So you know a friend who races, but she tends to keep all the secrets to herself. Really, you are a bit shy to just come right out and ask her how your quadriceps can be as big as hers and how she got all those cool scars. All the while, you really miss the challenges and comraderie of 8th grade track practice and meets. Well have no fear, we're about to give you the quick and dirty and allow you to dive right in head first to the thrilling world of bike racing. On second thought, try not to go head first but we'll try to get to that too.
In this order...
Txbra is short for Texas Bicycle Racing association. Txbra is THE authority and sanctioning body behind all road, cyclocross, and track events in the state of Texas. Founded and run by avid roadies delicately sprinkled throughout this great state, it is an organization of race promotors, USAC officials, elder statesmen, and concerned citizens. In the chain of command -with respect to the governing bodies of cycling- it goes like this:
UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale)---->USA cycling---->Txbramore
The Texas Mountain Bike Racing Association was formed in the summer of 1996 by the promotors of the Texas Championship Series races in an effort to bring added continuity and professionalism to the series. Today, The TMBRA calendar has races all across the state of Texas featuring a wide variety of race courses. Ranging from Desert singletrack in the western part of the state to the twisty trails in the Piney Woods of Eastern Texas and Louisiana, The races promoted on the TMBRA calendars offer mountain bike racers all conceivable types of terrain.
All TMBRA races feature USA Cycling recognized classes and categories, as well as an active Junior program and the groundbreaking "Kids Kup" program. Thus, regardless if you are a seasoned veteran in racing or if you are looking for your first race opportunity, there is a race for you.more
The Austin Cycling Association (ACA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in existence for 24 years. The ACA is dedicated to furthering bicycle access, safety, education, and enjoyment in Central Texas by sponsoring weekly bike rides, training, informational programs and an annual charity bike ride; the Armadillo Hill Country Classic (AHCC). The AHCC benefits bicycle safety education and free helmets for kids.
Membership is open to adults and families, and includes a one-year subscription to Cycling News, access to online ride maps and free classified ads. Allow four to six weeks for your first issue of CN.
Map access is granted to membership. The website account will be created automatically for those who signup online, and those who chose to signup manually through mail or onsite will receive notification when account is created.
Most importantly (with respect to your quest to become a bike racer), ACA will help expose you to group rides throughout the greater Austin area. Chances are, you'll get really fit, really fast AND meet some really cool new friends.more
The easy answer is: NONE! Depending on the race duration and type you may be able to enter and finish your first race without any legitimate training. For instance: If you're an active outdoorsy type who has graduated with an informal degree in intermediate handling skills you may finish top 10 in your first beginner (8 mile) mountain bike race.
Quite often this isn't the case though. There are tens of millions of books written on this subject matter alone. But one simple rule of thumb is train (as your schedule permits) up to 1.5X the race duration/distance at a moderate pace and occasionally train race distance at full race pace.
A reporter once asked Eddy Merckx what advice he'd give to aspiring riders, Merckx simply stated:"Ride lots." Here's a great article explaining why just riding isn't enough to be a world-class bicycle racer.more
Depending on whether your first race is a MTB race through technical, twisty single track or a timetrial on a pancake flat, windless course the answer to this question varies greatly. But let's be realistic: it's racing we're talking about, not a sunday stroll. If your first race is one of the driveway series weekly criteriums here in Austin, you can expect Category 5 racers to routinely average 25 miles per hour for the entirety of a 30-minute race. Mountain bike cat 3's might expect to be able to average between 10 mph and 13 mph depending on the course's topography. A cat 5 road race may average about 22-23 mph and a 40K cat 5 timetrial will be won in around an hour.
As far as mountain bike racing categories are structured, most people slot in as category 3's to get started. For road,cyclocross, and track racing men start in category 5 and women in category 4. The route to upgrading and the rules of engagement are listed below:
Upgrading from category 5 to 4 can be done after finishing ten mass start races. Category 4 to 3 can be requested when a certain amount of points is earned in races within a 12-month period or race experience, 25 qualifying races with a minimum of 10 top ten finishes with fields of 30 rides or more. 30 points in a 12-month period is an automatic upgrade to category 3. Upgrades from 3 to 2 and 2 to 1 are based on a number of points in a 12-month period. Category 3 to 2 requires 25 points to be eligible and 40 points for an automatic upgrade.
Upgrading in cyclo-cross follows the same upgrade pattern as road but with different points requirements. in this case it is 10 points in a 12-month period to upgrade from category 3 to 2 and 20 points from category 2 to 1.more
LOTS and LOTS!!!! Check out the list:more
Find a road or trail that provides safe passage. Ride only roads and trails that are regularly monitored or patrolled by other humans. Other than that it is nice to find routes that allow for a broad range of efforts. The greenbelt (MTB) and Loop 360 (Road bike) are great for starters, but you'll eventually tire of them. Roads are EVERYWHERE....heck, if you trip and fall walking down your driveway, chances are you'll land on one. For this reason i'm leaving road routes up to you, but if you need some hints on good places to train on your dirty tire bike:
MTB rideable spots: