It can seem a bit daunting and difficult to know how to get into road racing and give it a go. There are different types of races, from closed circuit races on purpose-built tarmac tracks, round town criterium races to road races on the open road and time trials.
Giving time trials a go is the easiest option for Ystwyth riders, with events organised weekly by the club from April to August. More news will follow on these and the introductory session planned before the first club time trial starts.
To add in the fun of tactics and the chance to race in a group, circuit races can be a good starting place. The fields are usually smaller, the surface is good and the races are usually around 40 minutes in length. The downside of having more corners can be the constantly changing pace compared to a road race.
Road races can be anything from 30 miles up to 80+ miles on a variety of courses. These are held on open roads with a race convoy of vehicles surrounding the riders to protect them and race marshals on the route to help keep the course safe. The club will be hosting a road race on Sunday, 4th March and this is a great chance to come and support the riders and see what a road race is all about! https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/events/details/173305/Tour-of-the-Mining-Valleys
A great early-season series consisting of four races are held every January and February in Stourport; these are friendly and well organised and have a separate race for Category 4 riders (more on the categories later!). There are hundreds of road events organised throughout the year and the British Cycling website has them all listed. You can search by Category 4 races only, women only races or by location, along with the type of event you are looking for: https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/events/home
What are the rider categories?
There are five categories: Elite, Category 1, Category 2, Category 3 and Category 4. Everybody starts as a Category 4 rider. Points are awarded in races and as you gain the required points you move up a category.
If you are considering racing there is a great overview here of what’s involved:
If you already have a Bronze, Silver or Gold British Cycling Membership you should have a provisional licence as part of your membership. This will allow you to race in most races, but if you win points in your race you won’t be eligible. You will need a full race licence if you want the points to count! https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/membership/licence
If you fancy giving racing a go, have a chat to those in the club that race regulurlary to see which races they recommend and to discuss the possibilities of lift sharing!