's Forum Archives - Racing

Archive Home >> Racing(1 2 3 )

Begining Racing Questions(3 posts)

Begining Racing Questionsmichael
Apr 16, 2001 7:54 AM
After Mountain Biking for over 13 years (haven't raced in at least 5-6) I just purchased a road bike a few weeks ago. I am interested in both rode racing and touring and have set two goals for myself so far thisyear - to complete a century ride in LaFayette, GA this fall put on by the Chattanooga Bike Club (I have a vacation home in Lafayette) and to ride in, and improve my performance in, at least 3 races this summer.
Presently, I put in most of my time commuting to work in DC from McLean, VA - about 13 miles each way.

1. Are there any clubs in the DC area that could help me train to race and complete a century?
2. Should I focus on one goal or another?
3. What types of races should I look to enter as a novice? A stage race? A crit? A TT? Is there soemthing else I may not be aware of?
4. Is there a good web site that has information for beginners?
5. Are there techniques I can use in my daily commutes to improve my training?
6. I just ordered the Friel book (Cyclist Bible) from Are there other books I should read before hand?

Thanks alot.
Books, not reallyclimbo
Apr 16, 2001 8:58 AM
join a club, ride, race and learn from those who have done it for years. You'll learn more than a book could ever teach you.
re: Begining Racing QuestionsDuane Gran
Apr 16, 2001 10:44 AM
First off, you chose a great book. I also live in the area, and since you asked, I'll plug:

Evolution Cycling

This is my team/club and it is race oriented. Basically 90% of the team members race, and any given weekend from March through October we are racing, but there is frequently a group ride each weekend. During the off-season we have rides every Saturday and Sunday. For mid-week rides, some riders like to do the Reston Bike Club rides on Tuesday and Thursday:

Reston Bike Club

I have some good friends in the club, so if you need more info, let me know.

As for training to race, or to do a century, I don't think they are exclusive. I would make sure you are capable of riding a century before doing too much racing though. In this way you can be sure that you have a good aerobic/endurance base. It shouldn't take more than 4-6 weeks of training to be able to do this. There is a group in the area called Potomac Peddlers that is a little more distance/touring oriented I believe.

I assume you commute on the W&OD? I know some people who work in some intervals by using the power line poles as markers and ride hard a few poles and then ease up. Be wary about slower users of the trail though. Any riding is good, but you need variety to race well. If you don't occassionally push your lactate threshold you won't hang in when it gets hairy in a race.

About any race is good for a novice if the course is reasonable. For example, I wouldn't recommend the Hump Race this weekend. The course is brutal. Other courses in the eastern part of Maryland or Deleware are more flat and might be better for starting out. Any kind of race will be mentally challenging if you haven't had much group riding experience, but crits tend to cause more distress to the uninitiated. I suggest doing a road race first. In general, less turning is better.

Good luck. Feel free to email me direct at if you want some more info on my team.