Road, circuit and cyclo-cross racing – bunch start and hang on for as long as you can – bag some points and move up the ranks. The ultimate work out with adrenalin thrown in.
How it works
Road and circuit racing is governed in the UK by British Cycling who have a useful explanation of the basics here. A rankings and points system is used to promote riders up through a category system from Cat 4 (entry level) to 3, 2, 1 and finally Elite.
Races are split depending upon ability, so beginner (4th Cat) riders will either ride in Cat 4 only races, or against Cat 4's and 3's. Most higher category races put Elite, 1's and 2's together, with the odd Cat 2/3/4 race in between. To reach Cat 3, you need to accrue 12 points (increased from 10 in 2014) in one racing calendar year (Dec to end Nov). To reach Cat 2, you need 40 points in a year. Cat 2 points can only be accrued from Cat 2 races, usually E/1/2, so the racing is much harder - 200 points are required to reach Cat 1. The winner of a typical Regional C (Cat 3/4) circuit race will be awarded 10 points, with points descending down to 10th place gaining 1 point. The winner of an Elite/1/2 National A road race will be awarded 100 points, with points awarded down to 20th.
Some basic advice for beginners from British Cycling: On race day, get there early to give yourself enough time to sign-on (don't forget your licence!), pin on your number, get a good warm-up, visit the toilet (a few times...), and find the start line. If you're a 4th Cat, you can wear any kit that's not pro kit; once you are 3rd Cat then you must wear your club kit; if you aren't a member of a club then any plain kit will suffice. Helmets are mandatory, and don't forget to remove your saddlebag, mudguards or lights if you have them. Helmet or bike mounted video cameras are also forbidden.
Listen to the Commissaire’s briefing at the start of the race – different circuits may have slightly different rules about the race format or procedure so it’s important to pay attention.
Further info on road, circuit and cyclo-cross
Cyclo-cross is the muddy version of circuit racing, raced through trails, fields, woods and over obstacles.