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Old 09-18-10, 07:55 PM   #1
zstjohn
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What team should i ride for?

I have a couple cycling teams actively pursuing me to race for them and wanted to ask the advice of the good people of bikeforums for an objective position on the matter.

A little history of me. I'm 22 with no real previous sports experience. Started riding seriously mid june after a bike wreck/recovery. Did my first cat 5 race end of august the end of the season in dumping rain and had no difficulty hanging with/finish with the pack. Last saturday i did the High Pass Challenge 113 miles with 7500' climbing was on pace to finish under 6 hours and 8th out of 400 till my tire exploded on mile 102 Didn't finish cause the damage was irreparable. Hopefully that's enough that could help you judge my fitness in relation to my real question.

Now the teams,

The first team has a much larger and older squad, around 50 riders with a good group of cat 3s and a few 2s as well. So my thinking is that sticking with them could increase my fitness that much more since i'm a strong believer in riding with someone stronger than you will make you stronger that much faster. There experience in higher levels of racing could be a good aid in reaching that level and knowing what to expect/how to prepare. So i've concluded this group would be better for my growth.

The second team is smaller, around 11 people. All 5s, 4s, and 3s but a lot younger of a squad and a much more fun, positive approach to racing from what i've gathered. A few of them are hiring coaches and are going to spread the information around and try and help the team grow as a team. The big thing with this team is a lot more benefits. Huge discounts double what the other team offers and waived activations fees for fitness clubs which is a huge plus for a poor 22 year old trying to jump headlong into an expensive sport.

I have no doubts that the young team has potential. huge potential. but would it be better to join a team with more experience all around?

Thanks for any knowledge i can get from those with a little more experience under their belts.
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Old 09-18-10, 09:10 PM   #2
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Cat 5? Being pursued by teams?

Join the team that races in your category.
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Old 09-18-10, 09:25 PM   #3
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I have a couple cycling teams actively pursuing me to race for them and wanted to ask the advice of the good people of bikeforums for an objective position on the matter.

A little history of me. I'm 22 with no real previous sports experience. Started riding seriously mid june after a bike wreck/recovery. Did my first cat 5 race end of august the end of the season in dumping rain and had no difficulty hanging with/finish with the pack. Last saturday i did the High Pass Challenge 113 miles with 7500' climbing was on pace to finish under 6 hours and 8th out of 400 till my tire exploded on mile 102 Didn't finish cause the damage was irreparable. Hopefully that's enough that could help you judge my fitness in relation to my real question.

Now the teams,

The first team has a much larger and older squad, around 50 riders with a good group of cat 3s and a few 2s as well. So my thinking is that sticking with them could increase my fitness that much more since i'm a strong believer in riding with someone stronger than you will make you stronger that much faster. There experience in higher levels of racing could be a good aid in reaching that level and knowing what to expect/how to prepare.
So i've concluded this group would be better for my growth.

The second team is smaller, around 11 people. All 5s, 4s, and 3s but a lot younger of a squad and a much more fun, positive approach to racing from what i've gathered. A few of them are hiring coaches and are going to spread the information around and try and help the team grow as a team. The big thing with this team is a lot more benefits. Huge discounts double what the other team offers and waived activations fees for fitness clubs which is a huge plus for a poor 22 year old trying to jump headlong into an expensive sport.

I have no doubts that the young team has potential. huge potential. but would it be better to join a team with more experience all around?

Thanks for any knowledge i can get from those with a little more experience under their belts.
there you go.
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Old 09-18-10, 09:36 PM   #4
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+1
What can you learn from riders who probably don't know that much?

Last edited by EventServices; 09-18-10 at 09:37 PM. Reason: add partial math problem
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Old 09-18-10, 09:40 PM   #5
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+1
What can you learn from riders who probably don't know that much?
+2
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Old 09-18-10, 09:49 PM   #6
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+3
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Old 09-18-10, 09:59 PM   #7
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Cat 5? Being pursued by teams?

Join the team that races in your category.
haha i know right. I've always sucked at sports so 2 teams actively asking someone who just started riding seriously 2 1/2 months ago seems weird. Can't complain though.

i think i've got your guys view pretty clearly. Thanks for the input.

Should i entirely ignore discounts though

15 vs 30% store discount is gonna save me alot. here i'll say what you're probably thinking. "if you wanna be high level you have to be willing to spend the money"
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Old 09-18-10, 10:02 PM   #8
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Discounts are nice but it's more important that you like who you would be riding with, and have people who know what they are doing to mentor and/or yell at you. A team of cat 5 noobs is scary.
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Old 09-18-10, 10:11 PM   #9
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Discounts are nice but it's more important that you like who you would be riding with, and have people who know what they are doing to mentor and/or yell at you. A team of cat 5 noobs is scary.
well i actually like the people on the "noob" team a lot more and their attitude is much more positive. One of the best riders on the "noob" team went from 5s to mid 3s in one season.

I've been honestly debating the team choice for about a month now. Thank goodness it's not quite time for winter training and i can still think on it more.
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Old 09-18-10, 10:38 PM   #10
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I would ride with the team you enjoy riding with the most.
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Old 09-19-10, 03:08 AM   #11
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the younger team.
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Old 09-19-10, 06:11 AM   #12
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I would ride with the team you enjoy riding with the most.
Yup.... don't get stuck with a bunch of grumpy old men like me.
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Old 09-19-10, 06:28 AM   #13
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I don't think the fun aspect of this can be overvalued. If you really enjoy being around your teammates you are going to get more out of racing.
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Old 09-19-10, 06:43 AM   #14
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you're not being pursued because of your ability. that said, join the team with better coaching and riders. picking a team that consistently achieves results, has stability and organization, will allow you to improve . that will give you the opportunity to be pursued because of your ability.
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Old 09-19-10, 08:08 AM   #15
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you're not being pursued because of your ability.
+1 The OP says he's strong. Too many riders think that strong means good. It only means strong.

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Yup.... don't get stuck with a bunch of grumpy old men like me.
Are you saying YOU got stuck with a bunch of grumpy old men? Or that you ARE a grumpy old man?
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Old 09-19-10, 08:30 AM   #16
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Seems to me like if you are relatively fit and can ride your bike at a moderate speed then pretty much any local team will welcome you. Where I'm from there's a shortage of younger cyclists, don't know about anywhere else. The best team in the area has only one Cat 5 rider. I am in the same situation as you though, and it's fun pretend like you are being "pursued" like a Texas high school football prodigy, but really they'll take whoever they can get. If I were you I'd go with the younger team. Maybe you'll stick together for a few years and you'll have a group of good experienced cyclists. Old guys can teach, but so can the internet. I'm still waiting on which team offers the better shoe deal.

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Old 09-19-10, 08:41 AM   #17
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If you do a lot of racing you're going to be spending a significant amount of time with some of your teamates, between training and racing. So pick a team that has people you like.

As far as the learning thing, you will learn by paying attention during races and thinking them over afterwards. Also do any clinics, new riders schools etc that you can.
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Old 09-19-10, 08:46 AM   #18
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There was a thread a while back about a team that was all new riders. THey were doing stupid stuff on rides and races and getting yelled at, but not listening to anyone. I think having more experienced people on your team to yell at you when you do stupid stuff is invaluable, because you know that it comes from wanting to help you rather than some kind of prceived rivalry.
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Old 09-19-10, 09:18 AM   #19
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+1 The OP says he's strong. Too many riders think that strong means good. It only means strong.

Well i honestly consider myself a decent rider but i have a ton to learn. i'm not good by my own standards but i may be there some day. I know this needs to be my mindset but it's difficult when both teams and event organizers say stuff like. "you are so strong, you have a ton of talent" and "If you keep riding like you're riding you'll go very far in this sport"

compliments are such a love/hate thing. I love hearing them but i hate what it does to my ego. I'm conscious of that though so i try to keep it in check.

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Are you saying YOU got stuck with a bunch of grumpy old men? Or that you ARE a grumpy old man?
luckily most of the oldies aren't grumpy around these parts. I did my first group ride with a bunch of 55+ guys. Awesome dudes.
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Old 09-19-10, 09:21 AM   #20
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If you do a lot of racing you're going to be spending a significant amount of time with some of your teamates, between training and racing. So pick a team that has people you like.

As far as the learning thing, you will learn by paying attention during races and thinking them over afterwards. Also do any clinics, new riders schools etc that you can.
I've been looking into clinics. that's what my mentor was advising too. My web search only produced triathlon clinics which i'm not sure would be quite as helpful as straight cycling
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Old 09-19-10, 10:42 AM   #21
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Try not to get too caught up on the discounts. They're nice, but good relationships go a long way (with shops, riders, etc).

You're obviously fit. The compliments are good too, and, to burst your bubble a bit, double sided. When I hear the words "You'll do well if you keep it up" or "You have a lot of talent" (never directed at me - they say "I can't believe you made it to the finish" instead), what they're saying is that you have a lot of raw power/strength/aerobic-capacity but you're making really rookie mistakes in tactics and individual/group riding technique. In other words you need to learn individual/group riding techniques, hone your tactics, and then you'll be "complete".

If you have a vision on what you want from a team, you can learn from the more experienced riders but you can join the new team. You can help mold that team, but it'll take literally years for you to build a cohesive, technically good, loyal group. Once you have that, you'll be like the pro riders who go from team to team with their cadre of "must have" teammates. Even if you all end up on different teams, it doesn't mean you can't be friendly to your friends. I'll lead out non-teammates in races and such, or chase things down, or do much more subtle things. It's because we're friends (and, at some level, because me or my team is not focused on that particular race).

I ran my first clinic maybe 4 years into my racing life, first year Senior racer, in college, with 20-25 regular team members. I actually learned some of the stuff by practicing it at the clinic I ran for the team. I wanted to ride with guys/gals that knew how to ride in a group, could bump/touch no problems, that understood many of the basics of riding the bike. Having grown up understanding the importance of technical training (I played violin for 12 years), I knew that some drills would go a long way towards accomplishing all that. Until then I never knew how to touch wheels and stay upright, but I learned there. I could track stand, but within a week one of my teammates was trackstanding no handed (which I can't do). It was a huge experiment for me and hugely successful.

One rider beat me in one of our first races, and he had only race a few times before. That was a bit frustrating! But it showed me that the clinics and group rides worked well.

If you prefer to follow, then join the older team. The learning curve will be steep. If you want to learn, you'll need to ask. Ask for feedback on every ride, ask what you could have done better. Ask for honest, no-BS feedback. Take the criticism kindly - it'll only help you out. Remember, you're strong. You need to learn everything else.

A friend told me a long time ago not to offer advice to a rider unless asked. Here on BF it's pretty easy - no one posts a question unless they have a question. On rides, though, it's tough sometimes, holding my tongue. But it's pretty invasive and unpleasant to have some unknown guy come up to you and criticize your riding. I'll usually say things to guys racing, but not on group rides (because in the race the guy might take me out, on group rides I just avoid them). I recommend you ask for feedback because the wise riders will observe your errors, but unless you ask about them, they may not say anything to you.

There's a guy that raced the Cat 5s this spring, Sam R. Nice guy, very savvy, thinking on the bike, etc. Obviously strong, obviously understood pack dynamics. If I didn't know better, I'd say he'd been racing at least 10 years. But he'd just started. He won a few of the Cat 3 (!!) races I did towards the end of the year, very tough races requiring exquisite tactics backed up by decent strength. I fully expect him to be a Cat 2 right now, and he'll be racing the 2s next year. He has the physical talent but he also have incredible maturity on the bike in terms of tactics and technical skills. That's what you want.

Hope this helps you with a breakout season next year,
cdr
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Old 09-19-10, 12:04 PM   #22
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Try not to get too caught up on the discounts. They're nice, but good relationships go a long way (with shops, riders, etc).

You're obviously fit. The compliments are good too, and, to burst your bubble a bit, double sided. When I hear the words "You'll do well if you keep it up" or "You have a lot of talent" (never directed at me - they say "I can't believe you made it to the finish" instead), what they're saying is that you have a lot of raw power/strength/aerobic-capacity but you're making really rookie mistakes in tactics and individual/group riding technique. In other words you need to learn individual/group riding techniques, hone your tactics, and then you'll be "complete".

If you have a vision on what you want from a team, you can learn from the more experienced riders but you can join the new team. You can help mold that team, but it'll take literally years for you to build a cohesive, technically good, loyal group. Once you have that, you'll be like the pro riders who go from team to team with their cadre of "must have" teammates. Even if you all end up on different teams, it doesn't mean you can't be friendly to your friends. I'll lead out non-teammates in races and such, or chase things down, or do much more subtle things. It's because we're friends (and, at some level, because me or my team is not focused on that particular race).

I ran my first clinic maybe 4 years into my racing life, first year Senior racer, in college, with 20-25 regular team members. I actually learned some of the stuff by practicing it at the clinic I ran for the team. I wanted to ride with guys/gals that knew how to ride in a group, could bump/touch no problems, that understood many of the basics of riding the bike. Having grown up understanding the importance of technical training (I played violin for 12 years), I knew that some drills would go a long way towards accomplishing all that. Until then I never knew how to touch wheels and stay upright, but I learned there. I could track stand, but within a week one of my teammates was trackstanding no handed (which I can't do). It was a huge experiment for me and hugely successful.

One rider beat me in one of our first races, and he had only race a few times before. That was a bit frustrating! But it showed me that the clinics and group rides worked well.

If you prefer to follow, then join the older team. The learning curve will be steep. If you want to learn, you'll need to ask. Ask for feedback on every ride, ask what you could have done better. Ask for honest, no-BS feedback. Take the criticism kindly - it'll only help you out. Remember, you're strong. You need to learn everything else.

A friend told me a long time ago not to offer advice to a rider unless asked. Here on BF it's pretty easy - no one posts a question unless they have a question. On rides, though, it's tough sometimes, holding my tongue. But it's pretty invasive and unpleasant to have some unknown guy come up to you and criticize your riding. I'll usually say things to guys racing, but not on group rides (because in the race the guy might take me out, on group rides I just avoid them). I recommend you ask for feedback because the wise riders will observe your errors, but unless you ask about them, they may not say anything to you.

There's a guy that raced the Cat 5s this spring, Sam R. Nice guy, very savvy, thinking on the bike, etc. Obviously strong, obviously understood pack dynamics. If I didn't know better, I'd say he'd been racing at least 10 years. But he'd just started. He won a few of the Cat 3 (!!) races I did towards the end of the year, very tough races requiring exquisite tactics backed up by decent strength. I fully expect him to be a Cat 2 right now, and he'll be racing the 2s next year. He has the physical talent but he also have incredible maturity on the bike in terms of tactics and technical skills. That's what you want.

Hope this helps you with a breakout season next year,
cdr
Thank you so much for writing all that. I really appreciate the time you took to write that all out.

Yeah i understand that i have a huge amount to learn tactically and huge ways to go physically regardless of what people tell me. Group rides have been helping me alot. I used to be shot out the back by the guys i rode with and now i'm in the front a majority of the time. I fully credit the people who surrounded me and advised me on how to ride in a pack/aggressively/how to hold a wheel.

Good points about team choice i'll have to think on that too. I love criticism, anything that will help me get better is good in my book.

That's awesome about that Sam guy. Hearing success stories is always inspiring. Hopefully i can work hard and grow maturity-wise and move up.

Thanks again for taking the time to write that
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Old 09-19-10, 02:29 PM   #23
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well i actually like the people on the "noob" team a lot more and their attitude is much more positive. One of the best riders on the "noob" team went from 5s to mid 3s in one season.
Join the n00b team then.
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Old 09-19-10, 03:37 PM   #24
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Join the team for trial and see which one you enjoy
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Old 09-19-10, 03:45 PM   #25
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Join the team for trial and see which one you enjoy
generally you have to join a team for a season. Plus, investment in a kit and other things makes it nontrivial to switch on a whim.
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