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  1. #1
    Member kcscooterdude's Avatar
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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.
    2010 Specialized Allez

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  2. #2
    Senior Member johnybutts's Avatar
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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.
    I'm sure when you were getting to the point of blowing nothing was obvious but making the pain stop...I don't know about you but after the fact I always look back at those moments and think 'why didn't I just keep going' but at the time there wasn't enough oxygen on the planet to make me take one more pedal stroke.

  3. #3
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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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!

  4. #4
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnybutts View Post
    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.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnybutts View Post
    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.

  6. #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.
    Nothing should come between you and your chamois -- lawkd

  7. #7
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnybutts View Post
    4) Discounts vary widely. Don't join a team JUST for the discount. you'll be disappointed.
    +1

    Quote Originally Posted by kindablue View Post
    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.

    Visit The C-Blog : the blog about cycling.

  8. #8
    Member kcscooterdude's Avatar
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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.
    2010 Specialized Allez

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  9. #9
    moth -----> flame Beaker's Avatar
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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.

  10. #10
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    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.

  11. #11
    You blink and it's gone. rbart4506's Avatar
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    I still get dropped, but then again I'm a bit on the stubborn side...
    "On the other hand riding down a hill at 55 MPH wearing (essentially) women's underwear and a Styrofoam cup on your head is the epitome of rational life-extending decisions." - RacerEx

  12. #12
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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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.
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

  13. #13
    impressive member badhat's Avatar
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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.
    Your Group Ride:Your guide to getting dropped in Northern Colorado

  14. #14
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    Have you done A rides? Were you comfortable?

  15. #15
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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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.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  16. #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.

  17. #17
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerrycan42 View Post
    Pennsylvania (Chris Thater)
    Chris Thater is in Binghamton, NY.

  18. #18
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    Yes, That's right! Sorry, I'm Canadian. There was a really good race in Ellicotville<sp> too.

  19. #19
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerrycan42 View Post
    Sorry, I'm Canadian.
    No problem. It's a fairly common affliction amongst racers in the Northeast. Heal up quick.

  20. #20
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerrycan42 View Post
    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.
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

  21. #21
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    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...
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

  22. #22
    You blink and it's gone. rbart4506's Avatar
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    Always pick'n on the Canadians
    "On the other hand riding down a hill at 55 MPH wearing (essentially) women's underwear and a Styrofoam cup on your head is the epitome of rational life-extending decisions." - RacerEx

  23. #23
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    eh?


  24. #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.
    ...

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    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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