Racing even without friends?

I hope I am putting this in the right spot. I am very new to this and very new to actually dedicated training and racing. (Used to just casually ride some but that’s all I did) Well one thing I noticed is I do not live by bikers… if I drive 3 hours there are TONS of bike clubs and they do weekly rides and train together. Obviously having a full time job (at hospital so very odd hours) i can’t make it to group rides much since that is so far away. how can I go about training so I feel comfortable racing? I am getting nervous and feeling like I never can race because I always read that you have to train with people and that just is not even possible. Any tips at all and encouragement would be so appreciated. I had been going so hard and seeing so much improvement on TR so had signed up for ones I felt would be good… now that I see this it kind of super bummed me out…

Thanks for anything.

Pedal on :heart:

Calling @SonyaLooney, @runriderandi, and other female cyclists to help with this one. Thanks!

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Practicing riding in a bunch before jumping into racing in preferable but not essential. It will depend on the club you race with, but some will have a beginner grade which will roll around with an instructor for a while before having a short race at the end. Check if any of the clubs you want to race with have this or a “New Rider Day” where you can dip a toe.

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I have a similar problem. I live in a small town, there are a few other riders here but not ones who want to push the pace. The distance i would have to drive to get into a club or fast group rides is impractical. So I almost always ride alone and I have very little experience riding in packs. I have done a few crits and I was way out of my depth, not in fitness but in confidence riding in close proximity to others. One top of this, in my last real race I collided with another rider and this caused a pile-up. I ended up with 4 broken ribs, a partially collapsed lung and two steel plates holding my right clavicle together. I want to race, but I’m even more hesitant about jumping in to it now, and I don’t know how to get the experience i need to be safe and confident riding in the pack.


I wouldn’t underestimate basic group riding skills, but what stood to me more was a few skills sessions my club organised - handling bumping, wheel touches, etc. You don’t get that on a club spin really.

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Wow I’m glad you’re ok… that is my biggest fear is causing a pileup or even just pissing people
off by not knowing something and being too cautious.
I am honestly very glad to know I’m not the only one who feels this way and has this challenge… thank you for responding…

I will try to find someone to maybe help me some weekend atleast practice that… thank you :heart:

On grass!

So you can’t practice riding with a group, but that’s okay! There are so many skills you can practice just on your own that will improve your bike handling skills.

Several that I liked to do when solo or just one friend was 1) finding a stretch of road with no cars and ride right on the white line indicating the bike lane, but not looking at the line! 2) industrial area that I could make my own tight loop (it was .9 miles) and I would see how fast I could hit the corners, how much lean I could handle, how far I could lean and not pedal strike 3) figure 8s in a single car parking lot space 4) picking up my bottle from the pavement while riding. I started with a tall bottle vertical, then a shorter bottle, then I was able to lay it horizontally

If you have even one friend who rides (they don’t even have to be good or fast!) then you can practice drafting behind them or riding close beside them to increase your comfort level.

Being comfortable with cyclists around you would be the one thing you’ll just have to try to adapt to on the spot. But please don’t be bummed out about not being to ride with others. You will gain your strengths in other ways and may have an awesome racing style that leads to success for you!

We had one woman who was a triathlete, and never rode with others, and you could tell was never very comfortable in the peloton. She was so strong. She would break away almost every race even before halfway through solo and just kick our butts.


In the absence of all real life opportunities then don’t discount online racing. It’s still pretty immersive and you get to test yourself against other riders and see and learn the various tactics and racing skills.

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Bumping shoulders is a great practice drill to do, and you only need 1 other person. We used to practice this when I started racing in college. The easiest way to start is on a pretty “smooth” / level grass field at low to moderate speed

  • ride next to each other for a bit to match speeds
  • take turns being the one who rides in closer to the other person and initiates the contact
  • take turns being the one who disentangles by smoothly moving a way. Goal of this is to break contact without a large change in your line

There are a whole bunch of pack/race skills that online racing doesn’t address but it can help with getting used to race intensity and things like learning to react quickly to stay in a draft or follow an attack. It’s not going to teach you how to actually move around in the group but it does give you rudimentary exposure to the importance of overall positioning within a group. Definitely give it a go.

A great way to practice alone. This one skill alone will get you 90% towards being a competent group rider.

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