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The difference...

Old 07-24-07, 07:57 PM
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The difference...

I'm often asked how riding in Europe compares to riding in the USA.

Normally I give the standard spiel about there being more riders, and that there's less of the yuppie vibe, etc.

So, this evening I took part in the local hammerfest.

I now realize that in the future I should also mention that the group rides back in the EU are less talk, more action (even if they're still Dick measuring contests).

Must be something to do with all of the failed football/basketball/baseball players who took up riding after seeing some guy on a Wheaties box?

Last edited by botto; 09-01-07 at 08:53 AM.
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Old 07-24-07, 07:59 PM
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less talk perhaps because they have the real riding skills to do the talking?
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Old 07-24-07, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by riskus View Post
less talk perhaps because they have the real riding skills to do the talking?
There were plenty of strong guys there, even a few strong chics (a VERY rare thing to see), just some who thought they were stronger than they really were.
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Old 07-24-07, 09:14 PM
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The difference?

Nobody in Europe races for a bit of fun. Either you are doing it, or just heading out with the boys for a nice 2 hour tempo.

I knew guys in Belgium that could rip a USA cat2-3 field to pieces, but didn't feel they were good enough to race, so...
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Old 07-24-07, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by YMCA View Post
The difference?

Nobody in Europe races for a bit of fun. Either you are doing it, or just heading out with the boys for a nice 2 hour tempo.


I knew guys in Belgium that could rip a USA cat2-3 field to pieces, but didn't feel they were good enough to race, so...
that about sums it up.
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Old 07-25-07, 05:54 AM
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That's how the local Wednesday night ride is, depending on who shows up. It's like a 2 hour interval session it seems....some hard efforts, but also plenty of just cruising along and shooting the ****. The last one I was on, I had to keep going off the front to bring the pace up a bit and get the group to chase.
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Old 07-25-07, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by GuitarWizard View Post
That's how the local Wednesday night ride is, depending on who shows up. It's like a 2 hour interval session it seems....some hard efforts, but also plenty of just cruising along and shooting the ****. The last one I was on, I had to keep going off the front to bring the pace up a bit and get the group to chase.
Not much cruising or shooting the shiznit last night. The ride I did lasts only about an hour.

Last edited by botto; 07-25-07 at 07:44 AM.
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Old 07-25-07, 07:37 AM
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If you can still talk, you're not riding hard enough.
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Old 07-25-07, 11:22 AM
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Did a training race last night. Very slow, very negative. That would be okay sometimes, but half the time I heard conversation between all the boys about how their training was going. Jeez, it's only an hour of effort, think we could throw a few counters and make it a bit more interesting?
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Old 07-25-07, 12:06 PM
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Just returned from Italy and had the chance to do some Masters racing. Here are my observations...

1. There are races every weekend within an hours drive, or less, so going to a race doesn't nuke your whole day/weekend - you can race and still hav a life
2. Racers are constantly attacking, covering, and counter-attacking - there is rarely a field sprint, as the typical race is blown to bits - it's kind of nice, and much safer, even if you're one the guys getting shelled
3. crits don't exist - typical race is on a 4-7 mile circuit - they are fast and technical - more fun and exciting because breaks can get up the road and out of sight - not likely in the typical US crit
4. riders don't dive into corners - they actually brake before the turn, and then sprint like mad out of the turn to create separation - this is much safer than what i've experienced in the US
5. most racers start racing at a very early age - they don't start in their 30s and 40s - they grew up on the bike - therefore they are damned good bike handlers
6. there is no such thing as a cat system - you race by age - this means you've got to be fit enough to hang with some pretty damned good riders or you are otb
7. even if you get dropped, you can wait for another group to come along and latch onto their group wt being told to get lost - hell, you can even latch onto YOUR group as long as you don't influence the outcome
8. the mentality isn't win at all costs - it's a much more laid back attitude - guys get animated, get pissed at each other for not pulling through, but on the whole there's less BS than what i've seen in the US

Sadly, I'm spoiled now, having a taste of what could be here in the USA.

gene r
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Old 07-25-07, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by LT Intolerant View Post
Just returned from Italy and had the chance to do some Masters racing. Here are my observations...

1. There are races every weekend within an hours drive, or less, so going to a race doesn't nuke your whole day/weekend - you can race and still hav a life
2. Racers are constantly attacking, covering, and counter-attacking - there is rarely a field sprint, as the typical race is blown to bits - it's kind of nice, and much safer, even if you're one the guys getting shelled
3. crits don't exist - typical race is on a 4-7 mile circuit - they are fast and technical - more fun and exciting because breaks can get up the road and out of sight - not likely in the typical US crit
4. riders don't dive into corners - they actually brake before the turn, and then sprint like mad out of the turn to create separation - this is much safer than what i've experienced in the US
5. most racers start racing at a very early age - they don't start in their 30s and 40s - they grew up on the bike - therefore they are damned good bike handlers
6. there is no such thing as a cat system - you race by age - this means you've got to be fit enough to hang with some pretty damned good riders or you are otb
7. even if you get dropped, you can wait for another group to come along and latch onto their group wt being told to get lost - hell, you can even latch onto YOUR group as long as you don't influence the outcome
8. the mentality isn't win at all costs - it's a much more laid back attitude - guys get animated, get pissed at each other for not pulling through, but on the whole there's less BS than what i've seen in the US

Sadly, I'm spoiled now, having a taste of what could be here in the USA.

gene r

yea i hate crits. and ill def be bringing my bike when i tour europe in a few years.
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Old 07-25-07, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by LT Intolerant View Post
1. There are races every weekend within an hours drive, or less, so going to a race doesn't nuke your whole day/weekend - you can race and still hav a life
2. Racers are constantly attacking, covering, and counter-attacking - there is rarely a field sprint, as the typical race is blown to bits - it's kind of nice, and much safer, even if you're one the guys getting shelled
3. crits don't exist - typical race is on a 4-7 mile circuit - they are fast and technical - more fun and exciting because breaks can get up the road and out of sight - not likely in the typical US crit
That has to be fantastic - especially point #2. I've yet to be in a non-field-sprint race.
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Old 07-25-07, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by ElJamoquio View Post
That has to be fantastic - especially point #2. I've yet to be in a non-field-sprint race.
What's really sad is if you attack in the states the peloton chases you down (especially in Cat IV races), and then no one counters! In Italian-style racing the second something is chased down someone else, or two or three people go, without hesitation.

I looked at my SRM files after the races and they have soooo many spikes (aka 20-45 second matches) that it's almost funny. It's like doing a miss-and-out race every minute, for an hour-and-a-half! If you can't cover an attack and recover, you eventually get shelled, or you end up in a smaller chase group. After racing 3 times myself and watching 5-6 other races the biggest field sprint I saw was 10 people, and this with fields that average 40-70+ riders.

Just a great way to race!

gene r
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Old 07-25-07, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by stea1thviper View Post
yea i hate crits. and ill def be bringing my bike when i tour europe in a few years.
If you're looking to race and you are considering Italy you may want to check out the group that I used, called Velo Veneto. Pat Carroll, a Santa Rosa-native who runs VV, does a great job, and most of the folks that try the camp come back a second time.

I've also heard great things about Peter Thompson's tours (although they don't include racing).

http://veloveneto.com/
http://veloveneto-world.blogspot.com/
http://www.thomsonbiketours.com/

gene r
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Old 07-25-07, 05:25 PM
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Wow gene that sounds awesome. Im glad you got to check it out. Im super jealous
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Old 07-25-07, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by riskus View Post
Wow gene that sounds awesome. Im glad you got to check it out. Im super jealous
Thanks Riskus. I first read about VV back in 1990 so it took me a LOOOONG time, to say the least, to "live the dream" of racing in Europe.

BTW I was surprised at how inexpensive the trip was (not counting airfare). $ 175/night including lodging, all meals (as much as you can eat), full support and racing fees was very reasonable to say the least.

Oh yeah, you have to pay for your own gelato. It's mandatory to have it at least once per day.

peace

gene r
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Old 07-25-07, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by YMCA View Post

I knew guys in Belgium that could rip a USA cat2-3 field to pieces, but didn't feel they were good enough to race, so...

Spot on. Europeans cyclists are either elite or cyclosporteiven. No in between.

None of this "How do I train to move form cat IV to III??" rubbish. You're in the deep end from day one, boyo.
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Old 09-01-07, 08:39 AM
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So what you guys are telling me is that cycling is more popular in Europe? Earth shattering...
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Old 09-01-07, 08:53 AM
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try living in japan! racing-wise, almost nothing going on. the 'races' they have for general riders are called 'marathons', 100-150kms fun rides more or less, you can go fast if you want but there's no 'winner', no points, the field gets split into small groups, 30 riders or so, then they set off at 3 or 4 minute intervals, you have to stop at traffic lights... there's some higher-level racing but it's a near-mystery how to get into it (and i've heard of some clubs not being so welcoming to foreigners - not like that everywhere, but some places), and there's certainly not races every week.

it's almost as if the authorities don't trust the riders to be able to handle a real race situation - and they might have a point, but you have to start somewhere...

it's driving me nuts!

i'm thinking of moving back to europe just to get back into racing... so, the morale is - to you guys complaining about the states - be thankful for what you've got!
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Old 09-01-07, 09:00 AM
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Couldn't get anyone to take pulls this past Thurs. group ride. Three of us taking hard turns with 3 or 4 sucking wheelfor 1.5 hrs. That terrible sound when your hammering at the front and you can hear a few freewheels takin it easy in the back drives me nuts. There seems a contingency (maybe in states?) that wants to go home and tell the family they hung with fast group, but they leave out they leeched the entire ride.
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Old 09-01-07, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by elgalad View Post
If you can still talk, you're not riding hard enough.
Correct.
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Old 09-01-07, 10:40 AM
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Don't they know how to pose and have some fun?
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Old 09-01-07, 11:03 AM
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Now you know why there are virtually no Europeans on BF. They're too friggin miserable.
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Old 09-01-07, 12:12 PM
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I wonder if they'll yell at you...
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Old 09-01-07, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by LT Intolerant View Post
4. riders don't dive into corners - they actually brake before the turn, and then sprint like mad out of the turn to create separation - this is much safer than what i've experienced in the US

A team mate has been to Europe several times to compete in 17-18y.o. jr events and said the same, except, he explained it as "slam on the brakes, skid, then full sprint out of the corner. If you didn't do the same you'd easily find yourself OTB in no time". He went on to say gaining position anyway possible was relentless. Even at the start, if a guy could squeeze his bars ahead of yours he would. Lot's and lot's of crashes due to guys taking huge chances to gain a position or two.
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