If you’ve been following me on social media you’ll know the next event I’m organising is #GirlsAtMarahTracks. A day of crit racing for women at the North Wales’ closed cycling circuit, Marsh Tracks in Rhyl.
I’ve not been road racing (or road cycling!) long, but it’s clear to see that women’s road races are hard to come by, which can be understandable when they’re not always the easiest of races to fill to make them viable to run. But I’m taking the jump and doing a full day of women’s racing anyway!
For anyone new to road or crit racing, what does this all mean?!?
First off…Criterium Racing,
More commonly known as ‘crit racing’, this is essentially closed circuit racing, whether that be on closed roads or closed circuit. You race for a certain amount of time, then so many laps after that. For example, the 4th Category race is racing for 40 minutes plus 5 laps. So as soon as you reach 40 minutes you know you’ve got 5 laps left! You’ll know you’ve got to the 40 minute mark as a board will appear at the finish line counting down from 5 until the last lap is indicated by a bell!
But what do all the race categories mean?
I’m not going to lie, the race categories alone can be enough to put you off giving racing a go! The senior women’s races are either the E/1/2/3 or the 4th Cat.
How road racing works with British Cycling is you buy a licence and depending on where you come in race you can get points, eg you win a race and get 10 points. Over the course of the year these points can build up and a certain amount of points will mean you move up at category. For example, I’ve been chasing 12 points this year to go from 4th Category to 3rd Category. I’m nowhere near, but you get the picture!
To put it all into context, I’m a 4th Category rider and I’ve just started road racing. The women racing in the OVO Energy Women’s Tour are in the Elite category, so ‘E’.
If you’re new to racing then the 4th Category race is the one for you! You can enter with a day licence and give racing a go! 4th Cat is also for those chasing those 12 points to get to bumped up to 3rd Category if you already have a British Cycling race licence.
So, how do you go about entering the 4th Cat race if you don’t have a British Cycling race licence? To put it simply, you need to enter on the day by paying for the entry to the race and for a day licence.
Day Licence Fees
The 4th Cat race is a Regional C+ categorised race. If you’re a:
– Bronze British Cycling Member, Ride British Cycling Member or not a member of British Cycling, a day licence will cost £10.
– Silver or Gold British Cycling Member, a day licence will cost £5.
Obviously if you have a British Cycling race licence you won’t need a day licence, you just need to check what race category you are and enter the correct race accordingly.
For Junior and Youth riders it works slightly differently. If you’re child is under the age of 16 they will be a Youth rider and therefore a day licence will only cost £1.50.
Over the age of 16 will class them as a Junior rider and they can race in the 4th Category race with a day licence. These will follow the same guidelines as the adult prices, but be half the price. So:
– Bronze British Cycling Member, Ride British Cycling Member or not a member of British Cycling, a day licence will cost £5.
– Silver or Gold British Cycling Member, a day licence will cost £2.50.
You won’t be able to sign up online if you need a day licence, so just drop me a message if you’re planning on racing so I can get an idea on numbers! Drop me an email at email@example.com.
What bike can you ride?
For various safety reasons, British Cycling stipulate what bikes can and can’t be used in road and circuit racing. For the senior races, so 4th Cat and E/1/2/3, a drop-bar road bike will only be allowed to be ridden in the races. Working gears and brakes are a must too! Don’t forget to check the tyre pressures, high tyre pressures make pedallig so much easier!
A drop bar road bike looks something like this…
These rules apply for the Under 16 and Under 14 races also, but allow cyclocross bikes to. Drop bars are a necessity though.
When it comes to the Under 12’s, 10’s and 8’s, British Cycling allow any type of bike to make it easier for younger riders to have a go! I must say these bikes have obviously got to have working brakes and be in good working order. Again, for safety during the races.
What category will my child race in?
Have a look at the details below,
Under 16 if born in 2002 or 2003
Under 14 if born 2004 or 2005
Under 12 if born 2006 or 2007
Under 10 if born 2008 or 2009
Under 8 if born 2010 onwards
The obvious need for the Under 8 category is that your child can confidently ride a bike. British Cycling also stipulate gearing restrictions to protect young riders from using big gears that could be harmful to them. (ie too strenuous!) If you have any queries on gearing restriction or if your child can race, have a read of this document by following the link, or contact British Cycling via the details in this link:
Youth Gear Restrictions: A Guide for Riders and Parents
From racing various cycling disciplines, I know facilities at cycling races can sometimes be an issue, so I just wanted to highlight Marsh Tracks has toilets and changing facilities.
For more information about #GirlsAtMarshTracks keep monitoring my social media pages and website for more blog posts! Thank you to everyone who has helped with the event so far, especially Cyced for designing the poster! You’ll be able to find out more about Cyced with a blog post that will be posted in the next few days.
Cyced: Where rides become cycling art
I’m also working with Andy from SDS Graphics on some stickers you’ll be able to take home with you! SDS Graphics have been supplying vinyl graphics and designs in the motorsport industry for 25 years. His vinyl graphics can be seen on Formula 1 cars, British Touring Cars and many others. So you’ll have F1 standard stickers you can put on your bike, to remember that time you took part in a day full of women’s crit racing.
I’ll drop some other useful links below, but if you feel like you can’t keep up to date on social media with the event drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll email you any updates!
Facebook Event Page
British Cycling Event Page (you can enter via this link!)
Marsh Tracks Website
If you’re a company who fancies getting involved with the event, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch!