Road riding and racing is where the world of cycling all began. More than just a fun physical activity, early cycling was all about transportation. However, it wasn’t long before people began racing their bicycles, and a sport that continues to be enjoyed by millions around the world was born.
Today, the sport of road riding and racing is alive and well in BC. There are many ways to be involved, from riding alone, or with friends, to racing or even riding recreation-oriented mass participation events. Road racing is a diverse sport, with several different competition formats. Some favour long distance endurance riders, while others favour sprinters and climbers.
The four types of Road Races that require the ability to incorporate strength, fitness, strategy, precision and endurance to achieve success include:
Road Race (RR):
- Mass Start event held on open roads
- Riders race in a group called a “peloton” or “bunch”, corner at high speeds and take turns ‘pulling’ at the front of pace lines as well as drafting behind to rest, and pick a tactical spot to try to break away
- The first rider to cross the finish line is declared the winner
- This course may be partially or completely closed to traffic
Time Trial (TT):
- Individual or team race over a fixed distance and against the clock
- Riders start individually and complete the course, the rider or team with the fastest time is declared the winner
- Distances vary from just a few km to 40 or 50 km
- Courses may be point A to B or on a circuit with the start and finish in the same place
- Short road races on a circuit, usually city streets and always closed to traffic
- Distance per lap may vary from 0.8 km to 3 km
- Races are run over a set number of laps, or for a defined period of time, but are usually 1 hour or less long
- Mass starts, high-speed cornering and sprinting make the Crit an exciting event for both participants and spectators
Stage Race (SR):
- Combination of several 1-day road or time trial races
- Events take place over multiple days
- Each cyclist’s time for all the individual events is totaled and the rider with the lowest cumulative time is the overall Stage Race winner
- There are also winners for each individual event
In BC, there are 4 different ability category (cat) levels for male and female road riders. Most races offer all of these categories, though some may be combined together for the purposes of racing.
- Cat. 1: Professional riders, who are members of National, Continental, or Professional teams
- Cat. 2: Highly skilled amateur riders
- Cat. 3: Intermediate level amateur riders
- Cat. 4: Novice level amateur riders
Provincial RIDE Licence holders do not have an ability category, and therefore can’t upgrade, as they race in a Novice category at Provincial and Regional races.
Riders without a UCI licence in the last 5 years must register for Cat 4.
Riders with a UCI licence in the last 5 years must register with the category that they had on their last UCI licence, unless they are applying for an upgrade.
Riders may apply to upgrade to the next highest ability level when they register for their licence, or part way through the season. However, they cannot downgrade in the same season once they have upgraded. Riders must have held a UCI licence in the last season to be eligible for an upgrade.