Benefits of team membership/participation?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by ryanspeer, Aug 25, 2006.

  1. ryanspeer

    ryanspeer New Member

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    Being the new guy on the block and wanting to get into road racing next year, I'm curious what the benefits are of actually joining a team? I'm sure the riding/training accountability and comraderie are a large part of that, as well as perhaps some support from a team vehicle or at least people at certain points along the course to hand out a fresh waterbottle or something, but beyond this what ARE the real valid reasons for joining a team?

    Surely the reason is more than just having a snazzy jersey with matching shorts. ;)

    I highly doubt that there's any reason for me to look into joining a team next year when I [hopefully] start road racing in Cat.5, but perhaps if I move up to the Cat.4's it's worth doing (unless the only real benefits are those mentioned above)?
     
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  2. capwater

    capwater New Member

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    The comraderie is priceless. You do a whole lot more than go ride with a bunch of guys. When you race with a team you will learn a ton about racing tactics and working with/for other riders. There is a benefit of riding with stronger riders and not only increasing your fitness level but learning from them. Oh yeah, the snazzy kits are cool too.
     
  3. Eden

    Eden New Member

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    I think your that you list above are more than valid and are real benefits. (except the support vehicle thing - OH I WISH - only pro teams get support like that)

    Take note that this is a woman's perspective and we naturally work together better than men, but still - IMHO it is very worth being on a team even if you are a new rider.
    I did one race last year unattatched at the urging of my husband. It was a TT hillclimb - so no pressure to race in the pack etc. I had a great time and came in 6th and was convinced that I maybe just could be good at this. When meet the teams time came around last September I went to all of the ones that included women and got to know some of the more experience racers. I found a team that I thought fit my goals/personality and I joined it. All last winter we had team rides and workshops. I learned a great deal about racing and training from the other team members. When it came time to do my first race I had team mates around me and I knew that there were people there who I could count on to tell me what to do if need be. I've had a great year and I love working together with my team mates. Helping one of them win is just as thrilling as getting a good place myself. If I had tried to do all of this on my own I think I would have felt pretty lost.

    what you get from being on a team:
    1. companionship and mentoring from more experienced racers
    2. teamwork - though at the men's 5 level you may not find too much of this -everyone is pretty much just out to move up. Just remember all it takes to move from 5 to 4 is experience.
    3. a group to train with during the off season
    4. sponsor deals - they are generally pretty good discounts
    5. depending on the team - some race expense reimbursment
    6. respect of the group -everyone mistrusts the unnattached guys/gals whether or not it is warranted
    7. oh yeah - the snazzy matching kits (but you have to pay for them :rolleyes: )

    by the way the meet the team ride information for Seattle and the surrounding areas is now up at: http://www.wsbaracing.com/meettheteams.asp
     
  4. ryanspeer

    ryanspeer New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback Eden - I appreciate it.

    In regards to the support vehicles, I wasn't thinking of some sort of elaborately painted vehicle at all, but rather just one of the group volunteering a vehicle with a large bike rack and a passenger seat full of water bottles or something. Apparently that idea was a little misplaced! :D

    I did check out that link earlier this week and might be able to check out one or two of the rides. Perhaps I'm also misguided in this, but I hope no teams are terribly unreceptive to a newby with no prior racing experience. Yes, I certainly have the desire (and I think charisma), but no experience whatsoever in road racing. We'll see.

    By the way, which team do you race for? I noticed that Starbucks and Group Health both have all-women teams.

     
  5. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    I think most good cycling clubs will welcome all new members - even if you have no racing experience, most clubs will welcome you.

    Agree with all of the points made by the other two respondees : good luck
     
  6. Eden

    Eden New Member

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    I race for Group Health - it is an all women's team, though there are a few that are co-ed (Wines of Washington, Ti-Cycles come to mind first)

    Some of the teams are more high level focused, but for the most part getting people into racing is what the local teams are all about. If they are holding open rides they expect to attract folks of all different abilities. I really don't see any team that I would think is unapproachable on that list - the teams that don't want newbies recruit by invitation only. They all have different personalities too so if you go to one and it doesn't seem like a good fit, it does not mean that the next team won't be more welcoming.
     
  7. rob of the og

    rob of the og New Member

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    It's a big help to be part of a team/club - when you're starting out it's good to have people to show you the ropes, and when you're going well you've got people there to work with and control the race. The team car idea isn't entirely misplaced, we've had following cars for team timetrials and some of the more organised clubs have support cars at bigger races.

    Whatever level you're at, it's good to have riders around you to motivate you and give you new ideas for what will work. When you're starting races, you may not have the form yet to actually compete for the win yourself, but if you have someone else to work for, you can still play a big part in the race. Then later, those guys will return the favour for you and give you a better shot at the win. If we have new riders in the team, we'll always look after them a bit, drop back in the bunch for a chat and a pep-talk. Plus, there's some internal competition which will spur you on - I've been the best from our club in the last 5 timetrials we've done, which feels pretty good and is motivation to continue to train hard, and everytime we push each other a bit more one of us will get closer to the win
     
  8. Eden

    Eden New Member

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    Are you from Australia or Europe? It sure would be nice to have support cars, but around here team support cars are not allowed except in N(ational)R(ace)C(alendar) events - and at that only if you are a pro level team.(same goes for radios - only allowed if you are a pro level team) We do get neutral support in most races - that is generally means a wheel car, though on long, hot races they have had a little water available. Our state TTT had two drop points for wheels, but that was all.
     
  9. ryanspeer

    ryanspeer New Member

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    Thanks for the replies everybody. I'm going to try to join up with some of the team-meet rides around here (Seattle) in September and hopefully October to see if I might be able to fit in with one of the teams. Unfortunately one of the ones I was most interested in (Mobile Money) has their team-meet ride while my wife and I are out of town celebrating our 5-year anniversary, but I spoke with one of the team members via email and I'm hoping to get together with them on some other date to meet/greet/ride.

    Just put in a very hilly 28-miler on Saturday with a friend and I can say with honesty that I've never felt better physically (whoever said cycling is theraputic deserves an award for an understatement!) and haven't had so much fun in A LONG TIME!

    Hitting 47.9 mph on the last big descent didn't hurt either . . . :D Good ol' payback for all the hillclimbing - that's for sure!
     
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