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New to racing(11 posts)

New to racingScottM
May 14, 2002 1:30 PM
I am 30 years old and looking to attempt racing. I know nearly nothing about road racing. I watched the Highlands Ranch Crit in Colorado this past Sunday and thought it looked like a type of pain I may want to try. I want to attempt a race but at the same time, not knowing much, do not want to get out there and screw up someone else's race. So, I would appreciate any advice, things to do and not to do, where to get started, etc...

Thanks for taking the time to educate a newbie,

re: New to racingflyinbowlofmilk
May 14, 2002 3:49 PM
My first advice to give you is to get some base mileage in before you do a crit. My next advice is get some speed-endurance riding. It will help in a Criterium. Also be prepaed for accerleration out of coner in Crits. Now as far as Road races I will leave that up to the Road Racing Gurus. I hope my limited knowledge can help you.

re: New to racingmixinbeatz
May 15, 2002 7:19 AM
I would join a team in your area and start doing as many group rides as you can. This will help build both fitness and confidence riding in a group. When you start, expect people to give you tips and pointers in sometimes harsh sounding tones. Roadies seem to do this because riding in a pack with a sketchy rider is dangerous. Hopefully the team will have skills clinics where you can work on cornering and bumping wheels. You have to get comfortable going around corners fast, in a pack if you want to do well in crits. If you don't practice, you will crash or make someone else crash and then no one will like you.
May 15, 2002 7:51 AM
There are a stack of Denver metro area folks on this board; some days I feel like we make this forum look like the Denver / Boulder local racing BB.

I live in Boulder and race a bunch. I love racing, and think it's the best legal fun you can have. My advice would be to go to your local area bike shop (LBS) and ask for information on American Cycling Association (ACA) clubs based in your area. This is the governing body for most races on the Front Range. Their temporary web address is

Racing is huge fun and I encourage anyone who's an avid cyclist to try it. However, I will warn you that there are a bunch of freaks in the Cat IV (entry-level) races out here due to the demographics of this region. There are tons of elite national level athletes based in the Front Range (Olympic Training Center, anyone?), and many of them are coming into bike racing as aerobic Godzillas from other sports (MTBers, triathletes, xc skiiers, top-ranked national runners, swimmers, personal trainers, etc...) and have coaches and are on serious training programs. This is unheard of for Cat IV guys/gals in the Midwest where I come from; the IV's there are your typical weekend warrior schmoes like myself, and the racing there is fairly mellow by comparison. This is not to say that a working stiff / family guy can't race (and do quite well) out here, and there are bunches of these kind of folks who show up and kick ass every weekend. It's just that the learning curve is a bit steeper is all.

If you are currently involved in a recreational club or do group rides, then the next step is to hook up with the LBS team or local racing club and ride at their faster pace. This will get you accustomed to the effort you will have to put out in a race.

Without more information as to your background, it's tough to say where you should be at as far as getting into it. Look on the ACA website for upcoming races with a "Citizen" category. There won't be many guys in it, but it also won't be like jumping headfirst (literally) into a field of 70-100 "Crash" 4's, either. Don't be fooled by the fields you saw at Highlands, they were microscopic for this area, owing to the weather and the fact that it was a new, unknown course and not a BAR/BAT (best overall rider/team) event.
May 15, 2002 8:09 AM
Thanks for the info. I live in Highlands Ranch and there is a local club here. I ride a lot but know that race pace is a lot different. I have been devoting most of the past 3 years to triathlons but want to start getting more into road racing. I will enquire at the LBS's and take a look at the webiste. A friend had told me about a developmental group down here, SEAR? Thanks for all the info and good luck on the rest of your season.
SEAR is ok, that Lamb guy is really coolPack Meat
May 15, 2002 9:16 AM
Racing is just like tri's. Just get out front and ride as hard as you can ;)> I think there is a new Highlands Ranch team. I saw some guy racing in shorts that said (and I'm not making this up) "Highlands Ranch - the Jewel of Colorado", I laughed out loud, everybody knows that Aurora is the jewel of colorado, the crown jewel even.
SEAR is ok, that Lamb guy is really coolScottM
May 15, 2002 9:35 AM
Aurora is the jewel uh, guess I better move but then I will not be able to water my lawn. I think those shorts would be the HR cycling club but I could be wrong.

So, I am guessing you are that Lamb guy or is he on this forum?
Actually, he is not me.Pack Meat
May 15, 2002 10:48 AM
John Lamb used to be the Pres of SEAR. He is a really nice guy and used to organize great events. I think he may have burned out cause I haven't seen him this year.
OH, so you...ScottM
May 15, 2002 10:58 AM
were not being facetious. So is there a team other than SEAR you would recommend for a newbie?

SEAR infoBipedZed
May 15, 2002 11:28 AM
SEAR stands for South East Area Riders based in Parker, CO. John Lamb started the club a few years ago and was club president. He is also on the executive board of American Cycling Association ACA (the regional licensing organization). In 2001 Lamb was burning out on all the responsibilities and passed off leadership of the club to a few other active members. About the same time, most of the serious racers on SEAR left the club, leaving mostly recreational riders and a few Masters 45+ racers. The club somewhat floundered in 2001 and lost it's title sponsor Destination Cyclery when it was bought by Treads Bicycle Outfitters. SEAR acquired Campus Cycles in Denver as title sponsor in 2002.

SEAR is developmental in that membership in the club is open to anyone interested, which caters to newbies with no racing experience. This is opposed to other more serious racing clubs/teams in the area that are essentially invite only. The benefits to joining SEAR are that you will be able to avoid unattached fees and wear a team uniform. They also have group rides in the winter months. The cons are that because it is "developemental" most members are not very serious and do not race often so you will not have much in the way of teammates. But you have to start somewhere, and you won't be able to get on the more serious teams until you start racing, get some results, and meet other racers that would like to have you as a teammate.

I joined SEAR late 2000 and raced 2001 pretty much alone in the Cat 4s, but I was able to gain enough experience and results to get invited on a much more serious team for 2002.

Check out American Cycling Association for more a schedule on upcoming local races. Note that this is a temporary URL until they get their ISP situation under control. The usual URL is which is currently down. The next local races are Wheels of Thunder and City Park Criterium the first weekend in June.

South East Area Riders (SEAR)
Rob Martin
PO BOX 1013
Franktown, CO. 80116
303-896-8243 (D), 303-447-0146 (E)
Fax - 303-965-1481
Thanks to allScottM
May 16, 2002 12:53 PM
For the info.