As part of the British Cycling #oneinamillion campaign there was a recent post about getting into racing with some great tips, you can see this article online here. Following on from this below are our Love Velo CCs top tips.
We would love to hear from you with your tips too!
1. Get comfortable in the peloton
In a race you’re going to be riding in close proximity of other riders and need to be confident, comfortable and capable. The best place to practice this is on club runs and in chain gangs with experienced riders to get used to having other riders close by. Avoid sudden braking or movements, check your shoulder before pulling out, be aware of what’s going on around you and communicate (on your left, on your right
2. Plan your first race
Once you’re feeling confident and comfortable that you want to try a race think about options for which races would be best to target for your first event. The first race I entered was a 3/4 women’s circuit race at Darley Moor in Derbyshire, this was a great place to start as it’s a closed road circuit and 3/4 category meaning that all riders were either cat 3 or 4 riders. You can read more about the categories for road racing here, but good races to target at first are category 4 only, 3/4 or 234. However sometimes with women’s racing all categories are placed together in one race which means you can be riding with some very experienced riders, but it just depends on who turns up on the day!
3. Hang in
Be prepared that there will be fast parts, where you can be hanging on as best you can but then it will or might settle down again. Just do your best to stay in there for as long as you can, everyone gets dropped at some point in races and so don’t be afraid to turn up and have a go, giving it your best shot. Many times in races I have looked at my Garmin thinking this is so hard and its only ten minutes in, yet somehow I have made it to the finish and been able to sprint for the line. If you’re feeling more comfortable and confident in there then get involved in some of the moves, follow the attacks or even try and attack and get away yourself.
Bike races are very tactical games and so be prepared for some of the tactics. At first whilst you’re getting to grips with races get tucked in and sit in the bunch and watch what’s happening. Who is strong, who is attacking, who is chasing the attacks and bringing them back. Racing isn’t always a game of who is the strongest but who rides smart, keep sheltered as much as possible, think about the wind and weather conditions and how you are going to get as much shelter as possible. Positioning is key, try being up near the front but not on the front. If you’re on the back you can be in a dangerous position should there be an acceleration in pace, if you aren’t so good on the climbs make sure you’re further up near the front once hitting the hills. Every race is different and every race is a learning curve, take the positives from every event you do!
5. Just have a go…
I hear so many riders say they would like to try racing but sometimes taking that step can be tough. It takes guts and confidence. Do the preparation and once you’re ready find a race and give it a go. Everyone has to start somewhere! The aim for my first race was to not be dropped, I was amazed that I made it to the finish line and came 10th getting my first British Cycling point! I surprised myself but also learnt a lot. You never know until you try, so if it’s something you are wanting to do, get stuck in and try!
Lucy Sturgess – Love Velo CC
Rutland Cycling – #teamrutland