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How did you choose which club/team to ride with?

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How did you choose which club/team to ride with?

Old 04-07-10, 11:50 AM
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How did you choose which club/team to ride with?

There are so many clubs around it's hard to know which one to approach about joining.

I'm curious what the criteria were for some of you guys/gals, if you feel like sharing.
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Old 04-07-10, 11:56 AM
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I knew and liked some of the guys from racing / being around the local scene.

To me that's the most important thing, but newer riders may put more weight on things like a cat 5-4 program, coaching, mentorship, etc.

In general though I'd strongly recommend joining a club where enough of the riders live nearby that you can train with them on a pretty regular basis. If you only see them on race days, it's going to hard to gel as a team.
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Old 04-07-10, 12:03 PM
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1) are they nice guys? 2) do they have a number of people racing your category? 3) do they actually show up for races, 4) are they looking for new members?

Best way to figure it out is to show up at the various training rides in your area, ask questions, get to know people, and then decide.
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Old 04-07-10, 12:09 PM
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I raced a year unattached, and got to know people on a few different teams. After enough races you'll know which teams you like (people-wise, kit-wise, whatever), and which ones are even competitive and show up.

In WSBA-land there are "meet the team" rides in the off season so you can feel out different teams - do other places do that?
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Old 04-07-10, 12:15 PM
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They complete me
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Old 04-07-10, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by mattm
I raced a year unattached, and got to know people on a few different teams.
There's merit to that approach. However, on the downside, at some races you have to pay unattached rider fees, you don't get race expenses reimbursed from a club, and you miss out on the mentoring you can get from a good club.
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Old 04-07-10, 12:21 PM
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Here in Ontario it seems like you can't even join in on group rides without being a club member so you would have to eat membership fees just to see what the group is like. I could be wrong but every club's website says rides are members only.
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Old 04-07-10, 12:23 PM
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You'll know.

Most important thing is that you get along with them. This isn't professional cycling and life is too short to spend your free-time with a-holes.

FWIW - i am biased because when I got kicked off of my last team because of my business conflict of interests I started my own. Easy to be cavalier about it when you own the team.

Best advice though is to race unattached and see who you like and get along with. Consider the other factors too. You might get along fine when numbers are pinned on but would you enjoy having this guy over to your house for a party or social gathering? How do they conduct themselves off the bike? what if they're great but later you find out they toss their empty gel wrappers when on the road and that just happens to be a huge pet peeve of yours?

Apart from just spending time with them I would probably offer up the idea of creating a 30-40 point questionnaire or survey that you could ask each member of a perspective team to fill out.....or not...
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Old 04-07-10, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb
They complete me
You needed a hemorrhoid?
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Old 04-07-10, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex
You needed a hemorrhoid?
There's other guys on the team than just PCad....that's what we're dancing around here isn't it?
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Old 04-07-10, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
There's merit to that approach. However, on the downside, at some races you have to pay unattached rider fees, you don't get race expenses reimbursed from a club, and you miss out on the mentoring you can get from a good club.
And you also get grouped with all the other "sketchy" unattached people.. I kinda feel bad because now I look at them as somewhat sketchy too, because some of them are. So yeah there are downsides.. but I also felt less pressure to do anything useful in the race, since I was out there on my own anyway.

If you can't "meet the team" for free I say do a few races and just see who you end up talking to or finishing next to or whatever. Find someone you finished next to (hopefully!) and say, "how'd the race go for you?" after races and see who responds. Some might give you a sideways look, others will talk. Go from there.
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Old 04-07-10, 12:35 PM
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Thanks for the tips dudes! So much to learn.
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Old 04-07-10, 12:39 PM
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I keep forgetting there are clubs out there that charge fees. I always love when people ask to join and it goes:

"So....you think you might have a spot for me on the team?"
"Sure - it's been great racing with you and I think you'd be a great addition."
"So what do I need to do?"
"to join?"
"Yes."
"Uh...you want in?"
"Yes. That's what I'm asking."
"OK"
"OK, what?"
"You're in."
"That's it?"
"What did you want there to be? An initiation? Scott, grab a frame pump and some Phils tenacious...."
"Uh..."
"Just kidding. Now give me $60 and I'll give you a jersey. Fill out your info on the team directory and request a login for the team forum. If you want me to work on your bike I'll give you this advice - if you're standing there staring at me I will work on it before the other ones I have laying around. That and in case you haven't figure it out by my rtund figure I happen to like beer. Consider it work queue lubricant"
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Old 04-07-10, 12:45 PM
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my club has a fee, which is pretty normal over here. considering that the kits are MUCH cheaper, as well as the entree fees to race, i don't mind.

on top of that, the club has paid some entry fees in the past.
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Old 04-07-10, 12:48 PM
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Like mattm, I also rode unattached for a season. Seemed like the thing to do when I was still deciding how much I liked racing bikes. Meanwhile, I became a regular at one of the fast group rides in town, mostly racer-types. About the time I started finishing regularly with the main group, guys started talking to me about teams, encouraging me to come to the meet-the-team ride at the end of the summer. Looked into several teams, but ended up going with the team of the guys I had spent the most time getting to know. Funny how that works.
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Old 04-07-10, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001
There's other guys on the team than just PCad....that's what we're dancing around here isn't it?
He's a sponsor.
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Old 04-07-10, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by botto
my club has a fee, which is pretty normal over here. considering that the kits are MUCH cheaper, as well as the entree fees to race, i don't mind.

on top of that, the club has paid some entry fees in the past.
I don't disagree with clubs charging fees - especially when they are established clubs with established expenses. i just see it from many clubs just because....no real reasoning behind it other than "others do it".

I think it also presents a large hurdle to new entries into the sport in situations where the fees and kits are expensive and the new rider may not even like the team...or racing fr that matter.

That's why we basically don't charge anyone anything. We got enough sponsors that I subsidized everybody's first kit and everyone was able to buy a set of bibs and jersey for ~$60 total. That coupled with no fees gets a lot of guys who are on the fence to just take the plunge (CyLowe97, aham23, etc....) which I have found is very rewarding for both the rider and the team and usually results in long term benefits for both.

That said I'm charging any new people some serious dues next year. Daddy needs a custom screened pop-up tent and some soigneurs from the tilted kilt
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Old 04-07-10, 12:57 PM
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I rode unattached for a bit. Then I joined the team of the LBS that I buy most of my stuff from. After awhile, a small group of us broke off and formed our own team. I like these guys. That's all that really matters.
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Old 04-07-10, 01:27 PM
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Wichita it pretty much a one horse town.
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Old 04-07-10, 01:30 PM
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Lance called. Needed another lead out guy in the mountains. Had to deny him. Day later Riis calls up, and he needs another lead out guy for the Schleck brothers, I have to deny him as well. Then its Fabian followed by Voigt you know the drill on and on....I kept having to tell them I'd love to go play cycling over in Europe but unfortunately I paid my $125.00 club due here and just can't seem to break the contract.
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Old 04-07-10, 01:31 PM
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PSIMET said

"Hey, you wana be on my team?"

I said "Sure, what do I gotta do?"

He said "Clean my bike every now and then"

I said "SURE!"
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Old 04-07-10, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by tspek
PSIMET said

"Hey, you wana be on my team?"

I said "Sure, what do I gotta do?"

He said "Clean my bike every now and then"

I said "SURE!"
I don't remember that....if anything I thought it was the other way around.
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Old 04-07-10, 01:34 PM
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This is my first season road racing and I'm unattached.
I'm sure I'd learn tons more if I was on a team, but I'm honestly learning more than I can realistically put into practice as it is.

I'm also unsure if I can make the commitment to team rides and mandatory racing/volunteering--especially with 2 young kids at home and cycling being my second competitive sport. I've got a limited number "hall passes" from the wife as it is.

Still, if I'm able to survive this first season, I will definitely start looking for a team next year. Driving 2+ hours to a race and having no teammates to celebrate/commiserate with can be a downer. Racing with people I could consider friends would be a top criteria for me. Seriously, I'm an "old", noob, amateur racer with a day job. While good race results would be gratifying, if I didn't enjoy the weekends I spend away from my wife and kids because I'm hanging out with elitist a-holes instead, that would be a sorry use of my time.

Also, WSBA doesn't charge unattached fees, so I feel I can only ethically enjoy my "free trial period" no longer than one season. I can imagine how much work it is to put on events/races and understand contributing to a team and volunteering helps keep the racing scene healthy.
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Old 04-07-10, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001
I don't remember that....if anything I thought it was the other way around.
My bike is getting a little dirty, now that you mention it.
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Old 04-07-10, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by myclem
This is my first season road racing and I'm unattached.
I'm sure I'd learn tons more if I was on a team, but I'm honestly learning more than I can realistically put into practice as it is.

I'm also unsure if I can make the commitment to team rides and mandatory racing/volunteering--especially with 2 young kids at home and cycling being my second competitive sport. I've got a limited number "hall passes" from the wife as it is.

Still, if I'm able to survive this first season, I will definitely start looking for a team next year. Driving 2+ hours to a race and having no teammates to celebrate/commiserate with can be a downer. Racing with people I could consider friends would be a top criteria for me. Seriously, I'm an "old", noob, amateur racer with a day job. While good race results would be gratifying, if I didn't enjoy the weekends I spend away from my wife and kids because I'm hanging out with elitist a-holes instead, that would be a sorry use of my time.

Also, WSBA doesn't charge unattached fees, so I feel I can only ethically enjoy my "free trial period" no longer than one season. I can imagine how much work it is to put on events/races and understand contributing to a team and volunteering helps keep the racing scene healthy.
not trying to make this thread into a PSIMET commercial but think this is a great way to make my point about finding out about the teams. Many of us were in similar situations. Most of us have young families and racing up to that point was more of a battle at home than anything else. We were able to make it family centric. This has taken a good enough hold that the kids are good friends with each other, the wives and girlfriends are good friends - plan their own "ladies of PSIMET" days even with racers and wives/girlfriends of male racers.

With the demands on us from family obligations we make NOTHING mandatory. We also help each other out with watching kids, helping each other carpool or run errands when say the spouse needs the car, etc. It's very nice.
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