For those interested in trying a spot of road racing the season is starting to take shape. Below is a link to the British Cycling website which details races that are taking place (just filter on south or south-east to see local events):
http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/events?zuv_bc_discipline_filter_id=21 Also, this is the dedicated South BC site run by Tim and Sue Knight: http://southbc.org.uk/
If you are new to mass start races, there are basically two types: road racing or closed circuit racing. For beginners, circuit racing is a very good introduction as it’s generally safer, conducted on traffic free wide flat circuits, and if you do get dropped your race is not necessarily over, you can catch your breath and re-join a lap later! Popular local circuits include Mountbatten, Goodwood, Thruxton and Thorney Island.
All races are banded into categories dependant on ability: beginners start off as a 4th cat rider and ride in races of around 1 hour, with similar ability riders. As you progress you will collect points and climb the ranking system, if you’re really good, right up to Elite level. Here’s a full explanation of points and ranking system:
To participate in a race, you will need to obtain a racing license. This can be done in two ways:
1 Individually join British Cycling (at least silver membership) and buy a full racing license for the year. This will allow you to score ranking points. Full details of joining BC and obtaining a license can be found here: http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/membership
2 Buy a day license on the day of the event. However, you will not qualify for any ranking points.
If you plan to race fairly regularly and would like to progress up the ranking system, then buying a full racing licence is the way to go. If you would like to try a few races to see how you enjoy it then getting a day license is probably more cost effective at around £10 a time on top of the race entry fee
For those who are new, Road Racing is very much a team sport where tactics play a huge part (you don’t have to be the fastest rider to win!) It’s a great way to improve your bike handling skills and your fitness will go through the roof, so what are you waiting for…?