After a great season as a Cat 5 racing i have finally upgraded to a Cat 4. For those who are unfamiliar with the upgrade process the only requirement to upgrade from a Cat 5 to a Cat 4 is 10 race starts (USA Cycling events). Now to the point of this post, after a racing the Cat 5 level since March (remember when we all raced at the Burnham race, and we froze are you know whats off), i feel that i have learned a couple things that may help new racers. So here is my top ten pieces of advice for new Cat 5 Racers:
9) Take the time to read Chicagobikeracing.com, it has a ton of useful information. I highly recommend reading all of the 33 tips posted on the site:
8) Plan a racing weekend trip, great way to bond with your teammates, i have done two of these trips and they were incredible experience. (even though i had to share a king bed with dan both time, fyi dan steals all the covers)
7) Hang out after the race, this gives you a chance to meet the people you race against and get to know the people in the chicago bike racing community. If you want to meet someone Dean probably knows them!
6) Ask Questions, the spidermonkey racing team is pretty good at helping each other out. Nate and Bryan Merrill are always full of good racing advice. If there is something you want to know about racing dont hesitate to ask.
5) Take a weekend off once a month. This is my best piece of advice, the season is long and you could race every weekend from may thourgh september. I think it is important to remember that bike racing isnt my job, i already have one of those. So once a month I take a weekend and I dont race. This allows me to attend team rides and live the “party life style” at least one weekend a month. (you know its my weekend off when i show up to the team ride with a bag of cookies and a can of coke)
4) Come on the Wednesday ride, there are a lot of guys who race that come on Wednesday, its a great way to test yourself and learn paceline techniques. Not to mention the JJ Peppers stop allows time to meet other racers in the area, including Chicago Crit legend Andy Daley.
3) Support your teammates! This is soooo important, if you support them, they will support you. Cheer them on at races, attend team social events and hang out when you can. The team is what makes racing fun!
2) Start early in the season. As the season progresses guys get into better shape and the racing gets harder.
1) Have fun! This is a hobby, and the most important part is having fun. This doesnt mean i dont compete as hard as i can, but i remind myself its fun. Do crazy events (ie: street sprints, the lelend road race, snake alley) try different events, try everything, you wont be sorry!
I hope this helps and provides a little bit of good advice, if anyone has any questions about racing please dont hesitate to ask me.
Shake and bake’
Other good tips:
Grow a Mustache, it adds speed (ask Dan)
Remeber your shoes on race day (ask shea or witry)
Buy two pair of Bibs! (ask any racer on the team)
Be humble (we all know what i am talking about)
Thank your team when they support you (there is no I in team)
Dont become a race snob (just becuase you race doesnt mean you are any better than those who dont race, no one likes race snobs!)
Train together (i just like riding with people)
Toward the end of your cat 5 career try some 4/5 races (it helps see what the next level is like, i did 4 of these in the last couple months)
Other racers: Please publish any addition tips in the comment section or make your own list of tips.