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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's my situation;
I have been riding for a couple years now, at first primarily as a cross training tool for rowing. My rowing career has now ended, and I would like to try some racing on the bike. I am not someone who is ever going to be a very competitive racer in terms of climbing up in the cats (I am 6'3" and weigh in at a little over 200lbs). I am, however, a very competitive and fit person (8 years of competitive rowing including 3 national titles) and i need something to vent some of my energy towards. Any advice that anyone out there has in terms of what I should look for in the first few races I enter or what I need to do to get ready to race (in terms of paperwork etc, not so much training advice) would be really appreciated.

I appologize in advance if this is all stuff I should have been able to figure out from past threads. I scanned around and couldn't find much that I felt really pinned down my situation.
 

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Where are you? Best bets are:

1. Find fast local group ride, get your race-pace chops, ask those folks where to find the local race calendar.
2. Look for local low key twilight/unsanctioned races. Again, a great place to cut your teeth.
3. Once ready to really race, you'll mandatorily start as a Cat 5. You don't need an annual license -- you can buy a one day, usually at the race. Check out www.usacycling.org for the rules, licensing guidelines, and local race calendar (though the USAC calendar is often incomplete).
4. Don't discount yourself. Big dudes who can make big watts can do really well in timetrials and crits... just as you say, not so well in hilly road races. If you are in Colorado, you're probably going to have a tougher time than if you are in Florida.
 

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rowers, generally speaking, make exceptional cyclists. I knew a guy who was a rower (okay, he was a former Olympian, etc.) who could climb on a bike just sort of every once in a while and kill everybody.
don't, however, discount pack riding skills. get group riding experience, which is as close as you're going to get, or you'll be a danger to yourself and others. it's as close as you're going to get, but it's still not the same. there are reasons entirely unrelated to strength that Cat 5 fields are limited to 50 and that you must put in your time as a Cat 5 before getting into bigger fields.
 

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Group = Pack Skills

bill said:
...get group riding experience...
The local group will help you learn the skills you need beyond speed and endurance. They will also be able to help you evaluate when you are ready for your first race. The group will know which races in your area will suit the strengths they have observed in your riding. It is always nice to see a familiar face at a race even if they are not in your category or are your competition.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks a lot for the advice. One of the guys in the group i usually ride with, a close friend of mine, raced a lot as a Jr. about 5-10 years ago. He has been a huge help w/ helping me with my comfort working pacelines etc. I will take your advice and jump in with some other groups in the area over the next month or so to get a better feeling for riding with packs I am unfamiliar with. Thanks, again!
 
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