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Question about joining a team

Old 04-25-12, 10:44 AM
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Question about joining a team

Do most people new to bike racing join a team before starting racing or do they hook up with one after a few races? I plan to start racing this year (already signed up for a road race in June) but I really know nothing about the team aspect. I have been training solo and it would be helpful to join some fast group rides for that experience, but I don't really know how people with no racing experience get affiliated with a team. I could reach out to a couple of local LBS teams but looking for some advice.
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Old 04-25-12, 10:47 AM
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Find some local group rides, and just ride with them. If you have multiple groups to choose from, ride with as many as you can and see which is the best "fit". Worry about actually joining a team later after you figure who's who, and it may become obvious. You can race "unattached" until you decide.
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Old 04-25-12, 11:12 AM
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I suggest racing first, figuring out which teams are actually actively racing, e.g. a team you want to be on. Figure out which teams you may or may not fit in with/get along with.Also you need to know what their kits look like before you buy it right?!
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Old 04-25-12, 11:15 AM
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start out by joining a local club, like one that you pay to join. they will probably have people who you can race with

after a couple upgrades and knowledge of the local scene, you may have the opportunity to join a team
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Old 04-25-12, 11:40 AM
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+1 to group rides and racing first. You don't want to get on a team you'll dislike, and the only way to find which team you want to be on is to ride/race with as many as you can, and learn as much as possible in the process. Any club that you need to pay to join should also let you ride with them for free so that you can decide if you want to pay them or not.
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Old 04-25-12, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by TMonk
after a couple upgrades and knowledge of the local scene, you may have the opportunity to join a team
That makes it sound like you need to be cat 3 to join a team. Around here, I don't see many cat 4's who are unattached, and even most cat 5s are wearing team kit. Joining a local club may be a good move, if they have a racing division (which counts as a team); that's the lowest hurdle to joining a team (at our local club, pretty much you say you'd like to be on the team and you're on) - but it's also a bit anonymous, less of a real team feel, from what I can tell: you're wearing the same kit, but you don't necessarily race/train together. I've not joined our local club because their events are so overwhelmingly aimed at recreational riders - I was lucky to have a few friends on a local team that could use a couple new members.
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Old 04-25-12, 11:47 AM
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Show up to the group rides and size up the riders who look like they know what they're doing but aren't dicks. Show up to races and see which teams have decent numbers in the Cat 5 and Cat 4 races. See which kits don't look hideous. Draw a Venn diagram. Where the sets overlap, there's your new team.
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Old 04-25-12, 11:55 AM
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Thanks for the replies. Pretty much confirms what I expected.


Originally Posted by plantrob
Around here, I don't see many cat 4's who are unattached, and even most cat 5s are wearing team kit.

I spectated at a local criterium race last weekend and noticed the same thing, which partially prompted the question.
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Old 04-25-12, 11:56 AM
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I moved to a new place during the fall last year, and decided to just try the race with everyone and figure out the good teams strategy. I did this, but since I don't do group rides, and I am not social, I am still unattached. I am moving again next week to another new place, so maybe need to try a new strategy. What is that strategy? I have no idea, need to suck up to some people I guess.
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Old 04-25-12, 12:07 PM
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Race a little first and learn as much as you can. From there you can start to understand what you want in a team. Some is for the perks, some the comraderie, some the support, everyone is different.

My buddy wanted me to race for the team he was on so I rode with them one day and their captain and I spoke afterwards. We mutually agreed that it was not a good fit that they had nothing for me (to support my goals) and that it would kind of be a waste.

Subsequently I went to another team that respected my goals of the NRC Series and would do all they could to have a leadout train, etc. I was in agreement to do all I could to blow fields up in road races.
Until you know what you want it is hard to know what to ask for.

My demands are going to be very different than yours but I have been around a little bit longer.
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Old 04-25-12, 12:46 PM
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I strongly encourage you to do race-oriented group rides before you race. It's not the same as racing but it's a lot closer than riding by yourself. You'll learn something about the pace and safely riding in groups.

But you don't need to join a club to do so- most have open rides. So you can try out all the local clubs and see who you like before you join. You can race without joining a club, but you will pay a small unattached rider fee, and you should have a plain jersey or at least one that's not got logos of well known race team sponsors on it.
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Old 04-25-12, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Right Said Fred
Do most people new to bike racing join a team before starting racing or do they hook up with one after a few races?
Yes.

One of the best ways to check into a team is to go to a race and talk to people in the 4/5 races that are on a team. Do they get coaching/tactical advice? Group rides? Some teams are actually set up to help along new riders, others are just clubs where people wear the same kit so they can get discounts on tires. If you can find the former and the people aren't the guys yelling at everybody during the race, it might be a good fit and help you along the learning curve.
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Old 04-25-12, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Creatre
I moved to a new place during the fall last year, and decided to just try the race with everyone and figure out the good teams strategy. I did this, but since I don't do group rides, and I am not social, I am still unattached. I am moving again next week to another new place, so maybe need to try a new strategy. What is that strategy? I have no idea, need to suck up to some people I guess.
Staying in Columbia or moving somewhere that isn't quite the summer inferno?
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Old 04-25-12, 01:17 PM
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Find the local hammer ride and try it. That's where you will find the local racers. Don't worry if you get dropped. Keep coming back. (There is a sticky about this for those "new to racing". It is required reading.) Get to know the local racers. Ask to join the team with the guys that you like if they don't ask you first. The very last thing on your mind should be what the team deal is.

Some teams are very welcoming to folks wanting to go on their team rides. My team does this. We don't drop visitors in the middle of nowhere and at least one person will help a rider in over their head get back to town if that is needed. And we also give advice and encouragement.

(Now going off on a tangent, but (a) I'm old so I have license to do so and (b) I know trig so tangents are within my domain of knowledge.)

Once you are on the team, though, you might find yourself all alone 40 miles from home if you are on our team ride. We call the Sunday team ride the shenanigans ride for a good reason. Usually it is well timed attacks (like when everybody is stopping to get water and somebody sneaks off to try and solo to the next sprint). Sometimes the shenanigans are psychological. Two team rides ago we got a new version of "false flat" from a Cat 1. He was out for an endurance ride that particular day and one of the newly minted Cat 4's was feeling frisky and animating the ride. So he just announced that he had a flat and the ride ground to a halt. BRILLIANT!
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Old 04-25-12, 01:41 PM
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^lol.

a few weeks ago, on our sunday hammerfred, we were coming to the sprint at the end...I was last wheel, of about 6-7 of us remaining. I yelled "CAR BACK", and jumped as hard as I could, around everyone and was gone.
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Old 04-25-12, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by hammy56
^lol.

a few weeks ago, on our sunday hammerfred, we were coming to the sprint at the end...I was last wheel, of about 6-7 of us remaining. I yelled "CAR BACK", and jumped as hard as I could, around everyone and was gone.
The early leader for "D-Bag of the Year" for the Sunday ride. Well done!
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Old 04-25-12, 01:52 PM
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they all deserve it. A few of them are usually on tt bikes. pricks.
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Old 04-25-12, 02:00 PM
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I just went through nearly the exact same thing. PLanning my first year of cycling races this year, I was searching for a good local team. I wanted to actually know the guys and ride with them. There is local mega team with 150 members that was the obvious choice, but I emailed them, talked to some folks and it wasn't for me. I just didn't get a good feel. You see people out riding or at races in the same kit and you say "hey" but you have no idea who they are. I was planning to start racing unattached, but found a small team that just started over the winter in my area and emailed them. They are focused on building a strong team and while being a noob cat 5 wasn't impressing them, they wanted guys so invited me to the local hammerfest ride. It was my "tryout" I think. I did well enough (dropping the team president doesn't hurt!) and he invited me to join the team after the ride. It's been good and bad - we're only 6 guys, so a close group, I know everyone. But limited options for training and not much of a presence at any races (and two guys are hurt now, so it makes it worse). I like the idea of being in from the ground floor though. And having a team around you isn't all that neccessary (i've essentially raced solo in my races thus far) in Cat 5 to be successful.Ok, sort of a tangent there, but to back up what others have said - do whatever you want, but make sure you are experienced in a group (and an aggressive group). I've met enought people at races (who I see every race) that I've gotten to know them and probably would have joined one of their teams if I had started unattached. So don't force yourself to join a team if you don't feel good about it - it will probably happen organically, just be social at the races.
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Old 04-25-12, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by hammy56
they all deserve it. A few of them are usually on tt bikes. pricks.
There isn't a better ride?
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Old 04-25-12, 02:09 PM
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its a great ride...but there are tri-guys who show up. And theyre strong, so a few of them are there at the end...
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Old 04-25-12, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by jwible
Staying in Columbia or moving somewhere that isn't quite the summer inferno?
Moving to Atlanta. So slightly better. I used to live in Arizona though, so South Carolina summer inferno isn't too bad!
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Old 04-25-12, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Creatre
I moved to a new place during the fall last year, and decided to just try the race with everyone and figure out the good teams strategy. I did this, but since I don't do group rides, and I am not social, I am still unattached. I am moving again next week to another new place, so maybe need to try a new strategy. What is that strategy? I have no idea, need to suck up to some people I guess.
Another people hater ... I'm the same way. Don't usually say more than two words to anyone or go out of my way to be social, but hey that's just the way I am. Most of the guys I ride with understand.
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Old 04-25-12, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by saratoga
Another people hater ... I'm the same way. Don't usually say more than two words to anyone or go out of my way to be social, but hey that's just the way I am. Most of the guys I ride with understand.
+2 - I myself am very quiet on rides...

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Old 04-25-12, 03:52 PM
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You can't possibly be worse than a rider (from S.FL) who showed up to race with a f'n whistle in the past.
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