The idea of racing is new to me, but somewhat appealing, but is 45 ( years old ) to old to start ?
I live in the Northern Suburbs, and am thinking about trying my hand at this game, so I'm looking for a suitable club.
Not having raced before, I have no idea whats involved, so can someone explain an average race day, how often races are organised ? Are they flat, hilly or a mix, do you race in age / weight / speed categories etc. ???
I'm 51 mate.. just getting into it myself (well back into it as I used to race 15 years ago...) .. cat 6 but with prize money! There's lots to it and it's late so not going to go into it now, but wander over to the sa.cycling.org.au site and have a look. The various club sites have loads of info as well.
I am the same with Baron, joined up PACC few months ago, I am 42 so never to old to start something new
I only started a year ago and ride with the AHVCC Adelaide hills vets a great bunch and lots of fun http://www.ahvcc.org.au/
Have a chat with me on a Saturday morning.
I'll also plug the Veterans and Ladies Cycling Club (http://www.vlcc.org.au), based at Outer Harbor. 45 is a spring chicken in vets racing terms (our oldest member is well over 80), racing every weekend of the year (and crits in summer), racing for half the price of Cycling SA masters racing, and a great social way to get into racing.
Vets race on Sunday mornings on a 10km loop around Outer Harbor mostly (occasional racing in the hills), starting at 9am. Graded races (from A-E) range from 30k to 50km, and handicaps (Div 1 and 2) from 40km to sometimes 60km. All grades are made up of similar-speed cyclists, regardless of age, weight, or gender. Handicaps are the same. Annual Club Championships for Road, Time Trial and Criteriums are conducted according to gender, and then age groups.
Its all fairly daunting at first, but very easy to pick up the basics. And club members are always more than happy to welcome new members, and teach you the ropes.
If you're interested in having a look at Crit racing, head to Victoria Park tonight from 5:30pm to see the first rounds of the Wednesday night summer season. IYou'll see the grades from A to E, and the Teams racing as well. If you want to have a go straight away, head to the sign on desk, and take out a 'first free ride' option - you won't have to pay membership fees, but you just get the opportunity to have a go, and see how you like it. The handicapper will put you in a grade based on your current abilities, and you'll be 'partnered' with a 'buddy' who will not be focused on winning themselves, but helping you and making sure you enjoy it!
Thanks for this info Belinda.
If you do take up the "First free ride option", are you still allowed to contest the sprint and overall win, or are you required to "hold back" as you're not yet an official member?
I realise that most people probably struggle to make the adjustment to the frenetic pace of racing when they first start due to the increased fitness level required as Bobby has highlighted, but I'm just curious all the same.
Also, are fellow competitors forgiving of a newbie making mistakes such as not taking their turn at the front and not holiding their line or staying on the wheel etc. when they first start out?
No, if you take the first free ride option, you're not allowed to contest the sprint or claim a place. If you get over the line first after a breakaway, that's fine, but you won't get any prize money.
I think the biggest barrier that prevents people getting into racing is feeling as though they're not 'fast enough' - everyone has to start somewhere, there'll be a grade that you'll slot right into and be competitive amongst similar level riders. More experienced riders also remember when they first started out, how it was all so daunting and confusing, and how some of the skills took a while to learn. Everyone remembers how others were helpful and quick to pass on hints and tips. There may be a few, but there'll be very few fellow racers that will chip you about the finer points of things when you're just starting out. You'll learn quickly.
One thing I really will champion about vets racing is that apart from a very few bad eggs, there's a distinct lack of that elite 'ego' that looks you up and down and sneers at your bike, or your kit, or your hairy legs. Vets racing cyclists are a massively friendly bunch.
If its any consolation, being female, I'm about one of 5 women in a club of 300 men, and we race against men. When i started out, I was considerably unfit, could only average about 28km/hr in a race. But the grade I started in was small (which helped my confidence), the people I was racing against were years older than me (but no less able), and had a wealth of knowlege which they loved to share. By starting out in the 'shallow end', I got some results fairly quickly, which just made the whole experience of racing so much more enjoyable.
jump in, have a go, get ready to wonder why you didn't start earlier.
Pete, You would enjoy it. I retired from racing in the late 70's and didn't ride much for near 30 years. Decided that riding to work gave me a little bit fitness and thought I'd try racing at the vets on Sunday mornings for a while, just for old times sake and to see how I went. With your fitness level, you would have no problems racing in at least C grade, maybe higher, and your performance improvement would be much more rapid than gained from your usual rides. Although I don't go out there now due to time limitations, I can guarantee you would enjoy the experience, Give it a crack, not as expensive as a cycling SA licence but very similar level to open racing. Some of the A grade vets would be more than competitive in CSA events.
i think i've been in a similar boat for quite a while.. thinking that "one day" i might start racing. Pushing 40, i figured that it wasn't ever going happen.. it all just seemed all too daunting. Then via Adelaide Cyclists i discovered the PACC cyclocross series :D I attended a round only to have a look and support fellow AC members (and take a few photos) and thought to myself "ya know, I could do that!" ... next round i had a 3 race permit and had a pretty pink number pinned to my back :)
While it wasn't really what i had in mind when i was thinking "racing", cyclocross has been a fantastic (and relatively low stress) intro to racing and the general organisation of the PACC. In all likelihood I'll be signing up with PACC in the very near future to sample the rest of what racing has to offer simply as a result of the PACC cyclocross experience. So if you happen to have an old MTB around the place, why not give that a go when the next series is announced?
Sorry to hijack your thread Pete, but can I please throw another couple of questions into the mix?
How do you go about choosing a club to join?
Also, how do you decide between Veterans racing (E.g.. Veterans and Ladies Cycling Club, AHVCC and Southern Vets etc.) as opposed to racing in the Elite or Masters category with a Cycling SA club (E.g. PACC, Norwood CC)?
Also, are there any minimum requirements with regard to your bike and equipment? Is it pretty much race what you've brought, or do you need to have a minimum level of groupset E.g 10 speed as opposed to 9? Are you allowed to race with MTB pedals as opposed to road?
PACC has many masters members and have own category at all PACC events. We are not just for the elites.
How do you decide? It depends on what you want out of it, I guess. Some will say the standard of racing is the same between CyclingSA and Vets clubs, others will claim a bias and say its different. I've raced both CyclingSA and VLCC over the years and in my opinion, there is no discernable difference in the standard of racing for all but the elite/SASI riders, and many cyclists race in both associations. The difference to me is in the costs involved. CyclingSA licences are $200+, vets are only around $100. Nomination fees for a vets race are only $10, and I don't know offhand but I'd guess CyclingSA nom fees are around double.
Minimum requirements for bike/equipment? No need for groupset minimums, and I doubt there's any restriction on pedals, so long as they don't pose a hazard to other competitors.
See technical requirements for all vets clubs here: http://www.ausvetcycling.com/html/rules.html
and CyclingSA tech requirements here: http://www.sa.cycling.org.au/default.asp?Page=10780&MenuID=Even...
The little things that people often forget and will have you barred from a race - you must have bar end plugs fitted, and your helmet must comply with the AS/NZ/2063 regulations (i.e. don't race with a helmet you bought from OS, and we do check that the sticker is not 'lifted' from another helmet).