or U19 Bike Racing
Competitive Biking for Kids
U19 racing is beginning to
explode in many areas. In fact some clubs are having trouble keeping up
with the growth of this sport. It is believed that this new trend
is due somewhat to the impact Lance Armstrong has had upon the public
perception of road cycling. Lance and bike racing has become a part of
the American culture. In addition, the time commitment and cost
involved with team travel sports such as hockey and soccer is beginning
to deter some parents. As a result, parents are discouraging their kids
from even entering these sports, for fear of the strain it could place
on their family and budget.
Therefore parents are looking for
alternative sports that go back to the basics, which is
in sports to have fun, build confidence and exercise.
Anybody who likes to ride a bike can
become a bike racer.
do not have to go through the stress of "try outs" and your child will
always participate because every child gets to race.
Cycling primarily requires aerobic capacity and leg strength, not nearly
as much hand-eye coordination as other sports, such as tennis or
If your child
is driven, they can
Should my child join a club?
of U19 programs are run out of a bike shop.
It is not necessary for your child to join a club or team, but it is
beneficial because it is the best way to learn the skills and develop
the fitness that is needed to enjoy bike racing.
Club participants are
instructed in the basics of road cycling and racing by certified coaches
and other experienced competitive bicycle racers. Junior specific
training will build confidence and bike handling skills while promoting
fitness and a healthy lifestyle
Many clubs have two types of teams, development and racing/travel, and
your child will
be placed on one depending on their experience and ability. The
development team is for those who have
limited experience. The focus will be on improving bike handling,
gaining technical knowledge and fitness. Rides will be moderate in pace
and duration. The goal of this program is to get kids prepared for the
The racing/travel team is for boys and girls age 10-18 with strong skills and/or
previous racing experience. They need to be able ride at a higher pace
and compete in races. Some races are local while others will require
travel up to an hour or more away from home.
Racing season will consist of multiple races per year from February to
Training rides are usually 2 weekday evenings per
week and then races are on Saturdays or Sundays. The
rides will usually start and finish at the same spot at designated
Age requirements for junior
Your child must be at least 10 years
old to obtain a USCF license. The USCF racing license will have the
child's racing age printed on it. A
current racing license must be presented to enter a USA
Cycling event. All licenses expire on December 31st of the year issued.
Age is determined
by the racer's age on December
31st of the current year. You may not compete at levels above or below
the current category as listed
on the license. As a
member, you are eligible to compete in all USA Cycling sanctioned events
nationwide. International licenses (UCI) are needed for racing
outside the United States.
A USCF racing license can be obtained
USA Cycling Website. The most
common age categories at racing events are 10-12, 13-14, 15-16 and
17-18. Sometimes, these groups are combined.
Requirements for junior racing...
USA cycling junior license (approximately $30)
A properly fitted road bike is
necessary. Many clubs and shops have loaner bikes that you can use
for 4 -6 weeks to see if your child likes the sport. The other
option is to buy a used junior bike on the internet or at a swap
meet . Lastly, you can buy a new junior bicycle but it is necessary
to discuss this with an expert prior to purchase..
Your junior should have an ANSI or
Snell approved cycling helmet.
Sunglasses or other eye protection
are needed to protect from wind, sand, gravel and bugs from getting
into the eyes.
Gloves are needed to protect
the hands from falls and road vibration. The gloves with
gel-padded palms are a good investment.
are chosen to be compatible with the pedals. A clamp called a cleat
is attached to the underneath of the shoe and then fits into the
pedal. This will hold the foot in place when riding. Like
skis they have a quick release system to get out.
is generally tight-fitting for comfort, warmth and the aim of
Team racers will normally need a team jersey, shorts and socks.
Try to get used
cycling clothing from the older, experienced riders.
Jerseys come in long-sleeved, short-sleeved and sleeveless varieties
with a high collar to protect from the sun. Shorts are available for
males and females, they are tight fitted and padded. Even beginners
should have a good pair of shorts to help protect against saddle
sores. Socks must also be tight fitting. Cold days require
wearing two layers. The first should be thin, cotton and the outer
may be cotton or Gore-Tex.
Where to find races...
There are several internet bike racing calendars, including
www.cyclingcalendar.com. Each race has a flier, which
contains start times, entry fees, and other important information.
It is a good idea to print the flier and bring it to the race with you.
is the official cycling organization recognized by the USOC, is
responsible for identifying, training and selecting cyclists to
represent the United States in international competitions, and controls
nearly two dozen major events each year.
You can register for a race online or
on the day of the race at the registration desk. The race flyer will
give you these details. As a junior (under 18 yrs) you will need a
parent to sign your registration form at the race. Races for juniors
are typically short distances, usually only 5-10 miles, and they are by
Kinds of races...
The most common type of road race is the criterium, which is a fast race
on a short course closed to traffic, involving lots of laps. Each lap
is usually under a mile, the race is under 15 miles, and for the biker
to do well in this race cornering skills and quick acceleration are
Road Race/Circuit Race
The road race, often held on a circuit, is completed on a longer course
than the criterium so it involves fewer laps and less tight corners.
Road races are held on open roads where you can't cross the yellow line
in the middle of the road or you will be disqualified. Competing
riders start simultaneously with the winner being the first at the
end of the course.
The Time Trial is a race where each rider starts at one minute intervals
and races against the clock for the best overall time. There is usually
a half way point that the rider races out to and then back
again. These races are often held on roads that are open to traffic and
marshals are there to manage traffic.
Races that consist of two or three laps around a short course
featuring paved, grass, and dirt sections, as well as hills and low
obstacles to negotiate. This is probably the best way to step into
bicycle racing, as the atmosphere is a little more relaxed than road
racing. You can try one race, or try and win a series championship
by building points in multiple events.
Mountain Biking races can range from short track events to those
similar to long distance cross country races or 24 hour endurance
events. The sport entails riding off-road, often over rough terrain, on
a specially equipped mountain or hybrid road bike. This individual
sport requires endurance, bike handling skills, self-reliance and
mechanical expertise. Mountain biking is roughly broken down into four
categories: cross country, downhill, freeride, and trials/street riding.
extension which rests the hands close together over the front
the tires and the ground
A sudden attempt to get away from another
||To jump off
in order to avoid a crash
||When a rider
tries to get in the way of other riders, usually done as part of
a team strategy, to slow down the main field when other team
members are ahead in a breakaway
Attempting to reach a group
Cage or toe-clip pedals
pedal with a strap and a cage or clip that your foot slips into
completely closed to traffic
that attach to the clip-in system on the pedal via a cleat in
the bottom of the shoe.
another rider or riders behind by attacking
The main group of riders
The final sprint between a
group of riders, not necessarily for first place
||Front part of
the bike frame that holds the wheel
between individual or groups
Very steady, strenuous
Barely keeping contact at the
back of the pack
A sudden acceleration, often
at the start of the sprint
riders taking orderly turns at the lead and staggered so that
each will get maximum protection from the wind.
||Seat of a
||A series of
individual races grouped into one event that last several days.
against the clock
of the wheel that contacts the road when you bike
Race Day Checklist
Bicycle - clean and
Race wheels (2) - good tires,
correctly inflated, correct cassette
Spare wheels (2) - good tires,
inflated, correct cassette and labeled with your team & name
Clothing: Shorts, Jersey. Socks
Tools (multi tool, Cassette tools
Signed Athlete Release form
Race entry fee
Weather specific clothing: