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Old 12-18-04, 07:21 PM
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HigherGround
Descends Like Avalanche
 
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Somewhere between Funkytown and Margaritaville, PA
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Bikes: Lynskey R330, Litespeed Classic, Eddy Merckx MX Leader, Specialized Rock Hopper Comp (1988!)

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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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