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Advice needed - Starting out in amateur club riding/racing.

chris_kingchris_king Posts: 30
edited October 2010 in Amateur race
Hi all,

have just completed a BHF 60 mile ride. Ended up being 65 miles due to a diversion on the route needed as road bikes dont like going off road!

Had done around 150 miles training up to the event, mainly small rides of 10 miles with a 40 mile ride 2 Sundays ago. My Bianchi has been faultless, and after adjusting everything is even better.

Thing is, i've really got the bug now! On the 65 mile ride I didn't want to stop, and had to break away from the group I was riding with in the last 5 miles as I had a good pace and didn't want to slow.

I'd like to get into some club riding and racing in the new year. Nothing too competetive. How do I go about this? I'm from the Ashford area and often see cyclists about, mainly on the Ashford to Rye road.

if anyone can shed some light on wheres the best place to start, and what sort of events I should be looking at trying, that would be great.

Cheers, Chris.

Posts

  • SBezzaSBezza Posts: 2,173
    Chris

    You could try Ashford Wheelers, I am sure they do all sorts of riding. I know some of the members do racing as well.

    http://www.ashfordwheelerscc.com/

    San Fairy Ann CC is another one, though based in Maidstone, we have club rides from Marden.

    http://www.sanfairyanncc.co.uk/

    For events there are always sportives, but if you want to race, in Spring/Summer you can do club evening TT's, or if you would prefer road racing, there are plenty of events in Kent and London.
  • JackPozziJackPozzi Posts: 1,191
    I reckon now is a pretty good time of year to start riding with a club, I think my club is fairly typical in that our most of our 'racing' cyclists have finished racing at weekends and started doing the sunday club runs. They're reasonably paced now and build up in speed as we get closer to the new season, so it's easier to start now rather than wait until the pace goes up!

    If you look on the British Cycling website there is a club finder facility which should give you some idea of what you've got locally, look at their websites and go on a couple of their runs, find out which one you like the most. I'm sure that once you join a club, the members will be happy to help you find out about the local racing scene, and offer encouragement and other advice along the way
  • ProssPross Posts: 25,334
    Chris, I replied to your post on the Beginners Forum but in case you haven't seen it it's pretty much as the others have said but:-
    The best place to start is to call a few clubs and maybe try out their club runs before deciding which to opt for. Have a look on the British Cycling find a club page here http://new.britishcycling.org.uk/clubfinder

    It's not my part of the world so I don't know any of the clubs down there but maybe Ashford Wheelers http://www.ashfordwheelerscc.com/

    In the first instance I would look at getting out regularly on winter club runs which will build your base stamina and get you used to riding in a group. You could also try a few cyclo cross races at this time of year as they can be a fun way to start racing.

    The racing season tends to start in March but I know there are winter road racing leagues in the south east. Come March, if you are still keen to race, you could look at taking part in some time trials which are reasonably cheap and easy to enter. If you want to try some road racing you should take out a British Cycling membership, which is worth getting even if you don't race. You can look out for Go Race races to start off, these will probably be circuit races and do not require a licence so can be a good starting point. If you then want to start taking part in regional racing you can take out a 4th cat road licence (or race on a provisional licence through your BC membership).

    I've probably made it sound more complicated than it actually is sorry (the BC website has the same effect!). If you join a club there will be plenty of people who will help you and explain it or in far simpler terms - others will disagree but I think that joining a club is the best thing you can do if you want to race and the BC site should help you find something.
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 7,137
    I'd try and find out what the local regular rides are and go out on a few of them - some will be too fast for you yet but it doesn't matter if you get dropped - it'll give you a good idea of what there is and what clubs are most active.

    Club runs can be good but often there are other rides around which aren't really owned by any club in particular - midweek chaingangs are often like that but also some weekend rides.

    You say you want to get into some club riding and racing but not too competitive - unfortunately bike racing doesn't really cater for the non-competitive person in the way say running does. There is plenty of other stuff though - someone probably mentioned sportives which are probably best described as semi competitive. There's also time trialling but I wouldn't want to put you off cycling just yet.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • Thanks all. Shall have a nose about tonight online and see what takes my fancy. I see quite a few write ups on rides in magazines such as Cycling Plus, and although I dont have a copy to hand, i'm pretty sure these are Sportives.

    I'm looking for something that I can ride at my own pace, in a group of likeminded people who mainly ride for pleasure, but with a dash of competition thrown in. Is this the nature of a Sportive?

    My last ride before the BHF ride I covered 20 miles in iirc 1hr 10m, average of around 18-19mph, good pace?

    Shall see what the internet comes up with tonight!
  • ProssPross Posts: 25,334
    The Ashford Wheelers site suggests that their Sunday club runs are about 15mph so you should be fine. They also make a point that they are trying to encourage new riders and not drop them.
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    chris_king wrote:
    Is this the nature of a Sportive?
    Very much so.
  • dulldavedulldave Posts: 949
    Pross wrote:
    The Ashford Wheelers site suggests that their Sunday club runs are about 15mph so you should be fine. They also make a point that they are trying to encourage new riders and not drop them.

    It's funny, a lot of clubs say tjhis. But just saying it doesn't make it happen. However I know nothing about Ashford Wheelers so maybe they don't drop newcomers.
    Scottish and British...and a bit French
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    dulldave wrote:
    Pross wrote:
    The Ashford Wheelers site suggests that their Sunday club runs are about 15mph so you should be fine. They also make a point that they are trying to encourage new riders and not drop them.

    It's funny, a lot of clubs say tjhis. But just saying it doesn't make it happen. However I know nothing about Ashford Wheelers so maybe they don't drop newcomers.
    Had a bad experience, Dulldave?

    Ruth
  • wjameswjames Posts: 5
    Hi Chris,

    I am from Ashford and quite often riding on that rode, infact i was around that are today on the way to Rye cafe.

    I was quite some years ago a member of Ashford Wheelers, and i was about 13 years old and they did as they say keep an eye out for the slower people, if for any reason they rode off they would wait at junctions etc.

    My dad has been involved with them for many years and is the web designer for the club.

    There is also Ashford Tri Club, of which I am now a member of again they have a good cycling scene and regular sunday rides normally around 30 miles and there a great bunch of people both male and female, again they do not leave anyone behind and are a great club.

    Id say both clubs are great depending on what you are looking for.

    if you need any info feel free to ask
  • dulldavedulldave Posts: 949
    BeaconRuth wrote:
    dulldave wrote:
    Pross wrote:
    The Ashford Wheelers site suggests that their Sunday club runs are about 15mph so you should be fine. They also make a point that they are trying to encourage new riders and not drop them.

    It's funny, a lot of clubs say tjhis. But just saying it doesn't make it happen. However I know nothing about Ashford Wheelers so maybe they don't drop newcomers.
    Had a bad experience, Dulldave?

    Ruth

    Last year I had one or two. Over the years I've had conversation with people in both road and mountain biking who've gone along to club runs on the promise that they try to stay together and it just didn't happen.

    I now prefer the rides where everyone is trying to knock the censored out of each other anyway. It's good training :0)
    Scottish and British...and a bit French
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