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First race recommendation, UK

marcinherrmarcinherr Posts: 24
edited January 2018 in Amateur race
Hi,

I am 38 and have done a few sportives over the last 2 years. For the last 6 months I have training quite regularly 3-4 times a week. I would like try some racing. What kind of events (ideally close to London) would you recommend?

I have been looking at the British Cycling website to learn more about categories. I guess I would need to start in either Regional B, Regional C/C+ or Go-Race categories (Are Go-Races only for under 23 riders?)


Thank you

Posts

  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,001
    You'll start as a 4th cat, don't worry too much about the event ranking, just look for 4ths only or 3/4 circuit events (which are probably going to be Reg C+, not that it matters). Currently plenty of winter series events around London, like Hillingdon, Lee Valley, Redbridge, Gravesend, should all be listed on the BC event calendar.

    Go-Race events will be fewer and further between, but worth attending for the experience - bear in mind there are no ranking points on offer at go-race events..
  • Imposter wrote:
    You'll start as a 4th cat, don't worry too much about the event ranking, just look for 4ths only or 3/4 circuit events (which are probably going to be Reg C+, not that it matters). Currently plenty of winter series events around London, like Hillingdon, Lee Valley, Redbridge, Gravesend, should all be listed on the BC event calendar.

    Go-Race events will be fewer and further between, but worth attending for the experience - bear in mind there are no ranking points on offer at go-race events..

    OK. Thank you for the information.
  • Look for Surrey League/South east road race training sessions (you don't have to be a member) before you race. Would not be ideal for either yourself, or for anyone, if the first time you're getting experience of close/peloton cycling is in the middle of a crit. With 2 crashes this weekend out of the three 4th cat races around London (I believe), people need to be responsible for making sure they're comfortable before trying racing. Not trying to put you off, just keep everyone (yourself included) safe.
  • HtcleeHtclee Posts: 33
    I raced at the Lee Valley VeloPark in the 3/4 cat race this weekend - 2 crashes and a number of riders forced off the course at various times. First crash down to poor bike handling/skills - hairpin bend at the top of the course, depending on the height of your BB/crank length and cornering speed you can very easily pedal strike. Two laps to go and someone went down mid corner taking out 4/5 riders, a couple of those who went straight over this guy looked to have quite bad facial injuries. The second crash was on the final lap pushing up the small hill rounding the corner by the velodrome, poor racing lines/aggressiveness by a number of riders squeezed the peleton and a couple of riders came together - again bringing others down around them. This second crash is fairly typical of racing at lower levels, riders not giving others enough space or taking the shortest route to avoid working harder but meaning others are either forced off the course or squeezed together. There was a short discussion afterwards by one of the commissaries however this should really be explicitly spelt out before the start of crit races in particular. Laziness and forcing others out by either cutting corners or pushing into spaces that aren’t there lead to crashes - we all have to get up and go to work on Monday remember. I’m not saying we should soft foot around but unnessecary aggressiveness causes crashes and often these moves are made at points that arn’t going to have any impact on the end results, I assume this is down to a lack of tactical/racing knowledge?
  • MapaputsiMapaputsi Posts: 104
    I raced in that race too, I think there is something to be said for splitting the 3rd and 4th Cats on such a tight track (I know they do it every 2nd week), or at least limiting the numbers if they are going to combine them. Not sure how many started the other day but I think I remember seeing a guy wearing #44 at one stage?? I am relatively new to crit racing so that field size may not be unusual, just thought it seemed very cramped the other day.
  • HtcleeHtclee Posts: 33
    I’m not sure it’s so much the numbers or even the categories, just a lack of care and awareness of the impact of ones actions. Looking at the results I was surprised at the number of 3rd cat’s whose bike handling was pretty poor, given that in theory they are more experienced.
  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 879
    Hope there was no series injuries at the weekend, good luck to the guys recovering.
    The nature of Crits result in 50 guys all fighting for the racing line, majority of the time this is fine and goes safely, but when you are red lining it for 5 or 6 laps it's easy to lose focus and take a "micro shortcut" to save that little bit of energy you have left.
    Not saying I do this, but when I'm absolutely hanging out of my backside, I can see how accidents can happen.
    I was forced off the course last year when I was going for my only victory, in an uphill sprint with one bend to go I was in second wheel directly behind the guy leading, then the guy on the outside decided he wanted my position and took my line, only thing I could do was brake hard and veer left onto the grass. Finished 4th, the guy who cut me up won. I was gutted, but that's racing.
    I now find that I sit up with 3 or 4 laps to go if things don't feel safe, that's racing 2nd and 3rd Cat. Road racing feels a bit more safe, but that's generally due to the pack having reduced and the fact that it's me wayyyyyy back so I'm not sprinting for the win. My season starts in March, hoping the weather is dry, might even be tempted to use disc brakes.
  • philbar72philbar72 Posts: 2,228
    discs are usable in BC races so why not... I'm of the opinion that having raced at the lower level of BC for too long and having been taken out on the hairpin at velopark, its down to people overestimating their ability or not being aware of pedalstrike. spatial awareness in 4th cat races is sometimes hilariously bad.
  • cruffcruff Posts: 1,521
    4th Cat races are horrendous. Having come up through 3/4 last year to third cat, I sat up in every one of them without contesting the sprints - just making sure I got the points I needed to upgrade. 3/4 is marginally better - not as crashy but mainly through slightly better handling on the part of more experienced racers (more testosterone though). Towards the end of the year I started doing 2/3 races instead where available - the racing was generally a lot more enjoyable (if harder) because there was something different than the usual "surge, chase it - surge, chase it - surge, chase it, *crash*, sprint". Breaks actually went and were allowed to go, some stayed away, some were caught. Most races had teams where specific plans were executed (or attempted). There wasn't a single crash in any of the 2/3 races I did.

    Generally road races are less crashy than crits - wider roads means less chumps fighting for the line and better groups forming. That's not always the case though - the Eddie Soens is round Aintree racecourse, which is about 60 feet wide but is a noted crashfest cos of the 3rd and 4th cat choppers (like me) mixing with real bike racers.
    Fat chopper. Some racing. Some testing. Some crashing.
    Specialising in Git Daaahns and Cafs. Norvern Munkey/Transplanted Laaandoner.
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