"The 33"-Road Bike Racing - Hey all, I am thinking about getting into racing
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11-30-07, 07:42 PM
Hey all, I am sure some of you have seen my many posts in the road forum about many different things. Ok so I am thinking about going into the racing side of cycling. I am 16 years of age and I am a bit out of shape and I am working on that. I do not plan to join in on racing for a year or so. I am currently in the process of moving (going to college early...it's a long story). Anyways I am not planning on racing for a college since the college I am going to go to doesn't have a cycling team. So does this mean for me to get into racing I will have to get a membership with USCF? Sorry if these questions are very simple to answer but I have no knowledge of racing at all.
Ok so what I am really here for is information, if anyone can tell me where I can find information on getting into the racing field or info for a noob I would be very thankful. I currently have a LeMond Etape that has all the stock parts on it. I know that this isn't a great start for a bike so I was looking into getting a new bike. I guess I need to know what is more important at this point in time. Should I focus on getting a new bike or getting a good set of wheels and a cyclocomputer and all that jazz. I would think the bike would be more important but thats why I am here to ask you guys! You are the experts after all.
Any help would be very appreciated!
11-30-07, 08:15 PM
Group rides. Fast ones.
11-30-07, 08:49 PM
Where is that list? Event? Nomad? Botto? You know the one.
 Found it.
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'.
11-30-07, 09:40 PM
From someone who has just gotten into racing themselves...
I second the advice to start with participating in some fast group rides. You might be able to find these through a club, bike shop, word of mouth, cycling assocation etc. You need to get comfortable riding in close quarters and drafting etc. This will also help you get used to all the surging etc in racing. Its very hard to replicate these sorts of efforts/skills if you are training solo or with a slower group.
Don't worry about a new bike you don't need it - but if you want to anyway then go nuts :) . Just make sure your bike is well maintained, you don't want stuff breaking on you when you are sprinting. If you want to upgrade something get good tyres as they will help with your cornering.
But yeah... the best way to get into it is to just give it a go!! Even if you get dropped or whatever, you'll know what you are up against. The best training IMHO is fast group rides and racing itself....
11-30-07, 09:52 PM
Definitely follow Botto's plan. It's excellent.
11-30-07, 10:01 PM
just because your college doesnt have a cycling team doesnt mean you cant start one. it is dirt cheap, and after amassing a few sponsors, a small team could probably have a fair amount of their expenses paid for. the most expensive thing is uniforms, so maybe just do jerseys rather than full kit right away. also, your racing license would be cheaper that way too. it would be a good resume builder to be a founder and captain.
also, like it was said, get in some fast group rides. they are your best training. also look for alleycats and other local groups that host their own races you dont need a license for. they arnt very competitive but they are usually at night and through traffic, which really hones your handling skills.
some things you may want to get:
training manual - since you are without a club for now, this will be your best bet.
cheap computer- just to monitor your avg speed on the same ride, to find improvement - dont be fooled though, being used to a route will add speed as you know the turns and hills. upgrade to one with cadence if you really get into it. hell, i still dont have one with cadence.
heart rate monitor - useful for aerobic and/ or anaerobic (cant remember exactly) training which is essential for racing
decent tires - for cornering
just get out and practice and do group rides. try empty parking lots and corner at high speeds around the islands. do intervals
remember: the bike does not make you fast, you make the bike fast.
as merckx put it "dont buy upgrades, ride up grades'
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