Wednesday, June 16, 2010



There has been some talk amounts the bunch about racing. Though the BG is not about racing and wins, it is about enjoying our cycling, pushing ourselves to be healthier and fitter. Racing can be a great motivator to train and to push yourself. I can’t claim to be a guru of racing as I’ve only been in the game a couple of seasons to this end I'll try and tell you just what I do know to help you get started racing.

Club and Season Licence
You have to join a local club and get your Aus Cycling licence. The club fee is nominal but the licence will set you back around $200. This covers your insurance for third party and bodily. I went with Norwood cycling club as I'm local to Norwood and they host majority of the events - so I have no problem supporting them. Port Adelaide is another big club which is known for its organisation and they appear to race in more of a club alliances. You can join a club through there sign up services on line or last year they offered sign up at the crits before the first event. You can use your licence to race in CA affiliated races interstate - i raced while i was over in perth last year during the tour de perth race carnival (craziest race course ever - required getting around a corner with a down hill approach to a speed bump in the apex - getting air born @ 40 km while leaning it in was different!).

Norwood cc site
Port Adel cc site
CSA site

The crits season starts in September and previously you could sign up for an 18 month licence to start the season in spring at no extra cost. I'd recommend this as the best time to start for the financial reasons and because crits are a good way to learn how to race on the open wide / flat track @ Vic park and consistent racing it generates is a good place to learn your race craft. The winter season is raced more in the hills with circuits, with a majority of the races on the range circuit and include handicap races.

Cycling Tips - head cam video of a crit.

If you want to start racing in sep-oct now is a good time to start training with the aim of race fitness. The fitness required to race is far step up from just rolling with the group. Generally at all times your positioning yourself not to get dropped and trying to find and hold a wheel, as they don’t come for free when racing crits - you have to claim the wheel in front and hold it as every other rider is looking for a better position in the seething pack. I'd recommend doing some fast group rides to learn how to ride in bunch which is moving with intent. Good rides include :

Scuzzi night ride, Fast (A-C grade) and slow group.
6.30 @ Scuzzi Cafe Nth Adel

30x30 Streak - 6.15 Henley Sq
Good for a initial group ride, rotating pace line, 30km flat ave 30-35 km/h

MEGA bike sat morning ride, lots of groups for different skill levels.

These are good for they are flat rides with sprints in them which simulate crits racing intensity – without being overly competitive. I can’t pretend to know too much about sport science so if you want more training advise, please see a book!

Don't worry too much about grading as you will start low and if you have never raced before you'll be in E or D. Don't be offended about being in these grades either as the intensity is still high and they are great pack to learn how to ride in a race bunch, or it’s a great opportunity to get a placing or a win – it might be a while before you get another one. Winning in these grades is not easy either and at the start of the year there is a lot of competition from fit riders entering the sport. Don't think you'll rock up and smash it in D-E without some serious training. To put it in perspective Walker is in D’s and Homburg has just moved up to C’s with Gates.

If you love your bike and have invested lots of money in it you might want to extent the compulsory insurance that comes with your licence to comprehensive cover as racing voids some other forms of insurance your bike would other wise be covered by - check with your insurer.

If anyone wants any further information or help geting rego i'm happy to help. -FS

PS the best bit of advise ever:

If your not moving forwards your moving backwards - CT
More racing tips from CT