I have found out some basic information regarding Veteran Road racing. I plan to add some information regarding Time trialling as well, if you feel I have missed anything out or got anything wrong please let me know.
Whilst it is possible for veterans (riders aged 40+) to race in BCF road races there is no specific category for them. At the entry level (4th Cat) you will find yourself racing against Novices and Juniors and generally very fit people. If you find this all a bit daunting then there are some other options.
The League of Veteran Racing Cyclists
The League of Veteran Racing Cyclists provides racing for cyclists who are veterans, not for bikes that are veterans. To be eligible to join you must be 40 years of age or more; the League is open equally to male and female bike racers. Don't worry if you think you aren't fit enough to race - in the LVRC you are always allowed (encouraged, in fact) to compete in an older age group than your calendar age indicates. This is deliberately designed to help people get back into racing, and move up the groups as fitness starts to return.
The League has yet to list it's events for 2007 but to give you a flavour of what is on offer the following is a list of events from 2006 which were held in our region;
SE ENGLAND WHITE JERSEY Regions 9&10 Points Series
Friday 14th April Region 9 Leigh Norwood Hill TT (Event 1)
Sunday 30th April Region 9 Epsom’s Spring Classic (Event 2)
Sunday 14th May Region 9 Augusto’s RR (Event 3)
Sunday 21st May Region 9 VC Deal Hammonds of Dover RR (Event 4)
Saturday 1st July Region 9 SWRC Follically Challenged RR (Event 5)
Sunday 9th July Region 10 Ciclisti Vecchi RR (Event 6)
Sunday 16th Jul Region 9 Epsom’s Summer RR (Event 7)
Sunday 23rd July Region 10 Newbury RR (Event 8)
Sunday 6th August Region 9 Twickenham CC RR (Event 9)
Sunday 24th September Region 10 Reading CC RR (Event 10)
Sunday 8th October Region 9 VC Deal Hammonds of Dover Crits (Event 11)
Saturday 11th November Region 9/10 Prize Night/Awards/Dinner/Disco
Unfortunately this means you will have to do a fair bit of travelling, especially if you want to compete in the whole series.
Surrey League Handicap Races
If you really want those bcf points and you don't mind riding with a few racing whippets this may proove a good option.
Throughout the summer on Tuesday or Thursday evenings the Surrey League run a series of Handicap Races. A circuit of varying length (usually 5-10 miles) is used and groups of riders are set off at intervals depending on their ability. As a 4th Cat racer you will be started off in the first group, until you have started going fast that is!
You get chance to try and work together to make the group succeed in staying away (happens occassionally), or gradually get absorbed by the faster riders as they catch your group.
Don't be suprised to get dropped first time you do a handicap. When the elite riders catch up the turn of pace can be vicious, especially as it happens near the end when everyone is vying for a place on the line. The point is you get to learn group riding under race conditions, give it a few weeks and you might be able to contest the sprint. At the very least they are great training and could be just what you need to get your racing legs up to speed in between LVRC races.
For more details on Surrey League races visit their site www.surreyleague.co.uk handicap racing starts on the 24th april and run up to 30th september.