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Joining a club and trying racing

Posted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:14 pm
by a-frame81
Hi all,

I'm looking at trying road racing next year after using this year to target two specific events and rebuild my fitness after a few lean years.

I live Canberra and know of the Canberra Cycling Club and the Vikings, are there any others I should check out?
Some questions from a road racing noob:

If I get a trial membership from CA does that include club fees, so I can start racing? Or do I have to join the club separately?
How does grading work? Is it a best guess at first or do you start in a low grade and get tapped on the shoulder when it's time to step up?
I'm keen to give crit racing a go. How should I best get into it? Should I start by hanging at the back or just get stuck right in?

I have a little bunch ride experience but not heaps, so will be using this year to brush up on my etiquette and skills/confidence.

WillI be ok to use my old rebuilt roadie?


Any other things I nee to know?



Re: Joining a club and trying racing

Posted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:38 pm
by Derny Driver
Hi Andrew
Canberra and Vikings are both great clubs. Vikings used to enter all the track championships and Canberra are more road focussed? But either would be fine.
Your bike is fine too.
You CA licence includes club affiliation so its a joint thing. You join CA via your local club.
You will start in a low grade and learn all the basics about bunch riding and racing and then the handicapper will move you up when he or she deems that you are ready. Dont be worried about starting in a low grade. Everyone does. Depending on how fast a learner you are, you will move up.
Crit racing is a bit of an art form. As long as you are graded correctly there is no reason why you should have to hang at the back. We can talk the finer points of crit racing at another time.
Just contact your local club, sign the forms and jump right in the deep end. the club will have coaches and mentor type people to help you as you start.
Racing is great fun, good on you for having a go.

Re: Joining a club and trying racing

Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:56 pm
by ironhanglider
Vikings is more approachable for new riders, they have new rider programs and training bunches and actively try to promote themselves as being suitable for entry to the sport. In practice it doesn't matter which club you join as your licence will let you race with either club.

The criteriums at Stromlo Forrest Park are very popular and there are many riders who only seem to race there. Wednesday and Thursday nights are the race nights.

Riding at the back gives you a good opportunity to watch what goes on, but the basic rule of bunch riding is to change speed or direction smoothly so that the person behind you has time to react.

BTW get someone to take you around 'collarbone corner' a few times. It is well named because it sucks you into believing that you can pedal around it all the time ... until the pace hots up in the last couple of laps and the extra lean angle is enough to touch the inside pedal on the ground, which can be disconcerting.

If you are old enough (34) you could also join the ACTVets CC. They race on Tuesday nights, (and road races on weekends) and have 6 grades, so there is something for everybody. Being more mature riders they tend to value their skin more. Vets licences are much cheaper and they usually run more races than the other clubs. ($110 for the year).



Re: Joining a club and trying racing

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:39 am
by foo on patrol
Most of all, enjoy yaself! :D


Re: Joining a club and trying racing

Posted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 9:53 pm
by ironhanglider
foo on patrol wrote:Most of all, enjoy yaself! :D


Oops, I left out the most important bit! Thanks Foo. :oops:

BTW to answer your other question, yes your bike is more than adequate to race on.

There was a the story of a bloke called Rob who used to race in the '80s and early '90s and gave it up for 10 years. He then turned up at a crit in Canberra in about 2003 with his old steel training bike complete with down-tube shifters, much to the derision of those who thought they knew how to ride. He started in A grade and proceeded to make them all look very silly. (He did go on to finish second in the Australian Road Race Championship in 2004,2005 and 2007 and ride professionally for Drapac)

I raced solo in A grade (Vets) on my steel bike, and also on a tandem. Typically you are only using 3 gears for the whole race and the smoothness with which you change gears twice a lap doesn't count for anything. Whilst the circuit is not completely flat the weight difference between an entry level race bike and the latest hi tech wonder bike has a negligible effect. The riders who would beat you on the 'heavy' bike would still beat you on the 'light' bike so don't waste money on upgrades at this stage.

The summer is wasting, just get out there!



Re: Joining a club and trying racing

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 3:46 pm
by a-frame81
Thanks all for responding,

At this stage I'll probably go for CCC as Vets sounds good but Tuesday nights are out for me so I'd miss the chance to try crits.

It's still up for next year at this stage, as I have other goals for this year but the fitness is coming along. Cotter-Uriarra + Stromlo yesterday was painful but faster than my last time around. Always fun to see pretty much all PBs on Strava after a ride.

Re: Joining a club and trying racing

Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:52 pm
by jacksonho
Hi Andrew,

I just joined CCC this year, all in all great club and met some great people. Crits are on tomorrow night, come have a crack at E or D grade if you want. E grade is pretty relaxed, you get taken around by one of the club riders for the 20 minutes then just race the last two laps. The club riders will encourage you and help you out, you will be racing mostly kids though.

D grade is a step up a bit, you get 2 laps with a club rider then let go for the rest. I've done about 5 rounds and it is mostly a bunch sprint at the end. If you get dropped you will find a few people to ride around with.

Do you live North or South? CCC do a great recovery / intro to bunch riding on Monday mornings down South, details are on the web site. Otherwise North there are a few bunches.

There is no better time to start racing than right away :) If you want more information or to meet before the crits tomorrow let me know, I'll be riding D grade tomorrow.

Re: Joining a club and trying racing

Posted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 7:46 pm
by a-frame81
Thanks for that. I'll probably come out one evening before the crits stop at the end of daylight savings, but last night was out.

I've had a mate tell me E grade was mainly kids, but that doesn't bother me much I'm in it for fun.

Would be great to have someone to say g'day to out there one night, so will definitely message you before I head out there.

I live north side but am keen to do the recover ride one morning, but at this stage the earliest free Monday morning I have is Easter Monday. Might aim for then.