Lets change that mindset from the “I can’t race” to the “I could race and want to try”, ladies this includes you.
Why don’t more people race?
From recent surveys the main concerns both men and women face when it comes to racing are very similar:
- I’m too slow
- I have no time to train
- I’m not experienced enough
- I’m scared of crashing or getting injured
- It’s intimidating and scary riding that close and fast
We can break these concerns down into 2 points;
- Training based. Voiced as ‘being fast enough’ or ‘being strong enough’.
- Skills based. Bike confidence.
We address the first by physically riding, that is to say ‘training’ or building strength on the bike and we address the second by working on skills and coordination, also on the bike.
Addressing the first concern
The truth of the matter is you only go as fast as you want. When you are racing you can either push yourself outside your comfort zone and keep up with the front of the race, or simply race against yourself and compete at your level, or the level of those immediately in front and behind you. Both are completely acceptable and either way you’ll achieve a sense of accomplishment.
Entering and finishing a race is a great personal achievement.
If you are wondering if you are strong enough or fast enough to race then you could ask yourself these questions:
- Can I ride in a group?
- Is anyone I regularly ride with already racing?
If you can answer either of these with a yes then you are capable of racing! It may hurt, but you will be fast enough. If you feel you are not quite ready, then I recommend continuing with group rides and building skills as per below. This will build more confidence on the bike to allow you to then step up to your next level, whether that be racing or simply riding with a faster group.
If you want to look into more serious training you can setup your own training paincave.
Being dropped in a race is okay. It’s perfectly normal to be slower than your competition when you start out, it’s even okay when you are seasoned. If you do get dropped it can be great a motivator to focus on training and get stronger and faster.
Addressing the second concern
With some thoughtful riding you can tackle these concerns quite easily. The best way to overcome the intimidation, fear and to build confidence on the bike is to practice the skills in a safe environment.
Running through the skills at low speed reduces the risk of falling and getting injured. This will help you build confidence on the bike. In turn this confidence will help at all times, whether you are riding in a group, riding through traffic and even when you are racing.
Building the skills at low speed enables you to have them at high speeds. What we are trying to achieve is to build the skill foundations, break down the fear and make good riding habits. To build the skills you’ll want to join a skills session.
With ANZA running skills session regularly (once a month) you can work on balance, cornering, co-ordination, bunny hops and contact drills in a safe environment. Running through all of these drills will help add to your toolkit which you can draw from at any time. Check the ANZA Facebook Page for details.
Putting it all together
Once you have the speed sorted and the skills sorted you will probably want a way to express those and practice them in a ‘race like’ environment before you take the plunge of entering a race.
One way to do that is to go on a longer uninterrupted ride where you can ‘race’ your mates with no start or finish line.
ANZA, JacqTours, IntegratedRidingClub, JoyRiders and many other clubs frequently organise rides to Batam, Bintan, Mersing, KL and other destinations which are a great place to put everything together.
You can have mini races against your friends with no pressure at all. These options also give you the opportunity to ride with people who are faster and slower than you, something that also happens during a race so it’s a good way to test the waters.
I recommend joining one of these rides and pushing yourself a little. You will be surprised how well you can ride when you have the right group of people around and a good confidence level going into the ride. The upcoming ANZA trips which you could join are:
- ANZA KL Trip 18th – 20th August (FULLY BOOKED)
- ANZA Bali Trip 29th – 1st Oct (Details to follow soon)
- ANZA HK Trip 3rd – 5th Nov (Details to follow soon)
I’d love to hear your feedback, please drop a message below with any questions or concerns you might have about racing.
CyclingAustralia have written a comprehensive race guide. I believe the most relevant parts for this article start from section 4, page 9.