Road Racing is massed-start cycle racing on roads or circuits (criterium races).
The first rider over the finish line wins, with anything from a few to almost 200 competitors, depending on the event. In the UK, events range from shorter Youth (under16), through club level events for adults on open roads and closed circuits, to longer Elite-level races. Race distances for Youth riders depend on age, for adults on ability.
The majority of adult racing takes place on public roads, though there are a number of circuit events in the North West, either on roads closed to other traffic or on specially constructed circuits such as at the Steven Burke Sports Hub, and other circuits in the region.
Youth Road Racing:
All under-16 racing takes place on traffic-free closed circuits, or fully closed roads.
Youth riders in the 16 and under age categories are not permitted to race on the open road under British Cycling rules, this is for safety.
Cycle Sport Pendle prepares young riders to compete safely in closed circuit racing at regional and national events.
The classic Road Race is a test of stamina, fitness and tactical acumen.
Riders often have particular strengths: some can climb hills and mountains very quickly; others have a devastating turn of speed or sprint; other have the ability to ride very well against the clock in Time Trials (which often form part of multi day or stage races).
The art is to restrict your rival’s gains in the areas where they are strong and maximise your gains in your preferred terrain.
There are a number of road races in the local area, supported by our local cycling clubs. For Elite races for example in a National Series, where riders generally ride in teams with riders of similar ability, team tactics come into play.
Some Road Races are contested over several days and several stages.
These “Stage” Races or Tours often feature prizes for each stage winner, plus others for the best sprinter in the race, the best climber (aka King of the Mountains), the leading team and, of course, the overall winner, who is the rider with the best aggregate time.
The Tour de France is the world’s most prestigious Stage Race and lasts for three weeks.
There are a number of youth stage races each year in the UK, two of which are fairly local: the Isle of Man Youth Tour and the North West Youth Tour.
All top Road Racers need to be able to stay in the saddle for hours at a time (endurance). Some are exceptionally good at going uphill and target wins in hilly terrain: these are known as Climbers. Others have a big ‘kick’ or ability to accelerate and are known as Sprinters.
They often win races where the finish is contested by a number of riders – a bunch or sprint finish. Few riders can win, however, if they are not tactically very aware and at pro level team tactics and strategy can be very complex.
Endurance, Sprinting, Climbing, Preparation, Tactics – these are just some of the qualities a successful road racing rider might possess.
Tactics begin with your very first race! You just get better at it with learning and experience. With good tactics you can save energy for when you need to make that winning move.