Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How to break into road racing?

For the past few months I've been trying to find out how to break into road racing in Norther California.  The scene is super active out here but unlike alot of triathlon clubs there aren't meet and greets, happy hours or kick off meetings.  Pretty much people show up at a local bike shop, begin ridding together and then eventually land on a team, or so I think.  Problem is my work schedule is so crazy that it is next to impossible for me to commit to a Saturday shop ride and further I only have the Cannondale I built to ride on.  So a day on the Cannondale means a day where I can't go aero on El Bastardo.  A new road bike would greatly help this problem but for now I'm kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place.

A few weeks back I was fortunate enough to meet up with a guy on Team Roaring Mouse as I was trying to find the entrance to the GG Bridge.  Brian and I had a great ride together, I e-mailed the President of the team and thought I was all set to meet some great people.  The following week was the team's once quarterly meeting but sadly I was stuck at work until 10pm.  I've since joined the team's message boards but honestly have no clue how to hook up with some riders to go to a race with.

I'm utterly baffled by what happens at a road race and have no clue what the strategy is like so I'd really like to go to my first one with someone with some experience.  Knowing me as soon as the gun goes off I'm going to hammer away but I know that isn't what I should do at all.  So some experiential wisdom would greatly help me in this pursuit.  Alot of the teams out here say come meet us at a race to network with us - problem is I have no idea how to even register for these races.  Plus I'm not sure what category I should race, with only 3 crits under my belt I'm assuming I start as a Cat 5 but haven't a clue.

So if there is anyone out there who wants to throw a triathlete a bone I promise to show you that I have handling skills, won't bring an aero bottle and know to leave the aero helmet at home.  I'll even wear shoes that ratchet closed, bib shorts and if it's cold even have a pair of knickers to toss on.  Really I just need someone in NorCal to show me the ropes so I can start racing.  My goal was to race in the Regaldo/ Warnerville road race this Sunday if anyone who reads this is headed out that way.  I might be on an old Cannondale with a bunch of mis-matched parts but everyone's got to start somewhere.

1 comment:

Anne said...

here is where to start.
go to ncnca.org and go to the "road" section. You will find a calendar with all the races, with links to registration. Register as a cat 5. You can select an additional category (like 35+) as it may apply.

Give me a call and I can go over basic race strategy with you... You can also find clinics. Lorri Lee Lown from Velogirls puts on some great co-ed clinics: http://velogirls.com/coaching/main.php. Join the NCNCA listserv and you will receive announcements of upcoming clinics.

If you go off the front at your road race, you will have a lot of people happy to suck your wheel and then pass you at the end! :) But no one is going to complain about it.

The meet-and-greets happen in the fall/early winter. Cycling is a seasonal event and teams get setup in the off season. A lot of the reason teams close is that they only place kit orders once a year (typically) and those are finalized with sponsors etc. Also like other team sports, cycling teams build team cohesion and may feel like constantly adding new people throws off the dynamics. But some teams will continually add new people.

Dolce Vita is full but Mission Cycling may be another option? They often have people racing and are local to SF.