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Need some advice on entering the racing scene

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Need some advice on entering the racing scene

Old 03-26-15, 05:08 PM
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Need some advice on entering the racing scene

Hey all,
I am curious about what recommended age someone be before they enter the competitive racing scene. I myself am 16, and am a long distance athlete. In grade 10, I am the fastest long distance runner in my highschool. I train 6 days a week, and am great in terms of cardio, so I am definitely prepared for training in terms of fitness. Please also note that I would have a budget of no more than $3000 to spend on a bike, and being 16, I would not have the funds to replace it for a long while, especially since I am aiming towards a post secondary education, which leaves $0 for bikes.
Thanks for reading!
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Old 03-26-15, 05:29 PM
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My advice would be to start as soon as you can. In my club there are kids as young as ten racing regularly - at 16 they are moving into junior racing, some of which is highly competitive. Join a club - preferably one that is very active in local racing and has some younger riders. Get some coaching and/or attend any skills clinics that are available locally - there's more to racing and staying safe than just being super-fit.

Don't spend a fortune on your bike. Aluminium frames are fine, you don't have to spend thousands of dollars on the latest carbon aero frame. And while electronic shifting and Zipp carbon wheels are nice to have, Shimano tiagra or 105 components are perfectly adequate and so are Mavic openpro wheels. You can buy something that is fine to race on for about half your stated budget, and you won't be losing because your equipment isn't good enough. Besdes, however good you are you're going to crash sometime, and you want to be able to afford repair/replacement if you get unlucky.

Good luck.
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Old 03-26-15, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by chasm54
My advice would be to start as soon as you can. In my club there are kids as young as ten racing regularly - at 16 they are moving into junior racing, some of which is highly competitive. Join a club - preferably one that is very active in local racing and has some younger riders. Get some coaching and/or attend any skills clinics that are available locally - there's more to racing and staying safe than just being super-fit.

Don't spend a fortune on your bike. Aluminium frames are fine, you don't have to spend thousands of dollars on the latest carbon aero frame. And while electronic shifting and Zipp carbon wheels are nice to have, Shimano tiagra or 105 components are perfectly adequate and so are Mavic openpro wheels. You can buy something that is fine to race on for about half your stated budget, and you won't be losing because your equipment isn't good enough. Besdes, however good you are you're going to crash sometime, and you want to be able to afford repair/replacement if you get unlucky.

Good luck.
Thanks!
I hope this doesn't sound bad, but do you think that I could still do well starting at 16? I mean, I hope to place in a few races if I am going to dedicate the time involved with training and the money for the expensive bikes.
EDIT: sorry, meant to ask same question but after a few years of training

Last edited by Willpower3309; 03-26-15 at 05:50 PM. Reason: Clarification
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Old 03-26-15, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Willpower3309
Thanks!
I hope this doesn't sound bad, but do you think that I could still do well starting at 16? I mean, I hope to place in a few races if I am going to dedicate the time involved with training and the money for the expensive bikes.
EDIT: sorry, meant to ask same question but after a few years of training
Yes of course you could. At first you are going to struggle against kids who are more experienced than you, but that will pass as you learn; and plenty of people start racing as adults and do very well. And if you're fit from running it won't take you long to adapt physically.
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Old 03-26-15, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by chasm54
Yes of course you could. At first you are going to struggle against kids who are more experienced than you, but that will pass as you learn; and plenty of people start racing as adults and do very well. And if you're fit from running it won't take you long to adapt physically.
Okay man, thanks! I really appreciate it!
As soon as I can, ill head over to the local club
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Old 04-04-15, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Willpower3309
Hey all,
I am curious about what recommended age someone be before they enter the competitive racing scene. I myself am 16, and am a long distance athlete. In grade 10, I am the fastest long distance runner in my highschool. I train 6 days a week, and am great in terms of cardio, so I am definitely prepared for training in terms of fitness. Please also note that I would have a budget of no more than $3000 to spend on a bike, and being 16, I would not have the funds to replace it for a long while, especially since I am aiming towards a post secondary education, which leaves $0 for bikes.
Thanks for reading!
Couple things:
  • Racing is expensive. Not only do you have the initial outlay, but it can cost $100 or more every week for registration, transportation, etc. Get hooked up with a junior development club/team. They'll probably have deals on consumables (tires, cleats, tubes, chains, gears, etc). As for bike, clothes: look for second-hand items that are cheaper.
  • Just 'cause you're good at running, doesn't mean you'll be good at cycling. In cycling, it's not all about cardio vascular: that's only one component. In cycling, there are different sets of muscles involved that need to be strong, quick & powerful. I have a good friend (runner in HS & college) who struggled with cycling. While he could drop me climbing (half my weight!), I could easily drop him on any other terrain or time-trial for an hour much faster than he. He had the cardio, but not the power/strength in the legs.
  • Age-graded competitions (i.e.: juniors) can be tough. In any given race, while the same on age, you may be facing total beginner racers, or juniors who are competitive or even dominant with elite adults. The ability & fitness levels can be all over the map. That said, the first lap/miles will be the hardest as the stronger riders try to burn off the newcomers & thin the field (probably similar to running races).

Don't let me discourage you. It's just important, though, to go in with realistic understanding and expectations.
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Old 04-05-15, 08:46 PM
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Where are you located? There are some junior teams that may support you.
At 16 - starting in category racing may be easier than starting in juniors. Again. depends where you live. But if you are new to racing you will be category 5 and the adult categories will not be as fast as the 15-16s - or 17-18s .
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Old 04-23-15, 06:09 PM
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Hey, Willpower3309: Here are a few thoughts:
(1) Cannondale CAAD 10 105, $1,680 - you definitely do not need to, nor should you, spend $3K on a race bike as a beginner and a teenager.
(2) Running and road bicycle racing really aren't similar at all. Running may be analogous to time trialing (i.e., max average effort over time), but bike racing is a different animal altogether. Bike racing is all about combining max efforts with the ability to recover, in a tactical context. It's also about bike handling, i.e., the ability to ride fast in a peloton without crashing. I think of bike racing as a combination of soccer, skiing, and NASCAR. Not to say you can't be good at it, but you should know what you're getting into.
(3) As someone else mentioned, kids start bike racing around 9 or 10. That doesn't mean you can't be good, but you are starting late and at age 16 you will be racing in the 15-18 bracket or Cat 5 against adults. For inspiration, look up Evelyn Stevens, who didn't start racing until a few years after graduating college and went on to become a top pro.

Good luck.
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Old 03-31-16, 05:12 AM
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hello,
I'm 21 and I', from the Philippines. I will be moving to Europe this year to pursue graduate studies. Hopefully I can enter the racing scene in Europe and someday might even make professional. Would anyone of you know if there is a coach in Spain or France that I can contact to pursue cycling in a much deeper sense? Many THANKS from the Philippines anbd much love!
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Old 04-01-16, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by elbanatero
hello,
I'm 21 and I', from the Philippines. I will be moving to Europe this year to pursue graduate studies. Hopefully I can enter the racing scene in Europe and someday might even make professional. Would anyone of you know if there is a coach in Spain or France that I can contact to pursue cycling in a much deeper sense? Many THANKS from the Philippines anbd much love!
I would suggest you look for U23 teams in Belgium and France on the Internet or Facebook, then contact one of their coaches and ask. Juniors are 18 or under.
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