NEW FOR 2017! The thought of racing can be intimidating. We are approaching the intimidation of trying women’s racing by tacking it together. One of the biggest barriers to trying racing is the fear of not being fast enough, which is compounded by having to race predominantly with elite-level racers who are well established in the racing community. So in partnership with the Alberta Bike Association, we are developing a Learn to Race/Race Improvement Program that will give you the tools needed to break down these barriers so that entry into the racing community is friendly, encouraging, and supportive. We can do this!

INFORMATION SESSIONS:

  • General information session, Coach meet & greet, and FAQ session:
    • Sunday February 26th 12:45 - 1:15pm at the Edmonton Bike Show
      • Entry to the Bike Show is $5 ($10 at the door) but the information session is FREE
      • Get $10 off your ERTC membership when you attend the info session (new members only)
      • Get $10 Revo Rubals for Revolution Cycle for attending
      • Information on the WoE Group as well as the new Learn to Race/Race Improvement Program
      • Open to all who are interested
  • Targeted Information Sessions: Attend all sessions and be entered for a chance to win free registration to Velocity Stage Race
    • Info Session 1: How Do I Get Started?
      • Saturday March 11, 2 - 4pm @ Revolution Cycle
        • Information Sharing: 2 - 3pm  |   Discussion & Q&A Session 3 - 4pm
    • Info Session 2: Racing, the Basics
      • Saturday March 25th, 2 - 4pm @ Revolution Cycle
        • Information Sharing: 2 - 3pm  |   Discussion & Q&A Session 3 - 4pm
    • Info Session 3: Race Day Expectations / Velocity Stage Race Info
      • Saturday April 8th, 2 - 4pm @ Revolution Cycle
        • Information Sharing: 2 - 3pm  |   Discussion & Q&A Session 3 - 4pm

If you’re interested in joining our group of women committed to supporting each other as we give racing a try, please email women@ertc.org so we can be sure to include you in future communications.

FAQ's

  1. What will the program include? Specifics are still TBD, but the program will include:
    • Info sessions: training with heart rate, common group racing strategies, fueling for racing/recovery, common training programs, info on different race types (road, hill climb, time trial, criterium), omnium vs stage races, feed zones, race number placement, being prepared on the morning of a race, etc.
    • Practical skills sessions: through the Alberta Bike Association & the ERTC Learn to Ride Series
    • Training sessions: through spin classes in the off season, ERTC club rides focused on training like intervals and hills, and some WoE training specific rides.
    • Financial support: through the ERTC Learn to Race program as well as the ABA Women’s Participation Grant. Support will help cover costs of the info sessions facilitated by a licensed coach, mandatory ERTC jersey for races, some race entry fees, and access to some equipment.
       
  2. What if I’m afraid of coming in last?
    1. I kid you not, that is the number 1 reason women have listed in my surveys for not wanting to give racing a try. So if you’re afraid of coming in last, I guarantee you the majority of those new to racing are just as afraid, or more afraid, of the same thing. So let’s tackle that together! If you’re having a tough race, someone else will be too – ride together, leverage each other’s strengths, encourage each other. Someone has to come in last – but that doesn’t mean that they can’t enjoy the experience, learn from it, and cross the line still wanting to give it another try. Remember, Starting a race and coming in last is still an accomplishment, you beat everyone at home who didn’t race or exercise that day.
       
  3. What licenses/registrations are required?
    1. ERTC Membership ($110)
      • Secondary Memberships:
        • To race with us, secondary memberships will only be allowed if your primary club is not a road riding club in nature.
        • To simply ride with us, secondary memberships are permitted, but we ask that you not road race with your primary club.
        • Essentially we ask that you train with the club that you race with. If you want to recreationally ride with a few different clubs, then the more the merrier!
    2. Alberta Bike Association (ABA) License
      • Only required if you plan to race in any ABA sanctioned races. Not required for races like Spring Series or Gran Fondos.
      • More information on the different types of ABA licenses check out their website.
    3. You will also require a club jersey. If you qualify and sign up for the ERTC Try Racing Program , the ERTC jersey is included.
       
  4. Where do I find the calendar of races for this year?
    • On the ABA Website they list all races – road, mountain, cross, etc.
       
  5. What does racing involve?
    • This will be covered in an info session. Coles notes is that most road races involve 3 stages (time trial or hill climb, criterium, and road race), some stage races require you to complete each stage before being allowed to progress to the next, some you can choose which you’d like to race (1, 2 or all 3).
      • Time Trial – riding from point A to point B by yourself, as fast as you can. Riders are separated by a time interval (usually 30 seconds) and the fastest time wins. Varies from 5to 40 km in length.
      • Criterium – commonly known as a Crit. Racing together in a pack around a short looped course – usually 1-2 km in length. This is where cornering, bike handling, and sprinting are good skills to have, and where sprint laps can come into play. It’s a timed race, usually around 35 - 40 min.
      • Road Race – racing as a pack for a longer distance, usually around 60-80 km. Often the course is 2-3 laps of a 20-25 km course on marked and marshalled secondary highways.
         
  6. Is there a specific race you’d suggest we try first?
    • Yes!
    • We will focus on the Spring Series races first. These are informal races held at the beginning of the season (4 Sundays in a row starting mid-April) to help everyone shake off the cobwebs. It’s a great way to practice your skills, assess your comfort level, and judge your fitness, all in an informal setting. No license required, just a club membership.
    • We will aim to all try the Velocity Stage Race on May 13/14. This is a great formal race to start with as it’s local, the road course isn’t technical (no big hills), the Crit course is flowy (Research Park on 23rd Ave), it’s a time trial not a hill climb, and it’s early season. From there you will have a much better idea of what to expect and can choose your races accordingly.
       
  7. What options are available for physical/fitness training support?
    • ERTC's current ride structure is geared specifically towards fitness improvement and race fitness. These rides are also attended by many different riders with race experience at a variety of levels. Because of this, the bulk of the physical training offered by the WoE Learn to Race program will be through attending regular club rides. For those new to club rides we will partner you with a woman with previous ride experience if you'd like someone to help you orient to the different rides. All the different ride options are listed the Our Weekly Rides - Description section. Our info sessions will address when it's best to utilize the different types of training rides (intervals, hills, weekend rides, social rides) based on upcoming races and goals.
       
  8. How fast do I need to be to keep up?
    • That’s something that we’re trying to change. Traditionally the answer has been fast (35 km/hr+) because the majority of racers are at an elite level. With your help we are increasing the number of new racers this year – so there should be more of a variety of level of racers. On average my assumption is that the average speed for a road race will vary between 30-35 km/hr depending on gradient and wind.
    • If you’re not at this level DON’T WORRY!!! I’m not either…..YET!!!! We’ll get there together!
       
  9. How to Racer Categories work?
    • All new racers start in Category 5, or Cat 5 for short. From there you move up in Cats by winning points associated with your finishing placement in the races. Points are usually awarded to the first 10 finishers in decreasing amounts. More information can be found on the ABA Website.
    • Generally all women in categories 3, 4, and 5 race together as one group called Cat 3/4/5.
       
  10. Is racing risky?
    • Short answer, yes. There’s always a risk of crashing, that’s part of the sport. Although traditionally, the Women’s 3/4/5 races tend to have fewer crashes than any other category with only 1 crash noted in the 2016 season. BUT – through programs like this we are aiming to provide everyone with the proper training, practice, and knowledge so that we can make the races as safe as possible. Unless you’ve attended a learn to race type of skills course, I don’t recommend giving racing a try – for your safety and everyone else’s.
       
  11. What is the culture like – how competitive is it?
    • Well, it’s a race. So it’s competitive – but with the change in focus this year to try and encourage more women to give it a try also means a change in culture. I personally want to see the culture be both encouraging and competitive. I want us to encourage each other to get better, to learn, and to develop but not at the cost of relationships, ethics, and morality. There’s a lot of current support within the established 3/4/5 group. Friendships are made even between rival cities (Calgary & Edmonton). I’m aiming to compete against myself, and then I’ll see where that takes me. I’m new to this too!