Monday, February 16, 2015

so you wanna be a bike racer...

So you live in south-central Pennsylvania and you want to start bike racing...
Amateur cycling in the United States is governed by USA Cycling. They set the rules. Train officials. Police cheaters. Facilitate race promotion. Etc. There is certainly a lot of bike racing that occurs outside of USAC sanctioning (especially for off-road events), but if you're interested in ROAD RACING, you should be familiar with USAC.
They have a website:
Click the "Get Started" link and poke around.
Within the USAC umbrella, there are local associations that help manage things on the ground level. In this area (south-central PA), the local associations of most relevance are the PCA ( and MABRA ( You can find on their websites two really important things: (1) calendars of events and (2) lists of local racing clubs.
To start racing in USAC sanctioned events, you first have to buy a USAC license. You can buy an annual license (good until the end of the year) on their website, or you can pay $15 for a one-day license at each event you attend.
One of the advantages of racing USAC sanctioned events is that they segregate racers not by age (like in running and triathlon, which is, frankly, a moronic way to organize amateur athletics), but by ability. As a beginner, you'll only race against beginners ("Category 5"). After accumulating some experience, you'll race with the novice/intermediates ("Category 4"). When you become something of a decent bike racer, as shown by finishing well in a number of races, you'll move to a semi-elite category ("Category 3"). And it keeps going... Category 1 racers are essentially pro-level athletes who don't have pro contracts because (1) they can't get one or (2) they don't want one.
To give you a sense of how many people populate these categories, imagine a random sample of 100 USAC licensed racers. Of that 100, about 35 would be Cat 5 racers. Slightly more, 40, would be Cat 4s. Less than half as many, 17, would be Cat 3s. Less than half of that, 7 riders of that 100, would be Cat 2 racers. And only about 2 of the 100 would be Cat 1 racers. There wouldn't be any pros. Because pros are more rare than 1 in 100 licensed racers. (And the kind of pros you've heard of, that race in the ProTour in Europe and whatever, are even more rare than that.)
That's all for road racing... Things are slightly different for off-road (MTB, cyclocross, BMX) bicycle disciplines. And then there's also the track...
In this country, road racing is the most popular form of bike racing. Mountain bike racing is probably second. Oddly (to me), relatively few people do both. Cyclocross racing is sort of a hybrid, culturally. Because lots of road racers race CX and lots of mountain bikers race CX too.
In the warmer months, some local riders organize a little grassroots racing series that is all for fun and no money and designed to help get newbies into racing and, for the more experienced among us, to compete for bragging rights on favorite local courses. The current year's calendar is (usually) posted here:
But most people who ride bikes, and even ride bikes seriously, don't race. Don't want to. Never did. The cycling world is also full of folks who once or twice pinned on a number, gave racing a try, decided it wasn't for them, and now just ride bikes because they like riding bikes.
And many local cycling clubs (like the Franklin County Cyclists, or Harrisburg Bike Club) are not full of bike racers, but cycling enthusiasts of various stripes. There are lots of really great, really experienced riders in these groups, but relatively few who have pinned on a race number, and far fewer than that who take racing seriously. (That said, don't make the mistake of assuming a non-racer doesn't know their way around a bicycle or can't make it from point A to point B really quick.)

Monday, October 6, 2014

starlight circles, 9/29


 1 Kyle        10 pts
 2 Kevin        6
 3 Michael      4
 4 Rick         3
 5 Scott        2
 6 Ryan         1 
 7 Jeremy       1
 1 Coretta     10 pts


 1 Kyle        30 pts
 2 Kevin G.    26

 3 Darin       14
   Michael     14
 5 Scott        8
   Jeremy       7
 7 Rick         6
   Ryan         4
 9 Greg         2
   Kevin D.     2
11 Chris T.     1
   Rich         1

 1 Coretta     40 pts
 2 Meg          6

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

starlight circles, 9/22


 1 Darin       10 pts
 2 Kevin G.     6
 3 Kyle         4
 4 Michael      3
 5 Scott        2
 6 Rick         1
 7 Ryan         1

 1 Coretta     10 pts


 1 Kevin G.    20 pts
   Kyle        20
 3 Darin       14
 4 Michael     10
 5 Scott        6
   Jeremy       6
 7 Rick         3
   Ryan         3
 9 Greg         2
   Kevin D.     2
11 Chris T.     1
   Rich         1

 1 Coretta     30 pts
 2 Meg          6

Monday, September 22, 2014

RESULTS: SMSS #5, Caledonia Cauldron of Burning Bicycles

SMSS #5, Caledonia Cauldron of Burning Bicycles
September 9, 2014
Individual Results
 1 Jon Marshall             Faulkner Nissan Racing
 2 Daniel Blumberg          
 3 Kyle Irwin               Antietam Velo Club
 4 Michael Urban            SU (students/alumni/friends)
 5 Joe Kaehler              SMVC
 6 Michal Perdek            SU (students/alumni/friends)
 7 Jim Hartnett             SMVC
 8 Chris Townsley           Antietam Velo Club
 9 Rick Ackerman            SU (students/alumni/friends)

Club Results
 1 Shippensburg Univ (students/alumni/friends)  10 pts
 2 Faulkner Nissan Racing                       11 
 2 Antietam Velo Club                           11
 4 South Mountain Velo Club                     12

2014 SMSS Series TOTAL (after five rounds)
 1 Faulkner Nissan Racing                       46 pts
 2 South Mountain Velo Club                     59
 3 Shippensburg Univ (students/alumni/friends)  74
 4 Antietam Velo Club                           85
 5 Dickenson College                           108
 6 ARC / Carlisle                              119
 7 everyone else                               139

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

starlight circles, 9/15


 1 Kevin G.    10 pts
 2 Kyle         6
 3 Michael      4
 4 Darin        3
 5 Scott        2
 6 Michael P.   1
 7 Rick         1
 8 Greg         1
 9 Ryan         1
10 Kevin D.     1
11 Rich         1
   Jeremy   (dnf)

 1 Coretta     10 pts


 1 Kyle        16 pts
 2 Kevin G.    14
 3 Michael      7
 4 Jeremy       6
 5 Darin        4
   Scott        4
 7 Rick         2
   Greg         2
   Ryan         2
   Kevin D.     2
11 Chris T.     1
   Rich         1

 1 Coretta     20 pts
 2 Meg          6

Monday, September 15, 2014

starlight circles, 9/8


 1 Kyle         10 pts
 2 Jeremy        6
 3 Kevin G.      4
 4 Michael       3
 5 Scott         2
 6 Rick          1
 7 Darin         1
 8 Chris T.      1
 9 Kevin D.      1
10 Greg          1
11 Ryan          1

 1 Coretta      10 pts
 2 Meg           6


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

RESULTS: SMSS #4, Pine Grove - Caledonia - Pine Grove

SMSS #4, Pine Grove - Caledonia - Pine Grove
July 29, 2014
Individual Results
 1 Jon Marshall             Faulkner Nissan Racing
 2 Micah Engle              Faulkner Nissan Racing  
 3 Alan Royek               Faulkner Nissan Racing       
 4 Christopher Woltemade    Antietam Velo Club
 5 Kyle H.                  ARC / Carlisle
 6 Nathan Goates            Faulkner Nissan Racing
 7 Sam DiAngelo             ARC / Carlisle
 8 Eric Diamond             Shippensburg Univ (students/alumni/friends)
 9 John L.                  Antietam Velo Club
10 Cory DiAngelo            ARC / Carlisle
11 Ben Rhodes               Shippensburg Univ (students/alumni/friends)
12 Jim Hartnett             South Mountain Velo Club
13 Joe K.                   South Mountain Velo Club
14 Rick Ackerman            Shippensburg Univ (students/alumni/friends)
15 Ben Coleman              ARC / Carlisle

Club Results
 1 Faulkner Nissan Racing                        3 pts
 2 ARC / Carlisle                               12
 3 Antietam Velo Club                           13
 4 Shippensburg Univ (students/alumni/friends)  19
 5 South Mountain Velo Club                     25
 6 everyone else                                32

2014 SMSS Series TOTAL (after three rounds)
 1 Faulkner Nissan Racing                       35 pts
 2 South Mountain Velo Club                     47
 3 Shippensburg Univ (students/alumni/friends)  64
 5 Dickenson College                            98

 4 Antietam Velo Club                           74
 6 ARC / Carlisle                               99
 7 everyone else                               119

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

RESULTS: SMSS #3, Iron Masters ITT

SMSS #3, Iron Masters Ind. Time Trial
June 11, 2014
Individual Results
 1 Nathan Goates    24:54   Faulkner Nissan Racing
 2 Jon Marshall     26:12   Faulkner Nissan Racing  
 3 Jim Hartnett     26:36   SMVC       
 4 Joe Kaehler      26:57   SMVC
 5 Kyle Irwin       27:33   Antietam Velo Club
 6 Joe B.           28:15   Shippensburg University (alum)
 7 Rich Shaffer     28:46   SMVC

Club Results
 1 Faulkner Nissan Racing                       11 pts
 2 South Mountain Velo Club                     14
 3 Antietam Velo Club                           21 
 4 Shippensburg Univ (students/alumni/friends)  22
 5 everyone else                                24

2014 SMSS Series TOTAL (after three rounds)
 1 South Mountain Velo Club                     22 pts
 2 Faulkner Nissan Racing                       32
 3 Shippensburg Univ (students/alumni/friends)  45
 4 Antietam Velo Club                           61
 5 Dickenson College                            66
 6 everyone else                                87

Monday, June 9, 2014

RESULTS: SMSS #2: Pine Grove Furnace Road Race

SMSS #2, Pine Grove Furnace Road Race
May 14, 2014
Individual Results
 1 Jon Marshall           Faulkner Nissan Racing
 2 Eric Noreen            SMVC (Gettysburg Bicycle)
 3 Eric Diamond           Shippensburg University (alum)
 4 Bob                    SMVC
 5 Kyle Irwin             Shippensburg University (alum)
 6 Jim Hartnett           SMVC
 7 Rick Ackerman          Shippensburg University (alum)
 8 Jeff Townsley          Shippensburg University (friend)

Club Results
 1 South Mountain Velo Club                     12 pts
 2 Shippensburg Univ (students/alumni/friends)  15
 3 Faulkner Nissan Racing                       19
 4 everyone else                                27

2014 SMSS Series TOTAL (after two rounds)
 1 South Mountain Velo Club                     22 pts
 2 Shippensburg Univ (students/alumni/friends)  23 
 3 Faulkner Nissan Racing                       32
 4 Antietam Velo Club                           40
 5 Dickenson College                            42
 6 everyone else                                63

Monday, May 5, 2014

5th for Royek at USAC Collegiate Nats!

Congratulations to Alan Royek, junior, Shippensburg University Cycling, for his outstanding performance at Nationals this weekend!

A hard-fought 5th place in the DII road race...after having spent 16-17 miles off the front, solo, during laps four & five of the seven-lap, 70-mile Richmond, Virginia course.

Oh yeah, and he dropped a solid 8th in the individual time trial two days earlier.

Those of us at home had to follow the action via the @USACcollegiate twitter feed, but were treated to gems like this one:

I was on the edge of my seat.

Here's the report in his own words:

Friday was the ITT and I placed 8th in that which was good. Especially because I was not feeling my best. Yesterday was the RR. 7 laps for 70 miles on the 2015 worlds course. Complete with a cobble descent and a nasty little cobbled climb. I broke away solo with three laps to go hoping that some guys would bridge up to me but after staying away for 16 miles a chase group brought me back and then came the field. Soon after we hit Libby hill (the cobbled climb) again and a group of four guys went off the front. I was in the second group of about 10 guys and rolled with them the rest of the race, which was about a lap now. That group stayed together until the final K when I put in an attack at the top of a small climb. I got away with one other guy and I sprinted him to the line for 5th place.
It was honestly one of the coolest weekends of my life. Richmond was roaring for every race. Super cool venue can't wait for worlds in 2015!
Look at that hardware!
So awesome, Alan.  Congrats, again.

Friday, April 25, 2014

RESULTS: SMSS #1, South Mountain Hill Climb, Apr 24

What a great evening for a little bike race.  Is there a better place on this green Earth for cycling?

Anyway, there was a diverse, if not large, group that came out to play.  Big shout out to the boys from Dickinson College that came to join us.  Many happy returns!

Also, given the numbers, we deviated from the normal three-person teams and went to two.

Thanks again to everyone who made it.  Hope to see you all again on Tuesday (for the first run at the Ironmasters TT--a two-man deal) and next month for ever-popular Pine Grove RR.  (Complete schedule here.)

SMSS #1, South Mountain Hill Climb
April 24, 2014
Individual Results
 1 Nathan Goates          Faulkner Nissan Racing
 2 Eric Diamond           Shippensburg University
 3 Eric Noreen            Gettysburg / SMVC
 4 Tyler Riegel           Dickinson College
 5 Christopher Woltemade  Antietam Velo Club
 6 Michael Poland         Shippensburg University
 7 Jim Hartnett           SMVC / Gettysburg
 8 John Lancione          Antietam Velo Club
 9 Rick Ackerman          Shippensburg University
10 Kyle Irwin             Shippensburg University
11 Nick Shewell           Dickinson College
Club Results
 1 Shippensburg University                       8 pts
 2 Gettysburg Cycling                           10
 2 South Mountain Velo Club                     10
 4 Faulkner Nissan Racing                       13
 4 Antietam Velo Club                           13
 6 Dickinson College                            15

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bike Maintenance Earth Day

Some pictures from the cycling clubs free bike maintenance event on Earth Day 4/22/14.

Jeremy works on truing a wheel that got bent after the owner tried to free it from ice during a winter storm.

Alan goes through checking the gears

Michael applies some lube to the brake cables

 Alan getting a flat tire fixed

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ship Cycling Movie Stars Part 2

Remember this? Yeah I forgot about it too, but Chris Townsley didn't!

Anyways the move came out, finally. IMDB has it listed as 6.2/10 and Rotten Tomatoes has a Tomatometer rating of 26%. Trailer below.

I have not watched it so I will withhold judgement. I can't sit still through a whole movie. So I skipped ahead to the goodies, the cycling scene! Below are some screenshots.

Richard walking toward the race
Awesome shot of Nathan rocking the SHIP jersey!
Chris T and Richard at the starting line, right side middle, look for heads
Beginning of the race, Richard center bottom

Richard racing
Chris T. left, Nathan right
Nathan Racing

Monday, September 9, 2013

Coggan's Training Zones

(This needs to be posted here, for reference.  It will get a permanent home on the website later.)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

RESULTS: SMSS #5, Caledonia Calderon of Burning Bicycles, Aug 27

Some powerful good riding on some powerful good terrain...

I think the handicapping worked out pretty good today.  It was tight.  But, in the end, Round Here Racing was able to extend its lead over second placed South Mountain Velo, with Antietam Velo Club remaining close behind in third.

With the semester back in full swing and the students back in town, a strong showing (and dominate performance) from Shippensburg University netted them the club win for the round and saw them leapfrog Gettysburg Bicycle for fourth place in the overall.

The caravan from Shippensburg...
The SU boys, ready to rumble.

SMSS #5, Caledonia Calderon of Burning Bicycles
August 27, 2013
Individual Results
 1 Jon Marshall      Round Here Racing
 2 Alan Royek        Shippensburg University
 3 Nathan Goates     Round Here Racing
 4 Joe Kahler        South Mountain Velo
 5 Eric Diamond      Antietam Velo Club
 6 Brad Thompson     Shippensburg University
 7 Eric Noreen       Gettysburg Bicycle
 8 Jeremy White      Shippensburg University
 9 Michal Perdek     Franklin County Cyclists
10 Jim Hartnett      South Mountain Velo
11 Michael Poland    Shippensburg University
12 Chris Townsley    Antietam Velo Club
13 Rick Ackerman     ?
14 Steve Bussey      Shippensburg University
15 Jeff Townsley     Antietam Velo Club (guest rider)
16 Bill Sommers      Shippensburg University (guest rider)
17 Max Sommers       Shippensburg University (guest rider)
18 Josh Levisky      Shippensburg University
Club Results
 1 Shippensburg University                          16 pts
 2 Round Here Racing                                23
 3 Antietam Velo Club                               32
 4 South Mountain Velo                              33
 5 Gettysburg Bicycle                               45
 6 Franklin County Cyclists                         47
 7 all others                                       57

2013 Overall Standings (after five rounds)
 1 Round Here Racing                                82 pts
 2 South Mountain Velo                             110
 3 Antietam Velo Club                              124
 4 Shippensburg University                         154
 5 Gettysburg Bicycle                              156
 6 Franklin County Cyclists                        212
 7 all others                                      222

The final SMSS is the team time trial!  Teams of 2-4...on a route that will be some variation on the traditional Iron Masters course.  Wednesday, September 11, 6:00 pm.  Park/meet at the Iron Masters mansion, Pine Grove State Park.