So I want to try road racing + build a bike specifically for this
Have a go with what you have, it’ll only get crashed and damaged. If you like it then upgrade.
It’s about the worst time of the year to give it a go, none of the winter series are running, but all the summer ones have finished. There’s a Hillingdon winter 4th cat series, probably a good place to start if you’ve vaguely west London way.Posted 1 year agolegendMember
You’re right about joining a club, for starters this’ll instantly let you know if you’re fast enough to make it worthwhile (no point in being blown out the back in the first 10 miles). It’ll also get you used to riding in a group, info on the best races, give you people to go to races with, etc, etcPosted 1 year ago
Where in London are you? We’re actively recruiting in our club, have intro rides in Regents park and regular weekend club rides into Herts, Essex and monthly’s in the South Surrey/Kent.
Our club is mixed ability – we have Cat 1 racers, and club/sportive riders – and associated guided rides – according so its a good place for you to learn some group riding skills with us, and pit yourself again varying level of ability’s.
As for the bike, you’ll be starting in cat4 which is fully of beginners, crashes are more frequent. I’d not go to mad, just race what you can afford to replace just in case. Pretty much standard road bikes are the rules, no TT bars or appendages other than garmins, must be in good working order. A lot of the leagues require and/or provide “intro to racing” sessions for Cat4’s which are pretty cheap. Some are a “must have” before you can rave in thier league – its a very good idea to attend one of these.
My email is in my profile if you want some more detail about the club.Posted 1 year ago
Don’t race what you can’t replace!
Any non-disk road bike with drop bars is allowed (including cross bikes). If you are in London then a very good introduction is the Imperial Winter Series of nine races run at Hillingdon every Saturday. Be warned, it sells out very quickly on RiderHQ!
You will need a British Cycling Race License. You will start as a 4th Cat and need to earn points to graduate. To be honest it takes a season or two to learn to race, and surprisingly, fitness is only a small part of the story. Racecraft is far more important. Don’t start with the aim of being a 2nd cat by season end. Start with the objective of being a safe, competent and competitive racer.
Joining a club is always helpful, if only for training rides, but it is not necessary. There are plenty of “private members” racing to high levels. I’m one of the coaches at Twickenham, and most clubs have BC qualified coaches on hand to provide advice.
If you are over 40, then you can race veterans 🙂 . The standard is much higher than 4th cat racing, and the camaraderie is excellent. And you get done over by your mates every week!
Try it, you never know. I never planned to race, started at 45, and now race about 30 times a year. It is addictive. Oh, and I was regularly dropped in my first 4th cat races. It’s all part of the initiation!
EDIT: IF you want a book to read this book is an excellent start. Written for riders who want to start racing, based out of Hillingdon, and by one of the local coaches. It is very good indeed.Posted 1 year ago
After two years of road cycling I took part in the Esiberg cycle in central London the other day before the TOB – this has got me intrigued. Now it wasn’t a race but we were at speed (pretty sure some were giving it the beans) in close proximity on closed roads – it was pretty epic and has given me confidence to at least try a race. If anything else it’s a bloody good excuse to upgrade the alu Felt F95!
Can someone point me in the direction of some guides to read? Like what kit is and isn’t allowed on the bike.
Guessing I also need to join a cycle club too, so any Londoners have recommendations on one of those I’d be grateful too!
Any tips also welcome 😆Posted 1 year agosteviousMember
It’s worth having a look at the ‘Racesmart’ series of videos on YouTube. Lots of great tips on how to ride in a bunch and race safely.
Be mindful that a racing bunch can be very different to a club ride/sportive etc as people are fighting for position a lot more. You can be the strongest rider in the race but not being able to hold your position will see you struggling to keep with the bunch.
To echo some of the comments above – get some experience racing and don’t be too disheartened if you get your arse handed to you the first few times. There’s no substitute for experience.Posted 1 year ago
@njee20 – Looking to start next year, building the new bike over winter. It won’t be a super bike as I know I’m likely to be involved in a crash at some point. I feel I’ve kind of outgrown the Felt to be honest.
@legend – I’m not fussed where I finish up, as long as it’s in one piece and I haven’t made a fool out of myself. 😛
@Kryton57 – I’m based in West London (Ealing), but spend a lot of time also in Regents Park as I work in Chelesea, Richmond Park for quick spins and out to Windsor etc on the weekends. I may well drop you an email in the not so distant future, cheers! 🙂
@TiRed – Thank you for that, very helpful. I wont be joining the veteran races for a few years yet though – I’m “only” 27 😀
@stevious – I’ll check those vids out. Yeah my ultimate aim is mid pack by the end of the season. 😆Posted 1 year ago
I wont be joining the veteran races for a few years yet though – I’m “only” 27
Don’t worry, you’ll be beaten by quite a few in the normal races too! 😉 We have a number of riders living in Ealing. Feel free to come along for a Saturday club ride. You’ll start in a beginners group (for group riding skills), but can quickly graduate to the race chain gang.
We also provide race training on behalf of Surrey League and a club championships for a “have a go” race. Other clubs do the same.Posted 1 year agoPierreMember
For the bike, as TiRed says, “don’t race what you can’t replace”. You’ll see all sorts of bling at races, and a lot of shattered carbon fibre at Hillingdon!
It’s a good chance to build up something cheap, as light as possible. You don’t need deep-section carbon fibre, or even 11-speed. If you’re not going to be going out on big training rides on it during the winter then you don’t need super-durable kit (train on the F95 with some sturdy tyres and your race bike will feel like a feather!) and it could be a good time to buy part-used lightweight wheels (Shimano RS80s, for example) and other used kit. Scuffed cranks race just as well as shiny new ones.
Make sure your gears and brakes work properly. Fit lightweight sticky tyres like Schwalbe Ones with latex tubes and make sure you have good brake pads.
…but, mainly, do some training. Interval sessions, Sufferfest, hill reps, anything where you repeatedly accelerate hard and keep the pressure on until you start red-lining, over and over again. And, if you can, go out on a club’s chain-gang sessions – the skill of riding in a pack and sitting on someone’s wheel without endangering yourself or others is very important.
Good luck!Posted 1 year ago
@TiRed – Cheers, I’ve seen a few of you guys around particularly Richmond Park and to and from Windsor. I’ll check out your site club details etc.
@Pierre – I’ve been doing my training on my commuter, which is a cf cross bike imported from China. The Felt doesn’t feel as fast as this, and is certainly less comfortable over long distances, so has been collecting dust.
For “Race” bike I was thinking 5800, Ribble R872 frame with quattro wheels and deda finishing. Nothing fancy at all and have the wheels and finishing kit already.Posted 1 year agodovebikerMember
Joining a club is almost essential as it’s highly unlikely you’ll develop the group riding skills by riding on your own or doing a sportive – racing is far more intensive. If you plan of racing in the Surrey League, then they insist on training to make sure you’re competent – it’s for everyone’s safety, not just yours as you have to depend on others to make the right moves. You could also try CX, which can be just as intense, but races are no more than 1hour. Many beginners worry about the ‘kit’ for racing when it’s the lungs, legs and head that matter. Almost certainly you will get dropped in your first races but that’s because almost everyone else has trained smarter and is fitter and stronger from experience – it’s why bike racing is such a hard sport.Posted 1 year ago
For “Race” bike I was thinking 5800, Ribble R872 frame with quattro wheels and deda finishing. Nothing fancy at all and have the wheels and finishing kit already.
My first race bike was a used six year old alloy Giant TCR with some used Ksyrium wheels. It wasn’t much slower then my current carbon Propel SL to be honest. Don’t over think the kit side of things. Not until you have enough experience to know what is worth improving. My one piece of advice would be to wear the tightest jersey you own. A skinsuit gave me the biggest benefits, but tight clothes are almost as good! I’d start on your Felt, personally.
Vittoria Corsa G+ in 25c are excellent and very popular now. I used to race Schwalbe Ones and like them very much, but the Corsas have a better feel and damp grip.
If you plan of racing in the Surrey League, then they insist on training to make sure you’re competent
The two days are very worthwhile#. Even experienced racers have commented that they learned something. I would definitely recommend some training first. There will be a couple of sessions at Hillingdon prior to December from Prime Coaching (although these are not mandated by Imperial).
#Obvious disclaimer – I’ve given a few of them 😉Posted 1 year ago
So an update to this.
Something has gone a bit wrong with my training routine – my resting HR has rocketed (stress/illness) and I’ve had to prioritise fixing that first (starting with a new job)!
Still on plan for next year though. I’ve got a groupset in the post and just deciding on the frameset now, narrowed it down to a couple from workswell.
I’m going to try a couple of club runs out over winter and get my provisional and insurance up and running too, will also try to get myself booked on the next courses via: http://primecoaching.co.uk/
Thanks again!Posted 1 year agotrickydiscoMember
Meh, I think you can over think these things. I got shelled out the back in my first 2 road races.
yep. I’ve got shelled out the back from a few 2/3/4 road races. ruddy tough but learnt lots.
Raced on a cheap alu/carbon rear stays brand x frame. Still using it now actually.Posted 1 year agotrickydiscoMember
if you can ride well in a group find your local chain gang. I know a lot of people get a shock going from sunday club runs straight to a road race/crit. The pace changes can be immense and you learn to save as much energy as possible and the importance of working in a group.Posted 1 year agomattsMember
As you’re in London, go and enter one of the series races at Hillingdon, Velopark, or Hog Hill* (Redbridge Cycling Centre). The short races are pretty intense, but there’s much less to worry about on a closed circuit. And If you’re shelled, you’re never far from the showers. 😉 The winter series can be a bit quieter than the spring/summer ones, though they’re all about 20 times busier than when I started racing.
* Unless you really fancy yourself as a puncheur, I suggest Hillingdon or the Velopark to start, as The Hoggenberg has a habit of spitting people out after the first lap. But six of one…etc, as the lack of selection at Hillingdon/Velopark can make for some big bunches coming to the finish and crashes are more common.
Good luck chewing bar tape. 😆Posted 1 year agomrblobbySubscriber
Resting HR is an interesting one. I’d not be too worried by that sort of change… unless I also felt totally crap.
If you have a capable HR monitor it’s worth tracking HRV (Heart Rate Variability). Been tracking this for a while now and seems to be more reliable for me than resting heart rate. Seems to track fatigue a lot better than HR which can be up and down a lot. I use a bluetooth HRM with ithlete app on the phone.
I think Garmin are now using it on their newer head units too. I get some sort of “ready to train” type metric pop up a few mins into a ride, seems in line with HRV measurements.Posted 1 year ago
Thanks for the HRV info!
The resting heart rate increase is in line with me feeling like crap. It’s also really apparent when out on the bike trying to do zone training. It used to be relatively easy to maintain a decent speed when in zone 2 (126-144). I cannot match this recently, not even close.Posted 1 year agomtbtomoMember
I’d be looking at something like a Kinesis Aithein, Cannondale CAAD10/12, Bowman, Trek Emonda ALR or one of many other decent alu frames now available.
My mate snapped his carbon frame clean in two in his third 4th cat crit when the guy two in front washed out on the last corner of the last lap and my mate just went straight over the top, so that was the best part of £1k to replace just like that. Also, working it out this season, there have been crashes in over half of the open (2/3/4 cat) road races I’ve been in.
There are clearly people who enter these races who don’t know how to hold lines and ride in bunches so getting some club riding in will help but beyond that, it seems that getting people to work chain gang style in a race in the lower categories is rare probably because everyone would rather save their energy to sprint for something like 15th place than chase a break.Posted 1 year ago
Thanks @mtbtomo – will check that post out. I’ve been chatting to Kryton57 too.
I think my insurance covers accidental damage though, even when racing.
I’m about to pull the trigger on one of these:
and have an ultegra groupset with fulcrum quattros at the ready (maybe look at some farsports wheels at a later date too).
Even if it doesn’t ever see a race track – it’s a new bike. 😆Posted 1 year ago
senor j – Member
And looks lovely .
It was a toss up between that WCB-R-066
and this WCB-R-081:
But the 066 has many more reviews non of which are negative.Posted 1 year ago
Yeah admittedly that’s not a great picture of the 081..
Here’s a better one:Posted 1 year ago
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