The collegiate road cycling season ranges from February until May.
There are several types of Road Race events. An Individual Time Trial (ITT) is when a solo rider is timed in a course and the fastest finishing time of all competitors wins. In the Team Time Trial (TTT), a group of riders from the same team work together in a closed course much like in the ITT. The team with the fastest time on the course wins the event. In collegiate races, aerodynamic Time Trial style bicycles are not permitted by USA Cycling Collegiate. The Criterium is a mass-start timed race in a short, closed, and technical course. Criterium racing is fast, exciting, and risky, which makes for excellent spectating. Beginners race for 30 minutes, Elite Women race for 45 and Elite Men race for 1 hour. The Road Race is a more typical approach because it features a distance race in open roads like the Tour de France. Beginners race anywhere from 20-35 miles, Elite Women and Men race anywhere from 50-100 miles. Equipment for road is road specific: stiff, lightweight, and sleek bicycles are most effective for hard efforts and quick cornering. Slick tires provide grip and low rolling resistance for high speeds. Helmets are always worn and lycra is most at home when cruising in a pack at 25mph. Stiff soled shoes with wide pedals are used to transfer power from the rider to the wheel, but road shoes are not designed to be walked on.
Collegiate races are typically weekend-long events hosted by universities. Race weekends have several events, including a Team Time Trial, Individual Time Trial, Open Road Race, and Criterium. The highest finishing riders in each race earn points individually and for their university squad. These point totals are tallied throughout the season, and the team with the highest point total wins the conference omnium. Individual points are used to determine individual conference champions and which riders qualify for Collegiate Nationals. The team that has most riders in high placements at Nationals wins the Team Omnium National Championship and the rider that wins the individual event is named National Champion. In collegiate road, six events are held at Collegiate Nationals: Men’s and Women’s Championship Road Race, Men’s and Women’s Championship Criterium, and Men’s and Women’s ITT.