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I wanna race

Old 12-22-21, 08:39 PM
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palisader
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I wanna race

I'm 20 years old, and over the last year have really fell in love with cycling as well as being a bike mechanic. I have played sports my entire life, and am currently a D1 athlete. I have always been super competitive. But now, I want to do something new. I want to race bikes. Any advice?

I live in central North Carolina. I have tried to look for local crits, but none are road based (which is what I want to do). How do I find a race, or even a team to train with? I am pretty athletic, about 200lbs and highly muscular, and really want to find something to do with competitive cycling. Of course I have a ling ways to go, but it seems seriously fun to me.

Thanks!
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Old 12-22-21, 09:00 PM
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Old 12-22-21, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by palisader View Post
I am pretty athletic, about 200lbs and highly muscular ...

Don't do it! You'll end up looking like this ... (click here)



But in all seriousness, find yourself a local cycling club with a racing scene.

Learn from the more experienced riders, train with them, perfect the race craft, refine your bunch skills, etc. Then enter some races!

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Old 12-22-21, 10:10 PM
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Old 12-23-21, 01:42 AM
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IMO the most dangerous thing you can possibly do is be fit and enter a road race with little to no group riding experience. Wheel to wheel racing is a different beast. You will get chopped, divebombed, brake checked, kickbacked, bumped, squeezed, choked, hooked, and god knows what else.

Find a group of racers. You might suffer a bit on the longer rides for like a couple weeks, but if you're a D1 athlete l, you'll be hammering in no time. Learn to predict people's movements, navigate the pack with no brakes and relax. Once you've done a year of that, then join a race. It would be a tragedy if you crashed in your first race and ended up unable to ride for 3-6 months.

Actually... it's unclear from your post whether you're new to cycling or just new to racing. Regardless, find a friendly practice street race first.

If you haven't already, watch some road race videos. Norcal Cycling aka Jeff Linder has some fantastic videos.
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Old 12-23-21, 11:30 AM
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Ask around at your local bike shop/randoms you run into when riding to find out where the racing group rides are. Racing is all about saving energy with drafting and "pack skills" (knowing how to ride in a group) are essential for success and more importantly keeping everyone safe. I don't care how strong you are, If you don't know how to ride in a group you'll get rekt by weaker riders.

goodluck bro. Hope you find a group.
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Old 12-23-21, 11:34 AM
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It depends on what type of D1 athlete you are. Endurance sports and fast twitch athletes are not made for each other. If you're an endurance athlete, go for it. If a fast twitcher, maybe try track cycling or crits.
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Old 12-23-21, 12:50 PM
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Lots of bicycle clubs in NC. Just do a Google search.
Get in touch with them, do some group rides, learn a bit about group riding.
From there:
Bike Races for Beginners |How To Start Bike Racing |… | USA Cycling

and if you really want an event not too far away:

Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System Criterium | PAL Spartanburg
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Old 12-23-21, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
Seconded.

Also, if you're at a D1 school, it will almost certainly have a cycling team. It will probably be a club sport, rather than intercollegiate. Check in with them. There will likely be crits and road races in the spring semester. Also, here's a list of cycling clubs in NC. Looks like several are college clubs. https://legacy.usacycling.org/clubs/c...h.php?state=NC

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Old 12-23-21, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by smashndash View Post
If you haven't already, watch some road race videos. Norcal Cycling aka Jeff Linder has some fantastic videos.
Your warning makes a lot of sense. There are definitely many tactics to the whole racing scheme which I do not understand. But funny enough it's watching Norcal Cycling that really made me want to get into racing. I started biking a little over a year ago, but just have never raced other than with friends during rides.
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Old 12-23-21, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by palisader View Post
Your warning makes a lot of sense. There are definitely many tactics to the whole racing scheme which I do not understand. But funny enough it's watching Norcal Cycling that really made me want to get into racing. I started biking a little over a year ago, but just have never raced other than with friends during rides.
Yeah don't get me wrong. Once you figure out how to ride safely in a pack, there is nothing quite like that rush. I'm just saying the odds are absolutely horrible for you if you're fit and inexperienced. Fit guys can use muscle to stay towards the pointy end of the race and end up jostling against people who are far, far more experienced than them.
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Old 12-23-21, 04:24 PM
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Well maybe one day instead of your title saying " I wanna race " you can make one that says "I won a race"

The mechanics at one of our bikes shops go to some amateur competitions. Mostly gravel and mtn bike. You might ask at some of your local bike shops and find some local people that actually do go to competitions. There is or was a amateur road bike team for a local company near me. So ask around locally and you might find something.
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Old 12-23-21, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by palisader View Post
I'm 20 years old, and over the last year have really fell in love with cycling as well as being a bike mechanic. I have played sports my entire life, and am currently a D1 athlete. I have always been super competitive. But now, I want to do something new. I want to race bikes. Any advice?

I live in central North Carolina. I have tried to look for local crits, but none are road based (which is what I want to do). How do I find a race, or even a team to train with? I am pretty athletic, about 200lbs and highly muscular, and really want to find something to do with competitive cycling. Of course I have a ling ways to go, but it seems seriously fun to me.

Thanks!
Then you're horrible at looking. Herbalife and Dixie ran all summer long this year, probably 20 races total between the two series. Yearly Winston Salem host both the UCI pro race and the amateur crit downtown. Johnson City runs an omnium. There's usually a winter Ace Speedway crit series. They usually hold a crit the same weekend as NCSU or UNC host their road race. Either downtown Durham or at Dix park in Raleigh. Or the regional USAC TT champs down near Fayetteville yearly. You have to get over crits not being "road based". The Herbalife crit is in such a big industrial park that it's a lot better event than some crap 4-corner downtown crit with haybales in front of all the streetlights to keep you from dying. So, it isn't on a road but is better than a road crit.

Not to mention part of roadie life is doing cyclocross racing in the off season of which there have been at least 7 races this season just between Pittsboro and the park at Dix in Raleigh. State wide dozens per cross season. IMO folks ain't a roadie if they don't hone their skills at cross come fall.

Next up, I don't care how fast you are. You need to go ride with a slow paceline group first for a few months regularly to get the group skills honed. Not the Crankarm critical mass or the Raleigh Brewing segment hunting mess. A disciplined paceline group. Then move up to the faster group. Then move up to trying a race. Don't the d-bag that enters a crit after Zwifting all winter and wipes out half the field on the first lap sending them to the hospital.

I've seen some 200lb dudes at events, but haven't seen one on a podium. So there's that. I'd get that to a very Fillipo Ganna sized 180.

So, if I were you:
-lookup the Gyros, go ride their B-group rides for a few months, Tony can introduce himself and show you the basics of group riding. Tony is a great guy. He'll talk to you the first ride through the names of all the types of lines, for cruising or races. Show how they work and what to do. And watch you do it for whichever the group does that day.
-next up there are really two acceptable weeknight worlds in central NC.....the key to good practice and free to try things without getting dropped in a race you paid to do....the P-ride out of Carrboro and the Team Spoke Thurs Night Worlds out of Wake Forest. The ISO Sports ride in Cary is a cluster of weird combo of roadies and triathletes on tri bikes on the same ride and they fancy themselves a hammer ride. But it's not. The Raleigh Brewing a-group is a solid workout but is not a weeknight worlds. Nobody knows how to really rotate or work together and in town you can't run lights and stuff and die. I do the Spoke Worlds once a month and then do our "club run time trial" twice a month in Raleigh when it's daylight and warmer.

Most teams in the area take all skill levels, but do expect you to have the skills to enter races (and wear the sponsor's kit) by having the requisite bike handling skills to enter those races. So approach teams after doing lots of the other stuff up there first, and probably even trying a race or two first. They'll ask you lots of interview questions to see if you're teachable and will stick around.
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Old 12-23-21, 06:46 PM
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My son discovered road racing in college. The local bike shop provided a connection with the collegiate cycling team. They went to races and had a blast and never crashed. He continues to race and has had only a few crashes due to his own negligence and ignorance. He does admit he prefers track racing to crits as it fits his body type more closely. 230+ pounds, and cranks out huge watts but only for short distance.
He really enjoys long training rides, and minimalist bike camping using gravel roads.
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Old 12-24-21, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
Then you're horrible at looking
Lol

Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
I've seen some 200lb dudes at events, but haven't seen one on a podium. So there's that. I'd get that to a very Fillipo Ganna sized 180.
My inspiration is maybe Magnus Backstedt, but he has over 5 inches on me. Maybe benching 225 isn't going to help me much in the cycling world.

I really appreciate the advice!!
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Old 12-29-21, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
Then you're horrible at looking.
I was going to say something similar. Just look harder. There are plenty of crits in the central NC area during the summer.
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Old 12-29-21, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
Wow, I remember that thread.
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Old 12-29-21, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by palisader View Post
Lol


My inspiration is maybe Magnus Backstedt, but he has over 5 inches on me. Maybe benching 225 isn't going to help me much in the cycling world.

I really appreciate the advice!!
A friend raced crits and flat-ish road races as a cat3 for several years. He was usually 265 pounds or higher. He played college football and was extremely muscular. He didn't win any cat 3 races but he enjoyed the racing. He was a beast of a rider on club rides, as long as there wasn't a ton of climbing.

Another ex college lineman I rode with became quite good at track racing locally.
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Old 01-01-22, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by smashndash View Post
IMO the most dangerous thing you can possibly do is be fit and enter a road race with little to no group riding experience. Wheel to wheel racing is a different beast. You will get chopped, divebombed, brake checked, kickbacked, bumped, squeezed, choked, hooked, and god knows what else.

Find a group of racers. You might suffer a bit on the longer rides for like a couple weeks, but if you're a D1 athlete l, you'll be hammering in no time. Learn to predict people's movements, navigate the pack with no brakes and relax. Once you've done a year of that, then join a race. It would be a tragedy if you crashed in your first race and ended up unable to ride for 3-6 months.

Actually... it's unclear from your post whether you're new to cycling or just new to racing. Regardless, find a friendly practice street race first.

If you haven't already, watch some road race videos. Norcal Cycling aka Jeff Linder has some fantastic videos.
This.
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Old 01-03-22, 12:32 PM
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I hate the internet hand wringing that comes along with "thinking" about racing. It's kind of what's killing our sport.

It's a bike race. You're not signing up to parachute behind enemy lines with only 1 chance to save the free world. Read the racing thread on the racing forum here. It's got a lot of advice.

I put together a long video covering a lot of the stuff that no one actually covers online regarding the specifics of how to get to a race and what to do whenyou get there. Everyone is always so focused on the racing part. Worth a check although COVID protocols have changed a lot of how this happens now with regard to registration and number pickup.

BUT.... I say it every year: the best laid plans of deep winter are destroyed as soon as the first races start. Meaning most people who "think" about racing do it about this time of year and somehow they find something else to do when it comes time to actually do it. I implore you to not do that. You obviously have an interest. Give it a try. Local teams and clubs will help but you don't need to find them before trying it. Never fail but the first race I do in any area is how I make my next best friends in that area.

Do it.

Race. Try it.
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Old 01-03-22, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
I hate the internet hand wringing that comes along with "thinking" about racing. It's kind of what's killing our sport.
I agree with that. We worry about failure then never do anything.

I will say though, folks do not care for the chopper showing up with a year of Zwifting under their belt and causing a pileup while divebombing a corner or chickening out and taking out half the group.

I agree, don't think about it........go do it. But dear God in heaven, some group riding skills are part of "Just Do It".
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Old 01-03-22, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
I agree with that. We worry about failure then never do anything.

I will say though, folks do not care for the chopper showing up with a year of Zwifting under their belt and causing a pileup while divebombing a corner or chickening out and taking out half the group.

I agree, don't think about it........go do it. But dear God in heaven, some group riding skills are part of "Just Do It".
That's why the first post in the "Thinking about racing" thread referenced above includes this progression:

1. Find some group rides, fast group rides. Sit in the back.
2. Don't get discouraged if/when you get dropped from those group rides.
3. Go back the following week and do the fast group ride again.
4. If you're dropped a 2nd time, repeat steps 2 & 3
5. Once you're comfortable with the group and pace (and vice versa), take some pulls.
6. Once you're comfortable taking pulls, try some attacks (if it's that kind of group ride).
7. Once you're comfortable with steps 5 & 6, it's time to enter a race.
8. At your first race, repeat steps 1-6, but substitute 'race' for 'group ride'.
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Old 01-03-22, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
I agree with that. We worry about failure then never do anything.

I will say though, folks do not care for the chopper showing up with a year of Zwifting under their belt and causing a pileup while divebombing a corner or chickening out and taking out half the group.

I agree, don't think about it........go do it. But dear God in heaven, some group riding skills are part of "Just Do It".
I don't disagree completely but I'd posit that times have changed. Let me see if I can summarize what I am thinking:

1. Group rides are not as easy to find as they used to be. In our continually more "disconnected by constant connection" world is resulting in fewer group rides than before and with current ongoing covid issues fewer and fewer people are wanting to "try" group rides now. While I personally returned my group ride back to a thing that happens last year I know of about 4 other group rides that were in the same area that have disappeared completely or become impossible to find out about. Finding groups used to be a lot easier - go into a shop and talk to people about racing. Right now most other shops in the area don't race, have a team or club, or sometimes even know about racing anymore. We do and thankfully a lot of shops send wannabe racers with questions over to us. ...but this all depends on that racer being extroverted enough to seek out the information and knowledge first hand and be willing to travel to shops that might not be next door to learn about this underground "group riding" thing.

2. New racers are "Novice" *cough "cat 5" Cough*. There's always a bunch of people who say, " folks do not care for the chopper showing up with a year of Zwifting under their belt and causing a pileup while divebombing a corner or chickening out and taking out half the group." or something along those lines. Reality of the situation though is that usually the people that complain about that aren't racing in any category that has "novice" racers in it. The other Novice racers get used to it pretty quickly or get used to seeing and identifying it quickly. Those of us "Pro" cat 4's who are continuously grouped in with Novice/5's just live with the inevitability that this is what happens from time to time. The reality of the situation seems to play out that there are few instances where it actually happens in novice/5 races. It seems to happen way more frequently in the crash 3's - enough power to have won some races off the front yet still young, dumb and invincible enough to think they need to stick their nose in where it doesn't fit.

3. Because Novice racing is such a crap shoot there is such a huge variation of abilities in the same field. You may have a zwifted out the yinyang newb who can develop insane power but can't handle their bike.... and if he doesn't crash himself in the first corner then he's going to be so far off the front that his handling isn't an issue. Just as frequently you can have someone that can't handle their bike but is popped or off the back almost instantly. I've also watched people who raced for years who just can't handle their bikes as well.

So I guess I would posit that while group riding skills seem like a no-brainer, it's no longer so much of a pre-requisite as more of "on the job" skill training that is picked up by most fairly quickly and the risk that doing that poses isn't nearly as large as what people want to remember, think of, or get nostalgic about. I mean let's get real here - these fields are so much smaller than most realize. We spend so much time on the internet trying using tactics of fear in some sort of twisted "scared straight" style of knowledge campaign that it becomes a sort of form of gatekeeping.

In its current form I can not remember a time during my life where racing has been as safe as it is now. We can point fingers at causes. Less people racing - better courses - more training, whatever. I personally have had to fill out fewer post event forms. Seen less ambulance calls, etc. It is imperative that we really step out and grab anyone who even remotely expresses an interest in racing and get them to toe the line. I think we need to drop most of the obstacles or realize that the fears we have just aren't as bad now as they used to be.

All this said - if someone reading this is thinking about racing and has time to kill and doesn't get too overloaded with information and get discouraged then by all means please go read the thread in the racing forum. There is so much great information out there. Don't let it get to you though. At the end of the day you're just a person riding a bike. You want to test yourself then YES - do it.
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Old 01-03-22, 04:25 PM
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Get some medical insurance.

You'll be starting at Category 5, which is the beginner level. Course and race dependent, there can be crashes, as you are in a sometimes big groups of riders with beginner skill levels. Shave your legs and arms, it helps prevent bad skin injuries as you slide across the asphalt.
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Old 01-04-22, 07:37 AM
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A Cat 6 race should be super easy to find.
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