In addition to doing group rides and joining a club, I'd recommend doing as many practice crits as possible. In my area, there were two practice crits a week and I did them both. Getting dropped from the faster Wed. ones really forced me to do the intervals and to learn effective drafting and pack-maneuvering techniques.
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Old 10-23-07, 12:00 PM   #16
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I have never seen a 'full' race. I don't know if they fill up in Portland or not.
Cat 5 races generally don't fill up in Portland. There have been a few times where they filled up in early season road races, and I have seen one race where the promoter ran 2 separate 50 rider Cat 5 races when the field got too big.
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Old 10-24-07, 10:57 AM   #17
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...anybody else have any good reading?
Great insight into tactics & strategy: http://tinyurl.com/2zkdcx

If you're into detailed training plans: http://tinyurl.com/24qgc5
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Old 10-25-07, 08:40 PM   #18
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thanks a lot guys! Maybe I will see you this spring cmh!
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Old 10-25-07, 10:24 PM   #19
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ride fast by eric harr sucked. dont read it. probably one of the worse training guides ive ever read.

supposed to take you from couch to 25 mph in 10 weeks, figured id see if i could pull anything out of it to pick up speed. basically its a wussy guide. and they talk about the concept of intervals...
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Old 10-28-07, 08:51 PM   #20
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i want to start racing in the 2008 season as well. to start, what's the difference between a crit and a road race? from there i will probably have more questions.
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Old 10-28-07, 09:44 PM   #21
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i want to start racing in the 2008 season as well. to start, what's the difference between a crit and a road race? from there i will probably have more questions.
Crit: Short course. 1 mile or less in length. Go around there real fast, generally for 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on your category.

RR: Longer course, can either be a circuit race, which consists of one or several loops around a circuit. or a point to point type race going from Point A to Point B. Most races in the US are circuit races, for logistical reasons. These tend to be much longer, from 20-100+ miles, again, depending on category.

To save you some time:
Categories:
-Everyone starts as a Cat5. You move up to the 4s after 10 races. After that, you earn points to move up to next category by placing well in races.
-The categories go from 5->4...->1, then Pro.
-Cat4/5 generally race together, 3s seperately, then Pro/1/2. Sometimes they'll have a Cat5 only race, and a 4s race. Or a Pro/1, then 2/3, then 4/5. Or a Pro/1/2/3 and 4/5. It varies from event to event.
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Old 10-28-07, 10:29 PM   #22
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thank you duke! which is usually more popular? i'm pretty good with endurance, i think i'd probably be better at actual road racing instead of crits. i can go for long periods, i'm not so good at bursts of energy. plus the tactics!!!
i want to try both though. do people usually do both? is it 10 of each type of race to cat up or can you do like 2 crits and 8 road races?
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Old 10-28-07, 10:46 PM   #23
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thank you duke! which is usually more popular? i'm pretty good with endurance, i think i'd probably be better at actual road racing instead of crits. i can go for long periods, i'm not so good at bursts of energy. plus the tactics!!!
i want to try both though. do people usually do both? is it 10 of each type of race to cat up or can you do like 2 crits and 8 road races?
Yes, people usually do both. Crits are probably more popular, and by that I mean more numerous. Simply because they shut down a smaller area and less roads. Crits can be just as "tactical", if not more so, than the average road race. In a crit, there are attacks, counters, breaks going up the road and getting pulled back all the time. In a road race, the moves are fewer, and stick longer, generally speaking.

And, I wouldn't pick your "specialty" until you've done quite a few races. Don't limit yourself.

It's 10 mass start races, so any combo of crits or RRs. TTs do not count.
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Old 10-29-07, 08:25 AM   #24
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ok now that i know what the racing itself is like, how do i know what kind of bike i should get? there's a jamis ventura comp on ebay in my size for pretty cheap (and my budget is really rather limited), but bicycling's review said don't get it for racing. does it really matter since i'm a beginner? can i race on basically anything and just upgrade my bike while i upgrade my cat?
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Old 10-29-07, 09:34 PM   #25
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why did they say not to get it?

when you're starting out cat5, you don't need a bling bike. in fact i'd be afraid of riding a nice bike for cat5 due to the noobs and crashes.

just get whatever you think you'll enjoy riding the most so that you ride more and become faster. it doesn't really matter what you ride, i'm sure there's a huge range of bikes in cat5. then when you're really into it, you'll have a better idea of what's best for you and might go for a better bike.
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