Who is the NC State Cycling Club?

The NC State Cycling Club is a recreational sports club at NC State University. As such, membership is open to students, faculty and staff at NC State. This is for membership. To participate in the collegiate racing, the member must be a full-time student or part-time student. The team is also a member of the USCF and NORBA. In any of these events, all members of the team may race with the team affiliation of the NC State Cycling team. See some of the later questions for details about affiliations and membership details.

Who can join?

Students, faculty, and staff can be members of the team. You must be a full-time student to race in the NCCA events. And faculty and staff must become associate members of the department of rec sports. Any member can race in the NORBA and USCF events.

What do I have to do to join?

Show up at any of the meetings, come to Club Sports Day, or contact one of the team officers. You can get an application form at that point and pay your dues. If you wish to race as a team member in NORBA or USCF events, then you must also join these organizations as a NCSU Team member. More on this below.

Do I have to tryout?

No. Our team has a non-competitive membership policy. Our goal is to assist people in becoming competitive in collegiate cycling. Be it road, mountain, track, or cyclocross racing. We have skilled and experienced people who will share their knowledge with novices. All you have to do to “make the team” is to show up and pay your dues. Absolutely no cycling experience is required to join the team only an interest in cycling.

What are team members responsible for?

The main task of each member is to just work on improving their personal cycling ability by participating in team events. The team will offer clinics throughout the year to assist novices in learning the ropes. Team rides, while not mandatory, are a very good way for the novice to learn the finer techniques of cycling. See the training section of the FAQ for more information.


These are the various governing bodies of public and collegiate cycling in the United States. NORBA is the National Off Road Bicycle Association, and is responsible for sanctioning the mountain bike events that take place in the US. The USCF is the United States Cycling Federation and like NORBA, is responsible for sanctioning US road and track events. The NCCA is the National Collegiate Cycling Association and is the sanctioning body for collegiate cycling events. This includes road, mountain, track and cyclocross races. The ACCC is the Atlantic Collegiate Cycling Conference and is the conference that our team is part of. So the whole setup goes like this: At the top of the pile is USA Cycling then just below that are both NORBA and USCF. Now, under the USCF there is the NCCA. The NCCA acts as a type of buffer between the upper levels and us.

USA Cycling has made it pretty simple to become a member. You can join at any race. It costs $60 for NORBA license and the same for USCF. You can race any collegiate event with either license. You can also purchase a Collegiate license that will allow you to compete in all disiplines of collegiate racing. Cost for this license is $50. Be sure to put down NC State University your membership form so that they know you race for NC State. You may also list us as the USCF team as we are also a USCF club. Alternatively, you can race any collegiate race by purchasing a one day license: usacycling.org


We like to go fast

What is our conference?

Our conference is known as the Atlantic Collegiate Cycling Conference (ACCC). It includes us, UNC, Duke, ECU, App State, UVA, UMD, Navy, WVU, VT, John’s Hopkins, William and Marry, Washington and Lee, VCU, WVWU, and GMU.

What is our conference?

Our conference is known as the Atlantic Collegiate Cycling Conference (ACCC)

What types of racing does the team do?

The team participates mainly in all road, cyclocross, and mountain bike events. Members may race in track races under NC State Cycling but entry fees will not be paid because not many club members participate, but there are few of those in the ACCC.

What are the different levels of racing?

There are basically three different classifications of racing levels. In NORBA there is Beginner, Sport, Expert, and Pro. Each is just about what it sounds like. For the USCF there is a category system: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and Pro. (In some areas of the country there is a category 6, and there is usually a Public one at most races as well). The public is for the general rider who just wants to see what the racing thing is like. Cat 5 is for the beginning racer who has spent some time training and has some level of skill. Cat 4 is for Cat 5’s who are just a lot faster than the other Cat 5’s and have more experience (at least 10 races to “cat up” from 5 to 4). As the cat level “increases”, so does the speed and the skill of the riders. This is the same structure that is used for the track racing as well.

Finally the Collegiate system is C, B, and A. Typically novice riders ride in C races for a year. Then move up to B’s. (Since skill and hopefully speed have increased.) If the racer is really fast then they move up to the A’s.These classifications are used for all collegiate events. For example, Joe has been racing track, road and mountain bikes for about a year. He is a B level collegiate rider in all collegiate races, at USCF races (road) he is a Cat 4, on the track (also USCF) he is a cat 5, and in NORBA races he is a Sport rider.

When is the racing season?

Mountain bike season is generally in the fall during September and October. Cyclocross is in the winter, from October until January. Road season is from late February to April. There are USCF and NORBA races during the whole year.

What is a stage race?

A stage race (SR) is a multi-race event, where the winner is determined by their overall standing. Typically a SR is a road race where there are three races that a given rider will ride in and these will occur on different days (or all on the same night for track). Any given stage race may have different types of races on different days. And the scoring may well be different from one SR to another. It is these differences, though, that make road racing great.

What is a criterium (or crit)?

A crit is a race where there is an approximately 1 mile course that is ridden around by the racers for a given period of time. This course may be a simple loop with only one or two actual corners. Or it may be a really twisty nightmare where there are 8 or more corners. The race is started by having all the riders at the start line. And the referee usually just says: “um.. err.. GO.. or something” and off you go. C’s can expect to ride for 30 to 45 minutes, B’s from 45 to 60 and A’s from 60 to 75 minutes. Men’s and Women’s events are similar in length. Near the end of the time period, judges will signal the rider how many laps are left to race; generally with 5 laps to go. At the final lap, the judges will ring a bell letting riders know that there is one lap to go. Also, throughout the race, primes may be offered to the riders. (See below about primes)

What is a time trial?

A time trial is a race where there is a set course that the racer must complete as fast as they can. It can vary in length from 2.5 to 40 or more miles. Each racer has their own start time. So as you come to the starting area, you’ll be lined up behind people about to start. Each rider is then sent off alone at 1 to 2 minute intervals.

What is a team time trial?

This is a time trial as given above but instead of just a single rider there is a group of riders who ride the whole thing together (see “drafting”, “taking a pull”, etc.). The group may just be two riders and races with teams of 5 are common. In this case each team starts at about 2 to 5 minute intervals.

What is a prologue?

A prologue is a short time trial. Usually about 2.5 to 5 miles in length. It may be very flat or it may be really hilly.

What is a circuit race?

A circuit race is just like a crit except that the course is 2-6 miles in length and tends not to be twisty.

What is a road race?

A road race is a race that takes place over a longer distance. It may be a loop of 10 or more miles that the racers traverse many times or it may just be one big route. Typical distances for C’s are 24 to 40 miles, B’s 35 to 55 miles, and A’s 60 to 90 miles. Again, this is for both men’s and women’s events.

What is a mountain bike (off road) race?

This event is most similar to a road time trial. It has a mass start (with flying dust, mud, and more often than not bodies) but quickly becomes a single line of riders attempting to pass each other on the single track, and the leaders are the ones who have high fitness and bike handling skills to match.

How much does it cost to race?

USCF races seem to run about $20-30 for single events. NORBA events are about the same to a little more, except there is sometimes a land access fee. Collegiate events cost $15-$20 per event. The team pays for all collegiate events, but not USCF or NORBA. We try to caravan to reduce traveling costs.

How many races does the team go to?

It varies from season to season. It all depends on if the teams in the conference decide to host a race. When there’s not a collegiate race, we try to go to a USCF or NORBA event.

What are the conference championships?

This is a stage race format event where there is awards for overall team position (based upon the team member performance). There are also awards for individual riders.

What are the national championships?

This is a SR (stage race) format where the team gets to send 4 men and 4 women racers. These riders then represent the team against other teams from around the country. The overall position of the team is determined by the combined effort of these 8 members.


Speak our language

The Pack or Peloton

The pack is a big group of riders. All grouped together and riding at the same speed. The term peleton is euro-speak for pack (more or less).


This is a smaller group of riders that break away from the main pack.

Off the Front

This is where a rider leaves the main pack and opens a gap, or space, between the rider and the front of the main pack.

Off the Back

Same as off the front except the pack has left the rider behind.


At air speeds of over 10mph a rider creates a volume of lower density air behind himself. If you get into this lower density volume of air, then you don’t have to push through the “wind”. In other words… At speed, if you get right behind another person you will be out of the wind; or sheltered from it. If you move to one side or the other (from directly behind the person) you’ll encounter the normal strong smooth flow of air. As you move back behind the person, the air will be turbulent but not as strong. This can make it easier to pedal. And this is why you see everyone in a group so close together. Also it is why a group of even two riders is much faster than a single rider. The person in the back can rest a bit and the pair can take turns at the front. (See “taking a pull”)


An interval is a training technique where the rider works at high levels of effort for a number of minutes and then works at a low level of effort for a number of minutes. This is repeated for varying lengths of time.


This is a mid-race prize given to the first rider across some referee defined line. In a stage race, it may be time (ie. Subtract 5 sec from the rider’s total time), or it may be points (each rider gets points for the places that they finish and 1 or 2 more can make a big difference), or it may be cash/valuable prizes! These primes may be offered in a road race or (more common) in a crit.

Pace Line

This is where a group of riders line up in a line so that everyone is in a draft (except for the first person in line of course). After a short period of time the person in front moves to the side and slows down a bit and drifts to the back of the line. This repeats forever.

Taking a Pull

This is when a rider pulls to the front of the pack or paceline to ride into the wind while the other riders in the group draft. Drafting can alledgedly save a significant amount of energy by keeping your power output, and thus heart rate, lower. Taking long or frequent pulls is a great way to train, make friends, and lose races.

Pulling Through

This is where a rider, usually in a paceline, moves smoothy to the from of the group to take a pull. Generally, you should “pull through” smoothly, resisting the urge to accelerate. Speed up only once you give the guy who just pulled off the front a chance to settle in.