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Old 08-12-12, 08:32 AM   #1
kcscooterdude
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Advice: Joining a Team

I think I'm ready to take my cycling to another level. I'm up to 50-70 miles a week and talking upgrades to my Allez at the LBS. The guy I deal with suggested I join one of the local teams.

Now, I've never raced in my life. I took up cycling seriously about 18 months ago after an illness. And, to be honest, I've got a long way to go with my weight loss, though I'm a pretty strong rider and while my endurance and hill climbing suffers from my weight, I can pull pretty hard on the flats. Okay, I'll be honest - I'm still fat but pretty fit from working out almost daily.

Anyway, am I going to make a fool of myself? Would I even be accepted by a team with no real credentials? What are the advantages of joining a team other than the discounts? How good are the discounts?

Thanks in advance. I know I have a million questions. I do like the idea of pushing myself and using the team for motivation. Also, I might add I've turned my riding into something of an advocacy for getting into shape. Facebook is a wonderful thing. I've got a blog too.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Any advice would be helpful.
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Old 08-12-12, 09:31 AM   #2
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1) Everyone makes a fool of themself. Espcially in your first race. You will get dropped, everyone does.
2) Yes you'd be accepted by a team, you just have to find the right team.
3) Motivation, training partners, discounts, splitting gas/motel for races, friendship/camaraderie are all benefits to joining a team
4) Discounts vary widely. Don't join a team JUST for the discount. you'll be disappointed.
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Old 08-12-12, 09:32 AM   #3
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Luckily, you don't need any creds to join most amateur teams. Just $20 or whatever for the dues and a bike/helmet. (and $$ for the kit, usually there is a minimum order for that)

An advantage of a team is they will answer your million questions. Another one is racing with people and being able to talk about how it went afterwards, getting feedback, etc, e.g. not being alone.

Locally we have "meet the team" rides where you can take an easy spin with teams and get an idea of what they're like. Do you have that option? Find a team that has people in your category (5), and that you can get along with.

And even before you do the team/racing thing, find some group rides to get an idea of what it's like to ride in a pack at speed. Best of luck!
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Old 08-12-12, 09:34 AM   #4
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1) Everyone makes a fool of themself. Espcially in your first race. You will get dropped, everyone does.
Not that it matters, but most get dropped in their first race; not everyone.
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Old 08-12-12, 09:52 AM   #5
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1) Everyone makes a fool of themself. Espcially in your first race. You will get dropped, everyone does.
2) Yes you'd be accepted by a team, you just have to find the right team.
3) Motivation, training partners, discounts, splitting gas/motel for races, friendship/camaraderie are all benefits to joining a team
4) Discounts vary widely. Don't join a team JUST for the discount. you'll be disappointed.
+1 on the principles presented here

Racing opens a whole new world to cycling. You'll do things on the bike you never thought possible. The process to get there probably will have some less-than-fun moments but that's part of the reason it feels so good when you start racing more fluently.
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Old 08-12-12, 11:43 AM   #6
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Join a team for the camaraderie, to train with a group of people, to race with familiar faces.
Its fun.

There are a few levels of "teams" for us folk.
-Some are just clubs where you pay an entry and buy a kit or two. Some folks race once and awhile, some just ride for fun.
-There are "shop level" racing teams, that wear a shop kit, get some sort of discount and race.
-Then there are title sponsored teams. Depending on the cash flow they can get pretty serious. E.g. the guys get really cheap to free kits, the P12s, get really cheap to free bikes/frames, race reimbursement, travel fees, etc.
-Above that there are some development teams, where the guys are really shooting to race up with the high levels. Juli Solar rings a bell. These guy are all 1s, 2s, and travel to do NRC events. They are good and we regard them as freaks of nature . I'm assuming they get a lot of free stuff, but at the same time they race high up and a lot.

Short end of the stick is that shop teams are fun. Go for a few group rides, find guys in team kits, see if you like them and ask about joining.
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Old 08-12-12, 01:56 PM   #7
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4) Discounts vary widely. Don't join a team JUST for the discount. you'll be disappointed.
+1

Quote:
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Join a team for the camaraderie, to train with a group of people, to race with familiar faces.
Its fun.

There are a few levels of "teams" for us folk.
-Some are just clubs where you pay an entry and buy a kit or two. Some folks race once and awhile, some just ride for fun.
-There are "shop level" racing teams, that wear a shop kit, get some sort of discount and race.
-Then there are title sponsored teams. Depending on the cash flow they can get pretty serious. E.g. the guys get really cheap to free kits, the P12s, get really cheap to free bikes/frames, race reimbursement, travel fees, etc.
-Above that there are some development teams, where the guys are really shooting to race up with the high levels. Juli Solar rings a bell. These guy are all 1s, 2s, and travel to do NRC events. They are good and we regard them as freaks of nature . I'm assuming they get a lot of free stuff, but at the same time they race high up and a lot.

Short end of the stick is that shop teams are fun. Go for a few group rides, find guys in team kits, see if you like them and ask about joining.
+1 Just what I was thinking.
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Old 08-12-12, 02:42 PM   #8
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I think the guy at the LBS is talking one of the sponsored teams in the area and I think he's going to hook me up with some of the guys with the team. I've checked out a few of the teams web sites and it looks like they have all ranges of riders, but the elite riders on the team seem to be placing at local races.

I've done a fair amount of group riding, but I have certainly not been in anything close to a race-worthy peloton. I'm comfortable in a pace line such as it is in those weekly rides or charity rides.

Thanks for the advice. I guess you have to start somewhere.
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Old 08-12-12, 03:02 PM   #9
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+1 for kindablue's points. The majority of my club (60-70%) do not currently race (but have at some point); just joining a team might be a good way to work out what your next level is. Go on the club rides, talk to other riders and get a feel for what will work for you. Also another +1 for getting into some local faster group rides.
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Old 08-13-12, 05:48 AM   #10
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Not that it matters, but most get dropped in their first race; not everyone.
I won my first race, OTF. I had no idea what I was doing.

Good luck, OP. Just do it.
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Old 08-13-12, 06:04 AM   #11
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I still get dropped, but then again I'm a bit on the stubborn side...
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Old 08-13-12, 07:39 AM   #12
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I'm fat, old and slow

Regarding teams, take your time and don't rush into it. Try to find a group that is a good fit, not a bunch of doooooshers and will accept, mentor and help you grow.
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Old 08-13-12, 07:44 AM   #13
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if i had it to do over, i'd probably race unattached my first season.

i dont think my first team helped me in any way.

by showing up for the local training rides and racing a lot, i'd have gotten insights into the dynamics and character of all of the local teams without committing to them prematurely. and then been able to make an informed decision after a season of just taking it all in.
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Old 08-13-12, 11:32 AM   #14
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Have you done A rides? Were you comfortable?
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Old 08-13-12, 11:43 AM   #15
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I also recommend going out on the A rides. You should see a good representation of the local teams. If you don't know where or when they go, ask at the LBS. They ought to know.
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Old 08-13-12, 01:01 PM   #16
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I remember my first race. McMaster Crit in Hamilton in 1993. Rolled up to the start line and forgot to unclip and fell over. Oh well. 5 months and 28 races later, started the year in Senior 4 and finished the season in Senior 2. Good bunch of guys in the Niagara cycling club. We did every race we could in Ontario (Good Friday, Turkey point, Delhi, CHIN Picnic, Springbank...so many others) , NY ( Breugers Electric City stage race in Schnectady), Pennsylvania (Chris Thater) and Ohio (A to Z, Westlake).

One of the best times of my life.

Advice?
- Train with better riders and ride as much as you can.
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Old 08-13-12, 01:21 PM   #17
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Pennsylvania (Chris Thater)
Chris Thater is in Binghamton, NY.
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Old 08-14-12, 09:45 AM   #18
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Yes, That's right! Sorry, I'm Canadian. There was a really good race in Ellicotville<sp> too.
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Old 08-14-12, 09:49 AM   #19
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Sorry, I'm Canadian.
No problem. It's a fairly common affliction amongst racers in the Northeast. Heal up quick.
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Old 08-14-12, 10:03 AM   #20
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I remember my first race. McMaster Crit in Hamilton in 1993. Rolled up to the start line and forgot to unclip and fell over. Oh well. 5 months and 28 races later, started the year in Senior 4 and finished the season in Senior 2. Good bunch of guys in the Niagara cycling club. We did every race we could in Ontario (Good Friday, Turkey point, Delhi, CHIN Picnic, Springbank...so many others) , NY ( Breugers Electric City stage race in Schnectady), Pennsylvania (Chris Thater) and Ohio (A to Z, Westlake).

One of the best times of my life.

Advice?
- Train with better riders and ride as much as you can.
Bet you and I have crossed paths at some time
Know someone down your way (track rider, first name Gord ) but don't remember most of the others.

Everytime I see Chin Picnic I smile, one of the best crits EVER.
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Old 08-14-12, 10:04 AM   #21
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No problem. It's a fairly common affliction amongst racers in the Northeast. Heal up quick.
Ouch - ballkick...
It's a pre-existing genetic condition...
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Old 08-14-12, 12:05 PM   #22
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Always pick'n on the Canadians
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Old 08-14-12, 12:34 PM   #23
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eh?

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Old 08-14-12, 12:39 PM   #24
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Do you want to race? If so, consider teams, but I think badhat's comment to check them out first makes a lot of sense. If you don't want to race, a club is probably a better fit.

Either way, try to do a few getting-to-know-you rides before you commit. This is the right time of year for recruiting rides, at least here in CO. Teams (and clubs) are first and foremost just groups of people, you have to find ones you like.
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Old 08-14-12, 02:02 PM   #25
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Do you want to race? If so, consider teams, but I think badhat's comment to check them out first makes a lot of sense. If you don't want to race, a club is probably a better fit.

Either way, try to do a few getting-to-know-you rides before you commit. This is the right time of year for recruiting rides, at least here in CO. Teams (and clubs) are first and foremost just groups of people, you have to find ones you like.
Valygrl - not to hijack the thread, but I'm in a similar position to the OP and local to Denver - where can I find out when recruiting rides are taking place?

Thanks,
JM
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