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Riding/racing unattached(17 posts)

Riding/racing unattachedtreebound
Feb 2, 2004 7:10 AM
What are the disadvantages (or advantages) to riding in a USCF event unattached?
I haven't linked up with any local clubs, and won't really try until I get a fairly full season under my belt, and am thinking of getting the USCF license mainly for track use, but will do some road racing if my schedule clears enough as a cat5+ to get started or in the local public series (
Just wondering if it's worth the hassle to get linked up with a team (team_internet or local), what it gets you besides access to a jersey.

The former LBS I went to had a roadie/racer shop owner, but he sold the shop and the new format of the shop isn't worth the now 40 mile trip to stop in. That was my brain-picker stop and there I had access to several local teams and rides and such. New location now, I'm disconnected, local shop is marginal at best, thinking unattached is best for now if there are no major drawbacks.

Please excuse the rambling nature of this, I'm in extreme pain, sitting here at work, lower back decided to tie itself in knots this weekend and I can barely walk, should have stayed home from work today, but here I am, so please reply and keep my mind off my blasted backside. Worn disc and pinched nerve and knotted muscle mass, anybody have a hammer to whack my knots with? Anyway, attached or unattached, that is the question.
The good side....CARBON110
Feb 2, 2004 8:41 AM
Is your in pain and your still thinking about riding a bike =) Welcome to the sickness! You might be pleasantly surprised by a mediocre shop and it's ability to set you up with good people so don't underestimate it. Just simply ask ALL the people that work there not just one. Many times you have to seek and search out the people who know about these things. Other then that at cat 5 level it is best and more fun to go with a club riding buddys or a team to races. Don't worry about tactics just try to stay in the front of the race. Find some GOOD training partners on your fitness level and ride as often as you can with them until you develope your own training regime. If your focus is Track then you will need team mates for sure to be successful and enjoy the track will most likely meet them riding at the track

Good luck and go see a massage therapist
The good side....treebound
Feb 2, 2004 9:38 AM
"your in pain and your still thinking about riding a bike =) Welcome to the sickness! "

Yesterday I found myself crawling down the stairs into the basement to tinker with the road bike. It was too uncomfortable to sit in a chair and watch tv or read. ;)

There's a shop down near the university where a trackie works who set me up with the tires for the track bike a few years ago (note to self: reglue/check tires before May) that I'll head back to and check on track teams.

For the road stuff the nearest shop will take some digging in to find a connection.

If the back doesn't get to feeling better by the time I get off work I guess I'll let my wife get "E.T." out and work on me later. She has this massage thing with two big pulsating balls on it that reminds me of E.T..

Thanks for the reply.
re: Riding/racing unattachedNo_sprint
Feb 2, 2004 10:06 AM
I've mentioned it in here before, if your club atmosphere is anything like it is here, in my opinion there is no reason to race or even ride unattached. Regardless of whether you take part in any club function, at least around here, your $15 club membership includes 10 to 20 percent off stuff at tons of local shops. That alone makes it worthwhile to belong to a club if you ride at all.

Racin' is the same round here. You get your unattached fee knocked off your registration, which makes for a total of $10 savings every race if you don't incur late fees. You get the comraderie of your teammates and you can learn from them and become a better racer faster. Most teams around here will offer even their lowest on the totum pole member at least race fees for a victory/placing. YMMV
Advantages of unattachedbimini
Feb 2, 2004 10:16 AM
Please excuse my rambling reply as to why I like to stay unattached.

There is a good team in town but I have stayed unattached for now for a couple of reasons.

I am a Masters / Cat 5, will go Cat 4 this year. In these races teamwork and stratagy play almost no role. I just try to hang on and get myself in a good position for the final dash. If I were a young guy or gal looking to go Cat 3,2 or 1 I would have motivation to join a team, since at the advance levels you need a team to do well.

I know and have chatted with and rode with many of the folks on the good local racing team. The cat 1 /2 guys and gals really do work together to win races (and some big ones), if I were in that league I would join. Maybe if I improve this year and do well in the masters races I might join, they have a couple of good masters riders that do well in the races but don't have much of a team thing going on at the masters level.

The other thing is the weekly team training events do not work into my schedule. I have a tough time squeezing in 40-50 hours a month on the bike working around my free time, no way I could get my life to revolve around the teams schedule. I only go to the races that fit my schedule, again I don't schedule my life around the races. If I were on a team there would be a need to go to the races the team deems important. Racing and the team would take away from home and family (and the time I spend on the bike causes enough friction the way it is)

Lastly, I'm not the social butterfly type. I have enough social contact working, etc so I don't have an emotional need to be part of a team.

You need to look at what your needs and goals are. If you want to win in the lower catagories or if you need to be part of something, then you need a team. Otherwise, I personally see little advantage.
Depends on the area...biknben
Feb 2, 2004 11:42 AM
After reading No-Sprint's and Bimini's response you can see that it depends on where you are located. You have to check out the racing culture in your area or find a local racer to answer this.

In my area, there are no additional fees for riding unattached. The 4/5s are just a mess in regards to organization. Most teams can't even organize themselves. It's every man for himself. I didn't get attached until I was competative in the 4s. Around here, attached in the 4/5s means nothing more than a team kit and a few guys to hang with.

Browse the shops and try to talk to some locals in the racing scene.
Same dilemna recently . . .Rich_Racer
Feb 2, 2004 1:30 PM
. . . and I decided to join a team. I too am just starting out in Cat5 and wasn't sure, for some of the reasons stated (mainly that team tactics aren't really a factor in cat5/4 aparantly). My first race is on saturday, and I'll tell you how it goes, and later on, how the whole "team" experience is going.

So far though it's really good. I've been for a few rides with team members and already felt like I learnt a lot just listening to them and asking them questions.

I joined a small team as bigger teams often don't really provide any organised support for cat5's anyway.

re: Riding/racing unattachedWoof the dog
Feb 2, 2004 1:49 PM
unless its a team of your good friends, why would you want to?

depending on the team:
1. you will not have to pay your own way through, even though its called "the team"
2. you will not have to deal with stupid or dangerous people who happen to be on the same team as you.
3. you will not have to please your sponsors in return for getting ALL THE WONDERFUL stuff they so nicely gave you a deal on
4. you will not have anyone who tells you what to do at the race. You will be FREE, riding your bike for yourself, not some dick in the same kit.
5. you will not even have to worry about not having a team because any team tactics below cat 2 are just a joke. All you need to be is strong, and you can hang with the break and win. You may even get away with it in higher cats pro12, depending.
6. you will not have to deal with stupid team outfits
7. you will not be guilty by association for running lights or anything else that may be viewed as dangerous behavior by motorists. How would it feel if some cock would drive up to you and try to prove that he has seen YOU running an old lady off the sidewalk? Being on a team is a responsibility not only for yourself, but for the others as well.

Overall, it could be a fun time to be on the team, but just be very well aware of the things I mentioned.

woof, the real dog.
hmmmThe Human G-Nome
Feb 2, 2004 3:49 PM
That's an awfully negative take on things. How about this one. Join a team because:

1) You get to meet and train with people who are just as dedicated to the sport as yourself.

2) You have your own personal cheering section and support group instantly in place.

3) You can more readily share rides/hotels etc.

4) Pick a team that has a team kit of which you appreciate and you get to wear something that only a "member" gets to wear and be proud of it.

5) On my team, we get HALF off from several sponsors and at least 20% from everyone else.

6) Try getting reimbursement of race fees while not on a team.

7) Contrary to popular belief, tactics can work in Cat4 and even in Cat5 on occasion. We have 4s and 5s on our team who are constantly volunteering to help out others in races and specifically work to get a good showing for their teammates. Our teammates "trade" races in that way. If my buddy is targeting a certain race over the course of a season as his "A" race then I'm more then happy to work like hell for him and vice versa.

8. There are no "minimum" amount of races you are required to race on my team and no one is ever telling you what to do. In essence, the team is a tool with which you may choose to employ.

Conclusion: If you find the "right" team, there are no negative reasons to join.
Feb 2, 2004 4:04 PM
I've raced for 3 years, the last 2 of which have been on a team and I find it alot more fun to ride with a team. Tactics can work in 4's and 5's but you have to be strong enough to use them. In a race last year I only had myself and one other teammate and we used our tactics perfectly but needed one more teammate to finish the job and ended up taking 4th when my legs gave out in the lead out leaving my teammate hanging in the wind. It was to much for me to drag him all the way to the lead and then lead him out as well which is where another teammate would have been perfect. It's great to have others to train with and also to interact at the races. If your just an anti-social person like a couple of the other posters sound like here then obviously just stick to yourself and ride unattached.
no, YOU join!Woof the dog
Feb 2, 2004 7:12 PM
#1 in my post shouldn't have a 'not' in it.

As regarding my negative outlook, don't get me wrong. Being on a team is fun (I know), but sometimes I just get tired of dealing with people I don't want to see. And regarding saving money on hotels and sharing a joke during a race... thats what friends are good for (yes, i have friends contrary to what you think), you travel together, stay in the same hotel, you talk with each other during a race, etc. I already have that, so being or not being on a team is not important to me. If anything, in some respects its easier, because I don't have to be nice to people in the bike shop where I get deals on stuff; I don't have to think twice about wearing my helmet because my team requires me to do so; I don't have to do all these annoying little things. All I like doing is just riding my bike (i.e. pedaling).

woof the dog.
Is there a program for a dog with a social disorder?CARBON110
Feb 2, 2004 9:59 PM

Woofy who sh!t in your hat this week eh? Man your one pissed pooch - you sound like one of those grouchy old bastads who gripe and complain about how the out of staters make their ass twitch and the locals have become unruley! Where is the world headed!?!

""ahhh swell""
I will kill you!Woof the dog
Feb 2, 2004 11:18 PM

I was sincerely laughing when I reared all of my messages... and yours. You have some good replies and you are good at teasing people (or animals), and I see your points regarding learning things from fast racers in the other thread.

These crazy things I write - they may be funny, but sadly some of them are too real to discount and go about being happy. So I have to say that I stand behind my words 100 percent, and it is the reader's choice to discount them as bullsh!t or take them into account and think that maybe... just maybe, good ol' woof is right in some respects, eh?

But thank you for being concerned.

Thank you.

Keep the rubber side down,

Woof the dog.
The cycling gloves are off Woof! Bring it you damn dirty dog!!!CARBON110
Feb 3, 2004 7:20 AM
Better get your water bottle your gonna need it! LOL!

I thought the only reason we kept this thing going was cause it was funny as hell =)I agree 100%, about the crazzzeeee things you write. There is an essence of truth behind some of your kinda cynical or more appropriately "self-preservationist?" tone. Thanks for keeping it fun and playful. I certainly got some good laughs out of the last few exchanges


Try Attached:Spunout
Feb 3, 2004 5:41 AM
If you don't like the social scene of the team, find a new one.

Even if it is a club level group, do a good ride and don't chase down teammates (hope they help you out too).

Teams don't really train together. Once per week ahead of a race to see who can climb, who to protect for a sprint, etc. If all riders have their own programs, team training is difficult.

If I am not a sprinter, and a race comes down to a sprint, do I sit at the back? Or, can I help out a teammate who has a sprint.

Prize money buys alot of gas.
Why do you say this?asgelle
Feb 3, 2004 7:48 AM
Spunout wrote, "Teams don't really train together. Once per week ahead of a race ..."

That maybe true of some teams but don't say that of all. We have team rides 4 days a week. This time of year, we have two rides to choose from with very different training plans 3 of those 4 days.

I think if someone is interested in a team, they should find out about the team training rides, there is a large variety to choose from.
re: Riding/racing unattachedMShaw
Feb 5, 2004 8:31 AM
Having raced and ridden for a long time now, I can say that when I know I have teammates relying on me in a race makes me race differently than if I'm alone. If it is "my turn" I know that I can't go OTB without affecting the rest of the guys on the team who are counting on me. When I'm racing alone, who gives a rat's arse if I go OTB?

Some teams pay contingency money. Race X times/yr and you get your money reimbursed. That always helps. Racing isn't the cheapest way to get your jollies.

The minus to being on a team is that you'll probably have to pay a couple hundred dollars/yr for team kit. Since the kit changes every year, you have to buy new every year. The upside is that you'll have a BUNCH of shorts and jerseys...

On the whole, I'd recommend riding for a team if you're going to race. I'd stick with the faster guys so you can learn from them instead of the "Crash 5-s." I learned to ride a draft very well 'cause I had to to keep up with the local hammers. Saves me effort racing 'cause I keep out of the wind better than most.

Now all I gotta do is convince myself that the little climber-type sprinting at the end of a crit isn't going to do something stupid and crash both of us...