2019 SoCal Road Race Recommendations

Hi everyone, I’ll be new to racing in 2019. I’ve been riding for 6 years and rode my first crit last year (Barrio Logan). Unfortunately, I was sidelined after with a few soft tissue injuries.

My goal for this year is to learn and build confidence. I’m comfortable riding in a pack/pace line but know racing is a different animal.

What are some good crit/road races/series to target in the SoCal area for a new Cat 5?

Thanks for your recommendations!

CBR upgrade crits. About as simple a course you can get.

I’m in he same boat. My buddy is pretty experienced and has started throwing me some Recs. I’m focusing on learning this season and competing as best I can.

  1. Socalcycling.com is a great resource
  2. Rosena Circuit Race is supposed to be a great learning experience. Has three races in Feb 2, March 2 and April 6 I believe
  3. Victorville Road Race is also supposed to be a good one
  4. He said the UCLA Road Race is tough and very competitive but probably a really good learning opportunity.
  5. Check out all the Fondos that go on as well. Not races but great experiences

I’m also looking forward to what more experienced riders have to say.

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+1 on CBR. Jeff does a great job supporting new riders with clinics/mentored races. Both courses are wide open/sweeping good roads and fast races.

Any Ontario criterium. They are on the SoCal calendar as the “Dare to Race Criterium” January 27th the “easter Sunday Criterium” April 21st and “End of Season” June 30th. The course again is wide open and the roads are very good. Great vibe, good promoting.

Tour de Murrieta is fun. Last year it was just a criterium followed by a circuit. The criterium is an L shape, slight up and down. Decent roads and great promo. The circuit is slightly rolling and maybe half the course the roads were pretty chewed up. Not a big deal just FYI.

I try and do Dana Point and Manhattan Beach GP each year and like them. However, with the larger purses they attract more powerful/experienced fields. I can’t speak for cat 5 but, the Pro1/2’s and masters races have been filled with crashes each year. More at Dana Point. Still recommend it as bad mojo can happen anytime anywhere. Super fun vibe and really strong competition.

Redland is another criterium for the amateurs that is a fun course and super fast last half. The fields for this the last three years have been pretty low for whatever reason. If they have it this year it’s always mixed in with the real Redlands (pro) race and it’s fun to watch them race.

I’ve done others that I don’t see on the schedule. Basically, every race I’ve done over there has been a positive experience. So for me I race any race on the calendar that works with my schedule. I’d make the same recommendation for pretty much anyone.

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If you’re on the west side of LA I’d recommend hitting up the group ride that starts at 7th and Montana (7:30am Saturdays). It’s big. It’s fast. You need to know how to ride in a tight group and pay attention. I’ve seen Dave Z, Phil Gaimon, Bahati, Horner on this ride. It’ll help with your skills and you’ll learn how to keep yourself protected from the wind. If you don’t you’re out the back.

Jan 26: Santa Barbara County RR. A few friends like this race a lot as an early season opener.

Feb 10: Roger Millikan fun early season crit. Usually a few crashes cuz folks are brushing up on their skills.

Feb 23: UCLA RR. It’s a hard early season RR. It’s been a few years since I did it last but about 1/2 mile from the start you climb. It’s a little hard to know how to pace that race and can be a bit frustrating if there’s a bunch of folks with early season form.

Mar 29-31: San Dimas S.R. An awesome race – my favorite of all the the SoCal races. Fun uphill TT, Somewhat challenging RR. Fun crit. You’ll learn how your body responds to 3 harder days in a row.

CBR races were fun and a great way to learn skills. At the very least you’ll learn to either stay off the front or off the back. Same with Eldorado crit series.

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Good suggestion. It’s called the “NOW Ride” and I’d rate it as a 6 out of 10 on the sketchiness factor due to PCH and the general nature of the people that show up. If Phil shows up, it just turns into a stem measuring contest and everything just blows apart, so be forewarned.

Other good group rides to hit up that will help build your pack/crit skills:

  • Montrose Ride (8am or 8:30am roll out of Trader Joes in South Pasadena on Saturdays)
  • Tuesday Varsity La Grange Marina Loop
  • Bowl Ride Tuesday/Thursday once Daylight Savings Time comes back around

If you can survive to:

  • Trancas on the NOW (really, if you can survive Pepperdine Hill and then the hill by Latigo)
  • Sierra Madre on Montrose
  • The turnaround on Marina Loop
  • 10 laps on the Bowl

You’ll be in great shape for any crits.

Yeah! SteveMZ has it right.

And FWIW, learn how to protect your wheel while in a pack.
All you have to do is FINISH 10 races to upgrade.

More of a PSA for those new to USAC sanctioned events (because good lord they don’t make finding information all that user friendly)…In addition to finishing 10 races (1 race=1 point) Category 5 to 4 upgrade points can be attained:

Quoted from the 2018 USAC rulebook: 1E2. Road Upgrades
(a) Guidelines and Notes by Category:
5-4: Acquire 10 points by a combination of the following:
• 2 points – complete all three sections of a Beginner Racer Program (BRP) clinic.
Allowed up to 10 points.
• 1 point – finish a massed start race
• 1 point – participate in a mentored race experience where the mentor is at least a
cat 3 rider and has been approved by the Local Association. Maximum 5 points.
• USA Cycling-approved education clinics award points based on the curriculum, length
and content. Maximum 5 points with clinic points as determined by USAC
• 1 point - Participate in a USA Cycling sanctioned Gran Fondo. Maximum 3 points

Protecting your front wheel is good advise. What does that mean? It means to not overlap your front wheel behind the rear wheel of a rider in front. The idea is that if the rider in front moves left/right they won’t take out your front wheel and cause you to crash. I can’t think of a ride or race where I didn’t overlap as it’s impossible not to unless in a break with no wind. I guess the main point is just in a semi static situation know that if your super close to a rider in front and your wheel is overlapped and they move into it your going down. So, either don’t do it (impossible if your moving up/back…) and/or just give yourself a little extra wiggle room. Don’t fixate on the wheel in front. Looking ahead you’ll see general movement in the pack and be able to anticipate what the rider in front is going to do.

At least that’s my take.

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Barrio Logan is a pretty technical race to make your first, props to you! That figure 8 course with the pot holes and rough road is pretty sketchy. I loved the race in general though, and the tortillas they give to the top finishers are fantastic!

+1 for Ontario crits and definitely the CBR series as it is very organized. Rosena Ranch is a circuit race with a little elevation each lap and lacks organization, sometimes with fields of about 10 or so.