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How To Get Into Bike Racing At Any Age

How To Get Into Bike Racing At Any Age

– So you’ve got a bike
and you love going fast. Would you like to know
how to get into racing? Perhaps you keep getting KOMs or QOMs when you go our riding or you just drop all your friends, and your beginning to think, maybe, you could be quite good at this. (electronic music) I did my first bike race aged 22. Now that’s pretty old by the standard of professional cycling, where most people start as juniors, then work their way up through the ranks. But, it is perfectly possible
to start racing at any age. You might not make it as a pro, but then, you might, and you’ll never know
unless you give it a try. There are actually quite
a few examples of pros who started out in other sports, for example, Kristin Armstrong did triathlon until her late 20’s and she got three gold
medals at the Olympics, which isn’t bad. Your first consideration should be, what kind of racing do you want to try? If it’s road racing, well, the very highest level of that is what you see on television
with the World Tour, Tour de France, and the
Olympic Road Race, for example. That’s pretty daunting, but there are also national level races and local races, so give those a try first. There are criteriums, local road races and local cycle-across
events that you can try. There are also unlicensed
Sporteves or Grand Fundos, which are mass start
events which can be local or far away in exotic locations. There are one day and multi-day Sporteves, and they can be really fun
as well as very competitive. If, on the other hand, bunt
racing is not your thing, why not have a go at a time trial, where you start one by
one, against the clock and, frankly, feels a lot less scary? If you’re new to racing, why not just have a go at everything and see what you enjoy most? And remember that Grand
Fundos or Sporteves are a really fun way to get
that kick of competition and the thrill of racing without
needing to get a license. If you want to try road racing, then the next step is to buy
a license or a day license and enter a categorized event. Now, you’ll start in the lowest category but if you do well, you’ll get points that will allow you to
progress up the categories, and eventually get noticed. Trust me, no one goes
from great power output or a KOM on one climb
straight to a pro contract, it takes time and it take experience. My best piece of advice
would be to join a club. Mostly because, well, people are lovely, but also, you’ll learn
loads from club mates who have more experience of racing. You can go training together,
you can share lifts to races, they’ll cheer you up
when you’ve had a bad day and they’ll whoop you on the
podium when you’ve won a race. In fact, the people you meet along the way are gonna be far more important in the end than the races you win or lose. I’ve done a few races, and I have to say that the friends I made through cycling are far more important to me
than any medals I ever won. Something to bare in mind
when you take up racing is that you’re gonna have to
learn some new skills probably. You might have an amazing FTP, you might be able to drop all
your friends riding uphill, but it’s not quite the same
as winning a bike race. For a start, you’re gonna
have to learn to attack rather than just ride steady. Secondly, you’re gonna
have to learn tactics, which are actually quite
complicated in a bike race. Thirdly, you’re gonna have to learn to ride with and for a team, teamwork is absolutely
essential in road races. What a lot of cyclist struggle with, when they take up road racing, is how to ride in the peloton, it was definitely something
that I found really difficult. You’ll have to learn some
bike handling skills, if you don’t have them already, and you’ll have to be prepared to crash because I’m afraid that most bike races involve a crash every now and then. I think it’s important to
mention, at this point, some potential hiccups you might encounter on your path is racing. Now, I don’t want to sound like a killjoy but it’s not always a
smooth, upwards path. For a start, like I said before, just because you have great power number, well, that doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily win every bike race. You may have to stick at it for a while to learn the tactics and the teamwork before you really star winning. Then, there’s always the
law of diminishing returns. So, while at the start you’ll feel a really great improvement as you learn, as you get fitter, that improvement will tail off
as you get better and better. Then, of course, there are
the unfortunate possibilities of crashes and illness, which will obviously set you back as well. Hopefully it won’t happen to you, but just be prepared, if it does happen, to enjoy your cycling and
carry on and not be deterred. Once you get to a certain level, you’ll need to be on a team. But how do you choose a team? And, in fact, do you choose
the team or do they choose you? Although, of course, it
is really nice to have a top level bike and kit, that shouldn’t be your main consideration. The only time I took it into
account, when choosing a team, was if they didn’t have
a bike that would fit me. Another factor to consider
is that if you go down the path of road racing
and you get quite serious, you could potentially
spend quite a lot of time away from home, traveling
to races and racing. And not all of those races will be races that you want to do, there’ll
be races that you have to do to help your team or your teammates. And that’s great because teamwork is such an important part of cycling, but just remember when you’re
doing a flat race in Holland, and you don’t really like flat races, or a mountain race in the
Pyrenees when you like flat races, that it’s all part of the job. If you’re tempted by racing,
whatever age you are, then all I can say is definitely,
definitely give it a go. You’ll have loads of fun,
you’ll meet some great people and who know where you’ll end up? If you have anymore questions
about getting into racing, leave them in the comments down below and we’ll do our best to answer them. Give us a thumbs up, and if you’d like to watch a video on how to race against yourself on Strava, click down here to see
how to get Strava KOMs.

100 comments on “How To Get Into Bike Racing At Any Age

  1. Its funny you just put this up. Just got my license and joined a club that races/tours. Our first ride is on the 30th!

  2. Cool video👍, defo going to help many! I couldn't get into road racing tho, lycra dudes and dudettes are super fit and super fast. I'm happy racing myself and other bike commuters on my journeys 😂 but something to think about. Thanks👍

  3. In the real world, most racers spend their first few years in the sport getting crushed. (unless you're one in 1,000) Many people can't take this and quit after they realize that they are not one of these champion types.

  4. Already racing since my 8th, so racing for 8 years now. And I have made a lot of friends from the races and my clubs in this years of racing! In 2 weeks I have my second race of my road season: Gent Wevelgem! Nice video Emma! Keep it up😁

  5. I know my limitations – I'll stick to sportives and Granfondos where I'm "racing" my own ambitions rather than anyone else. I participate rather than race – I'm way too old (55yrs) and way too slow for anything else!

  6. Thx Emma, am 49 and have again fallen in love with road cycling after a 30 year off, this video is perfectly timed!

  7. Nice to see Emma but . . . she is wearing a Kask helmet and not the new Bell helmets that GCN is now featuring, which makes me think this was shot awhile ago.

  8. I decided to do Time Trials rather than Road Races. I don't fancy crashing into other riders or having another rider bring me down. Visit to see just how many events there are each week. Literally dozens and dozens to choose from.

  9. I have no racing clubs near me for the next 200 miles . And I don’t have any races for months , and if it is a race I have to travel over 6 hours by car to reach it

  10. My first race was 6-7 months after I started riding (May 2016, Ohio USA). Showed up to a local cyclocross race on 2016-12-31 with a 31 lb MTB and no idea what I was doing. Somehow managed to win it by mistake. Tried some road races in 2017, and found that I enjoyed road races, but LOVE cyclocross. I don't like losing skin, so criteriums were too scary. 🙁 In 2018, the local road races got cancelled, so my LBS owner told me to take the above-mentioned MTB to West Virginia. That first MTB race I got 4th, and spent the entire 2018 season racing MTB in West Virginia. Through that, I moved from a cat-5 CX/ cat-3 XC racer to a cat-3 CX/cat-1 XC racer. Can't wait for the 2019 CX season to start, on track to make cat-2! 🙂

  11. Yeah Emma is back! Although I agree with everything Emma said, it should be noted that racing even on an occasional basis is a great way to stay fit. The motivation and training for the once a month criterium for an amateur/junior/master can sharpen the fitness up and satisfy that need for competition.

  12. I'm 42 and giving racing a go, have completed a total of seven Cat 5 crits and road races so far this season. I may be finishing mid-pack (or the back) but I am traveling to and riding in places I probably would have never visited, improving my skills, having fun, making friends and meeting people with a common interest. These are all cliched reasons to participate in amateur racing but they are inevitable and take on meaning that is far stronger than people expect.

  13. What a badass! Filming a video in the rain. Or snow. It was hard to tell the difference in the video. Either way, it is good to see Emma again.

  14. around me, there are also donut races. you get time subtracted for each donut you eat during the race

  15. Thanks Emma, i will be in racing soon. Perfectly timed video is out for me. GCN is awesome 💐🙏🏼

  16. I bet that the professional cycling has never or will never see any asian riders. Its sad, that there's no one from India. 😢

  17. What are the most important handling skills for riding in the peloton? Also what are good tactics to use as a new racer in lower categories without a team? Is there the same expectation that everyone puts in work like group rides?

  18. I started cycling with a hardtail. (Without going on the internet ) Picked the bike I wanna be seen riding. And boom! I am all the way in!

  19. So glad to see Emma back on screen again. She is my favourite GCN host after Matt Stephens (when he was still with GCN).

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  21. As a 14 year old who is tempted by racing and only started road riding properly a few months ago does anyone think it would be good idea to wait until next summer to start racing or this summer

  22. you can do it at any age , at the grand old age of 58 I cycled to a cross-trail race on my road bike entered and came 19th out of over 150 I could have done a lap of honour but have now decided to retire at the top !! ( and managed to cycle home as well )

  23. I am afraid I am not good enough for races. I recently bought a road bike after riding my Mountainbike for a year (about 5000km). But what would you say are the minimum stats you should accomplish before trying to race? Like should you have done a millenium and with which average speed?

  24. Absolutely brilliant video guys. So refreshing to see some very practical advice on such a relevant topic

  25. How does an Indian individual make it up to the pros?
    (No discrimination/hate comments, we're all capable if we try) ❤️

  26. Emma is such a champ, really enjoy her content. And it appears Emma is getting geared up for some racing as she is slimming down pretty hard (Not that she needed to mind, I just greatly enjoy her content, just happened to notice) . I wonder if it is for her running or her riding events? Hmm.

  27. Thanks Emma. Started racing last year as a 'senior' on the German circuit. Despite the title, the competition is fierce! I love it, but gaining tactical experience & actually keeping with the group during criterium is challenge enough. Keep up the great work 😉

  28. Last year at age 52, I won my first 2 time trial races. Now waiting on my first Sprint triathlon race coming up in June.

  29. Every time GCN shows a clip of Emma racing,each time I get inpressed by how good of a cyclist she was and still is!!

  30. This video has way too much emphasis on being a pro. There are many many more people that race in the amateurs. The emphasis on this video should have been on amateur racing.

  31. join a club….enjoy the politics and the chest beating of my bikes better than yours and hey look at my shades and I don't nod or wave to anyone who isn't on a drop handlebar bike or wearing shades….lmao….

  32. My impression about bike racing is that you don’t get people casually saying they “race” like you have in other sports, like running. In order participate and do reasonably well it likely takes a lot of time, money, and energy. It’s not like you can simply jog 30 minutes a day and then go out a run a 5K “race” with 10,000 other people. That’s more like the equivalent of a gran fondo in cycling. If you say you “race” bikes, then likely that means you’re not a casual rider… True or am I just whacked out in my observations?

  33. For me racing is always about the challenge and having a laugh.

    Don’t get me wrong I want to win, but it’s not the end of the world if I’m outside a podium finish because I then look to see how I can improve on the next race

  34. As mentioned earlier by an Internet user, Emma has removed the mention "GCN presenter" from her Twitter account and no longer seems to be part of the scope.
    @GCN: Is there an official statement on this subject?

  35. I remember my first race, i thougn i was good and i put me on the advanced race and they shit on me LOL………I couldnt end the track, coulnd get any lap, i was to fck tired and almost everyone was on 2 lap……………………………………………….

  36. You don't need to be on a team to race and win you just need to know how to use the other teams to help you win!!!

  37. hi,

    I'm from India hope you might be aware in our country there is no such kinds of local races will be held on a routine basis in such case kindly suggest me with some valuable idea to proceed further.

  38. I love these types of videos. I think a lot of people love cycling but are afraid to get into the racing scene (and even the club rides) because it seems intimidating. Keep them coming!

  39. Hey guys, great video as always! I’ll be honest I followed Ollie over and loved the channel ever since ! Any tips on finding local races etc

  40. I am 22 now and just a hobby road cyclist. I would love to do road racing 2-3 years later but my body type is not perfect for it. I am somewhere between mesomorph and endomorph and have short legs and long torso. (My height is fine btw, 180 cm) I am not aiming for pro level on "ordinary" road races, would be happy with cat 2 or 3, but do you think I stand a chance to become professional in ultra endurance racing, especially in 12-24 hour races, where mental strenght is the key?

  41. Is there any truth in the rumour that GCN's producers made Emma ride up a steep hill while making this video because it was the only way the that the camera bike could keep up with her!

  42. All it took is one video to remind me how much I missed Emma! I do not understand why I did not get this episode until today, but that's the breaks. I watched a few YouTube videos of Emma's victories just to fill in. The post race interviews reveal what a class act she really is. Emma reminds me of my own daughter a great mind, and a considerable human being! And they are almost the same age! Anyway, I am looking forward to riding my recent upgrades to my 42 year old PX-10. Cycling, a life long sport!

  43. Considering Emma is part of the team and not a guest presenter it's a detriment to the channel how she doesn't appear more often, not even on the sister channels 🙁

  44. I'm 19 years old and getting my second bike, I've decided on a Trek Domane AL 2. I'm a bit on the larger side but quite fit for a big guy because I've always been active. Going to push to loose weight and get into cycling again. Anyone got any advice or tips?

  45. I just discovered cycling, road bikes and such recently, id like to try and race here in the United States…the problem…im 42, out of shape badly and just quit smoking so I could cycle or rather start cycling…this should be interesting to say the least but may help others get out there too idk…any advice ?????

  46. Often times it is one small comment by a presenter or one small detail to a video that gets me to hit the like button. In this case it is this quote, "The people you meet along the way are going to be far more important in the end than the races that you win or lose" what great advice and so so true. Cheers, keep up the great content.

  47. I'm 14 so would it be best for me to join a cycling club if I wanted to do races or should I get a license?

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