In Australia we (mostly!) race road in the winter, and then track and criteriums in the summer.
Road races are held in and around the Adelaide hills at places like Lobethal, Gumeracha, Williamstown, Kangarilla and Willunga. Road racing is a mixture of Graded Scratch Races (GSR) where kids are graded on ability and Age group racing. Junior GSR's run in 3 grades, A Grade, B Grade and C Grade. A grade is mostly the U17 Men and some strong U15 Men and U17 women. B grade is mostly U17 Women, U15 Men and some strong U15 women and the U17 Men who are starting out. C graders are the U13's, some U15W and the U15 Men who are starting out.
Championship events are run in age groups. In cycling the age groups can be a bit confusing because if you are an U17 it means you have to be U17 as of the 1st of January that year (ie. turning 15 or 16 between the 1st January and the 31st December that year). If your son or daughter turns 13 this year then he/she is an U15 and he/she will still be an U15 next year. Where things can get a bit confusing is from the 1st of October any licence purchased is actually for the next year and so you will in the age group that you would be for the next year. For example you can be 14, turning 15 in the next year and for Cycling purposes your licence and age group from the 1st of October would have you as an U17.
During the road season some events are handicaps where all the age groups and grades compete against each other and will start at different times, slowest first, fastest last usually over a 25-40 km course and the first across the line wins. Handicaps are very different to GSR's as each bunch needs to work together to stay ahead of the faster bunch behind them and catch the slower bunch ahead.
There are also several time trials during the road season, which involves individials starting at 1 minute intervals and riding against the clock.
In summer we also race Criteriums at several venues across Adelaide, again over 3 grades. Crits are short sharp events on Road bikes where you ride for a certain time over a 1-2 km circuit. Typically C graders ride for say 15 minutes plus two laps. A grade might ride for 30 minutes plus two laps.
Most of the top juniors also ride track and most coaches will recommend that track gives you the best basis for all your cycling. There is a Junior track training session every Monday at the Adelaide Superdrome run by Cycling SA. Track riding uses a different bike with no brakes and a fixed gear. Track bikes are simple, fairly cheap and Cycling SA has some very basic ones that you can hire for a small fee when you first start out.
Track racing runs over summer at Edwardstown on Fridays, and some racing at the Superdrome as well as at Mt Gambier and Whyalla tracks. Track racing is great for Juniors, its all about leg speed, the races are fairly short and there are no cars to worry about. Track is also quite social for the kids as they are all in one place and get to know each other well. The track training sessions for juniors run all year round.
There are a few other things to know. Junior bike racing runs on restricted gearing. Depending on what age group you are only allowed to run a certain maximum gear. For example, U15's are restricted to a maximum gear that gives a 6.0m roll out from one crank revolution. Also juniors are not allowed to use carbon wheels (so no Zipp 404's!) or singles (glue on tyres). Aero bars can be used for time trials only but no full on time trial bikes are allowed until you graduate from junior ranks.
To race you will need to get a Cycling Australia race licence for insurance purposes, but to start off with you can get a silver ride licence which is cheaper and will give you 24/7 insurance coverage on the bike for all recreational riding and training, you can upgrade to a race licence when you are ready to race.
There are many different ways a new Junior can become involved in cycling and racing, and a visit to the Adelaide SuperDrome on a Thursday evening is a great place to start. Come and try out the track at our Novice Session, or contact your local club for other opportunities.
Wednesday Night - Junior Skills Session
Junior Novice & TID - 5:30pm -7:00pm
Skills Session - 6:00pm - 8/8:30pm (skilled track bunch riders only)
The aim of this night is to invite all experienced Juniors to come along and be taught specific skills and tactics in a systematic and structured approach.
Cost: Juniors: $15 per session or $65 for five consecutive sessions.
Register: Click Here
Thursday Night - SASI Endurance/Sprint, Talent ID and Sprint Training Session
3pm - 7pm (SASI Endurance), 7pm - 8pm SASI Talent ID and 8pm - 9.30pm Sprint Training Session
The Talent ID kids will start off with a formalised coaching structure/system and once the basic skills are learnt progress into the Level 1 Skills session. The Sprint Training Session is targeted at Masters and Seniors, but also available to other experienced riders. Coaching provided by Eddie Smith.
Cost: $15 per session or $40 for three sessions and includes bike hire if required. After three sessions bike hire is no longer included and will be an additional $10 per session.
Friday Night - Open, Junior and Adult Novice Riders and Para-Cycling
6.30pm - 8.30pm (Open, Junior and Adult Novice Night) and 7:00 - 8:30pm (Para Cycling)
The Junior & Adult Novice session is for those who are keen to 'Come and Try' riding the track. This session is also for riders who want some extra time on the track, with coaching provided by Eddie Smith.
Cost: $15 (if you have your own track bike) or $20 including bike hire!
Contact a club for more information
Try Cyclosportif, a road, criterium (Crit Race), or come and watch a track race - have a look at the calendar for more exciting opportunities
New Juniors often start off in the sport via a local club or a schools visit, or are identified by the South Australian Sports Institute (SASI as a potential cycling 'talent'. There are Secondary School Sports programs or even SAPSASA. There are also development pathways for children to progress from just having fun to the very highest level in the sport.
If you don't know which session you should be in please call the CSA office (08) 8260 1800 for more information.
Attention all U15 & U17 track cyclists. This year there are four rounds of the NJTS and each will include 2 days of racing. More information can be found via the Cycling Australia website.
A spectacular Junior Tour event attracting many interstate visitors and competitors, the 2016 Central Districts Junior Tour is a 2-day, 4 Stage race (23 & 24 August) in premier Barossa Valley tourist region.
WINTER TRAINING: Make the most out of your winter training opportunities by layering up and wearing warm clothes. Arm warmers, undershirts, leg warmers, shoe covers, long finger gloves will all help you beat the chills when out riding. You don't have to spend a fortune (or your parents don't)...a regular unbranded long sleeve undershirt will work just as well as the expensive one! One of the most important things you should have in your cycling wardrobe is a windproof vest.
USE YOUR LIGHTS: it’s cool to be seen, set a great example...be smart!!
The Roma Mitchell Secondary College has a Specialist Sport Cycling Program. Further information on their website or call the school on (08) 8161 4600.
View the Cycling SA Event Calendar
Time Trial - Adelaide International Raceway. Click Here for more info
Road Tour - McLaren Vale. Click Here for more info
Cycling Championships - Edwardstown Velodrome. Click Here fore more info
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