I have been thinking about going racing for a while and now that we are in the second half of the year a 6 month membership seems a good option to give it a go. I am a triathlete (and a slow one at that) first and foremost but I figure some bike racing through the off season will only help with motivation.
The problem is my bike leg is the weakest link in tri's and I am pretty sure I am going to get spat out the back straight up and end up riding solo for most of the races I do anyway...so, to help me get past that, tell me about your first race experiences. I am sure there are some good stories out there!
I've only raced 4 times now, for a spat out the back and solo TT for 30Km, a win (placed in a grade that even my limited talent was a bit too good for), ITT and lost against myself and finally, a 97Km handicap, where I hung on for 75Km and rode the last 20-odd as an ITT.
As you can see, I'm a crap cyclist / racer, but it is FUN and I have improved on each occasion. My advice - watch what others are doing, draft as much as you can letting others do the work until you're up to speed and finally, just get out there and do it!
My first experience was in an E grade crit race.
I thought I had a reasonable fitness level and could handle the bike OK so decided to jump in and try out a crit race.
Being the lowest grade I thought it wouldn't be too bad and I'd have a reasonable chance at being there at the end.
The first 30mins were controlled and we had some A graders rolling with us showing us what to do (and not to do) and slowly but surely the pace began to increase.
I was feeling quite comfortable with the pace and thought I was doing well. We were rolling turns off the front and everything seemed to be going good.
Then the call for 3 laps to go went out and everything became MUCH more serious.
The A graders told us all earlier that when they called 3 laps to go we would roll the first two at a controlled (faster) pace and then they'd unleash us for the final lap.
I rolled off the front and joined back onto the rear of the pack just as we approached the final turn. Half way down the straight the bell sounded to signify 3 lap to go and everyone just took off.
I smashed myself to try and gain ground on the leaders and very quickly learned that I wasn't as fit as I thought I was.
I managed to pass a few riders but couldn't make any ground on the leading few riders.
Coming into the final lap they really took off and I was in about 5th place and stuck in no mans land - riding solo behind the leaders but in front of the tailing riders.
Down the back straight I gave it my all (or what I could summon up) and almost caught the riders in front of me as they approached the last turn.
I rolled through the bend as fast as I could and was on the back wheel of the rider in front of me, but then everyone stood and sprinted for the line and my legs just laughed at me and after maybe 30m I realised I had no chance and powered to the line seated.
A few things I learned that day:
(1) no matter how ready you think you are for racing, you're NOT
(2) tactics and positioning are as important (if not more so) than strength and speed
(3) to improve on no.1, you must improve on no. 2
(4) the best training for racing, is RACING
(5) don't think too much about it, just get in there and do it.
Chances are, the first few times you get out there you'll get spat out of the bunch but as you learn from the experiences you will pick up where and when to conserve your energy, where and when to use your energy and at what level your fitness and riding skills are at (and what the difference is between the stronger riders and yourself).
From there you can work towards growing your strengths and minimising your weaknesses - both physically and tactically.
Then you will be one of the guys dictating the race and not watching it happen up the road ahead of you.
2012 Felt F75 | 105 | ProLite Braccianos | GP4000S
Just do it! Some clubs E Grades are better than others.
In January 1989 Dr Jones and I (both 17) rocked up at Heffron Park in Sydney in shorts and sneakers with rat trap pedals and got put in E Grade for our first race.
We got first and second and went up to C Grade. That was the end of both of our E (and D) Grade careers.
Dr Jones? This Dr Jones:
Everyone has to start somewhere. We were young and reasonably fit, but seriously, nothing special (unfortunately, I'm still nothing special!). We certainly didn't wade through C Grade the next week; rather we started learning.
Sounds about right to me .
From my experiences I would say bunch riding skill is significantly more important than outright strength, there is a bloke in the local bunch who has at least 30 years on me and I know i'm stronger than him, but when it comes to a bunch situation, his experience at holding a wheel wins out every time.
When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments- Elizabeth West.
Mine was 24 years ago, or thereabouts on the Caulfield Carnegie Modella circuit. It is a mixture of hills and flat with a couple of decent pinches. I rode 60km's out to the race with 2 mates who were both in B grade and doing well. I was but into D grade and got dropped 10kms in, going up the first climb. I learnt 2 things that day. I was strongish but had no idea what was going on. I can't climb. Not too much has changed.
I ride several bicycles, but not at once.
Seriously just try it
Rocked up my local club, 1st race of the season as a 51 year old on beta blockers with limited group riding experience and a 25 year old steel bike with 5 year old 105 running gear.
Entered E grade, spent most the race sitting on the back, missed the two making a breakaway, not that I could of hung on. Each corner felt like my last, still did a long turn at the front with a lap to go that sent a fellow newcomer off the back. Rounded the final corner in last place with 3km to go, and then just chased riders down, missed out in the sprint for 3rd. But elated at my performance and 4th.
3 races later beat the guy I dropped for my first win.
I did 3 years of triathlon and switched to road racing, I remember my first race was C grade, it was me and an old bloke with 600 metres to go so I jumped him and did a 600 metre effort to the line. I never looked behind me and as I approached the line the old fellow just came off my wheel and rolled past me easy as you like .... I felt like a complete idiot. Anyway eventually I learned from my mistakes and went to B grade where I won 11 scratch races in a row on my steely, promised myself a carbon bike if I got promoted to A grade which I did the week before a trip to Disneyland USA. Bought a 1998 Trek OCLV in San Diego and the rest is history.
Thanks for the stories all...making me feel a bit more comfortable with the idea.
Went to sign up for a licence as this page says the 6 month license is available : http://www.cycling.org.au/default.asp?P ... 13%2F43895
On following it through I am not sure if the membership fees are a reduced rate or are the full years values. Anyone know what a 12 month golf masters 1 membership was worth? If I sign up now it says $132, is that the 6 month rate or the full year rate? Have emailed cycling Australia but probably more likely to get an answer here first!!
Is it right to assume that racing license includes insurance as well?
Pretty average insurance in terms of personal injury to yourself and possible time off work, but yes, some insurance.
I think the main purpose of licence insurance is public liability to protect you against claims by other riders for your stupid/negligent/careless actions. I have seen such actions, but not heard of such a claim ever being brought. Not sure if it applies just in racing and affiliated club training events, or more broadly.
I want to try racing but scared of all involved insurance premiums. Life insurance also ask questions related to racing and sports, same goes with medical insurance. I am sure that premium on all these personal insurance will also go up if I start racing even though Racing License will come with some sort of insurance cover as well. Are my assumptions right or I am just dumb?
Read your policies and find out what is covered and what is not.
I think you may not be covered by some life and medical insurance if you race professionally.
But which health/medical/life insurance company would encourage sedentary life style (and all the risks that involves) over racing (risk broken collarbone). They know the healthier and more active you are, the better for them in the long term.
The Cycling Australia licence
but you need to read the policy for the fine details, but public liability got me.
If your bike is insured, you will need to see if that is covered for damage during racing (that may require an additional premium) or just race a bike you can afford to replace, I do.
I would recommend that you have ambulance cover either stand alone or via health insurance. The two short trips I had, neither cycling related where not cheap $1k+
Can you purchase a race license for 2014 after the first of Oct, in NSW?
Does your club also give you three months free membership in that case?
Reason I ask is because I have been training with Randwick Botany for a few weeks (getting my arse handed to me), and want to join that club.
I suppose I should ask the guys tomorrow.
"Life is just a ride" Bill Hicks
2012 C59 Colnago
2013 Giant TCR
Yes mate that's my understanding. If you are a new member and haven't held a CA licence before.
There will be no change to your medical or life insurances just because you hold a CA licence. Cycling is not defined as a high risk activity.
Nico is on the ball, a healthier lifestyle will be applauded not penalised.
Exactly what I did last October, bought my bike in July started racing in October. Since then I've moved up from E to D grade, and hoping to get to C by the end of the year.
Here's my report of my first race:
183 average HR, nice work!
When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments- Elizabeth West.
Finally bit the bullet. Signed up for my first race which is a 48km handicap race. Assume I will be in the first group off, no idea how they can handicap me given I have never raced before or ridden with them at all.
Either way, slightly nervous but pretty excited.
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