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I want to start...(13 posts)

I want to start...Wannabe
Aug 22, 2001 12:40 PM
Okay, I'm 29, and have been a rec rider for a few years, but I don't measure up to a Cat 5 by any means. I've upped my training rides over the last few weeks and I was thinking that perhaps in another couple or three weeks I'd like to try a group ride with a local club or some such. I just got a totally wicked deal on a killer bike (can't wait til it arrives) and I figure I owe it to myself and the bike to do a bit more than I'm doing! Will a club be receptive to a 29 yr old newbie non-racer? I don't want to go out and get pounded by Cat 3 or 4 guys but I want a bit more than my training rides can give me. I'm hoping to build my fitness over the winter to maybe try some citizen races (they still have those?) next year.

A typical daily ride for me (weather permitting) is 18-20 miles 5 times a week. Am I not ready for a group ride?

Why not? They need victims ...Humma Hah
Aug 22, 2001 2:04 PM
... there's nothing wrong with getting pounded by Cat 3 and 4 riders. Heck, I get pounded all the time. I expect it, and they enjoy it (although they try not to show it).

If you want to race, apart from a few scattered races with no official standing, Cat 5 is where you start. And beginners should EXPECT to get pounded, at least at first. But at least you'd be hanging around with serious racers and get a chance to learn what's really required.

As for group rides, it all depends on the group. Some are take-no-prisoners testosterone-drunk killer serious racers. Some are more laid back. If the first group you ride with doesn't suit, don't give up, find another. Group riding is a nice change (I don't get to do it often, but enjoy it when I can), and it gives you an opportunity to learn new skills like pacelining. You're way overdue to try it.
re: I want to start...Vance in Montana
Aug 22, 2001 2:06 PM
Andy , I'm in the same boat you are & had a question for you. What is your average time on your 20 mile ride & what is the terrain like. My 20 mile ride has a lot of up & down , probably not 5 flat miles in the whole thing, steepest sustained climb gains about 250 feet in a mile & carries on for a total of about 425 feet in 2.25 miles . Couple of shorter climbs just as steep & some rollers. My time yesterday was 1:08:11 , for 17.1 mph av. Have only rode once in last 3 weeks previous due to illness , 95deg temps , & laziness . Just wondered how this compares to anyone else as I allways ride alone. Would I totally embarace my self in cat 5 if I gave it a try? Thanks & sorry for the epic post. Vance
re: I want to start...Wannabe
Aug 23, 2001 6:24 AM
Hey Vance,

Well, I don't live in MT so I don't have the mtns you do (provided you live in the western part of the state). I live in So. WI. My rides aren't flat like Illinois, but again, they are not the rockies or Apps. My rides are rolling. This morning I did my 20 mile ride in around 1:15 for about 15.4 or so. Not very fast, but my early morning rides never are! My new bike should definitely help though. Replacing a 1991 bike with 105s to a 2001 with D-A.

Sounds like you are in considerably better shape tham me. But again, after I get a few more weeks in my legs, hopefully I can keep up anyway. BTW, this type of a ride for me means to a HR of about 150-155 for the first half, and 160-165 for the second half.

re: I want to start...Vance in Montana
Aug 23, 2001 7:19 AM
I do live in the western part of the state , about 40 miles south of Missoula & about 5 rugged wilderness miles from the Idaho border. If you have nothing to do this weekend come on out west & we'll go for a ride. Sounds like we'd keep each other pretty honest & I'd love to ride with some company if you don't mind riding with an old guy(41). Seriously , I understand what you mean about the bike(although it sure isn't my limiting factor). I'm riding an old (late 70s?)Centurion Elite. Have upgraded it some , went from 10 speed to 14 , bars , crankset , etc. but its still 21#. But there is a Cenelli frame & fork set for sale in town that I may be able to trade one of my old mtn bikes for..... Marlon's stories (&everyone elses) have me thinking I might have to give this road racing stuff a try. Vance
re: I want to start...Birddog
Aug 23, 2001 9:09 PM
Vance, I guess these folks think that there are several clubs to choose from in the Hamilton area, yeah right. There probably is at least one good club up in Missoula though. I would go there for a start. I started off my meager racing with Time Trials. They are safe, because you are not in a pack, and you can get an idea of how you measure up. You'll also have the opportunity to meet some other racers and compare notes. Somehow it feels a little less harsh when you are 2 mins off the pace in a 6 mile time trial, than when you are way off the back in a crit or road race.
re: I want to start...Vance in Montana
Aug 24, 2001 4:58 AM
You are right about no organized clubs in Hamilton , & also right about Missoula . I have found 2 clubs up there on the internet but haven't made it up to ride with them yet . I just got into bikes in a fairly serious way around the first of the year as a way to loose weight & get in shape . Lost 30 lbs by Memorial day & did my second mtn. bike race that weekend . Both races were a little better than middle of the pack finishes . Couple of months ago bought a cheap used road bike for endurance training for mtn bike racing because I didn't want to wear out my expensive mtn bike. Now I'm having more fun riding that $65.00 dollar ($300 with upgrades, lol) than I do riding my $2500.00 full suspension Razorback. Guess I must be hooked . I think I'll give road racing & crits a try next spring . Might try a time trial first like you suggested if I can find one . Makes sense. Thanks for the advise , Vance.
Missoula has quite a cycling history ...Humma Hah
Aug 24, 2001 6:57 AM
An epic ride started there in 1898. A black cavalry troop was issued bicycles and tested their use for long cross-country treks. They rode from Missoula to St. Louis. Lacking roads, most of the trip was on railroad grades. They carried all their own gear. Most remarkable. I hope folks there now cherish their remarkable cycling heritage.
re: I want to start...Paul Metcalfe
Sep 1, 2001 9:41 AM
Hello Vance.

Just to let you know of other riders training times.
I have a 32 mile round circuit from my house, the terrain
is flatish with a number of small hills (just enough to get
you out of breath)Also in some sections there is no wind
cover such as trees etc, so I get a beating by the wind.
Well the other day I managed to do it in 1:41 with an average speed of about 18.8mph.


go for it!!wes
Aug 22, 2001 3:28 PM
Andy - if you're riding around 100 miles a week, you are probably in pretty decent shape. The only thing you might want to worry about is how you handle your bike in close quarters with many other riders. Do join a club, but I expect you'll be surprised at the good shape you're in.

Personally, I ride with a club in the Long Beach, CA area that is wonderful. They ride hard, but are very friendly. My experience with alot of the racing clubs is that they tend to not be very "nurturing" and supportive of new guys, so pick your club carefully and don't get discouraged if you ride with a few clubs that consciously try to drop you.

I've been back on my bike for about 2 months now and yesterday finished with the field in a cat 4 training race. This is after a 7 year layoff of not riding at all. (read my posts below titled "I SUCK"

100 miles a week is pretty good. ride with a club and get used to drafting and all and then try a few training rides. Most cities have weekly races (non-USCF) that simulate a real race fairly well in terms of pace and size of the group. Go to a lbs to find out when and where they are. You are entering the off-season, so you might have to wait until March or April.
re: I want to start...pmannion
Aug 23, 2001 5:23 AM
Any club that isn't receptive to a newbie 29 year old racer, isn't a club worth belonging to. In any case, I've never experienced one that would not want you to join them. Most are pretty friendly. I'd suggest you just start showing up. You might want to identify the "alpha" rider, and let him know you're new. If you get dropped on a climb, they're likely to at least wait for you at the top, etc. Most good club rides have regrouping points so that newer riders get a chance to finish with the group. That's the whole point of club rides. Development, no matter what level you're at.

yes, you're ready to ride in a group. Have fun and enjoy!

where in WI?Russ
Aug 24, 2001 9:30 AM
Hi Andy,

I see that you are in WI. Where at? Are the group rides you want to do through Bombay Bicycle Club? I know they have 3-4 group rides per week, I think it's something like easy Tuesday nights, hard Thursday nights, easy Saturdays, and hard Sundays. So you can pick one of the easier rides to get your feet wet. I haven't ridden on any of their rides yet myself either but will probably try to get in on at least one before the end of summer.
Another cheese headkanotspell
Aug 24, 2001 8:28 PM
Hey I'm here in madison too. I have just started to goof off on a road bike and am really enjoying it. I have ridden with bombay a few times, maybe it is just bad luck but they did not seem exceptionally friendly. You should note that the Tuesday rides are NOT their easy night. I have found the best way to find a group is just to do popular rides at popular times. Here on the west side if you ride to Paoli a few times a week you are bound to find a group or two. I snagged a group from varona in paoli this week that seem really receptive to newbies. I'm always looking for a ride so drop a line if you just want some company.