Get Into Racing

If you've been cycling regularly for a while now, feel pretty fit and you're a bit competitive then you might love racing. It's so much fun and you don't have to be a teenager or in your twenties. The average age in women's road races is above 30 and the average age in time trials and cyclocross is probably higher. I know women in their 60s and beyond you still get involved! It doesn't matter whether you think you can win or not either. I've done loads of races just for fun, often coming last, but I've still won prizes - once for being the smiliest rider ha ha! Other times there are handicap prizes too and prizes for first timers. There's often cake afterwards too :)

Interested? Here's some useful info to get you started.

  • Guide to Racing by Heather Bamforth from the Racing Chance Foundation. Its focussed mainly on road races but also touches on time trials (TTs) and criteriums (crits):
Part 1 - Where Do I Start?
Part 2 - What Do I Enter?
Part 3 - What Training Should I Do?
Part 4 - Practice, Practice, Practice
Part 5 - Are You Ready to Race?
Part 6 - Race Day
Part 7 - Crits (Closed circuit racing - traffic free)
  • The Racing Chance Foundation organises novice race skills training sessions on traffic-free cycling circuits. These are also great for learning/improving your bike handling skills when riding in a group. 
  • Time Trials - Great if you don't want to race in a bunch (group). In a time trial riders are set off one by one with one minute between each rider. Most people do them just to test how much faster they've got (hence they're sometimes called "Testers") and to see if they can beat their previous time. It's nice because its just you against the clock so it doesn't matter if you're not as fast as everyone else. Its a really friendly community too with people of all ages racing. I know people in their 70s still doing time trials. Here's a video giving an overview of time trials with footage of what you'll experience. More information can be found on the CTT website.
  • Cyclocross - muddy fun and a great day out for the family. All ages race - from toddlers to people in their 50s and beyond. Often there's music and food stalls there too. It's a great atmosphere so worth going along to one to watch if you're not sure about taking part yet.
  • Get a Race Licence (You don't need one for doing time trials. For other races you can often buy a day licence for about £10 when you get to the race)
  • Find a Race - search for the type of race that you'd like to do and enter your location etc to find races near you. The Racing Chance Foundation has a lot of useful information about women's races on their website too and is sometimes easier to start from there.
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