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I don't race and never will race. However, I am very interested in learning more about it. I read a number of cycling magazines, and I read about so many different racing terms, strategy etc. but they are never explained. Does any know of a good source (like a Bicycle Racing 101 course) where I can learn more about racing?

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3 Answers 3

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The best thing to do is to watch television coverage of races. For just learning, it is even better than actually being at a race because you can see what is going on and there's plenty of background stories.

Now is the BEST time for stage racing because the Giro has just started. Steephill.tv has bunch of links for online video coverage of the Giro. If you have sports cable channels check those too. The Tour de France in July is also fantastic because of the coverage, but the Giro is usually a more interesting and gritty spectacle, IMHO.

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I learned a lot about racing when I had a roommate who was on a local team and raced full-time for a couple years (and then part-time since.) You probably don't want to take on a roomie just to learn about racing, but you might be able to volunteer to help out a local team.

I also learned a lot reading my roommate's Velo News magazines. I don't know if it's the same now, at the time it was a magazine for serious racers, not at all like the glossy newsstand magazines.

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In addition to watching, there are lots of things to read, for instance the great autobiographies like Laurent Fignon's We Were Young and Carefree ("Nous étions jeunes et insouciants"), Bobet's Tommorow We Ride and David Millar's Riding Through The Dark - all of these have large sections devoted to races, racing and reacting to events.

The Rider by Tim Krabbe is fiction, but not really, giving wonderfully evocative descriptions of being a racing cyclist.

There are also some good bloggers, e.g. In The Saddle and Rouleur Magazine (which has some great articles if you can find it in your locale).

And then go to YouTube and search for Sunday in Hell. Probably the best movie ever made about cycling, not all about the strategies, but definitely a lot about how to race.

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+1 for A Sunday in Hell. The entire movie is somewhere in Youtube. So awesome. –  Angelo May 9 '12 at 14:59
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