North East Bicycle Club-
By far the biggest team in the Boston area, this team blanket recruits everyone. It is not uncommon to see 10+ riders on the starting line of a race. It is also not uncommon to see those 10+ guys introducing themselves to their teammates on the starting line of said race. In the lower categories, it is not uncommon to see NEBC riders chasing down breaks that have 1, 2 or even 3 of their riders in them. They sometimes sprint against each other.
Very rarely does this team race as a team, it is more a collection of riders wearing the same clothes. I have even heard one NEBC rider refuse to block for a teammate because the team mate "won" the race last week. When asked what he meant (everyone knew who had really won), he explained that he wasn't blocking because his teammate kept getting better results than him, so he hoped that the break wouldn't stick.
Since it is a large club, there are many people to socialize with. The club is so big that many riders feel lost.
I am told that the upper category squads are more cohesive.
Perhaps NEBC's greatest strength is the women's team. They have an active and well supported group of women who kill the women's races. In fact, there are so many strong women on this team that competition amongst them is common.
This was my first cycling team. Mostly this is a shop's cycling club with a competitive arm. The team often recruits new team members from the club; which is how I began racing bicycles. This is a great team to join if you are not sure if you are interested in racing, but want to try it out.
In races Quad sometimes places well, but is not as cohesive as other teams. While they can be tactically savvy on occasion, their strong riders spend themselves in fruitless and poorly timed attacks.
While two Quad riders may work together, this is the exception rather than the rule. Most of the Quad riders who get results have gotten them as a result of their own talent, as opposed to the support of a team.
The shop and the team are supportive of riders' material needs. There are generous sponsorships.
The social life of the team revolves around the shop, which shop owner, Rustem Gode, actively encourages by keeping food on hand and buying beverages often.
Quad has a small women's racing team and a strong female showing at the weekend club rides.
Boston Road Club-
BRC is a developmental cycling team that does a great job of adding value to the local scene while developing strong racers. BRC has put on the Wells Ave Training Series since the 1980's. In addition they run clinics for members on teamwork in races, sprinting, climbing, cornering, ect. They generally have a coaching sponsor to help new riders make the most of the early years in the sport.
BRC has many members, but most of the guys who race week in and week out work together as a team. If they have a man up the road, they block for him, or at the very least, they don't chase. They take race tactics seriously. In cat 4 races, especially criteriums, you can always expect them to be a factor.
They have many team rides where they test each other at KOM's and townlines. BRC is a very male organization and they have social gatherings at Redbones (sponsor).
For 2009 BRC may be weaker in races since there has been a large exodus of riders to other teams.
Small women's squad, though BRC has been sponsoring elite women to try to develop and support a women's team.
Mostly a masters team. They are fast, savvy and curmudgeonly. When these old dudes, show up, they kick ass and take names with a good measure of grumbling and complaining thrown in. If you are getting barked at in race, it is more than likely coming from a guy in blue and pink.
They also have a history of developing junior riders, perhaps you heard of some of them: Tyler Hamilton, Tim Johnson, Gavin Manion
It may sound like I am making fun of these guys, but that is not the case. CCB has been winning races since 1979 and there is no reason to think that they will not continue winning.
It seems like there is little logical place on this team for newer racers. It seems that they have an elite team, a masters team and a junior squad. If you fall in between this grouping, you may get more support elsewhere.
Unclear if they have a women's squad.
Threshold Racing- 2009 will be Threshold's first year on the road. Most of the squad is experienced and savvy. They will be a factor in cat 4 races and sole 3, strongman Leo Desforges will be attacking relentlessly in the 3's. As far as the 4's go, they have a number of riders who are on the verge of upgrading to 3, so they will be a team to watch in the early season.
They have a membership process that requires potential members to actually be approved by the team before being accepted.
No women's squad.
Minuteman Road Club-
This team usually fields some strong riders. Their cat 4's had an impressive season last year. They are generally getting thier results based on individual accomplishment, though on occasion, I can remember them halfheartedly helping my block for a break that we both had a man in.
For 2009 I would expect that they will get some results, but I wouldn't count on them controlling races.
MRC has recently developed a great women's squad. They have been offering coaching and support. MRC women housed the B field in cyclocross in 2008, so much so that taunts of "sandbagger" and "upgrade" became ubiquitous (3+ minute leads on second place). I am not sure if MRC supports a women's road team, but if they do, it will be one to watch.
Pedro/+3 Network --
This is a cat 3 only team, chock full of strong, savvy riders. Everyone agrees that these will be the team to watch in the early season. Cort Cramer was belting out 360 watts in 20 minute indoor TT's in February, what is he going to be doing in May? But CCC is not the only threat, this team is stacked. They have sprinters, climbers, TT guys and hardmen. There is not a race that they can't contest.
No women's squad.
I have Diane Fortini's phone number on speed dial so that I can request forced upgrades when the time comes.
If you were having a cycling party and wanted to make sure it would be bumpin', you should probably invite us. We are an urban based cycling team with its roots in urban culture. Sponsored by PBR and Mad Alchemy Embrocations, we have the best party tent(s) at every cross race.
We race road too. Our cat 4 squad is cohesive and team focused. I am not betraying any secrets when I say that every individual works as a team for the team result. We don't want 5 guys in the top 20, we want one person on the podium and the rest of the results don't matter. Our forte has been criteriums, though we had wins in stage races and strong placings in road races too. For 2009, we have some hungry new riders who are committed to continuing the momentum from 2008.
The cat 3 squad has been beefed up by points-based upgrades. Many of our fours couldn't approach a cat 4 registration table without harrassment for sandbagging, even before we had the points to upgrade. We expect to contest every race, and no, I am not going to tell you any details. Just rest assured that we have some riders and some plans.
CB is a huge supporter of the New England Velodrome. Our track team is the best represented every week up in Londonderry. Our results on the track speak for themselves, podium sweeps were common.
We have a strong women's squad for this road/track season, both 3 and cat 2's. While this is the first season for the women's road squad, they are enthusiastic and organized already.
Memebership is invite only. We recruit based on personality. Our biggest question in considering a candidate is : "Do I want to spend the weekend with this person?" Second question is: "Will this person be willing to work as part of a team?" If you want to join CB, start hanging around and make it known that you want to join. You can almost always find some CB racers at Zuzu on Sunday nights.
International Bicycle Centers-- This team has strong riders and seems to ebb and surge on a multi year cycle. Last season, they were a factor in races, but they were not executing team tactics. For all I know, they are building a monster of a team for 2009.
They had an elite women's team in 2007 and field a few women every season.
IBC provides support for the team.
There are many other smaller teams around Boston. If I left a big one out (yours), please email me and I'll edit the post to include it.