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So I've been jonesin' to do a crit for about a year now.  How on earth do I start?  Just show up to one?  Sign up?  Do I need some form of yearly membership deal thing?  Are brass knuckles allowed?

Please Teach Me.

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How to start a crit? Go balls-to-the-wall for at least the first 10 laps, sprinting like hell out of every turn. If your vision isn't 'greying out' you're not going hard enough... after that, if you're still in the pack, you fall in to what Ed N. calls "the long thin line of Pain." Elbows out and switching lines like drunkards out of the last turn and be thankful if you cross the line still on your wheels. Enjoy.
here are practice crits.... if you do not have a racing license you can buy a daily one for $10

http://southchicagowheelmen.com/tuesday.html
also - if you are unsure of tactics, strategy, etc. join a team and do a lot of pace-line riding.
the more the better.
you really need nerves of steel to be surrounded by lots of bikes at high speed.

DB
The Soldier Field training crits begin next Tuesday evening; it's a fun course and great atmosphere.
You will need to buy a amateur license as mentioned by Michael; 'switching lines like drunkards' will not be encouraged, so yes getting some practice in a paceline and group riding will be recommended first. Come by and watch the racing first maybe? see you there!

www.soldierfieldcycling.com
THANKS Ann.

Anne said:
The Soldier Field training crits begin next Tuesday evening; it's a fun course and great atmosphere.
You will need to buy a amateur license as mentioned by Michael; 'switching lines like drunkards' will not be encouraged, so yes getting some practice in a paceline and group riding will be recommended first. Come by and watch the racing first maybe? see you there!

www.soldierfieldcycling.com
are they tuesday evening or wednesday ?

I seem to remember wednesday -- unless there is a change for 2010 ?

Dan

p.s. great showing at REI this morning ! it was great to see everyone - Leah was there too doing
awesome handoffs of literature to cyclists that could not stop.. ;-)

Anne said:
The Soldier Field training crits begin next Tuesday evening; it's a fun course and great atmosphere.
You will need to buy a amateur license as mentioned by Michael; 'switching lines like drunkards' will not be encouraged, so yes getting some practice in a paceline and group riding will be recommended first. Come by and watch the racing first maybe? see you there!

www.soldierfieldcycling.com
Skip the crit, and start training for cyclocross. It's way more fun and less uptight.
Or go to the velodrome... shorter races and every bit as fast as crits without the prolonged agony. Plus, on the track nobody has brakes so the races are much safer. Perfect sport for the working stiff!

Kelvin Mulcky said:
Skip the crit, and start training for cyclocross. It's way more fun and less uptight.
Hi, Ryan. Welcome to bike racing.

Yes, you can just show up. For races sanctioned by USA Cycling (which are most of the races around here), you can either buy an annual license ahead of time for $60 at usacycling.org, or you can buy a one-day-only license on-site for $10. Whether the annual license makes sense depends how much racing you intend to do your first year.

You'll begin at the beginners level, Category 5. Note that some of these races sell out ahead of time. If pre-registration is available, do so to reserve your spot.

Doing group rides ahead of time is well advised. You need to be comfortable going fast and turning in close proximity to other people. Try chicagocyclingclub.org, the xxxracing.org Saturday morning ride or any of a number of club and shop rides in the region.

The Tuesday night crits in Matteson are invaluable. They'll make you a better, smarter rider like nothing else. The Wednesday night Soldier Field races are great, too, though they'll be quite a bit faster and more technical. If nothing else, come on out and watch and see what you're getting into. Finally, there's also a new Wednesday night series in West Chicago run by abdcycling.com that is a lot of fun and, like Matteson, more low-key and instructional.

I run Chicago Bike Racing, where you'll find news and tips, as well as a calendar of upcoming racing and a list of weekly group rides.

Upcoming racing I would recommend for beginners include the Proctor Cycling Classic in Peoria on June 27, the Tour de Villas in Des Plaines on July 3 and ... ooh ... that's about it. I guess the Winfield races in August. We've already passed most of the races with Cat 5-only fields. By all means you are welcome to do the Tour of America's Dairyland or Superweek races that are coming up and I wouldn't want to scare anyone away, but you'll be racing with Cat 4's an the races will be fast and furious. (And lots of fun!)

Hope that helps. Good luck!

(And, yes, cross is incredibly fun, but, no, roadies aren't nearly as uptight as we are made out to be, although that's probably a discussion for another thread.)
oops! you're right, it's Wednesdays!

dan brown said:
are they tuesday evening or wednesday ?

I seem to remember wednesday -- unless there is a change for 2010 ?

Dan

p.s. great showing at REI this morning ! it was great to see everyone - Leah was there too doing
awesome handoffs of literature to cyclists that could not stop.. ;-)

Anne said:
The Soldier Field training crits begin next Tuesday evening; it's a fun course and great atmosphere.
You will need to buy a amateur license as mentioned by Michael; 'switching lines like drunkards' will not be encouraged, so yes getting some practice in a paceline and group riding will be recommended first. Come by and watch the racing first maybe? see you there!

www.soldierfieldcycling.com
The Northbrook Velodrome has beginner racing on Friday nights and you don't need a license or a track bike.

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