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getting into women's road racing....

speckybeckyspeckybecky Posts: 83
edited August 2008 in Pro race
So I had a failed attempt at my first road race at the weekend (The Wasp in south wales) but was quite happy to even finish, averaging just over 19mph on a hilly 71 mile circuit in the rain. There were only 3 girls in the field of about 80, one of which was Jess Allen (olympic development squad) the other girl gave up after 2 laps. We averaged over 25mph in the first 10 miles, after which I got dropped so I pretty much did a 60 mile time trial.

My question is, how fit do I have to be to race, and what sort of pace to women's road races normally go at?

I don't know any other female racers so it is hard to guage whether I am fit enough, and I am certainly not fit enough to keep up with 1st/2nd cat men!!

I have joined a club, but I am the only female member and they are all really quick! I've started doing their TTs and have been knocking time off each week, I am now doing a 25min07sec 10 and hope to drop to below 25min before the end of the season (2 weeks time).

Any advice/comments gratefully received!!!




  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    Talk about in at the deep end - a 71 mile road race for your first event sounds pretty tough - most people start with a 4th cat only 30 miler and work their way up! :shock: Well done on finishing it anyway. To be honest, most people probably get dropped in their first race so don't be hard on yourself.

    AFAIK, there aren't very many women's only races on the calendar, but you can ride any Cat 3/4 races with the blokes (no matter what category you actually are). Think I'm right in saying that women can ride LVRC races even if you are not over 40. This doesn't mean it'll be that much easier, but maybe just a little.

    Your 10 time certainly sounds in the ballpark for what I'd expect of a 4th cat / low 3rd cat so I think you'd be ok in a 3/4. As I always say, it's not the speed per se but the variations in speed that can see beginners struggling.

    Keep riding races and you'll find it gets easier each time to handle the pace.

    Good luck.
  • Thanks for your comments Bronzie. I knew I was jumping in at the deepest of deep ends but the race wasn't that far from home and I thought that if I wanted to get involved in any this season this could be my only opportunity. I knew it would be fast and was fully expecting to get dropped (if only hoping by some miracle that I wouldn't!). It is a pity that when people get dropped from the pack they just give up, and don't even use the ride as training, as it gave me no indication of how far off the mark I am. Also, as there were so few girls entered I still have no idea how I might match up against other girls.

    It is all experience and I'll just have to work hard during the winter!
  • andypandyp Posts: 8,859
    If you are doing 25 minute 10s then you are probably fit enough to finish a road race. What you are probably lacking at the moment is the ability to keep your position in the bunch and not end up drifting towards the back where, unfortunately, the weaker riders congregate and you end up getting dropped.

    When I started racing I was fortunate enough to be able to do a weekly evening race on a closed circuit which gave me the opportunity to learn a hell of a lot about racing in a bunch in a short space of time. If you can find something similar locally to you then I'd wholeheartedly recommend you start going next season. I'm guessing you are not that far from Castle Combe? They used to have a weekly evening race although I'm not sure if they still do?

    Starting racing can be soul destroying as you've done all that hard training and know you are very close to be good enough but get dropped in races. It's easy to give up but if you can stick at it one day it'll all click and you'll finish with the group. From that day on you'll find it a lot easier. It sounds like you're not far from that point so I'd recommend you do as many races as you can in what is left of this season then concentrate on having a good winter so you're raring to go next year.
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