For riders seeking fast and technical racing, going to Europe is the ultimate race experience. And Belgium is the country to go to because anyone can enter an amateur race without being on a team and from mid-May through early September races are on the calendar practically every day.
While find races can seem a bit daunting, everything a riders needs to know can be found on the web. http://belgiancyclingselection.be provides an overview of amateur racing in Belgium. In Flanders racing is particularly abundant. Racing in East Flanders is organized by Vlaamse Wieler Federatie (VWF), and racing is organized in West Flanders by Onafhankelijke Vlaamse WielerFederatie (OWVF). The web sites for these federations are: http://www.vlaamsewielerfederatie.be/ and http://www.ovwf.net/ These sites are in Flemish (Dutch), an obstacle easily overcome with the help of your favorite translator.
The different regions offer dramatically different terrain. West Flanders, along the western seaboard up to Bruge and then north to Antwerp, is flat and typically ruled by wind. If you prefer a few short steep hills then race in the Flemish Ardennes around Oudenaard – west of Brussels and south of Ghent. Each of these federations allow for the purchase of one-day licenses. A UCI International license from the rider’s home country can be required by the promoter but is often not required. However, a season long license from each federation is required to compete in the season series or to be listed in the top 5 of each race results.
Races are often kermesse style. These races typically are 8 to 15 laps of a 3 to 7 mile loop around a town through cornfields, by cows and on very narrow roads. Most races are part of the annual town summer carnival know as the kermis. Often bands play, parades happen, street markets appear and of course, beer gets drunk.
Racing is organized by age group only. There are no race categories as is common in the USA. Although, strong riders can request to race with a younger group.
Entering an amateur-race will cost you about 10 euro and a one-day license is a nominal 2 to 5 euro.