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.