How to Get Started Bike Racing

Posted on Apr 2, 2013 in News | 0 comments

How to Get Started Bike Racing

If you’re looking to get started racing, but not sure how, these tips will help you make it to the starting line.

Find a race:
Having a race in mind will help in your training. It gives you motivation, and the opportunity to tailor your rides to a specific goal. How to find one?  Check out —there, you’ll find plenty of races organized by type and region. The site is the registration hub for road, mountain, and cyclocross races, plus charity rides.  When choosing your race, be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses.  Does ultra-technical singletrack leave you quaking in your shoes? Aim for a course with plenty of flow.


Do you prefer aerobic intensity to endurance rides? Choose a sprint-focused criterium. There are plenty of races to choose from—pick the one that interests you most.

Find a license:
To compete in a USA Cycling-sanctioned race, you’ll need a license. This is where it’s time to decide how serious you want to be. USAC offers a year-long license for $60, and a one-day license for $10. So if you’re planning on doing more than six races during the year, spring for the year’s license. If you’re planning on one and done, save your cash and opt for the one-day license.

Find a training plan:
Whether you want to win or are just looking to finish, your training will help you achieve your goal.  There are plenty of ways to figure out what you should be doing and when—entire books have been written on the topic, and you can find endless articles with a quick internet search.  If you’re looking for more personalized, structured training, a coach may be your best choice.  The USA Cycling website has a directory of certified coaches that’s searchable by region.  And don’t be afraid to ask others for advice—your local bike shop can tell you plenty and even direct you to some of the more experienced racers in your area.

Find some friends:
Preparing for a race is much easier when you’ve got friends on your side. Riding buddies will challenge you and teach you to ride with others comfortably.  Plus, they keep you honest.  On dreary mornings when you’d rather hide under your covers than saddle up, knowing that someone else will be sharing in your misery is often enough to get you moving. Local clubs are often a good place to find fellow riders.  Check with your shop and see if they have rides—and find out how you can join.

When race day rolls around, make sure to get to the course early. Generally, 1.5-2 hours is a reasonable time cushion. It allows you to pick up your numbers, get changed, warm up, and do some course recon with time to spare. If you’re confused about any aspect of the race, the race officials will be happy to clear it up. Once the starting gun goes off, give it all you’ve got! And be careful—racing is addictive!

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