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Advice on choosing a team

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Advice on choosing a team

Old 09-26-13, 05:11 PM
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Advice on choosing a team

I am a fairly new Cat 4 and am wanting to get on a team for next season and am having difficulty with choosing a team. I have 4 offers, and am considering seriously two of them.

The one team that I have verbally said "yes" to will have one friend that I rode with this year, and then the rest are those that I have gotten to know (recognize their bikes ) from a group ride I join in on. Not the ideal location to my house, but overall good guys. The other team that I initially was highest on asked me last week to join, but that was after I said "yes" to the other team. I have not signed anything and ironically last weekend I went to pay for my kit and no one was there to take my money. This other team is closer, rides in the areas that I ride in, but I don't actually know anyone. From talking to a couple of them and their website they seem like really good guys.

I am not so concerned with benefits or team discounts, as I am not planning on getting a new bike or wheels. Cost is a consideration and the team I have said yes to is $400 for kits, I am not sure about the other team. The team I have said "yes" to needs orders and money in by next weekend, and the other teams next group ride so I can get a feel for them is next weekend. They have a end of season event tomorrow night that they invited me to, but just learned of that today and my kids have an event so cannot make that.

I am so torn on what to do. Anyone else been in this situation? How did you ultimately decide? Any advice is welcomed.
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Old 09-26-13, 05:47 PM
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I'd go with two main things - do you like/respect your team mates - will you be proud to wear the kit? And second, can you easily ride with them outside of races. It sounds as though you don't really know this other team that's closer to you, so if you annoy your friend and the original team, is it going to be worth it?

For cat 4 this shouldn't be rocket science (spoken as a 4)
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Old 09-26-13, 05:50 PM
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Just some quick thoughts. You may want to post/move this to the racing section(33).
I would go with the team that is closest and rides in your area. What are your ultimate goals? Will you cat up this year? Look at some of the Cat 1,2 and 3s to help make decision. If not, just enjoy a team you can ride with
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Old 09-26-13, 06:04 PM
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you're joining a club, not a team.

club = you get discounts on clothing, apparel, bikes

team = you get free clothing, apparel, typically a high-end bike to ride that they own
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Old 09-26-13, 06:06 PM
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to provide some constructive advice, I would join club that is more proximate to your house - this way you are likely to have more fun by interacting with members more regularly and travel time, expenses will be minimized.
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Old 09-26-13, 06:14 PM
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Can a mod move this to the 33?

And as long as I'm here: Riding with good people you know locally is really great. Racing with them is even better. Cost is always a factor, but it shouldn't be the deciding one.
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Old 09-26-13, 06:17 PM
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Moving to 33
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Old 09-26-13, 06:52 PM
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Club/team is interchangeable for general purposes, but technically you're probably going to be joining a club (which may or may not have a "team" name/organization).

You're not a pro so you're not going to have to sacrifice personal stuff for a paycheck (aka Wiggins and Froome). I'd choose a club based on a combination of friends, goals, aspirations, and structure.

Friends - racing is fun, should be fun, and you shouldn't have to deal with politics, jerks, etc. If you don't get along with a majority of the riders then I wouldn't join. If you do get along with a bunch, and you consider one or two of them to be good friends, then I'd join. My last club change came because a friend of mine and I wanted to race with each other. We'd been racing together for a couple years but we wanted to make it official. We also had a bunch of guys that wanted to race with us so it ended up a pretty good group. In fact a racer that I have a lot of respect for ended up joining the club after he and I spoke. I've wanted to race with him for literally 24? years and never got a chance because of intra-club politics. I've known him since he was 15, he raced for the elite riders sponsored by the first shop I race with, and he's always been a trustworthy, respectful, and fair competitor. Guys that like that help make the racing world churn its way forward and I've wanted to race with him for that reason.

Goals - if you're looking to do 5 races a year and everyone else is looking to do 55 race a year then there's going to be some separation. You build a bond with the others when you go race, and when you go race a lot you build a stronger bond. If you're not racing with the same frequency as the others then you're not going to develop friendships at the same rate, in the same way. It's one thing to be friends with someone; it's another to go through a 100 mile training ride or a 3 race-weekend stage race or a 6 hour each way drive for a big race. With similar goals you'll probably have similar schedules and therefore bond with those riders in the club. Since you get along with most of them (see the first point) you'll make a bunch of friends.

Aspirations - I've had a couple riders pop up that worked hard to upgrade to Cat 3 but then found themselves alone in their club. No one else had the desire to move up. I've been on the other side - guys move up to Cat 2, leaving me stranded in the 3s. Cat 3s and Cat 4s make up most of the active racers in the US. If you can find a club that has mainly 3s and 4s it'll be a solid stepping stone for you. If you want to go for Cat 2 then find a club that has some riders that were there or are there now.

Structure - it's one thing to be in a club with your friends that you train with, you race with, and you all get along, and all that. Now what about kits? What? No kits? And it's September? The season's over and we never got our kits? Who the eff was supposed to get them? Yes, structure is important, else you'll be stressing and frustrated and in the dark about what's happening with the club. You need some doers, some movers and shakers, the folks that will pay the club fee, try to organize a race, get a clothing order together, deal with the various complaints and such. If you don't have structure then the club disintegrates.
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Old 09-26-13, 06:55 PM
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How do you have 4 team offers? I'm obviously doing something wrong.

Pick the one that has the best group of guys or ones that you'll ride with often. It's a big bonus and adds a lot if you can hang out and ride with the team a lot. If you don't ride with anyone often, pick the team with the best group of guys. The free stuff and kits and stuff is just a bonus and shouldn't even be considered in the decision.
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Old 09-27-13, 08:18 AM
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What does that $400 get you?

I'm curious as my team, err club, only requires us to buy one kit a year, which is like $150. We have the option to buy more if we choose, and I have spent as much as $400 in a year, but that was because I needed more than one kit.

Also, if you already know and ride with the guys on the club you said yes to, why would you want to join a club full of guys you don't know and don't ride with? Just because they are closer doesn't mean you'll enjoy their company more.
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Old 09-27-13, 10:38 AM
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There's a club/team in the area that requires $1500 up front I think, that's what I recall seeing somewhere. I have no idea what that gets you.

I spend $600-800 on kits when I first join or when it changes, typically staggering purchases so I end up with 4 sets jerseys/bibs + LS jersey + wind vest + winter jacket depending on what order is going in. I use my own non-branded knickers and tights and booties and gloves. I also bought (all club stuff) about 10 pairs of socks, a cap, 1 pair shoe covers, and they gave us all arm warmers (I've used them either 0 or 1 time).

Last year the club adapted a "no-sponsor" kit so that the kit wouldn't change year to year. Other than replacing some worn out shoe covers I don't think I'll be buying any kit for 2014.
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Old 09-27-13, 04:23 PM
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Thanks for the responses. The $400 is for two kits, (jersey and Bib shorts). Nothing free from either team that I know of. The one guy I know is a cycling friend. We don't train together as he is 30 miles from me, but have raced a couple of times together...Good guy. I wouldn't recognize a single other person on the team if they didn't have their kits on and bikes with them. So, while I say I know them, I really don't know them. Their Sat morning ride is fast, and we are done by 9am, leaving me a full day ahead. I have never talked to them outside of that ride.

The other team is closer to me and in an area that I ride to all the time. I met one guy prior to my first cat 4 race, and just chatted, he gave me some tips and I immediately thought really cool guy. Ended up getting 2nd and he was right behind me in 3rd. Saw him the next day at check in for a race and he came over after I crashed out and we chatted again. First impression was huge, and everyone that I have talked to from this team, it just all clicks. Attitude, philosophy, personality... it's all there. Several on this team I am told will upgrade to 3's next season, which is also my goal. Good organization, strong results in races, and a desire for team accomplishments over personal. Had I not said yes to the other team this would be a no brainer.....
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Old 09-27-13, 04:38 PM
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You haven't signed a contract, you haven't bought the clothes, and you haven't changed your license. You're under no obligation.

I don't think there's any harm in saying to the first team that you thank them for their offer, you've weighed your options, and the other team is a better fit for you. Thank them for their offer, apologize for prematurely accepting it, and hope there's no hard feelings. We all do this for fun, and if the first team is made up of good people, they'll understand. If not, they're probably taking this bike racing thing to seriously.
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Old 09-27-13, 07:32 PM
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$400 for two kits is a bit high.
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Old 09-27-13, 07:52 PM
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I would be broke if i had to pay 400 dollars for 2 kits. Heck i think i spent 200 this year and i got 4 bib/jersey, a ls jersey, thermal jacket, shoe covers, arm warmers, knee wamers, and a bunch of other stuff. Y'all need to step up

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Old 09-27-13, 08:57 PM
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I think I found a team for next year! Things have been uncertain but they are slowly ironing out.
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Old 09-27-13, 11:45 PM
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which now?

squadra has been emailing me about rides, but not a peep from franco/ls
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Old 09-28-13, 11:18 AM
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franco - sounds like they've got sponsors sorted out.

going with them mostly because i know lots of them, dont really know anyone else.

i'll see if i can get them peeping your way soon!
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Old 09-30-13, 06:40 AM
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So I was all set to go with the new team and told my buddy what I was thinking. We had a long conversation about it, and then he got another team member to call me, and was saying that the other team is a great group of guys, he was offered a spot as well, but that they have a sprinter already and that both of them were willing to work for me and lead me out as were the rest of the Cat 4's. So after all this now I am thinking I should stay with them. The other team has a group ride saturday, so plan to go to that and check it all out. Final decision has to be made by next Sunday.
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Old 09-30-13, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by denvertrout
So I was all set to go with the new team and told my buddy what I was thinking. We had a long conversation about it, and then he got another team member to call me, and was saying that the other team is a great group of guys, he was offered a spot as well, but that they have a sprinter already and that both of them were willing to work for me and lead me out as were the rest of the Cat 4's. So after all this now I am thinking I should stay with them. The other team has a group ride saturday, so plan to go to that and check it all out. Final decision has to be made by next Sunday.
You really think cat4s will be organized enough for a leadout or a dedicated "Sprinter"
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Old 09-30-13, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by thechemist
You really think cat4s will be organized enough for a leadout or a dedicated "Sprinter"
Not around here!
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Old 09-30-13, 08:14 AM
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I'm a Cat 4 and I just picked my team for next year. I plan to upgrade to Cat 3 next year...just a few more points! I chose based mostly on the fact that I know a number of guys on the team, my buddy who I've raced/trained/goofed off with outside of biking is joining, there are guys with a ton of experience I can learn from on the team, and the kits/fees are pretty cheap. My schedule is such that I have a hard time making any kind of regular group/weekend rides so that factor was thrown out for me.
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Old 09-30-13, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by denvertrout
So I was all set to go with the new team and told my buddy what I was thinking. We had a long conversation about it, and then he got another team member to call me, and was saying that the other team is a great group of guys, he was offered a spot as well, but that they have a sprinter already and that both of them were willing to work for me and lead me out as were the rest of the Cat 4's. So after all this now I am thinking I should stay with them. The other team has a group ride saturday, so plan to go to that and check it all out. Final decision has to be made by next Sunday.
Good luck with that. To do well in cat 4 sprints you don't need a lead out in most cases as long as you can find good wheels and stay at the pointy end at the end of the race.
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Old 09-30-13, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrell
I'm a Cat 4 and I just picked my team for next year. I plan to upgrade to Cat 3 next year...just a few more points! I chose based mostly on the fact that I know a number of guys on the team, my buddy who I've raced/trained/goofed off with outside of biking is joining, there are guys with a ton of experience I can learn from on the team, and the kits/fees are pretty cheap. My schedule is such that I have a hard time making any kind of regular group/weekend rides so that factor was thrown out for me.
All solid reasons. Good luck and have fun with your new team!
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