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What type of road racing for a beginner?(7 posts)

What type of road racing for a beginner?flyinbowlofmilk
Jan 27, 2002 6:15 PM
I have been riding with the LBS group for at least 3 months. As the 2002 road racing season approaches,I would like to get some feedback. Should my 1st race be a Time Trial,or a Road race, or a Criterium? Which one of them would be good for a beginner to start road racing?
Jan 27, 2002 6:21 PM
I'd have to recommend a road race... although a crit might be perfect as well since its shorter distance (albeit probly harder intensity) but then you have to deal with a lot of corners which might not be the best thing if your not used to the pack. Irregardless race everything... don't think about which should be your first race! Then once you kinda figure out what your better at maybe race more of those. But in the end racing is racing so do it all.
Early and often,TJeanloz
Jan 28, 2002 7:33 AM
I don't think it matters what kind of race you enter. There's no way to get great experience except by racing. Race everything you can: Wednesday night crits, industrial park crits, road races, time trials. If there's a race, just do it. It might be pretty ugly at first, but chalk it up to experience.
I second the motion.shirt
Jan 28, 2002 12:31 PM
Just race, race, race. Do everthing. That takes the pressure off and gets your experience on.
I suggest doing basic road races to start.nigel
Jan 27, 2002 9:09 PM
This is what I did years ago and what I'll be doing this season (my first racing season in ten years). If there are any kind of circuit races--not criteriums, though--in your area, I'd strongly suggest doing them. A rolling race would be good, I feel, since it has a hill or two, some flats, and some turns: all good things to have in races. I say "not criteriums," however, since they can be dangerous for beginners--corners, TIGHT packs, big fields, and many sharp turns, each one an opportunity for error. Beginning racers often don't have the strong pack-riding skills and, when doing "crashteriums," well...they can overlap wheels and crash. Not trying to scare you, Fly, but just stating what I've heard/experienced. Plus, criteriums are FAST, and if all-out speed isn't one's forte, one may find themselves either off the back or worse--at the back of the pack trying to hang on, which is where most of the crashes happen.

A time trial is a race of sorts (against the clock, of course), but to me isn't RACING racing, if you know what I mean. The results of TTs may be discouraging as well, since one may be able to sit in with a pack of riders and even win a race without being the fastest one around. In a time trial, it's a very different set of disciplines (big-time mental as well as physical), and the fastest wins: not so at all in road races. Even the best sprinter in any given race may not be smart/crafty/experienced/lucky enough to get to that launch-me-to-the-line position to get the win.

I'd say that general road races are the most fun, the most fair for beginners, and less hazardous (and potentially discouraging--Who wants to possibly bust or scratch up their new bike in one of their first races?) than criteriums. Just my feelings here, though.

Good luck out there,
re: What type of road racing for a beginner?brider
Jan 28, 2002 11:44 AM
I gotta side with Nigel here. At first I was thinking TT, but that's only going to guage you against other TTers. The best TTers aren't the ones who finish first in the road races and crits. If you're not experienced in a tight pack, or tend to lock up when things get tense, then the crit will be a nightmare experience. A good circuit race or road race will be the best bet. Be ready for some testosterone case to take the lead out right off the line, but it will eventually settle in for a good ride. Always be working your way towards the front -- if you're not, you'll soon find yourself at the back. Try to note what's going on around you, and who's doing what. If you're going to make this racing thing a regular habit, that knowledge will go a long way toward taking you to better results.
What do you think you'd enjoy most?downunderracer
Jan 30, 2002 6:07 PM
I tend to agree with the other replies that dismissed TT's and criteriums (criteria?), but it really comes down to what you'd enjoy most. If you like the idea of racing against the clock, why not try a TT? If you like the idea of fast, relatively short races with tight corners, why not try a criterium? If you're into tactics and varied terrain, try a road race.

It's more important that you enjoy the type of racing you choose to do (after all, that's why you're doing it, isn't it?) than to do what others think is best.

It's also important that you start at a level where you can gain confidence and a sense of achievement. It's no fun being dropped every time you race. Despite being able to see the positive side of being dropped (useful as a training session ;-), finishing with the pack, or in a breakaway, or placing in, or winning a race is what will inspire you to continue training and racing.