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my58vw 12-18-04 02:49 AM

Team vs not... racing
Hello all,

I have been thinking about joining a racing club, well next season when I have much more time. Of course right now I am not on a team (in a club though, non race) as the questions states. I understand all the stuff about team dynamics, etc. My question is can a individual race say cat 5 without team suport and actually do well? Do teams really try and push people out who are ot on a team( sorry can not think if the term right now)?

Also do teams require you to "try out" i.e. have a certian skill base before joining, or do you use the team to build to their level?

Thanks in advance

BigFloppyLlama 12-18-04 05:05 AM

You'd be hard pressed to find a team that actually worked well in cat 5. Cat 4 is slightly more team oriented from my understanding (and limited experience) but not really required if you can outride most of the other riders. I did pretty well as a cat 5 rider, taking mostly top 3 finishes and didn't really have any team support. I can't speak for every team, but most I know of just require membership dues to start racing as a club member.

roadbuzz 12-18-04 07:14 AM

Team support is pretty meaningless in cat 5. In a recent similar thread, one poster summed it up pretty well as "courtesy." Maybe a let-in when you need it, etc.

Training, advice, and ride-sharing to and from races are bigger benefits, IMO.

cyclezealot 12-18-04 07:45 AM

One cycling acquaintance rides with a race club....Man, they can be critical from what I heard...THis person, did not pace in the peloton quite to their liking...He has riden with a couple clubs until he found the one he is compatable with.

danch 12-18-04 12:21 PM

I've been wondering the same thing. Aren't there some disadvantages to being unattached, not in a Cat 5 race, but rulebook-wise (US). I thought there was something to encourage people to join teams.

At this point I need to find people to ride with who take it seriously, but not too seriously. Other than that I don't see much point in joining a team before I know if I can take the whuppin' I'm liable to get in races, ya know? I generally prefer riding alone, but if I'm going to race, I need the practice riding in a bunch.

Jaco 12-18-04 12:51 PM

In my experience, teams are way over-rated and over-hyped, especially at "lower" levels. People are way too concerned with having some team jersey when they race. If you really get into upper level (cat 1 and 2) racing, then maybe I can see the importance of a GOOD team, but for the general racer the only benefit of being a team member is training, and if you're deligent you can train just as well on your own, with a few group rides scattered in there. Don't be ashamed of racing unatached with a generic color jersey. If anything show all those teamers up by beating their butts.

my58vw 12-18-04 12:52 PM

Thanks guys

This year I am going to enter a few races on a day pass and see how things go, hopefully enough races to get a good feel of CAT 5 and possibly move to cat 4, then we will see about joining a team.

Lots of choices in socal though...

HigherGround 12-18-04 07:21 PM

I will preface this posting by saying that I used to race entry level USCF and collegiate races, but it was about 10 years ago, so things may have changed since then. It seemed like the biggest benefits to joining a club occurred before the race. I had lots of training partners who could push me harder in training than I would on my own. There were people to car pool with, get advice from, and just generally hang out with. Group rides and practice drills definitely improved my bike handling more than lots of solo miles would have ever done. Also, the USCF charged an unattached fee for racers who were not affiliated with a club, so there was a financial incentive to join one; that may have changed since then. I really enjoyed the training rides with teammates - suffering together on the bike can really build some comraderie. To this day I still ride with a lot of the guys, even though we don't race any more.

As far as team tactics in entry level USCF races are concerned, they simply don't seem to be a factor the majority of the time. It seems like there's a lot of opportunity for them to play a role, but honestly there's not a lot of incentive for someone to slave away and sacrifice their own chances so their buddy can upgrade sooner, or win a dinky prime. (Ever try to split a tire 3 ways?) I don't think that you need to be on a team to be competetive in the actual race, but it may help you with a lot of the things leading up to that race.

My collegiate team did have a much stronger sense of team spirit, and there was a lot more cooperation. Winning the team prize, by doing well at the A, B, C, and women's races collectively was a major goal, so we all worked for the sake of the team. It's a shame that you don't see this kind of reward for teamwork at USCF races.

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