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Road Bike Racing in the Seattle area/Washington state and surrounding states

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Road Bike Racing in the Seattle area/Washington state and surrounding states

Old 03-24-13, 06:59 AM
  #1  
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Road Bike Racing in the Seattle area/Washington state and surrounding states

So I may have a oppurtunity for a permanent transfer to Seattle, Which would give me my wish of getting away from flat Florida racing and actually training to race in the hills/mountains and such. It would be everything that I've ever wanted when I started bike riding/racing. I love hills and want to be a good climber. So my questions are as followed;

* How long does the actual road racing season last?

* is year round riding of the road bike outdoors possible?

* Is types of racing what I am looking for?

*Sorrounding states have good races that are commutable to spend the weekend and race?

Any other info you have that would be helpful. I could either live in Albuerque New Mexico or Seattle Washington
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Old 03-24-13, 08:20 AM
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You could check USAC for most of the schedule but race season in march through August. Lots of road racing with some crits and TT's along with a few stage races. You can ride most of the year outdoors depending on your htfu level and willingness to ride in the dark.
The cross scene is also huge for the other half of the year so if that interests you you'll be in heaven. One downer is that most of Oregon's races operate through obra and not USAC
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Old 03-24-13, 08:28 AM
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Okay thanx. Thats pretty close to Florida's race season. What happens with the dark that you commented about? is it only daylight for short periods of time during certain parts of the season
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Old 03-24-13, 10:22 AM
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if you want big climbs in races, i don't think seattle is the place for you. most of the races are flat-to-rolling, and the ones that do have climbs are a few mins long at most.

also isn't racing in florida year round? i hated how short the seattle road season was..

also hated the never-ending rain. and cold. and literal lack of subshine except for a few weeks here and there.

but the racing scene is decent and the people are nice, fwiw.
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Old 03-24-13, 10:32 AM
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It gets dark at about 4 or so during the darker months of the winter. Not great for training, but for commuting it works. Just ride in the morning and you're fine.

Race season gores through August, but the August races are circuit races more than road races. July/early August are also more crits than anything else.

There are as many hills around here as you'd like, even some HC-types if you're willing to drive a couple hours. I'd say there's a good mix of flat races and climby races, but most of the hillier ones are part of stage races.
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Old 03-24-13, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post
also hated the never-ending rain. and cold. and literal lack of subshine except for a few weeks here and there.

but the racing scene is decent and the people are nice, fwiw.
Yeah, it takes a whole lot of HTFU to get through a Seattle winter and keep training. It doesn't snow much, but 38 degrees and raining is pretty miserable.
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Old 03-24-13, 01:11 PM
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Man, you make Seattle weather sound miserable. Florida race season is February thru october 9months. I wish Florida did have year round road bike races but then all 9 of the guys who race cross in Florida might complain. Cross in Florida isn't anything close to what the midwest is. I'd rather have year round racing. Road races in the fall/winter and crits in spring/summer. It would be awesome.
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Old 03-24-13, 05:40 PM
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one of my team mates is from the pac NW and just moved back after a stint in Wash DC area. he's a military doc, so he's been around. Seattle is is favorite, he was excited to move back. according to him, winters are wet, but you can deal, and racing is robust especially the weekend omnium format. he's allergic to hills greater than 2 minutes long, but really likes racing in that part of the world because he didnt have to deal with the summer heat we have in the dc area.

i'd take sea over fl 100x/100, but then again, i hate florida. rednecks, retirees, and hotter than hell.
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Old 03-24-13, 05:50 PM
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Mad cat nailed it in the last sentence.
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Old 03-24-13, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by kensuf View Post
Mad cat nailed it in the last sentence.
Just might have a oppurtunity the first of next year but its gonna be hard to get me out of florida unless I can go to NM,CA or AZ

(Did you get my FB-PM Kensuf?)
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Old 03-24-13, 06:27 PM
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Yup, thanks for the info! That's kind of crazy routing...
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Old 03-24-13, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by kensuf View Post
Mad cat nailed it in the last sentence.
present company excluded, of course
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Old 03-24-13, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by mdcatv View Post
present company excluded, of course
florida at its finest
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Old 03-24-13, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by kensuf View Post
Yup, thanks for the info! That's kind of crazy routing...
Amtrak is definitely losing big time dollars not having a direct route from jacksonville thru Atlanta to Chicago. The tracks are there and used daily by freight railroads. Unfortunately CSXT and Norfolk southern make it very hard on Amtrak to run that way without requesting outrageous compensation.
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Old 03-25-13, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by JAX_11 View Post
Amtrak is definitely losing big time dollars not having a direct route from jacksonville thru Atlanta to Chicago. The tracks are there and used daily by freight railroads. Unfortunately CSXT and Norfolk southern make it very hard on Amtrak to run that way without requesting outrageous compensation.
For those not keeping up..

My wife and I are in the midst of planning our summer vacation. There was some discussion of going out to the four corners (AZ, NM, UT, CO) section of the country. I thought it would be entertaining to take a train to Albuquerque from Florida, but the only way to get there from Jacksonville involves going up to Chicago. Given that Abq is pretty much just due west of Jacksonville, this seemed like pretty stupid routing to me, but apparently there's no easy way to get from Florida through NOLA by passenger train.
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Old 03-27-13, 05:00 PM
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HA! For once, I'm qualified.
I moved from ABQ to SEA a few years ago, and both are great for cycling & racing.

ABQ, there aren't too many races in NM - you'll end up driving to TX or AZ/SoCal for big races, simply not enough population base to support a big scene.
However, training and riding is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Frequently through the SEA winter I find myself remembering sunny training rides in January. The city is great, I really loved living there.

Seattle - I've been here since Jan 2009, and the cycling scene here is much larger, with lots more races and more opportunities for fun rides, fondos, etc. The races don't have serious climbing, but the biggest concentration of US races with lots of climbing are in Oregon, 3-4hours away by car.
Honestly, my travel to lots of NM races all year long was equal to driving to most Oregon to race. Over the summer I could race 6 days of every week within a 2h drive of Seattle. (Weekend races every weekend, Tuesday & Thursday crit/circuit series races, Velodrome on M,W,Th,F)... so, there's as much racing as you want to do.
There are 3-4 WA stage races within a 4 hour drive of Seattle every year - none with tons of climbing, but all are challenging.
If you head south, you can find Elkhorn, Cascade, Hood, and Eugene SRs within 4ish hours of driving, and they all have more climbing than you'd get in a decade of riding in Florida.

Both Seattle and ABQ are great lifestyle cities - there's plenty of art/music/bikeshops/food, ABQ is really cheap to live in, like, "crazy cheap" - I lived three blocks away from the center of downtown in a freestanding 2bdr little "casita" for 750ish a month. The middle of summer is pretty warm, but the altitude makes it quite livable.
Seattle has easy access to mountain & XC skiing/sound-ocean waterways for kayaking-canoeing-paddleboarding-crew/temperate climates all year round, lots of forests, close to Vancouver and Portland (3h either way)...

I'd happily live in either again - ABQ isn't as large of a city and it certainly feels like it. Seattle is quite pricey, but has more options for stuff to do.

feel free to PM me for more details or a phone # to chat about living comparisons on either option - I'm happy to go as in-depth as you want to hear.


Your questions:
* How long does the actual road racing season last?
Seattle: March 1st-August 30th
ABQ: Feb/March to September, but not much happens in mid-summer because of heat

* is year round riding of the road bike outdoors possible?
Seattle: absolutely - we do 7 hour training camp rides in Dec & Jan. You'll want to rain bike & rain clothing, but no big deal.
ABQ: yes - but mid-summer riding is usually restricted to early morning or evening. There will be a few weeks with sub-freezing temps in mid-winter, but I was car-less for years and it wasn't a problem.

* Is types of racing what I am looking for?
ABQ: Climbing - yes, some, but since there aren't a ton of races variety is restricted all the way around.
Seattle: Wenatchee SR isn't very climb-y this year, but it is other years. British Columbia and Oregon have TONS of races that go uphill all day long, and they are close.

*Sorrounding states have good races that are commutable to spend the weekend and race?
ABQ: yes - but it is a long drive to CO, AZ, TX.
Seattle: yes, Oregon has about the nation's best race scene, North Cal has lots of racing, BC has some amazing mid-summer races.

Last edited by Hida Yanra; 03-27-13 at 05:07 PM. Reason: actually answered the questions
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Old 03-28-13, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Hida Yanra View Post
HA! For once, I'm qualified.
I moved from ABQ to SEA a few years ago, and both are great for cycling & racing.

ABQ, there aren't too many races in NM - you'll end up driving to TX or AZ/SoCal for big races, simply not enough population base to support a big scene.
However, training and riding is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Frequently through the SEA winter I find myself remembering sunny training rides in January. The city is great, I really loved living there.

Seattle - I've been here since Jan 2009, and the cycling scene here is much larger, with lots more races and more opportunities for fun rides, fondos, etc. The races don't have serious climbing, but the biggest concentration of US races with lots of climbing are in Oregon, 3-4hours away by car.
Honestly, my travel to lots of NM races all year long was equal to driving to most Oregon to race. Over the summer I could race 6 days of every week within a 2h drive of Seattle. (Weekend races every weekend, Tuesday & Thursday crit/circuit series races, Velodrome on M,W,Th,F)... so, there's as much racing as you want to do.
There are 3-4 WA stage races within a 4 hour drive of Seattle every year - none with tons of climbing, but all are challenging.
If you head south, you can find Elkhorn, Cascade, Hood, and Eugene SRs within 4ish hours of driving, and they all have more climbing than you'd get in a decade of riding in Florida.

Both Seattle and ABQ are great lifestyle cities - there's plenty of art/music/bikeshops/food, ABQ is really cheap to live in, like, "crazy cheap" - I lived three blocks away from the center of downtown in a freestanding 2bdr little "casita" for 750ish a month. The middle of summer is pretty warm, but the altitude makes it quite livable.
Seattle has easy access to mountain & XC skiing/sound-ocean waterways for kayaking-canoeing-paddleboarding-crew/temperate climates all year round, lots of forests, close to Vancouver and Portland (3h either way)...

I'd happily live in either again - ABQ isn't as large of a city and it certainly feels like it. Seattle is quite pricey, but has more options for stuff to do.

feel free to PM me for more details or a phone # to chat about living comparisons on either option - I'm happy to go as in-depth as you want to hear.


Your questions:
* How long does the actual road racing season last?
Seattle: March 1st-August 30th
ABQ: Feb/March to September, but not much happens in mid-summer because of heat

* is year round riding of the road bike outdoors possible?
Seattle: absolutely - we do 7 hour training camp rides in Dec & Jan. You'll want to rain bike & rain clothing, but no big deal.
ABQ: yes - but mid-summer riding is usually restricted to early morning or evening. There will be a few weeks with sub-freezing temps in mid-winter, but I was car-less for years and it wasn't a problem.

* Is types of racing what I am looking for?
ABQ: Climbing - yes, some, but since there aren't a ton of races variety is restricted all the way around.
Seattle: Wenatchee SR isn't very climb-y this year, but it is other years. British Columbia and Oregon have TONS of races that go uphill all day long, and they are close.

*Sorrounding states have good races that are commutable to spend the weekend and race?
ABQ: yes - but it is a long drive to CO, AZ, TX.
Seattle: yes, Oregon has about the nation's best race scene, North Cal has lots of racing, BC has some amazing mid-summer races.
Awesome information. It makes Seattle seem a lot more doable then before. I would definitely not mind driving to Oregon at all. Just got to learn to get through the winters. Seattle climbs will seem like racing Le Tour compared to floridas hills. Thanks again for the detailed info.
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Old 04-07-13, 03:07 PM
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Hida hit the nail on the head. Some of the guys are our team went down to Oregon to train for 4-5 days in prep/mini-camp for the Tour of Walla Walla in two weeks.

And sometimes you just never know...here is last weekend..March 30th...72 and sunny on race day.

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Old 04-07-13, 09:24 PM
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last weekend... yes, it was FANTASTIC

I see you didn't mention this weekend
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Old 04-08-13, 12:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Hida Yanra View Post
last weekend... yes, it was FANTASTIC

I see you didn't mention this weekend
Yeah, well..I didn't race this weekend, so I can omit and not be lying. I did get 60 tough solo miles in yesterday, wettest/windiest ride in years.
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Old 04-08-13, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by JAX_11 View Post
So I may have a oppurtunity for a permanent transfer to Seattle, Which would give me my wish of getting away from flat Florida racing and actually training to race in the hills/mountains and such. It would be everything that I've ever wanted when I started bike riding/racing. I love hills and want to be a good climber. So my questions are as followed;

* How long does the actual road racing season last?

* is year round riding of the road bike outdoors possible?

* Is types of racing what I am looking for?

*Sorrounding states have good races that are commutable to spend the weekend and race?

Any other info you have that would be helpful. I could either live in Albuerque New Mexico or Seattle Washington
The season starts with a TT at the end of February and road racing starts up with weekly races in the region first weekend in March. By the middle of April, 1-day road races dry up and you start seeing more omniums and stage races (most of which are 3-events). If you're willing to travel to eastern washington (4-5hr drive) the calendar has even more choices. By the time the actual road races start to dry up (April/May), like I said the stage races begin, but also the crits which are plentiful towards the second half of the season. In addition to the USAC sanctioned crits on weekends, there are at least 2 weekly crit series in the Seattle area (Pacific Raceways, Tuesdays 30mi south and Seward Park Thursdays right in the city) that run from mid-march through mid August.

If you move here, I recommend joining an active/large team - that's the best way to stay motivated to keep riding/training through the rainy season. My team, for instance, mandates full length fenders with flaps from about October1 through Mar1, which makes group rides much more tolerable. You're definitely going to want a rain bike and discs are ideal to keep rim wear at bay. I would strongly recommend living in Northeast Seattle (east of I-5, north of I-90) since that puts you closer to very excellent riding to the east and northeast of the city, including a number of "5", "4", and some "3" level climbs. Transit from NE to downtown is great so if you're moving to work for Amazon (doing most of the hiring near downtown these days), that's easy. Once the snow stops falling in the mountains, you can start doing the high pass climbs which will allow you the chance for some "1" and "HC" type climbs, but there are no races that I know of using these highway or national park passes for race routes - just organized charity/club or private rides.

WSBA (www.wsbaracing.com) is your primary local resource for races in the area. It includes Northern Idaho as well. OBRA (Oregon) also has a very active calendar and Portland is only about 3hrs from Seattle, but I believe OBRA is one of those orgs who tend to reject USAC so if you want USAC races, there are only a handful in Oregon, however they tend to be pretty important/major races such as the Cascade Cycling Classic which definitely DOES have some very large climbs like you're looking for but honestly, coming from florida, just the neighborhood climbs will be big for you. Most of the road races here are going to be 12-20mi loops with varying numbers of laps based on your racing category. The earlier 4 races are rolling or flat, then we get into races that have 300-600ft of climbing in 1 or 2 main climbs per lap. Last saturday's race for example had a ~1mi 300ft 6% climb as the finish. The winners in each cat were specifically the better climbers.

I'm not gonna sugar coat it - the weather is dismal for several months but it can also be amazing. Suck it up and put full fenders/flaps, get proper winter gear, and HTFU. You'll love it. The cycling scene is VERY active here with tons of racers/teams in the area.

One note about the weather - although the winter days are short, rainy, and cold, you are probably used to a much larger temperature swing on a daily basis. In the winter here, it's not unusual for an entire week to go by where the day/night temperature never fluctuates more than 5 degrees. It's because we're engulphed in cool coastal air. It's the clear (not-raining) days that become harder to dress for because they are much colder before/after daylight.

Last edited by nhluhr; 04-08-13 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 04-08-13, 01:05 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by nhluhr View Post
the weather is dismal for several months but it can also be amazing.
And by "several", I assume you mean eight? =]
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Old 04-08-13, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by nhluhr View Post
The season starts with a TT at the end of February and road racing starts up with weekly races in the region first weekend in March. By the middle of April, 1-day road races dry up and you start seeing more omniums and stage races (most of which are 3-events). If you're willing to travel to eastern washington (4-5hr drive) the calendar has even more choices. By the time the actual road races start to dry up (April/May), like I said the stage races begin, but also the crits which are plentiful towards the second half of the season. In addition to the USAC sanctioned crits on weekends, there are at least 2 weekly crit series in the Seattle area (Pacific Raceways, Tuesdays 30mi south and Seward Park Thursdays right in the city) that run from mid-march through mid August.

If you move here, I recommend joining an active/large team - that's the best way to stay motivated to keep riding/training through the rainy season. My team, for instance, mandates full length fenders with flaps from about October1 through Mar1, which makes group rides much more tolerable. You're definitely going to want a rain bike and discs are ideal to keep rim wear at bay. I would strongly recommend living in Northeast Seattle (east of I-5, north of I-90) since that puts you closer to very excellent riding to the east and northeast of the city, including a number of "5", "4", and some "3" level climbs. Transit from NE to downtown is great so if you're moving to work for Amazon (doing most of the hiring near downtown these days), that's easy. Once the snow stops falling in the mountains, you can start doing the high pass climbs which will allow you the chance for some "1" and "HC" type climbs, but there are no races that I know of using these highway or national park passes for race routes - just organized charity/club or private rides.

WSBA (www.wsbaracing.com) is your primary local resource for races in the area. It includes Northern Idaho as well. OBRA (Oregon) also has a very active calendar and Portland is only about 3hrs from Seattle, but I believe OBRA is one of those orgs who tend to reject USAC so if you want USAC races, there are only a handful in Oregon, however they tend to be pretty important/major races such as the Cascade Cycling Classic which definitely DOES have some very large climbs like you're looking for but honestly, coming from florida, just the neighborhood climbs will be big for you. Most of the road races here are going to be 12-20mi loops with varying numbers of laps based on your racing category. The earlier 4 races are rolling or flat, then we get into races that have 300-600ft of climbing in 1 or 2 main climbs per lap. Last saturday's race for example had a ~1mi 300ft 6% climb as the finish. The winners in each cat were specifically the better climbers.

I'm not gonna sugar coat it - the weather is dismal for several months but it can also be amazing. Suck it up and put full fenders/flaps, get proper winter gear, and HTFU. You'll love it. The cycling scene is VERY active here with tons of racers/teams in the area.

One note about the weather - although the winter days are short, rainy, and cold, you are probably used to a much larger temperature swing on a daily basis. In the winter here, it's not unusual for an entire week to go by where the day/night temperature never fluctuates more than 5 degrees. It's because we're engulphed in cool coastal air. It's the clear (not-raining) days that become harder to dress for because they are much colder before/after daylight.
OMG hey!!!!! I hope your listening to katy perry
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Old 04-09-13, 11:07 AM
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Andy STi
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Originally Posted by Forza View Post
Hida hit the nail on the head. Some of the guys are our team went down to Oregon to train for 4-5 days in prep/mini-camp for the Tour of Walla Walla in two weeks.
And we go down to NorCal for our training camps. No matter where you are gotta keep going south. See you at Walla Walla!
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