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Do many road cyclists get into racing?

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Do many road cyclists get into racing?

Old 08-30-15, 02:55 PM
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Kertrek
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Do many road cyclists get into racing?

I will have enough money together in a couple months for a road bike. Either an entry level Giant or Specialized, and reviews have said they're great for starting out in racing. I've been a musician my whole life and there was a strong push for entering competitions, and serving in the Marines developed a love of physical competition. And road racing sounds like a blast, even with all the pain. Is road cycling the same way: entering races is the holy grail? Or not too many avid cyclists bother entering races?
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Old 08-30-15, 03:08 PM
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Many road cyclists enjoy group rides.

Some cyclists can hang in the A group.

Some in the A groups also race.

I'd say it's a minority of road cyclists who race.
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Old 08-30-15, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by f4rrest View Post
Many road cyclists enjoy group rides.

Some cyclists can hang in the A group.

Some in the A groups also race.

I'd say it's a minority of road cyclists who race.
That's a pretty succinct way of narrowing it down. But then there are a lot of racers whose 'group rides' are mostly or exclusively team training rides and the like, so you won't necessarily see the whole gamut of racers on open rides.

I wouldn't say racing is 'the holy grail.' There are a lot of good cyclists who are averse, indifferent or even unaware of real opportunities to race, but I suspect it's much more common than racing in other recreational activities like motorcycling or skiing.
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Old 08-30-15, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Kertrek View Post
I will have enough money together in a couple months for a road bike. Either an entry level Giant or Specialized, and reviews have said they're great for starting out in racing. I've been a musician my whole life and there was a strong push for entering competitions, and serving in the Marines developed a love of physical competition. And road racing sounds like a blast, even with all the pain. Is road cycling the same way: entering races is the holy grail? Or not too many avid cyclists bother entering races?
Very few cyclists race.
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Old 08-30-15, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Kertrek View Post
developed a love of physical competition. And road racing sounds like a blast, even with all the pain. Is road cycling the same way: entering races is the holy grail? Or not too many avid cyclists bother entering races?
I took on cycling thinking I'll only use it as a cardio exercise 4 years ago, but I now race (just a bonafide pack-fodder at the moment)

What I bolded from what you said is important. I've seen some guys who are fast, excellent cyclists but they don't just have that fire burning inside them. You need to have it and you also need to have previous experiences competing in sports.

Just do it. You'll know after your first if you want to do it again. Don't overthink it and just pin a number.
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Old 08-30-15, 06:12 PM
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USA Cycling has less than 50,000 members. Most (40,000) are men.

That includes road, track, mountain, cross.

Around 21 million Americans cycled in 2010. Of those, 3 million rode more than 100 days per year. Approximately 500,000 people did a triathlon in 2013.

Road racers are a very small subset of American cyclists. It is certainly not the end goal for most cyclists. Doing a (non-competitive) century is a far more common goal.
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Old 08-30-15, 06:24 PM
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Some do ... some don't.

I did for 3 years, but it wasn't really my thing. My thing is long distance cycling.

Try it if you want ... it might be your thing. If not, try something else within the wide world of cycling.
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Old 08-30-15, 08:05 PM
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I got into racing years before I got hooked on more general cycling. Racing is fun, takes time especially trips out of your local areas, takes some commitment to training, and experience makes you much better - the more you do it, the more you learn.
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Old 08-30-15, 08:12 PM
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Last year (2014) is my last year of racing.
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Old 08-30-15, 08:53 PM
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I got into it for fitness and that's where I'm at now. My endurance is getting better and I'm going farther on almost every ride, so that's pretty interesting. Its similar to other endurance sports such as running, but imo cycling is more fun. Once I get my endurance up a bit more I plan on doing some group rides, but I have no real ambitions to race, unless I surprise myself.
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Old 08-31-15, 12:00 AM
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All you need to race is a bike and a one-day license. Give it a shot. You may enjoy it.
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Old 08-31-15, 12:29 AM
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Pain and competition, fine. Crashing at speed while wearing spandex and egg cartons, not fine.
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Old 08-31-15, 12:43 AM
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yea man racing is great esp with mates but you don't need an expensive bike to race though there are 80's steel frames with great race geometry cheap too. Racing is more a mentality than equipment, pretty much any road bike with comfortable fit..if it feels great you'll crave to ride it

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Old 08-31-15, 03:57 AM
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Before I consider racing, I'll have to find a club that does beginning group rides, and can provide some training on racing, eventually. Racing isn't the main goal, but doing a race here and there would be a reward for my work. I ride a heck of a lot, but my hybrid isn't fast enough to hang with the road racers.

The reason I asked the question here, is cause I'll see lots of people on bikes here, on low end mountain bikes and beat-up BMX bikes, but the people on road bikes are an intense crowd, covered in lycra and certainly look like they're training for a race.
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Old 08-31-15, 04:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Kertrek View Post
Before I consider racing, I'll have to find a club that does beginning group rides, and can provide some training on racing, eventually. Racing isn't the main goal, but doing a race here and there would be a reward for my work. I ride a heck of a lot, but my hybrid isn't fast enough to hang with the road racers.

The reason I asked the question here, is cause I'll see lots of people on bikes here, on low end mountain bikes and beat-up BMX bikes, but the people on road bikes are an intense crowd, covered in lycra and certainly look like they're training for a race.
Yes. But there are different kinds of Lycra. If you see a group more or less in uniform, they're probably a racing team. They don't always wear it, but in a mixed group or solo, local team kit would be a giveaway - not generic, and without reference to an event - tight jerseys, and matching bib shorts, with distinctive designs and the name(s) or branding of local sponsors, and, often enough, the word 'team' or 'racing' somewhere. Some bike shops sell their own branded jerseys and also sponsor teams, which may make it hard to tell who's who. By the way, don't confuse "Brooklyn" jerseys for local - that refers to a brand of chewing gum and former pro sponsor. Speaking of pro, if they're wearing Movistar, Team Sky or similar pro kit to ride with friends, they're probably not serious racers.
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Old 08-31-15, 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Kertrek View Post
Before I consider racing, I'll have to find a club that does beginning group rides, and can provide some training on racing, eventually. Racing isn't the main goal, but doing a race here and there would be a reward for my work. I ride a heck of a lot, but my hybrid isn't fast enough to hang with the road racers.

The reason I asked the question here, is cause I'll see lots of people on bikes here, on low end mountain bikes and beat-up BMX bikes, but the people on road bikes are an intense crowd, covered in lycra and certainly look like they're training for a race.
90% are not training for a race. Just out riding.
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Old 08-31-15, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
All you need to race is a bike and a one-day license. Give it a shot. You may enjoy it.
^^ This. A racing licence isn't like a marriage licence, you don't have to make any long-term commitment.
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Old 08-31-15, 06:05 AM
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If you want get bike racing experience (and feel pain), enter a mountain bike race. Unlike road racing, the first lap is the fastest. And it's more individual so you can cruise at your own pace. You don't need any experience, in the beginner class no one cares about you having a proper looking "kit" and it's a more chilled out scene. Road racing is group oriented since you want to draft obviously and you need to have some experience in a group. And if you start blowing chunks you don't have the woods to hide you from spectators
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Old 08-31-15, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by KantoBoy View Post
What I bolded from what you said is important. I've seen some guys who are fast, excellent cyclists but they don't just have that fire burning inside them. You need to have it and you also need to have previous experiences competing in sports.
.
My fire burned out when I was 21. Just didn't want to push myself anymore. And anyone racing past 25 yrs of age was just plain old. Now I read of guys well up there in age competing. I'm puzzled by what drives them. But more power to them.

On group rides, at 57 yrs old, I'm a young guy. Gray beards abound. A lot of retired guys, lawyers and doctors.

If you got it in ya, go see what you can do and see what racing is all about.
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Old 08-31-15, 06:44 AM
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Before Lance Armstrong got derailed, he was training for the IronMan Triathlon race. If a Marine is into water sports, that would be the race.
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Old 08-31-15, 07:12 AM
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Most people you see on road bikes never race. Many of them may have tried racing at some point but never stuck with it. A lot never even bothered lining up.

Even on our Saturday hammer ride, only about half the people who show up are actively racing during the year. The other half just like to ride fast.
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Old 08-31-15, 07:17 AM
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If you are racing as a fitness goal & don't mind the travel & entry expenses, racing is a great hobby. I spent a lot of my time riding with friends who did this. I just enjoyed riding, & pushing my abilities. It really depends on your end goal.
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Old 08-31-15, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
My fire burned out when I was 21. Just didn't want to push myself anymore. And anyone racing past 25 yrs of age was just plain old. Now I read of guys well up there in age competing. I'm puzzled by what drives them. But more power to them.

On group rides, at 57 yrs old, I'm a young guy. Gray beards abound. A lot of retired guys, lawyers and doctors.

If you got it in ya, go see what you can do and see what racing is all about.
I didn't start racing until I was in my fifties, quit at 59 only because an injury robbed me of a winter's training and I knew how hard getting back into racing shape would be.

What drove me? Curiosity, I guess. I was riding around 10000 miles a year and knew I was as strong as a lot of the younger guys who were racing, so I took out a licence to see where I stood. And I found that I could hang with the pack in Cat 3/4 crits. Masters 55-59 road races were much harder, those old guys are seriously quick.
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Old 08-31-15, 09:19 AM
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I use racing as a way to check my training progress.

But as others have pointed out, if you group ride with the A group then Cat 5/4 races shouldn't be a problem.

Also, I am looking for an older aluminium bike to race crits with, you don't need an expensive bike to race.
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Old 08-31-15, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Kertrek View Post
I will have enough money together in a couple months for a road bike. Either an entry level Giant or Specialized, and reviews have said they're great for starting out in racing. I've been a musician my whole life and there was a strong push for entering competitions, and serving in the Marines developed a love of physical competition. And road racing sounds like a blast, even with all the pain. Is road cycling the same way: entering races is the holy grail? Or not too many avid cyclists bother entering races?
I think wanting to race is a different mentality. I know some strong group cyclist who have no interest in racing or some that only do Time Trails races where there is less crash opportunity. One of the strongest racers in our group is ex marine. Still weight trains and is a beast.
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