· Are there tryouts to get on the team? Is Cycling NCAA?
Collegiate cycling is not an NCAA sport. It is a club sport. This means that practices and racing are not mandatory. It also makes cycling much more conductive for student-athletes looking for anything from fitness to competition without having to give up 30+ hours a week to training and travel. UCSD being top ranked for academics, most are here to get a degree (can’t speak for all colleges..) and cycling is a great outlet for physical fitness and stress relief. In fact, several current members of the team used to compete in other sports as NCAA athletes and took up cycling for the aforementioned reasons.
· Do I have to race to be on the team?
No. Racing is not mandatory. Though both racing and practices are encouraged (and a lot of fun). Academics always come first and it is completely acceptable to miss team engagements for academic ones.
· What are the benefits of club membership?
Among other things:
30% off most items as the UCSD Bike Shop
Race fees and travel expenses covered
Reduced pricing on team athletic apparel
Reduced pricing on a wide array of cycling gear
Physical fitness and social networking (the real kind)
Being able to represent your alma mater
· What’s so special about collegiate cycling?
Collegiate bike racing is a great way to become introduced into the sport. Unlike public races, you’re only racing against athletes from other schools. It’s more laid back and you make lots of new friends. Collegiate racing is generally more inclusive than public racing, and team tactics and strategy often play a larger role. If you’re still thinking about racing, don’t hesitate to contact the officers.
· How often do I need to ride to be competitive?
While this can be a highly personalized question, a simple answer is that for racing in categories other than the “A’s”, riding 3x a week with at least one group ride (more than 50 people) should suffice. UCSD Cycling is completely made up of student athletes, and it is our team policy that academics come before athletics. Specific training and tactical practice is often required to move up in categories, but the 3x a week baseline should be at a high enough level to compete and have fun. Feel free to contact Coach Pat Jak or Ryon, the assistant coach, for more questions regarding training.
· What kind of bike do I need? How expensive is a race-worthy bike?
While you do not need to buy the latest and greatest (and most expensive), the Wal*Mart special mom bought for you won’t cut it. You can race on a $150 bike you got on craigslist (just ask Ryon about it) but generally, we recommend aluminum frames and Shimano 105 / SRAM rival components. Bikes can be expensive, but here at UCSD Cycling we usually do a good job at securing very, very good pricing on entry level race-worthy road bikes. Plus, there are other options for used bikes. The $500-$1000 range is a good approximation for the equipment buy in for someone completely new to the sport. But, even that can be mitigated by attention to detail and a little research. Feel free to ask the officers.
· What do I need to race, besides equipment?
All collegiate races come under the USA Cycling domain. To race in their races you’ll need a license, which can be purchased day-of-race or yearly. If you plan on racing more that just a few times, you’ll want a yearly license to save money. More information can be had at the above link.
You’ll also need to fill out a Standard Release Form for each and every race. They’ll be available at the reg table at the race, but you can save time by filling it out before. If you want to race with us in collegiate races, you’ll have to pay dues. This is covered in more detail here.