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Speeds of Women's races etc

GwenyGweny Posts: 38
edited May 2013 in Amateur race
Could anyone give me a bit of info about what it takes to do a women's race?
What kind of average speeds/distances do they tend to go at? Ie, what standard is it In relation to a normal cat 4 race.
For anyone that actually races them, what kind of training/hours are you putting in (I'm sure I varies among everyone) as a rough guide?

Currently reading through this website http://www.londonwomenscycleracing.com/ ... -tips.html but would love some insight perhaps from the horse's mouth too!

Also, what are the age requirements (i'm 16).
Just if anyone wonders, I am a member of a club and have ridden with groups etc.

Sorry about this, with all the promotion of womens cycling I thought it would be easier to find the info I'm looking for!

Thanks for any help.

Posts

  • marykamaryka Posts: 748
    Hi, welcome to women's racing.

    Feel free to look at my Strava files (lots of races in the past few months, and from 2009 and 2010 before I became a mother) for an idea of speeds, etc. I am generally in the front bunch or break in most races these days, doing quite well at the regional level, less so at the national level but still decently competitive. It's more the surges than the overall speed that matter in terms of staying with the bunch. If you've done fast group rides with men then you should be ok. The race I did on Sunday was pretty quick, ~38km/h but the men's concurrent race was more like ~42km/h. Other women's races on slower courses will be slower of course, sometimes as slow as ~34km/h. Also the size of the bunch affects the speed, a race with a dozen women will generally go slower than one with 30-40.

    http://www.strava.com/athletes/smaryka

    Best thing to do is get out and try it, first on some circuits to get experience, then some open RRing.

    You will need your junior gears sorted out though if you haven't already. You're old enough to ride any race more or less.

    As for training, I'm doing 10-12hrs/week, these days to be in the front group at any average (all categories) women's race you probably need about that or a bit less. But quality of training matters more than quantity of course.
  • GwenyGweny Posts: 38
    Thanks maryka for the knowledgeable reply.

    Looking at the BC website, the regular Crystal Palace Crits seem an ok place to start. I'm relieved to see the distance is only 16miles- meaning any pain will be over in <1hour, but i'm sure that's plenty of distance to be off the back!

    Do you know anything about Hillingdon? Their website says there are women's races on alternate Wednesdays at a certain time, but I can't find any more detail on the fixture.
    Inadvertently I've done non club rides with some cat 4s, and it's safe to say they are the ones in the wind at the front, and I do get dropped a little on longer climbs. However, it gives me a bit of confidence that I can pretty much hold their wheels on a long ride, and that i'm not too far behind on climbs. Hopefully some time riding with slightly stronger people will help me in the long run.
    Before I learn to run before walking, I think I need to be brave and do a club 10. Will be interesting to see what I can manage.
    Interesting Strava profile too- I see what you mean about quality training, you seem to keep it very consistent even through winter months. I've sent you a PM about mine if that's okay.
    I'll do a bit of reading/practise on handling too, as i'm sure taking appropriate lines is just as important as in the men's races.

    All in all i'm looking forward to trying a bit of racing. You've reassured me that It probably won't be impossible in the not too distant future. Thanks
  • marykamaryka Posts: 748
    Gweny wrote:
    Thanks maryka for the knowledgeable reply.

    Looking at the BC website, the regular Crystal Palace Crits seem an ok place to start. I'm relieved to see the distance is only 16miles- meaning any pain will be over in <1hour, but i'm sure that's plenty of distance to be off the back!

    Do you know anything about Hillingdon? Their website says there are women's races on alternate Wednesdays at a certain time, but I can't find any more detail on the fixture.
    Inadvertently I've done non club rides with some cat 4s, and it's safe to say they are the ones in the wind at the front, and I do get dropped a little on longer climbs. However, it gives me a bit of confidence that I can pretty much hold their wheels on a long ride, and that i'm not too far behind on climbs. Hopefully some time riding with slightly stronger people will help me in the long run.
    Before I learn to run before walking, I think I need to be brave and do a club 10. Will be interesting to see what I can manage.
    Interesting Strava profile too- I see what you mean about quality training, you seem to keep it very consistent even through winter months. I've sent you a PM about mine if that's okay.
    I'll do a bit of reading/practise on handling too, as i'm sure taking appropriate lines is just as important as in the men's races.

    All in all i'm looking forward to trying a bit of racing. You've reassured me that It probably won't be impossible in the not too distant future. Thanks
    Crystal Palace might not be the best place to start if you want to ride in the bunch, it's the hardest circuit around so you will almost certainly be dropped in the first lap. However it's a really good place to work on your cornering skills and get a good workout -- the hardest hour you'll ever ride probably! So give it a go but expect it to be a very steep learning curve!

    Hillingdon is a more forgiving circuit and the women's race usually stays together pretty well so that's a better one for bunch riding experience. There are probably ~20 at that race every fortnight, I may get out there myself next Wed.

    Hog Hill on Thurs nights is also a decent place though there usually aren't many women racing, it's got a hill every lap so a good workout and will teach you better gearing to go up the hill and not get dropped if someone attacks. You may also find you're pretty good at hills compared to most women (after suffering trying to follow men up hills) in which case it might be a circuit that really plays to your strengths.

    TTing is entirely different from road racing of course but again, a really good workout and good training at threshold level (which is what you need to be competitive in road racing anyway -- lots of power at aerobic threshold, once you have that fitness than the shorter sprinty stuff and surges hurt you less).

    As long as you've done some group rides, I would say just get stuck in at Hillingdon. It's the first place for many when racing and if your objective is to ride in the bunch then that's the best place to get experience. You will learn a lot in your first race or two about how to ride, where to ride, who to follow, how fast it goes, how the good riders win the sprint, etc. etc. Stuff you can read about but you really have to do to understand.

    Will take a look at your PM later today when I have more time!
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