As Ogden’s cycling culture continues to evolve and expand, competitive cyclists will be eager to showcase their skills on the racetrack.
But the world of competitive bike racing can be much more complicated than some newcomers might expect.
The first point that novice competitors should consider is purchasing a racing license.
Riders who just want to try out a race or only want to compete a few times in a season should buy a single-day license, usually purchased the day of the event. According to Active.com, a one-time license costs only $10-$15 while a season license costs $30-$60.
New riders start out in a slower category, typically called a category 5, cat-5 for short. This is fortunate because unless you want to race alongside the professional peddle crushers with feather-light bikes, racing in the appropriate heat will keep riders together based on fitness levels.
Riders with full-season licenses can save points as they place in certain positions, and as they earn points, they can advance into more competitive groups.
The second point to consider is the variety of races, the most common being stage race, time trial, criterium and single-day race.
When a novice rider first enters the competitive arena, the two types of races that would be most appropriate to approach are the criterium and the single-day race.
According to Bicycling.com, the criterium race is for the rider who loves technical challenges beyond mere strength.
While the rider needs to be in excellent condition to compete for a leading spot, he or she must also be aware of breakaways, false paces set by members of competing teams and tight corners followed by intense acceleration.
A criterium race is set on a half-mile to mile-and-a-half circuit. The total race length is determined either by the total number of laps or by total time. When the race is determined by time, the amount of laps is calculated by the group’s average speed per lap.
Single-day races are the next type of race to consider.
They are usually around 150 miles in length. The LoToJa, a local race that goes from Logan, Utah, to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, spans a staggering 206 miles.
To train for any cycling event, the best way to prepare is to find and ride in a group.
Riders gain experience riding close quarters to one another, and group members can also race with you, let you draft off of them and help you save energy for when it matters most.