Racing in the USA!!!!



Sikhandar

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Jul 5, 2007
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Hello everyone! I am an italian amateur racer, I make almost 50-60 races per year (here in tuscany: saturday + sunday, saturday + sunday...from january to october). They're all hilly (70%) or flat (30%) races, of about 70 kms (45 miles?) and they're quite fast (average speed: from 40 to 45 km/h, that's between 25-28 miles per hour).

I and my teammates, we're 7-8, would like to do a holiday in USA to make some races down there, to see if down there you're able to race :D (joking...we just want to enjoy). For example we'd like to do around 20 days, racing as much as we can... but we need some advices!

1) where are the most interesting places to make amateur races, considering the tipology of racethat we like (we like most hilly races, not mountain nor flat) and the quantity of races? California? Ohio? Maine? Louisiana? We don't know anything...

2) it will be enough, I suppose, to have with us our Italian Federation Cycling Amateur card... or do we need some special permission?

3) we'll need also a training group during the week... some "guides"!

Could you suggest something to me?
 

johnnyspt

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Jul 18, 2007
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1) where are the most interesting places to make amateur races, considering the tipology of racethat we like

depends on the time of year, early in the year feb through april california is great. boulder, co would be a good place. oregon has lots of races http://www.obra.org/schedule/2007/schedlist.html

2) it will be enough, I suppose, to have with us our Italian Federation Cycling Amateur card... or do we need some special permission?
you have to have an international licence here. check out usacycling.org for info

3) we'll need also a training group during the week... some "guides"! there are group rides everywhere you go, just check at the bike shop
 

Eden

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Feb 28, 2005
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You could probably start with www.usacycling.org for some of your answers and other helpful links
to try to directly answer a few of your questions
1 where - wow - that's a hard one to answer... the west coast has a lot of racing, California, Oregon, Washington, but this is the area nearest where I live so I know the most about it.
2. license - unless you have a UCI license I think you will have to purchase a USA Cycling license. Sometimes you can buy a one day license at the race, but that is usually limited to the lowest cateogry racers, and costs about $5, so if you want to do 20 races it will probably be cheaper to just get a 1 year license directly from USA Cycling - you can even buy it online. Plus I think you will need to get in touch with USA Cycling to determine where in the Cat structure you belong - I don't know if you classify riders the same way (we do cat 5 (beginner), cat 4, cat 3, cat 2, cat 1).
One more thing.. many states also make you purchase a membership - you can join the state's racing association or get a number on the day of the race. Depending on how many races you do it might be cheaper to join - here its only $15 to join, but if you get numbers on the day of the race its $10 for each race, $5 of which will be refunded if you return the number, so basically $5 per race.
3. weekday training and guides - I'd say when you decide what area you would like to race in, look up some of the local racing clubs and get in contact with them. You might find a team(s) that is willing to take you in for the time you will be here.

One thing to keep in mind when picking an area to go to race in is that things have a tendancy to be quite a bit farther apart here than in Europe... I live in Washington and race in Washington and Oregon. My husband and I usually drive around an hour to an hour and a half to get to races, and sometimes drive up to 5 hours..... You may want to plan your trip so that you are going from race to race and staying near the races rather than staying in one place and going to races from there.

When are you planning to come? Out here our racing season is starting to wind down. The big stage races are mostly over and now its criterium, and circuit race season. Racing is pretty much over by the beginning of September and will start back up again in March. (unless of course you are interested in cyclocross, which goes from about September to November)

You'll find links to lots of state bicycle racing organizations on USA Cycling, but I'll start you out with my state www.wsbaracing.com

Hope this helps you plan your trip and hope you have a lot of fun while you are here!
 

Sikhandar

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Jul 5, 2007
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2. license - unless you have a UCI license I think you will have to purchase a USA Cycling license. [...]
Ok perfect, Italian Federation is a UCI-released amateur license, I'm ok ;)

The very strange things are the "cats"... I mean, here in Italy there are "ages", so there is a race for 18-40 years and another one for 41-xx years... and sometimes there are also categories inside these macro-categories, but this is very difficult to explain. Anyway they are "age" categories; down there the categories depends on merits???? So.......... we'll have to begin from the lower cat???? It'll be a waste of time for us!!!! Can we decide to start, for example, with 3rd-class category without doing 4th or 5th class?

We're planning to come in april 2008, for Easter or something like that.

I'm trying to understand but it's very complicate... what's that "riders without medical insurance please do not participate"? Isn't an insurance included in my UCI card? Is it enough? Price is not a problem, your races are cheap for us...
 

Eden

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Feb 28, 2005
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Sikhandar said:
Ok perfect, Italian Federation is a UCI-released amateur license, I'm ok ;)

The very strange things are the "cats"... I mean, here in Italy there are "ages", so there is a race for 18-40 years and another one for 41-xx years... and sometimes there are also categories inside these macro-categories, but this is very difficult to explain. Anyway they are "age" categories; down there the categories depends on merits???? So.......... we'll have to begin from the lower cat???? It'll be a waste of time for us!!!! Can we decide to start, for example, with 3rd-class category without doing 4th or 5th class?

We're planning to come in april 2008, for Easter or something like that.

I'm trying to understand but it's very complicate... what's that "riders without medical insurance please do not participate"? Isn't an insurance included in my UCI card? Is it enough? Price is not a problem, your races are cheap for us...

I think you might want to contact USA Cycling to see how you fit into the Categories here. Our system has some age based categories, but really only for Juniors (under 18) and Masters (35+). So, if you are not a junior or master you start as a Cat 5, moving up from a 5 is easy, you just have to participate in a certain number of races. Cat 4 and up require points and you get points by getting good placings in races from 6th place up. It might make sense just to avoid any confusion, to get a USA Cycling license. If you can send them a record of your races they should be able to place you in an appropriate category.

Insurance? - I'm not sure how it would work for you as a traveller. Do you have private insurance or is medical coverage taken care of by the government in Italy? You'll have to look into how it works when you are out of the country. We only get supplemental insurance with our USA Cycling license - which means that if we have costs that are not covered by our primary insurance that the cycling federation's insurance will cover them, but its not meant to cover the full cost if you get hurt.
 

johnnyspt

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Jul 18, 2007
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as far as the racing goes....

if you are over 35, race the masters category. racers are fit, good technically, not many crashes at all.

if you are under that age, it sounds to me like you are a cat 3 level. you could probably do cat 2 races, but you might not be able to attack at all. in the 3 race you can be more active. cat 4 racers can have a lot of crashes as there are a lot more beginner riders.

the best thing is to bring a copy of your racing cv/resume to show the official you are a competent rider. if during the cat 3 race you feel that it is too slow, get a good place in the finish, and have the official write you a note saying that you are good enough for cat 2 races, and bring it to the next race.

as far as the insurance goes, races are insured, but you also are required to sign a document that releases the promoter from liability. if you crash and have to go to the hospital, you won't get reimbursed, so it is a good idea to have personal health insurance. there will be medical support at the race, but only to wash your wounds or to stabilize you if you have to go to the hospital. keep in mind that it will cost at least $800 if you get into an ambulance even to go 500 meters away, so avoid that! anyway, the best policy is always not to crash.

if you are coming in april, the best places to be are
1. Southern california around LA. Santa Rosa, CA is great also but more rain. Lots of great climbs from the coast to 1000 meter climbs. Good weather. More expensive. 6 hour drive to northern california races though.

2. Boulder, CO
Great climbing. Combination or alps style and northern Italy type climbs. Possible bad weather, snow. Easiest to find people to ride with. GREAT group rides, harder than most races.

3. Florida...ummmm, maybe not

4. Flagstaff, Arizona

5. Austin texas.
Great group rides. Longer drives to races. Check the texas race calendar.

Sikhandar said:
Ok perfect, Italian Federation is a UCI-released amateur license, I'm ok ;)

The very strange things are the "cats"... I mean, here in Italy there are "ages", so there is a race for 18-40 years and another one for 41-xx years... and sometimes there are also categories inside these macro-categories, but this is very difficult to explain. Anyway they are "age" categories; down there the categories depends on merits???? So.......... we'll have to begin from the lower cat???? It'll be a waste of time for us!!!! Can we decide to start, for example, with 3rd-class category without doing 4th or 5th class?

We're planning to come in april 2008, for Easter or something like that.

I'm trying to understand but it's very complicate... what's that "riders without medical insurance please do not participate"? Isn't an insurance included in my UCI card? Is it enough? Price is not a problem, your races are cheap for us...
 

Sikhandar

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Jul 5, 2007
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Many thanks to all of you, I've lots of informations now... This insurance thing is terrible, here in Italy it's all for free... I'll check infos about that before coming!

Ciao

L
 

iliveonnitro

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Mar 29, 2006
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Sikhandar said:
Many thanks to all of you, I've lots of informations now... This insurance thing is terrible, here in Italy it's all for free... I'll check infos about that before coming!

Ciao

L
internationalcycling.com Riders from around the world are racing it right now...it's known as SuperWeek in the US.
 

slingus

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Nov 11, 2004
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Once you get the health insurance ironed out, the following website should be helpful. This website lists all of the road events (road races, crits, TT) in Northern California and Nevada area (i.e., San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, Napa, etc.). There are usually at least 2 races per weekend. See http://www.ncnca.org/road

Good luck!




Sikhandar said:
Hello everyone! I am an italian amateur racer, I make almost 50-60 races per year (here in tuscany: saturday + sunday, saturday + sunday...from january to october). They're all hilly (70%) or flat (30%) races, of about 70 kms (45 miles?) and they're quite fast (average speed: from 40 to 45 km/h, that's between 25-28 miles per hour).

I and my teammates, we're 7-8, would like to do a holiday in USA to make some races down there, to see if down there you're able to race :D (joking...we just want to enjoy). For example we'd like to do around 20 days, racing as much as we can... but we need some advices!

1) where are the most interesting places to make amateur races, considering the tipology of racethat we like (we like most hilly races, not mountain nor flat) and the quantity of races? California? Ohio? Maine? Louisiana? We don't know anything...

2) it will be enough, I suppose, to have with us our Italian Federation Cycling Amateur card... or do we need some special permission?

3) we'll need also a training group during the week... some "guides"!

Could you suggest something to me?
 

BianchiLove

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Jul 24, 2007
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9202 said:
Info on Florida....
Northern Florida is very hilly.
I suspect our Italian friend, like many of us, has a different concept of "hilly."
The highest point in Florida, Britton Hill, is only 345 feet above sea level. That's a speed bump to riders from the West Coast, the Rockies, and the Appalachians. Just climbing out of Firenze (Florence), for example, Sikhandar and his teammates will easily exceed that height.
 

Sikhandar

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Jul 5, 2007
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Dear friends, yesterday I went to the cinema to see Sicko... I'm quite scared about the US health system... and what if I fall, I break some bone and my insurance does not cover me, maybe because they think that the fall was my fault? It'll be a great mess... I'd have to pay the hospital I suppose...:confused: I'm very sad my dream is vanishing... :(
 

iliveonnitro

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Mar 29, 2006
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Sikhandar said:
Dear friends, yesterday I went to the cinema to see Sicko... I'm quite scared about the US health system... and what if I fall, I break some bone and my insurance does not cover me, maybe because they think that the fall was my fault? It'll be a great mess... I'd have to pay the hospital I suppose...:confused: I'm very sad my dream is vanishing... :(
I've broken plenty of bones and every time it has been my fault. Insurance always covered it. Why wouldn't yours?

You could just say you accidentally fell off your bike?
 

Sikhandar

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iliveonnitro said:
I've broken plenty of bones and every time it has been my fault. Insurance always covered it. Why wouldn't yours?

You could just say you accidentally fell off your bike?
No no, it's just because I'm quite "unfriendly" with health insurance... here they do not exist, so it would be a totally new world for me...(and a waste of time, I suppose). We'll see next year.
 

Urkiola2

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Oct 4, 2007
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The right thing to do is to get an italian insurance that covers you in the US. I am sure you will find it because it will cover you. Try Wintenthur or Zurich. They give you coverage 100% in case you are travelling abroad.

Ciao
 

Urkiola2

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Oct 4, 2007
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The right thing to do is to get an italian insurance that covers you in the US. I am sure you will find it because it will cover you. Try Wintenthur or Zurich. They give you coverage 100% in case you are travelling abroad. Just don´t tell them anything that you are a cyclist and you will be spending time in the US. Just aske if it covers you while being in the US.

Ciao
 

BeeGuy

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May 12, 2003
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That's what I was going to say! SuperWeek would give you two weeks of solid, top-level racing in a fairly small area, but you would need to come in July. This is the closest thing to Euro-style racing we have for amateurs in the US. Check out their website.

iliveonnitro said:
internationalcycling.com Riders from around the world are racing it right now...it's known as SuperWeek in the US.