Road Racing 101 - Dylan Curtis
Dylan Curtis - Cat4 - Dylan is one of the nicest and engaging young men that we know. If you've been around the races with Dylan, then he's likely come by and said hello to you. We're grateful for his investment in our team the past few years. He'll be racing 3/4 races in 2018 and has 4years of racing experience.
In the short 4 years that have been riding the main things that I have learned in racing are as follows. Have fun, be self-confident, and always be looking to learn.
Starting off first we have fun. The foremost important thing about racing. I have always found also that fun doesn't always mean crossing the line 1st or making the breakaway you wanted to target. Fun means that after that hard work out or before you take to the start line, you are happy and looking forward to the challenge. That will make your perspective and attitude for training and racing so much better. Often there will be people that forget or lose track of that and they will come and go, but before long you will still be there with a smile on your face and goals on the horizon.
Second you have to hold a certain level of self confidence. Now this doesn't mean you can't have fear, anxiousness, hesitancy, or any apprehension when you go to race. It simply means you should focus on being confident as well as growing you rider ability. I have found that a good base in bike handling skills was one of the the most beneficial things that luckily came natural to me. Bike handling abilities are different for everyone, but time spent on your road bike or on a mtb or cx bike helps that. Group rides help with this and/or finding a safe neighborhood to practice cornering is great for developing your handling skills. You will feel more secure with others around you If you know what you are capable of. All of these things will add up to little by little adding to your self-confidence
Last, but not least always go into group rides and races with the expectation to learn something. Whether it's a rider you see doing something that is more efficient or learning how drafting works. As you continue to ride and gain experience having those group rides that challenge you in your fitness will also open the door to many riders who are quite experienced themselves. There are always riders happy to share information during these rides. As you learn these things they all come back to adding to your self-confidence. From my personal experience the more you're able to add these the more fun you'll have and just like that everything comes together piece by piece!
To closeout, I can't stress enough that it will take time and and there will be hard times. Getting into a race is the only way you will truly see how your fitness is to other competitors. Getting dropped or not placing is completely normal and we all have to start somewhere!