Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have only been riding for about 3 weeks and am just on fire with it, love it. Im 29 yrs old and 6ft 180 lbs. I want to get in shape and start training to race but I really have no idea what the hell I am getting into. for example, I've been riding about 30 miles @ about 18 mph average about everyday. some days are better but this is realistic average. I am athletic in build not fat. I would like to know how to get racing. i know I'm not ready yet but the idea will give me something to shoot for. are all races 50-100 miles? how do they classify you into a group or (crit). most will probably think that I am crazy and shund the idea. where can I start. i live in Palm Desert (palm Springs area) CA, and just need someone to point me in the right path. I bought a trainer and have changed my diet to accomidate my new goals. share stories of your first race experience and also what you did to get involved. Also how long you were riding before you entered your first race. :D
 

·
It's all ball bearings
Joined
·
5,285 Posts
Agreed.

I agree that you should join a local club or go on some sort of group rides, maybe your local shop leads group rides on certain days that you could get into. Also, do some googling and try to find an event schedule for your area. See if there are any organized (non-race) rides and maybe start doing a couple of those, and then maybe if you start progressing quickly with the group riding see if there are any weekly race series that you could maybe get into after that. You'll need solid pack riding skills more than fitness to survive your first Cat 5 race.

Most races in my area are shorter criterium or circuit type races that are 30 miles or less. Longer 80-100 mile races seem to be the exception and are somewhat difficult to come by.
 

·
RoadBikeReview Addict
Joined
·
673 Posts
Did you see the other current post about racing for a beginner? Here's the link:

http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=63689

I agree with other posters re: you need to start group riding (if you're not doing so already) and get comfy riding in tight quaters. Joining your local club is always the best place to start. No, not all races are 50-100 miles. CAT5 races (beginner) are much shorter. Once you get some group rides under your belt you can sign up for a few local CAT5 races. The club you join can probably get you started if you can't find an online race registration site. My first race, in April '04, was a criterium and my goal was to simply finish w/the pack, which I did. I was riding on the road for about a year prior to racing but hadn't joined a club yet, or done any group riding. Rather, I just rode solo to get used to my new road bike and rehab my knee, which I had surgery on in March '03. A year later I joined the local club, did a few club rides, then entered my first race a month later. After that I was hooked. Best of luck to you and feel free to ask any other questions you might have.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
103 Posts
The group ride advice is spot on for starters. IMHO, for your own good and that of your soon to be fellow racers, you absolutely must learn to be comfortable riding in tight packs and make the basics of pack etiquette and bike handling fairly instinctive BEFORE entering your first race. You can't control those who don't do this, but at least you can control yourself and make the experience much more enjoyable (and safer). I just did my first crit (see thread below) and had a great time, but there were some in the race who clearly were uncomfortable with the group and tensed up. Not only did that make them more dangerous, but I suspect it really detracted from the experience.

With this in mind, depending on your background, you might want to start with group rides that have a slower pace so you can ease into the group riding experience. You do not want to learn group riding while on the rivet. After that, start looking for rides that have somewhat of racing bent to them. I don't mean group rides that turn into races, but rather, group rides with racers who may be willing to teach you things like double pacelining, etiquette and the like (with the occasional city limit sprint thrown in for good measure). Start by watching from the back and then work your way into the middle and front once you and the group are comfortable with each other. This may take a few rides, but there will probably be others like you hanging on to the long time regulars, so you you shouldn't be too lonely at the back. If you look around, you might also find a local club with a racing program and rides specifically designed for this purpose.

Oh yeah, don't forget to do solo work as well. I highly recommend that you spend a fair amount of time on cornering. You need to dothis in a pack during a race, but you are best off finding your limits on your own.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
995 Posts
You might also consider

a good book on training such as Joe Friel's "Racers Bible". It explains the building blocks necessary for fitness to race and the concept of "periodization" used by many racers today.
A heart rate monitor is good to have and a power meter even better if you can afford one. I concur with all the advice above. Unlike distance running there is a number of fitness abilities and skills needed to be acquired to race and not get dropped in the parking lot or be a menance to others. Don't get discouraged. Unless you are unusually gifted, it takes time to obtain the fitness, learn how to train and acquire bike skills and racing tactics. Initially,work on group riding, pace lines, and building a base of miles for the spring.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
wow. thanks guys, seriously this time. alot of information! I agree tha I am not ready to race, I also agree on learning how to deal with multiple riders and different riding scenarios. I agree with it all. I am loking for something towards the begining of 07'. As for training I have a feeling that this will be the easy part, the part that seems difficult will be knowing my bounderies in a group and in distribution of my skills as I aquire them. I am a extremist when it comes to everything I do. But with extreme work ethic and comes burnout as well. I find for myself that I need a reason to push myself or I get bored, I am that way with everything I do. That is where racing comes into play, it will give me something to shoot for rather than burning out on " just riding" . competition is fun to me. Just riding is as well but I know when it comes down to it the grinding will help. Thanks to all for the response and all of it will be taken into consideration as I move along to my short term goals. I can relate with the in-experience for sure, just like in any sport , not knowing your limits or the proper etiquettecan really damper the experience for others and eventually yourself. only time will tell. :yesnod:
 

·
It's all ball bearings
Joined
·
5,285 Posts
vic32amg said:
I am a extremist when it comes to everything I do. But with extreme work ethic and comes burnout as well.
Regarding this bit, be aware that one of the most common beginner mistakes is to go too hard too often...overtraining. Get one of the training books that is commonly recommended in this forum (e.g., Friel's Cyclist Training Bible, etc.).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
995 Posts
To add to BenWA's caution

If most of us were not obcessive compulsive we wouldn't be riding! You will be your own worst enemy towards your goal if you are not very careful. Slowly bulid a base to work off of. Then you can do hard work. But-this is the key-when you go hard it has to be really hard for your level of fitness and when you recover with an easy ride(s) it has to be really easy. Going semi hard will get you no where but tired and over trained, and you can't go hard enough to get better. At my advanced years and fitness, especially in this heat, I'm go for two hard days a week. When I was younger I could get in three depending on the types of workouts.. Everything else very easy. The training books recommended will help with all this.
 

·
Scary Teddy Bear
Joined
·
14,801 Posts
Well..

jtferraro said:
Did you see the other current post about racing for a beginner? Here's the link:

http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=63689

I agree with other posters re: you need to start group riding (if you're not doing so already) and get comfy riding in tight quaters. Joining your local club is always the best place to start. No, not all races are 50-100 miles. CAT5 races (beginner) are much shorter. Once you get some group rides under your belt you can sign up for a few local CAT5 races. The club you join can probably get you started if you can't find an online race registration site. My first race, in April '04, was a criterium and my goal was to simply finish w/the pack, which I did. I was riding on the road for about a year prior to racing but hadn't joined a club yet, or done any group riding. Rather, I just rode solo to get used to my new road bike and rehab my knee, which I had surgery on in March '03. A year later I joined the local club, did a few club rides, then entered my first race a month later. After that I was hooked. Best of luck to you and feel free to ask any other questions you might have.
I've only done one race similar situation to yours, I started riding again last september after many years off of a bicycle...Most races are shorter than 50 miles, DEFINITELY second the advice about group riding, there are often several group rides in your area to pick from, make sure you choose a group that is geared towards competition if this is your goal. I try and do one longer group ride on the weekend, and then several 20-30 mile rides during the week with 1-2 days of rest or light riding. You definitely need to get used to pack riding, and not freak out when someone puts their hand on your shoulder or something. ALSO, when you do finally race.....expect to get dropped, the pace is UNBELIEVABLE, even in the cat 5's.....Now that I've done one, I feel like I can prepare better for the next one, but WOW..that pace is eyepopping....and I was doing 18+mph rides of 60-70 miles prior....so just don't be too dejected, it happens to just about everyone the first time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,427 Posts
well, vic..

vic32amg said:
wow. thanks guys, seriously this time. alot of information! I agree tha I am not ready to race, I also agree on learning how to deal with multiple riders and different riding scenarios. I agree with it all. I am loking for something towards the begining of 07'. As for training I have a feeling that this will be the easy part, the part that seems difficult will be knowing my bounderies in a group and in distribution of my skills as I aquire them. I am a extremist when it comes to everything I do. But with extreme work ethic and comes burnout as well. I find for myself that I need a reason to push myself or I get bored, I am that way with everything I do. That is where racing comes into play, it will give me something to shoot for rather than burning out on " just riding" . competition is fun to me. Just riding is as well but I know when it comes down to it the grinding will help. Thanks to all for the response and all of it will be taken into consideration as I move along to my short term goals. I can relate with the in-experience for sure, just like in any sport , not knowing your limits or the proper etiquettecan really damper the experience for others and eventually yourself. only time will tell. :yesnod:

there are plenty of thread on this board in the past few months about newby riders wanting to race...if you've only been riding a few weeks, good for you that you want to test yourself, but honestly don't enter any races quite yet..not at this point in the season. one, it "sounds" like you're in descent physical shape, but racing and riding are two different monsters, trust us. just ride your arse off for a good year and start looking around at group rides and short races next season...maybe join some organized rides late in summer, meet some training partners (trying to not be discouraging here), and just keep at it...your endurance needs to build a bit. some of those on this board who tell newbies not to race right away do it out of safety concerns...if you're not used to handling bikes at 30-35+mph in a tight group situation and freak out when somebody brushes you, a lot of people could get hurt (some seriously) and a lot of equipment could be damaged for no reason other than someones eagerness to race. for all the fun its made out to be, racing is fairly serious at high speeds. If you make a mistake and dont' hurt anyone, believe me those around you will tell you about it in not so nice voice tones.
keep at it, test yourself, and my advice would honestly be, if you want to race this season, do some time trials...they're safe, they're organized, and you still get to compete against yourself and others. I actually perfer them sometimes as its more of an individual effort...and you get to wear crazy looking helmets and ride strange looking bikes..
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
13,151 Posts
Joining a local race club is the best move you could make.

:thumbsup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
no racing this season, I was thinking early next year maybe start with something basic. I totally understand the concern for safety and mannerisms out in the race world. however. I'd like to go to a few maybe watch some, see how the ams go about it. and see how they unfold, in the mean time I will train like an animal and push myself to the fullest. THe local groups I have heard ( from a semi -pro ) are not a good place to learn from because out here they are not very receptive to new comers, I was also told that the ones willing to help are usually the ones who don't know what they are doing. . I will wait and see for myself. if anything I can see what others are doing wrong. as for traviling at high speeds I have been pretty high up there (42 MPH) often with a very small group of friends that have been riding for a while, (well I don't know if 42 MPH is high up there , but for me it is. All this is very exciting to me. I plan on getting invloved locally first, also picking up a couple of books. - thanks for the advice guys and I will definetly take the race thing in small steps, but the training, I will hopefully be making leaps. Im sure all this sounds very " newbie" and that is because i am, and perhaps my excitment gets the best of me also but, I hope to sustain it and build on it.

carry on,

thanks.
 

·
Scary Teddy Bear
Joined
·
14,801 Posts
I

vic32amg said:
no racing this season, I was thinking early next year maybe start with something basic. I totally understand the concern for safety and mannerisms out in the race world. however. I'd like to go to a few maybe watch some, see how the ams go about it. and see how they unfold, in the mean time I will train like an animal and push myself to the fullest. THe local groups I have heard ( from a semi -pro ) are not a good place to learn from because out here they are not very receptive to new comers, I was also told that the ones willing to help are usually the ones who don't know what they are doing. . I will wait and see for myself. if anything I can see what others are doing wrong. as for traviling at high speeds I have been pretty high up there (42 MPH) often with a very small group of friends that have been riding for a while, (well I don't know if 42 MPH is high up there , but for me it is. All this is very exciting to me. I plan on getting invloved locally first, also picking up a couple of books. - thanks for the advice guys and I will definetly take the race thing in small steps, but the training, I will hopefully be making leaps. Im sure all this sounds very " newbie" and that is because i am, and perhaps my excitment gets the best of me also but, I hope to sustain it and build on it.

carry on,

thanks.

would still check out the local group scene yourself, you simply can't learn complex pack riding skills such as pacelines, echelons, etc. from simply watching. I find it hard to believe that these groups would be that unfriendly. Riding around with a couple of friends is VERY different from cruising in a tight pack at 30+mph with your front wheel about 4-6 inches off of the wheel in front of you and guys on either side of so close you can feel their body heat. Good luck.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top