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Good race for a beginner

Old 06-25-05, 08:52 PM
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F70Rider
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Good race for a beginner

I am thinking about trying racing but I am not sure what kind of race to start out with (i.e. TT, Crit, RR, TDF ) What kind of race would be good to get my feet wet and learn a few things about racing? Also, what should I be doing to train? I can generally average about 16-18 mph solo over about 60 mile of flat terrain depending on the wind. I have done a few group rides so I know a few things about pacelines etc.

Thanks
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Old 06-26-05, 02:08 PM
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puddin' legs
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Crits are probably the most frequently held races, and in many areas, clubs will hold a weekly training race (usually a crit type or short closed road loop). These are really the best places to learn. Very often the riders are familiar with each other which generally makes things a bit more civil. Paceline riding experience is helpful, but rarely are you riding/bumping/overlapping wheels etc...like you will in a race. Structured paceline rides lack chaos. As far as speeds are concerned, you probably won't have too much trouble hanging on a cat 5 group, but that said, if you have a long open stretch of road with little traffic and a friend willing to drive, some motor pacing behind a car, motorcycle, or scooter can help you get used to "cruising" at 25mph+. Next step after you're acclimated to this higher speed is to ride out of the vehicle slip stream for a minute or so, then duck back in and learn to recover at these speeds. Build up the time and effort you can do without the vehicle help and hanging in the peloton will be a breeze even when you move up in catagory. There's a ton of good info written about what to do and where to be in a bike race, how to train, etc...so start reading up! If you're not involved with a local club, getting involved can really help your riding skills. About races, while crits are the most frequent, they're also more crash prone. If you can enter a RR, that's always the best option. TT's have little risk, but are really a different creature that a mass start race. Some prefer TT's, others like the rush of the peloton. Try both. Your first TT, you will suffer like you never imagined, and you'll probably be slow to boot! In your first mass start race, don't be surprized if you get dropped, but don't get discouraged. Talk to more experienced riders who've been around for a few seasons. Most are good about sharing their experiences, and of course, good luck!
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