USA Cycling Paralympic Road National Championships set to kick-off
The USA Cycling website will have schedules and results available along with photos of each event.
Sean tells me that they have been checking out the race courses and learning racing skills. He will participate in time trials tomorrow. I have included information from USA Cycling on the two events Sean will participate in this week.
Encyclingpedia: Road Cycling from USA Cycling
Road races are team-oriented, mass-start events which typically feature a field of 150-180 riders. Teams are generally made up of eight to 10 riders, however at the Olympic Games, team sizes are limited to a maximum of five for men and three for women.
Road races generally take place on public roads and can be point-to-point races or multiple circuits of a loop anywhere from 5 to 25 miles in length. At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, riders will begin downtown and race 78.8 kilometers to the Badaling section of the Great Wall. After reaching Badaling, the peloton will then contest multiple laps of a hilly, 23.8-kilometer circuit. Women will race two laps of the circuit for a total race distance of 126.4 kilometers while the men will contest seven laps for a total of 245.4 kilometers.
During a road race, team members work together to gain an advantage over other riders, usually designating one person as its team leader. The team leader is determined prior to the race and can be based on several factors including the course’s terrain, a rider’s fitness level and the competition. The leader’s teammates will help in any way possible from fetching food and water to giving up a wheel or their bicycle in the event of a crash or mechanical failure. Throughout most of the race, a team’s leader will ride in the draft of a teammate, never facing the wind head-on unless absolutely necessary.
Behind the peloton a caravan follows the race. The caravan typically consists of race officials, team cars, media and VIP cars, neutral support vehicles and medical personnel. Each team is allowed one car per caravan in which the team director sits and advises his athletes via radio communication. Usually, the director dictates the race tactics from the seat of the caravan car and relays important information to riders including time gaps, the composition of breakaways and chase groups, the location of key riders during the race and any pertinent course information like approaching climbs, descents or corners. A team mechanic also sits in the caravan car, ready to service a rider with equipment if he or she suffers a flat tire, a crash or any other mechanical failure.
Some of the most prestigious single-day road races after the Olympic Games include the annual UCI World Championships, the USA Cycling Professional National Championships and European Classics like Paris-Roubaix (FRA), the Tour of Flanders (BEL), the Amstel Gold Race (NED), Liege-Bastonge-Liege (BEL), and Milan-San Remo (ITA).
Individual Time Trials
Often called “The Race of Truth”, the time trial pits individuals against the clock instead of each other. It’s the most basic form of competitive cycling and the rules are simple: the athlete with the fastest time over a given distance is the winner.
Like road races, the time trial usually takes place on public roads and can be a point-to-point race or multiple laps of a circuit. At the 2008 Olympic Games, the time trial course will be the same circuit used in the road race at the Badaling section of the Great Wall. Women will contest one lap of the circuit for a total race distance of 23.8 kilometers while the men will race two laps for a total distance of 47.6 kilometers.
In a race against the clock, results are often determined by fractions of a second. And since there are no team tactics and riders don’t have the benefit of drafting off another rider, riders seek out every aerodynamic advantage they can. The time trial will feature the most technologically-advanced equipment such as carbon fiber disc wheels, lightweight components, teardrop-shaped aerodynamic helmets, one-piece skinsuits and special handlebars which allow a rider to get into a more aerodynamic position.
Riders start one-by-one at specific intervals, usually one minute, by descending down a small start ramp onto the course.
Some of the most prestigious time trials after the Olympic Games include the UCI World Championships, the USA Cycling Professional National Championships and individual stages of major stage races such as the Tour de France.