10th annual George Street Bike Challenge

Spring is here and summer will come before you know it. Have you set any goals for this season? This looks like a fun event to try.

Now in its 10th season, the George Street Challenge, run by the Major Taylor Association, will take place on July 24, 2011. Find out all the details on the event website. And check out this 1:10 YouTube promo video:

Wells Ave racing starts in one week

The Boston Road Club’s Wells Ave training race series has been going on since 1981 (30 years! wow!). It’s a criterium race series that is geared to help new racers get into the sport and seasoned racers sharpen up for the season. And to stay sharp – the series continues every Sunday through the season into September.

Races are broken out into different categories, competing along a 0.8 mile circuit in Newton with wide corners. “D” racers (juniors and women) go first at 8:30AM, followed by “C” racers (novices) at 9:00AM. Each of these races is 12 miles long, or 15 laps.

At 9:45AM and 10:45AM, the “B” and “A” racers compete in 24-mile and 32-mile races, respectively. These races are for more serious and seasoned racers, and you’ll even see local pros in the “A” race from time to time, sharpening up their skills.

Racing is a great workout. You’ll likely never push yourself as hard as when you’re competing – even if you have no chance of winning. And even if you drop off the back, racing can be a great incentive for workouts. After all, you can come back the next Sunday and test yourself again for improvement.

The 2011 season starts on Sunday, March 13th. Check out the full details on the Boston Road Club website page on Wells Ave Racing.

Photo credit: thisisforever

Learn to race, even if you’ll never race

The Northeast Bicycle Club (NEBC),  a developmental club with a variety of programs and events for riders of all ages and capabilities, is putting on their annual bike racing clinic.

It’s a great program that features two off-bike discussion sessions in March, and four on-bike clinics out at Fort Devens on Saturdays in April.

The “graduation” exercise is participation in an actual bike race, on a short and safe course in Newton, the Wells Ave racing series run by Boston Road Club.

Even if you’ll never race

Even if you have no intention of racing, this clinic is a fantastic way to learn to appreciate the sport of bike racing, and to seriously upgrade your skills for safe and fun riding in groups or with clubs.

Check out what is covered:

  • Bike handling: Cornering; pacelines & double pacelines; riding in close groups; incidental contact.
  • Racing skills: Sprinting; time trialing; climbing and descending; starting and finishing.
  • Tactics and strategies: Road racing as a team sport; applying team strategies and tactics in race situations; using the race course and your strengths to your advantage.
  • Training and equipment: Periodization and specificity; training effort zones; racing bicycles & equipment; maintaining and performance tuning your equipment; proper bike fit.

The instructors are great – patient, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic about the sport and educating riders. The price is cheap, too.

Find all the details on BikeReg here: http://www.bikereg.com/events/register.asp?eventid=12615

And hurry! Registration closes on March 18th, but this class tends to fill up quickly.

Photo credit: spunkinator

3 Reasons You Should Learn to Race Your Bike

Check it out – NEBC is continuing their fantastic program to get new racers up to speed in a safe and effective manner. I went through this program some years ago and it was really great.

To the newbie, bike racing can seem dangerous and trying it out can seem risky. Well, it is a bit dangerous and risky, I suppose, but that’s all the more reason you should learn from patient, experienced racers. It might be a lot less dangerous and risky if more people participated in clinics like this one. Even if you never intend to race, you should still take this clinic.

1. You will learn how to ride safely in groups – whether those groups are racing or not.

2. You will learn how to control your bike – a little knowledge and experience can help you avoid panic and disaster when you need to react quickly (again, whether or not this is in a race situation).

3. You will gain an even greater appreciation for the sport by learning and practicing the tactics and strategies used by racers.

You’ll also likely find that there are many other riders out there just like you who are enthusiastic about cycling and interested in racing or improving their skills, but need a little hands-on guidance to get to the next level.

Here’s the blurb from NEBC on the clinic:

As it has every Spring since 1993, the Northeast Bicycle Club is planning to offer its Introduction to Bicycle Racing program to the public during the month of April, 2010. This 4 week program will introduce you to the exciting world of bicycle road racing, and will prepare you to enter and be competitive in your first race. Among the things you will learn are:

Bike handling: Cornering; pacelines & double pacelines; riding in close groups; incidental contact.
Racing skills: Sprinting; time trialing; climbing and descending; starting and finishing.
Tactics and strategies: Road racing as a team sport; applying team strategies and tactics in race situations; using the race course and your strengths to your advantage.
Training and equipment: Periodization and specificity; training effort zones; racing bicycles & equipment; maintaining and performance tuning your equipment; proper bike fit.
At the conclusion of the program is a Graduation Exercise, in which we will bring you to an actual race to test out your new skills!

Find the full details on the program and how to register here.

Photo Credit: Eleaf

New England Racing Season – Just Around the Corner

Three race series start up next month. The 2010 Plainville CT race series runs on March 6, 13, 20, 27 and April 3, 10, and 17. It’s a criterium race around a 0.5 mile course.

The Charge Pond Training Series ramps up on March 6th for four Saturdays of racing action in Plymouth, MA. And, the 2010 Bethel Spring Series runs on Sundays in Bethel, CT all of March (7, 14, 21, 28) and into April (11, 18).

Photo Credit: talldoofyirish

Harpoon Indoor Time Trial 2.0

Harpoon ITT SceneThe second annual Harpoon Indoor Time Trial was bigger and better than last year. Hundreds of racers competed in many heats throughout the day and night. Up to 24 could race at a time, in groups of 8 surrounding a three-sided techno-center of digital race readouts. Racers and viewers could see real-time speed, distance, wattage and other stats for each rider as each race progressed. Little cyclist avatars also played out the action in real-time. Winners of each heat (male & female) got a free case of beer and overall winners (male and female) won free entry into the Harpoon Brewery to Brewery ride in June.

This year’s race was a lot of fun, and more crowded. The layout was expanded with more bathrooms and larger changing areas. Since the brewery was open for tours this year (with racing on Saturday instead of Sunday), they also setup a bar down near the race warm up area. Uncle Ted’s BBQ food was also available from the Forza-G racing team who were raising money for this year’s PMC ride.

Boston’s WBUR radio station was also on hand, interviewing various folks for its show It’s Only A Game. The Harpoon ITT show should air next Saturday.

George Street Bike Challenge

Major TaylorThe Major Taylor Association has announced the 2010 date for the George Street Bike Challenge for Major Taylor. On July 25, 2010 the uphill time trial will take place on George Street in downtown Worcester, MA. As the billing goes, “See how fast you can pedal up George Street, a two-block quad-buster that was a training ground for 1899 world champion Major Taylor.” Find out more about who this champion cyclist was at their website here. Also, check out this earlier post – 100 Years Before Lance – that contains some great video footage from the event.

New England Velodrome Gearing Up for 2010

Tom at New England VelodromeNew England Velodrome surveyed riders at the end of 2009 and they are working on several changes to their schedule and programs as a result. Weather permitting, the track will open on April 1, 2010. The track program will include open track time, coached sessions and even motor pacing. The racing program will include Omnium and Keirin as well as record attempts for Kilo and Mile. NEV will also hold its own 24 hour record attempt.

If you’re new to track racing, New England Velodrome makes it easy for you to try out the sport. They offer a new rider training class, bike rentals, coaching, and beginner programs. Riding on the track is a lot of fun, even if you’re a “roadie” at heart.

Find out more details at nevelodrome.com.

Get Ready for the Tour Down Under

Lance Armstrong One week from tomorrow we’ll get to see Lance Armstrong and the rest of Team RadioShack in their first race. It also mark’s the beginning of Lance’s 2010 program which he has planned carefully around this year’s Tour de France.

In this article at Velonation.com, Armstrong explains the changes he’s making from 2009. He’ll be less visible this year, though he did announce plans this week to participate in some of the Spring and Ardennes Classics: Amstel Gold, Ronde van Vlaanderen, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

The week long Tour Down Under should be fun to watch, though tracking these things down on TV or the internet seems to always be a last minute scramble. It looks like Versus has the rights to show the event in the US but I haven’t found any specific schedule just yet.

Photo Credit: brooxy28

Boston Mayor’s Cup Race

Exciting times for cycling in Boston… A great race this past Saturday around City Hall Plaza. It was very exciting to see pro peletons speed around the bend and up the hill by the old State House.

Many vendors were present with food and giveaways, and there was plenty of opportunity to see the racing action. With the entire course inside barriers and the event well staffed by marshalls and police, it was easy to get around and safe for riders and spectators alike.

The mascot race was great fun for the kids. Wally, Pat Patriot and others sped down the final stretch in an exciting show of spirit for cycling and Boston.

Would love to see more racing in Boston!