Thursday, May 20, 2010

How I got started with this racing thing

bike racing: the penultimate guide: Bike racing 101
Bike racing 101
Think of this blog post as my personal attempt to inspire you to race. I am looking at the non-racer, the recreational rider who is quite fit and interested in the sport of cycling but for whom racing is 'something I can do later' or 'something that's just a bit out of my league'.

Firstly, never put off to tomorrow what you can do today. I first 'enquired' about bike racing when I was 16 and riding perhaps 100km a week, including 60-80km 'fun rides' on the weekend. Having not been involved in competitive sport in any organised way before - I was a total bookworm - I lacked the confidence to give it a go, so I put it off - for about 8 years, in fact!

Secondly, you never know until you give it a go. In my case I only gave it a go after much encouragement by other riders. Luckily I lived fairly close (10km away) from arguably Sydney's premier cycling resource - Centennial Park. So for about 8 years I frequently rode to and around the Park. Just by riding around with other riders I got fitter, faster and more skilled. I found that I could chase and catch other riders and that I had a previously undiscovered urge to improve and even to race. I still didn't think I could do it, but the thought entered my head that I had a chance. Eventually I found another rider at the same level and we (at the urging of another rider - as it turned out the president of one of Sydney's oldest bike clubs, Randwick-Botany) made a commitment to try a race together at Heffron Park. We were placed in D grade. He won and I came 2nd. Now for him that 'proved' enough and he didn't race again. But for me I was hooked. I came back and won D grade the following week - and went from there.