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NYC/Brooklyn Road Cycling Newbie

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

NYC/Brooklyn Road Cycling Newbie

Old 02-06-06, 10:42 AM
  #1  
zipgunII
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NYC/Brooklyn Road Cycling Newbie

Hello all,
I have been spending the last 4-5 months getting aquainted with my newly aquired road racer (Its not new, its a cannondale r1000 from 2001, and I love it dearly). I have been riding at every opportunity around prospect park, and I have been doing 2 days a week of spin at the local ballys. I have also been doing computrainer at citycoach.org once a week. I've lost some 20 pounds (5'8", 160 lbs, 35 years old) and I feel great. So great in fact, that I am thinking of taking the next step and getting formally involved in competitive racing. specifically, I have a new years resolution of participating in at least 1 mass start race this coming spring. So my question is, what to do next. The guy at city coach has been teaching me pedalling techniques, but I don't know anyone in the community, and I still need to develop my skills/strength/endurance. I'm thinking of joining a cycling club to help with these things, but I'm not sure which one is best for someone like me. Any advice for this newbie is greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-06-06, 10:49 AM
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Check out these websites which provide details surrounding the NYC racing scene:

www.nyvelocity.com
www.kissena.info/index.html

There are likely others, but these give some information regarding local races.
Hope it helps!
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Old 02-06-06, 10:51 AM
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This one will give lots of information about upcoming events around the country.

www.bikereg.com
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Old 02-06-06, 11:10 AM
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join a club, get your license, and do the spring series in CP in march, or PP in april.
http://www.metropolitancycling.com/Sche.html

if that's too much too soon, then join CRCA and do the CRCA club races in CP.
http://www.crca.net/racesarch/schedule.htm


Originally Posted by zipgunII
Hello all,
I have been spending the last 4-5 months getting aquainted with my newly aquired road racer (Its not new, its a cannondale r1000 from 2001, and I love it dearly). I have been riding at every opportunity around prospect park, and I have been doing 2 days a week of spin at the local ballys. I have also been doing computrainer at citycoach.org once a week. I've lost some 20 pounds (5'8", 160 lbs, 35 years old) and I feel great. So great in fact, that I am thinking of taking the next step and getting formally involved in competitive racing. specifically, I have a new years resolution of participating in at least 1 mass start race this coming spring. So my question is, what to do next. The guy at city coach has been teaching me pedalling techniques, but I don't know anyone in the community, and I still need to develop my skills/strength/endurance. I'm thinking of joining a cycling club to help with these things, but I'm not sure which one is best for someone like me. Any advice for this newbie is greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-06-06, 11:28 AM
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You sure you're ready to race? Can you lap Prospect Park in under 8 mins.?
Check the 5 boro bike club. They probably have members that race and can help you w/ that stuff. Good luck!
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Old 02-06-06, 02:37 PM
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You do realized that in order to lap prospect in under 8 mins you would have to average over 25mph right
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Old 02-06-06, 02:43 PM
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I'm in a very similar situation to you, Zipgun. I'm 34, 150lbs, and biking around Prospect Park about the same amount as you (maybe less). And I've also committed to racing this year.

But yeah, I'm also having some difficulties getting into this racing thing.

First, finding time to train. I work 70+ hour weeks, and often cannot ride to work because I have morning meetings in which I need to look (and smell) good. I'll just have to work less I guess.

Second, I find it a little hard to step up to the "riding with others" thing, at least in Prospect Park. I do have experience riding in a paceline from back in my teenage years, but I frankly think it's enormously irresponsible to ride in a pack in Prospect Park during normal hours when children are also wandering around on the road. I also think it's incredibly lame to draft behind strangers. Because of this, I have little to no recent comfort or experience drafting -- but I have plenty of experience time trialing all alone!

Joining a club would be a good idea for me, I guess, but I'm a little intimidated by the local clubs since they all seem to be so cliquey, totally-race-oriented, and totally hardcore (i.e., they seem to all be cat 2s with no cat-5 bush leaguers). I tried contacting the Kissena guys last fall, and they invited me on a training ride that was a lot of fun (and damned hard), but I still felt like I was out of my league and holding them back.


You sure you're ready to race? Can you lap Prospect Park in under 8 mins.?
By my quick calculation, that's about a 23 mph average. I can already do that by myself... but then afterwards I'd be completely exhausted. Is that really a good measure of what it takes to start off as a Cat-5 racer? I hope not!!!

-Cf
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Old 02-06-06, 02:47 PM
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You do realized that in order to lap prospect in under 8 mins you would have to average over 25mph right
****, you're right. I definitely can't do that!!

-Cf
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Old 02-06-06, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by zipgunII
You do realized that in order to lap prospect in under 8 mins you would have to average over 25mph right
Remember, the Thursday night racers can do 8 min. laps or less on fixed gear bikes. And they run multi-lap races. Road racing's different though so you probably won't have to race like that.
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Old 02-06-06, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by jyossarian
Remember, the Thursday night racers can do 8 min. laps or less on fixed gear bikes. And they run multi-lap races. Road racing's different though so you probably won't have to race like that.
but in a pack, no? I don't think you need to solo over 25 mph to run in a Cat5 race. If so, I'm in big trouble, cuz I just got my USCF license and plan to do a bunch of races this year. If I push, I will get around the park at a 5 lap avg. of just over 20mph alone.

and, askrom, the hard riding is best done early. Not until after 10 do the parents and kiddies start clogging the paths.
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Old 02-06-06, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by askrom
I'm a little intimidated by the local clubs since they all seem to be so cliquey, totally-race-oriented, and totally hardcore (i.e., they seem to all be cat 2s with no cat-5 bush leaguers). I tried contacting the Kissena guys last fall, and they invited me on a training ride that was a lot of fun (and damned hard), but I still felt like I was out of my league and holding them back.
Yeah - I got a couple of somewhat icy responses myself. Kissena and BVF both just kinda said "hey we'll give you a heads up when we do a group ride and you can join", or "say hi to one of us when you're out riding", but no real indication that they're interested in helping a racing newb develop, or even an invitation to join. I decided to just get my USCF license and race unattached this season to see what develops.
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Old 02-06-06, 03:37 PM
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Or real late. I usually try to get in the park around 8:00 - 9:00 pm or later. its gonna be a little tougher this week on the count of the weather though. askrom, where did you learn how to draft? pacceline? and are you thinking of joining a club?
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Old 02-06-06, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr_Super_Socks
but in a pack, no?
Yup, I think they ride in pacelines. Pretty damn fast pacelines. I think the best lap times were around 7:30.
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Old 02-06-06, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by jyossarian
I think the best lap times were around 7:30.
Ouch. I am imagining myself in the tub after a race, nursing rubbery legs, being happy I only got lapped once . . .

Last edited by Mr_Super_Socks; 02-06-06 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 02-06-06, 03:58 PM
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26.8 mph! hard to believe! especially doing more than 1 lap!
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Old 02-06-06, 05:35 PM
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Or real late. I usually try to get in the park around 8:00 - 9:00 pm or later. its gonna be a little tougher this week on the count of the weather though. askrom, where did you learn how to draft? pacceline? and are you thinking of joining a club?
I learned a little drafting just by riding with other racers in Pennsylvania when I was a teenager. It's not that hard, you'll pick it up.

I work such insane hours at my job (I own a web design business) that it's really hard for me to make the time to get up early or arrive late for training. After a 5 (sometimes 6 day) week of 12 hour days, I get pretty beat, and can't afford the time anyway. Need to share what little quality time I have with my wife, too!

But, that said, I'll try to change my ways AND I will try to join a club. I have NO idea which one to join. One that has a flexible schedule!!
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Old 02-06-06, 06:44 PM
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Kissena and CRCA has an open door membership policy. You can join up if you want. CRCA has a lot of sub teams but their membership policy is pretty much through invitation only. If you can ask and show up on their team ride to see if you are the kind of riders they want to have on their teams. With Kissena, you have to make the effort to be riding and racing as part of the team. The team ride is on Sunday, like most NYC teams. You will meet all the "senior" members there who most likely represent Kissena throughout the entire season. Only few who has no lives outside of work other than racing and training. The rest of the guys all have family and other obligations.



Originally Posted by askrom
I learned a little drafting just by riding with other racers in Pennsylvania when I was a teenager. It's not that hard, you'll pick it up.

I work such insane hours at my job (I own a web design business) that it's really hard for me to make the time to get up early or arrive late for training. After a 5 (sometimes 6 day) week of 12 hour days, I get pretty beat, and can't afford the time anyway. Need to share what little quality time I have with my wife, too!

But, that said, I'll try to change my ways AND I will try to join a club. I have NO idea which one to join. One that has a flexible schedule!!
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Old 02-06-06, 07:08 PM
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Hey R600 - can you give me a heads up for the next team ride? I'd like to see where/if I fit in? I am definitely committed to riding and racing this season and I'm not convinced that riding unattached is my best bet. Does one have to commit to a certain number of races?
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Old 02-06-06, 07:19 PM
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If I remember correctly, the average speed for the Cat. 4 races in Prospect were well over 26mph when I last did those races in the late 90s. I wouldn't worry much about being able to maintain that average as you're pretty much getting pulled along by the pack. The problem is a lot of guys sat in the pack and waited for the sprint at the end, so if you want to go it alone off the front, you would have to be able to push a bit faster than the average. My advice for the beginner racers is to get comfortable with bumping in the middle of the pack and learn to go in a straight line over those manhole covers and potholes that litters that road in the park. Oh, and don't overlap wheels!
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Old 02-06-06, 07:41 PM
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Check your private message. Is an open door race club (could be bad or good). There is no number of races requirement. If you want to be a hardcore racer, I am sure you can find other like minded riders within the club.

Originally Posted by Mr_Super_Socks
Hey R600 - can you give me a heads up for the next team ride? I'd like to see where/if I fit in? I am definitely committed to riding and racing this season and I'm not convinced that riding unattached is my best bet. Does one have to commit to a certain number of races?
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Old 02-06-06, 08:42 PM
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Hi R600, can you tell me about a team ride too? Thanks!
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Old 02-06-06, 09:13 PM
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check your private message.

Originally Posted by askrom
Hi R600, can you tell me about a team ride too? Thanks!
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Old 02-06-06, 11:26 PM
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If you want to race - I suggest you join a club - Kissena.info can give you details about their program and is run by my friends Eric Ragot and JP Partland. Both great guys. Alternatively, the CRCA is here in Manhattan and is a great club and they got new kits made by our sponsor Champion System - nice kits I might add. The CRCA (Century Road Club of America) host weekly races, usually saturdays in the park only to club members. And they also host a number of open races a year which include the Harriman Road Race and my favorite the Harlem Crit. Web addres for CRCA is www.crca.net.

For race listings - check out www.racelistings.com and www.bikereg.com. Alternatively you can check out Active or Sportsbaseonline.com

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