Cycling has evolved as an upcoming and coming American sport in the past twenty years. A lot of professional bikers, including Lance Armstrong, George Hincapie and Greg Lemond, have contributed enormously to the cycling sport in the United States. They’ve inspired riders to hop on their bikes in the hopes of taking part in one of the most competitive big stage cycling event in the globe: the Tour de France.
Cycling can create confusion to those who don’t understand the sport, let alone not being aware of how to take part in a race. Here are some steps to help you race and things you need to accomplish to move up the ranks to be a pro cyclist.
Getting a Bike and Practice
The first thing you need is to have a bike to race on. You can borrow one from a friend or purchase a new one from a store. After getting your hands on a bike, you can start riding. If it’s your first time to ride on one, you’ll need a lot of time to train and learn tricks to bike effectively. Once you’re comfortable dealing with the bike and your body is used to biking around for a few hours, you’re now cleared to be part of a bike race.
Obtain a License
In the United States, cycling is managed by the USCF (United States Cycling Federation). This organization keeps track of cyclists via a licensing process. They also sanction races all throughout the country. If you intend to race, you’ll be required to pay for a yearly license (costing around $50 to $70), or you can purchase a one-day license for a certain race. If you’re aiming to do several races per year, it’s recommended to go for a yearly license. License costs cover all insurance costs in cycling races, so if you happen to have any medical needs or issues, you’ll be covered.
Bike Racing and Categories
After you’ve bought a yearly license from the USCFY or a one-day cycle race event, you can now race. As a beginner, you’ll be placed at the Category Level 5 level. The USCF will indicate the steps you need to achieve before landing the pro level. In every step, the competition becomes more difficult, racers are longer, and cycle groups are bigger.
At present, there are 5 categories for cycle racing: Category 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1. To move you way through the categories, you need to acquire enough points and post satisfactory results to successfully approve your upgrade request with USCF. This process can be accomplished over the internet via their official site.
After making it through the first four categories, the difference between you and the pro cyclist is the paycheck. This is the aim for those who are at this level. Cycle races are faster, extensive, challenging, and a lot more competitive than any other category. At this time, you’ll likely need a coach who will help you train 20 to 30 hours weekly. If you continue to succeed at Category 5, your chances of landing a Pro Tour UCI rider contract are high. By then, you’ll see yourself racing in Europe with some of the best pro cyclists in the globe.