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So I road my road bike by myself for a while, then got the tri bug. I have been doing that for about 2 years now. I really love biking and want to understand how the road bike racing works. I don't really understand the lingo or race events. What would a newbie start racing in? For triathlons there is the sprint races and Olympic. What would be the equivalent, or is there. Thanks for the help.

Eric
 

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classiquesklassieker
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EricMPeterson said:
So I road my road bike by myself for a while, then got the tri bug. I have been doing that for about 2 years now. I really love biking and want to understand how the road bike racing works. I don't really understand the lingo or race events. What would a newbie start racing in? For triathlons there is the sprint races and Olympic. What would be the equivalent, or is there. Thanks for the help.

Eric
In the US, there are categories for amateurs, starting from 5 ('cat 5') all the way up to 1 ('cat 1').

To move up from 5 to 4 you just have to start 10 mass start races and not die. Other upgrades require you to earn points, etc.

For the full glorious detail, look in the USA Cycling website or whichever federation is in your country. Sign up for a race license, and you'll automatically be considered whatever the lowest cat is.

Before you jump into racing, it will be very good for you (and other racers) if you do some group riding first.
 

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Alaska Mike said:
If you've got the engine, jump in with both feet
Nothing is worse than a rider with more speed than skill.

If you don't have experience doing hard and fast group rides, start doing them before you get into racing. Jumping into racing without group riding experience and mediocre bike handling skills is a good way to get yourself and others injured.
 

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Your first race is definitely going to be the hardest - simply because it uses a different level of exertion on your legs. For the most part, you will be taking it fairly easy when riding in the pack (about 90% of the time), but then you will have to accelerate fairly hard and fast. If you are just coming from a solo riding experience you will not be used to this and it will drain you very very hard.

Best thing to learn to road race is as follows:
1) learn group riding skills and get confident riding shoulder to shoulder with someone even through turns
2) Find a short circuit that you can do a lap every 3-4 minutes and at every corner sprint as hard as you can. Do this for about 45mins-1 hour.
3) Learn to stay in the drops and stay in control. This will help prevent your bars from getting tangled with another riders bars. The worst accidents I have ever seen racing have been because of tangled bars - typically in a sprint or a turn.


If you get dropped on your first race don't sweat it - it happens. Don't expect to win your first race. I train religiously and I got lapped on my first crit simply because I made one bad turn and couldn't catch the group (although I managed to stay within 15 feet of the end of the group for 10 full laps).
 

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Alaska Mike said:
+ 5 billion. Great book that lays everything out for you. Read it first, then do some group rides first, unless you want to stick with TTs, to apply the skills/techniques/best practices, the try a race. Most racing in the US is criterium, 30 minutes plus of unfiltered pain with 50 guys elbow to elbow. Unless you are off the back, and then it is a time trial.
 

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Pack Fodder.
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oroy38 said:
Nothing is worse than a rider with more speed than skill.

If you don't have experience doing hard and fast group rides, start doing them before you get into racing. Jumping into racing without group riding experience and mediocre bike handling skills is a good way to get yourself and others injured.
Probably true, but not everyone has access to group rides- at least ones suitable as training for a race. Around here, the teams are about the only ones that do group rides, and even they don't do them with any real frequency. None of the shops sponsor group rides, and the informal ones don't ever seem to get off the ground. Lots of races (and charity ride, populaires, randonneuring, triathalons...) though, relative to the number of active racers we have.

You never know what you're going to get in a Cat5 race. I've seen WalMart cruisers, fixies, dedicated touring or commute bikes (racks still attached), and all sorts of other bikes line up for races, and racers of all shapes and sizes in varying levels of fitness and ability. Some hang, some don't, some ride off the front- entry level classes are notoriously unpredictable, which is why I don't suggest people do crits as their first race unless that's all that's readily available.

Situations vary.
 

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Heh, never actually occurred to me that there were places with a complete void of local group rides. Can't say I've ever seen that sort of stuff show up at races since I'm rather spoiled riding/racing in SoCal. Maybe you should contact some of the shops and see if they'd set something up? If they can get the local teams in on it, that's a pretty big group already.
 

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Pack Fodder.
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The mountain biking scene is probably the majority of riders here. The Arctic Bicycle Club's touring division generally serves as the group ride for those that are into it, but they are by no means hammerfests. Mostly groups are limited to a couple friends who get out there on an informal basis. Attempts by individuals to get a group tegether usually fail to get off the ground.

The shops haven't really gotten into the group ride thing. It might be scheduling or liability issue, or they feel like the ABC takes care of that role. Who knows? Usually the first time racers ride in a group is during a race, and the basics are either explained to them as they go (drafting, taking a pull...) or they learn through osmosis. By the time they upgrade to a higher class, they usually have the basics figured out. The classes for each race are usually fairly small, so the danger is reduced quite a bit.
 

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Some good resources are local races to see what happens,local teams to network with other riders relating to rides, USAC for all racing info,Versus channel to learn tactics during pro races.
 
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