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Racing, to soon?

PLuKEPLuKE Posts: 181
edited March 2015 in Amateur race
Hi there.

I am looking for some honest advice...

I haven't been cycling long around 12months now, and have the bug, upgrading most components on the bike, I cycle every weekend and during the weekdays during the brighter days.

Last year I was doing 100-150 miles per week and completed a couple of Sportives, more to come this year!
I am not much of a climber, I hate it to be honest, but I live in Suffolk so pretty flat.

I am not a member of a cycling club, but I am hoping to join my local club for rides this year.

I used to race motorbikes, so like the competive nature, when I am on rides I try and chase down fellow cyclists to see if I can.

Now! I would like to give racing a try, if I was plumb last then that's fine, I can the address as to why, and build my fitness.

So, is my ambition to high?

Thanks
Luke
2013 Merida Ride 93 Carbon

Posts

  • CYCLESPORT1CYCLESPORT1 Posts: 471
    Join a club first !
  • PLuKEPLuKE Posts: 181
    Thanks.

    That's my plan for this year, I have tried to join a few of my local club rides, but the weather has put a stop to this.

    What will I gain from joining a club before planning on entering a race? Group riding?

    Thanks for the advice, it can be blunt, but explain as to why so I can use the info in a postive manner.

    Thanks guys!
    2013 Merida Ride 93 Carbon
  • JackPozziJackPozzi Posts: 1,191
    PLuKE wrote:
    Thanks.

    That's my plan for this year, I have tried to join a few of my local club rides, but the weather has put a stop to this.

    What will I gain from joining a club before planning on entering a race? Group riding?

    Thanks for the advice, it can be blunt, but explain as to why so I can use the info in a postive manner.

    Thanks guys!

    Group riding skills and etiquette, club members are a wealth of knowledge and generally happy to share it, plus by riding with regular racers you'll get a good idea of where your fitness is in comparison.
  • VarianceVariance Posts: 130
    I've just started my first season of racing and there's no way you should do it without riding in a group first. If your planning on riding flat Crit races (which is what I'm doing) then even at Cat 4 level you'll be going round at 23/25mph with guys either side of you and infront/behind. You'll need to have experience of this beforehand as it can feel intimidating, especially in the corners towards the end of the race.

    I also found it handy to go down and watch one of the races before giving it a go, just to see how it actually works.

    Good luck when you do race, don't bother about results for the first few but I can't stress enough, the need to be able to ride competently alongside others.

    A good club will welcome you and teach you all you need to know about how to ride in a group. It will also give you a good indication of where your fitness is.
  • markos1963markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    Definitely join a club and forget 99% of what you learned racing motorbikes. The lines you take on a motorbike circuit can't be replicated in a bike race. If you try to apex a bend in a crit you will take half the field down with you as you are expected to hold a constant radius through the bend. Group riding in a club with fellow racers will prepare you no end for the cut and thrust of racing. Have a look for some Go Race events in your area, they are a great way to get a feel for racing with fellow standard riders.
  • PLuKEPLuKE Posts: 181
    Thanks for the advice.

    22-23mph seems fast! I cruise on my own around 18-19mph, but 22-23mph I couldn't do for a long period of time.

    I know my fitness needs to come on yet.

    I know you and others need to be predicable when racing, I watxh a lot cycling on the TV. I have seen some Crits, they look fast and exciting!

    I will join my local club and gather inforimtion.

    I will check the Go Race out Aswell.

    Thanks
    2013 Merida Ride 93 Carbon
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,001
    PLuKE wrote:

    22-23mph seems fast! I cruise on my own around 18-19mph, but 22-23mph I couldn't do for a long period of time.

    Speed in a bunch bears no relation to the speed you can manage on your own.
  • VarianceVariance Posts: 130
    Yeah Imposter is right. The 25mph in a bunch can feel easier than 18-19mph riding solo. I only added the speed so you can see you won't have as much time to make decisions as riding solo.
  • PLuKEPLuKE Posts: 181
    Of course, I cycle with a friend, up front it's hard than getting a slipstream, I guess in a pack it's even more noticble. Are there limits on wheelsets in racing? I have a normal road frame with deep secrions(80) I have found it quicker with these fitted compared to my shallow rims

    Thanks for the advice guys gives me some direction!

    Luke
    2013 Merida Ride 93 Carbon
  • whoofwhoof Posts: 756
    PLuKE wrote:
    Of course, I cycle with a friend, up front it's hard than getting a slipstream, I guess in a pack it's even more noticble. Are there limits on wheelsets in racing? I have a normal road frame with deep secrions(80) I have found it quicker with these fitted compared to my shallow rims

    Thanks for the advice guys gives me some direction!

    Luke

    Yes there are regs relating to wheels, for instance you can't ride a disk wheel in a mass start event (road race, crit).
    http://www.uci.ch/mm/Document/News/Rule ... nglish.PDF
    You also need to think about the weather conditions. Most crits are held on airfields and motor racing circuits. Theses are exposed and a strong cross gust can take you off line if you have a very deep section front wheel, not ideal in a bunch.

    Regarding speed. When I started road racing the rough test was could you ride a 24 minute 10 mile flat time trial (25mph).
  • AK_jnrAK_jnr Posts: 717
    ^ Not sure about that.

    I know plenty of guys who couldnt do that but more than hold their own in their first races, and thats just from my local club.

    I would of struggled to do that when I was in the 4s I reckon, and it took me 3 races to move up to Cat 3.
  • whoofwhoof Posts: 756
    AK_jnr wrote:
    ^ Not sure about that.

    I know plenty of guys who couldnt do that but more than hold their own in their first races, and thats just from my local club.

    I would have struggled to do that when I was in the 4s I reckon, and it took me 3 races to move up to Cat 3.


    Probably changed for the better. There didn't use to be a 4th. People would turn up to a 3rd/junior race get dropped early on and go back to time trialling. The 4th category now gives riders the chance to progress.
  • AK_jnrAK_jnr Posts: 717
    Ah ok that makes sense. Probably in the right ball park for cat 3 now then.
  • PLuKEPLuKE Posts: 181
    Thank you for the great advice!

    The Go Race are for under 16yr olds, but I am the grand age of 28!

    My best wheels are my deep section 80mm I do have amother pair of shallows too, I guess weather dependent.

    I can't wait to join my local club and get riding in a group and really push myself this year!

    Luke
    2013 Merida Ride 93 Carbon
  • JayKostaJayKosta Posts: 635
    For riding in bunches (such as crits), having aero wheels is much less important due to the reduced air drag when you are IN the bunch. Having wheels that aren't affected by wind gusts is more important so you can keep your line and not cause accidents.
    And the bunch LOVES a dedicated strong rider who stays at the front for extended pulls - because he'll soon fade and drop off the back...

    If your riding partners have been mainly 'recreational' riders, you'll be very surprised by the strength and speed of dedicated 'racers'. YES, get involved with racing if that appeals to you, but be prepared to discover the need for more serious training.

    Jay Kosta
    Endwell NY USA
  • DavidJBDavidJB Posts: 2,019
    Lol do not ride 80mm in a road race...mine are 60mm and that's more than enough and I get buffeted by cross winds...I wouldn't have raced 60mm's in my first season!!
  • PLuKEPLuKE Posts: 181
    I have been looking and seems to be a fair few local races that I will attended and see how they do it, so should be good to watch.

    I would like to race on open road, Crits seem good but I think an open road and route to follow appeals more.

    I ride my 80s in some windy conditions and didn't really deveate from my line, would 80s not be expected then on a open road style race? Or will I need to be digging into my pockets again?

    Thanks guys.
    2013 Merida Ride 93 Carbon
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    DavidJB wrote:
    Lol do not ride 80mm in a road race...mine are 60mm and that's more than enough and I get buffeted by cross winds...I wouldn't have raced 60mm's in my first season!!

    That rather depends how you are at handling a bike. Some people don't find it hard (because it isn't) to handle bikes in the wind, I rode a flat aero frame and 404's in my first road races, didn't find them bad, I'm about to move to some 6.7 Enve's and I doubt they'll be an issue really.

    Though if you're sub 70kg then I could see how it might be slightly different and you race in the Fens most of the time...But I'd imagine someone used to fast bikes can handle a bike in winds.

    RE whether they would be expected, not many people run 80mm rims, but as long as they're approved (which I think you can check for against the UCI list) there is no reason why not. They'll be a bit heavier, but most racing around your area will be fairly flat I guess. I've had 404 zipps, 303's and about to go deeper just for a change, why not!
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    PLuKE wrote:
    I have been looking and seems to be a fair few local races that I will attended and see how they do it, so should be good to watch.

    Do a training course, do not race until you've done it, forget fitness or anything else, first thing to do is get competent enough to race.

    Unfortunately only some road races require compulsory training like you (presumably!) had in your motorbike days, but it's really worthwhile doing it, even more so if you have little group riding experience.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • DavidJBDavidJB Posts: 2,019
    edited March 2015
    okgo wrote:
    DavidJB wrote:
    Lol do not ride 80mm in a road race...mine are 60mm and that's more than enough and I get buffeted by cross winds...I wouldn't have raced 60mm's in my first season!!

    That rather depends how you are at handling a bike. Some people don't find it hard (because it isn't) to handle bikes in the wind, I rode a flat aero frame and 404's in my first road races, didn't find them bad, I'm about to move to some 6.7 Enve's and I doubt they'll be an issue really.

    Though if you're sub 70kg then I could see how it might be slightly different and you race in the Fens most of the time...But I'd imagine someone used to fast bikes can handle a bike in winds.

    RE whether they would be expected, not many people run 80mm rims, but as long as they're approved (which I think you can check for against the UCI list) there is no reason why not. They'll be a bit heavier, but most racing around your area will be fairly flat I guess. I've had 404 zipps, 303's and about to go deeper just for a change, why not!

    Arguing for the sake of arguing (as usual) Rob...The guy has clearly stated he's only been riding a year thus not experienced. Although it sounds you're of course underhandedly trying to insult my bike handling skills.
  • PLuKEPLuKE Posts: 181
    okgo wrote:
    DavidJB wrote:
    Lol do not ride 80mm in a road race...mine are 60mm and that's more than enough and I get buffeted by cross winds...I wouldn't have raced 60mm's in my first season!!

    That rather depends how you are at handling a bike. Some people don't find it hard (because it isn't) to handle bikes in the wind, I rode a flat aero frame and 404's in my first road races, didn't find them bad, I'm about to move to some 6.7 Enve's and I doubt they'll be an issue really.

    Though if you're sub 70kg then I could see how it might be slightly different and you race in the Fens most of the time...But I'd imagine someone used to fast bikes can handle a bike in winds.

    RE whether they would be expected, not many people run 80mm rims, but as long as they're approved (which I think you can check for against the UCI list) there is no reason why not. They'll be a bit heavier, but most racing around your area will be fairly flat I guess. I've had 404 zipps, 303's and about to go deeper just for a change, why not!

    Thanks for that. I am used to wind and quick bikes, I read about people stuggle with 50-60mm crosswinds, but I ha e used my 80s in 20-25mph winds just to see how bad this is and how I can handle the bike and practice. I did t really find it hard at all, still predictable line/lines.

    I went with 80s as I wanted something Diffirent and liked the overall look and idea of them. It's flat here so that helped my decision.

    I will join the club and learn to ride in a group and rather skills!

    Luke
    2013 Merida Ride 93 Carbon
  • markos1963markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    PLuKE wrote:
    Thank you for the great advice!

    The Go Race are for under 16yr olds, but I am the grand age of 28!

    My best wheels are my deep section 80mm I do have amother pair of shallows too, I guess weather dependent.

    I can't wait to join my local club and get riding in a group and really push myself this year!

    Luke

    I might have got it wrong but Go Ride was for youngsters and Go Race was for adults. At least it was when I started racing at the tender age of 43!
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    DavidJB wrote:
    okgo wrote:
    DavidJB wrote:
    Lol do not ride 80mm in a road race...mine are 60mm and that's more than enough and I get buffeted by cross winds...I wouldn't have raced 60mm's in my first season!!

    That rather depends how you are at handling a bike. Some people don't find it hard (because it isn't) to handle bikes in the wind, I rode a flat aero frame and 404's in my first road races, didn't find them bad, I'm about to move to some 6.7 Enve's and I doubt they'll be an issue really.

    Though if you're sub 70kg then I could see how it might be slightly different and you race in the Fens most of the time...But I'd imagine someone used to fast bikes can handle a bike in winds.

    RE whether they would be expected, not many people run 80mm rims, but as long as they're approved (which I think you can check for against the UCI list) there is no reason why not. They'll be a bit heavier, but most racing around your area will be fairly flat I guess. I've had 404 zipps, 303's and about to go deeper just for a change, why not!

    Arguing for the sake of arguing (as usual) Rob...The guy has clearly stated he's only been riding a year thus not experienced. Although it sounds you're of course underhandedly trying to insult my bike handling skills.

    Not arguing per se, some common sense required, i.e. I would not recommend riding them in very windy conditions the same as I take out my 90mm wheel on my TT bike if its very windy, but most of the time they are not likely to be an issue, so to save him thinking he needs to buy a new set ;)

    As he has clarified riding motorbikes in wind will give you enough confidence to ride deep wheels on a push bike I think. But advice re club/bunch riding/training with others certainly is 100% a must.
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    Firstly, a said, join a club.
    You don't need any bling for Cat 4 racing, shallow rims will do.
    If you want to race open road you'll generally need to learn the ropes doing cat 4 crits, there are a few road races out there but not many.
    Finally, there is only one way to find out.
  • PLuKEPLuKE Posts: 181
    I don't want to roll up and look daft with deep sections and lack of speed and look the fool.

    Like I said, I shall join my local club and ask and learn, then work the fitness out.

    Maybe this time next year I could try a hand at racing.

    Just to touch on open road racing. The majority of racing is Crits?

    Thanks
    Luke
    2013 Merida Ride 93 Carbon
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    Get stuck in this year. It's only March.
    I put it off for years, better to have just done it.

    When I say most races are crits, this is specific to being a Cat 4.
    Moving up to Cat 3 opens up loads of events including plenty of road races.
  • PLuKEPLuKE Posts: 181
    Maybe your right...

    I got my bike race licence and just thought right lets just do it, but cycling is more of a fitness level.

    Get into the club and then push all year and do a race at the end of the year?

    Thanks
    Luke
    2013 Merida Ride 93 Carbon
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    Go find a club, there might be several around. Workout which one has the best bunch of people, training rides and regular racers. See how you get on. No reason to wait untill the end of the year.

    I wasted all of 2014 making excuses before just doing it.
  • iron-cloveriron-clover Posts: 737
    As already said, go and join a local club and get used to riding in close proximity to others at speed- even then you'll probably find its different to the club training rides but at least you'll be able to look after yourself with the skills you've learned on those safer rides, such as making sure you don't half wheel (protects you if the chopper ahead of you decides to switch lines without looking), looking behind and giving a little indication when you're changing lines etc.

    I find the majority of 4th cat races to be packed with riders nowerdays and people seem to take them much more seriously as a result (which is not necessarily a good thing as they take risks or make dangerous moves without thinking of anyone else) and would be harder to break into than when I started.

    I've done a few road races and I find them much more enjoyable than crit races as they tend to have less technical courses and are longer/ hilly so endurance comes more into play than just brute strength. However, as others have said there aren't many available to 4th cat riders- which is pretty much the only reason I want to become a 3rd cat, but it seems a lot harder to do in this area now.

    You could have a go with time trials right away though once you've joined a local club. They are laid back affairs and can keep you motivated between road races- I do far more TTs now as they are far cheaper and easier to get to than most road races and keeps me motivated in the often large gaps between road races.
  • bigmatbigmat Posts: 5,111
    Just get stuck in. Joining a club helps with sharing info, gauging yourself against other riders etc but not convinced it is that helpful with learning to ride shoulder to shoulder in a fast bunch. Even my club's fast chaingangs are way more orderly than the last lap (or sometimes the first lap!) of a 4th cat crit. The training sessions (like Surrey League and Cyclopark have been doing) sound interesting, but the main thing I would suggest is to just avoid doing anything reckless - don't cut people up, don't change line unexpectedly, don't be overly aggressive - be prepared to take a race or two to learn the ropes.
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