12 Must-Ride Bike Races

Exciting cycling competitions for riders of every level

You spent your entire winter pedaling up a storm indoors. Maybe you were lucky enough to break out your ride a few select times, perhaps on one of those rare, exceptionally warm almost-spring days. But now spring is really here, summer is right around the corner, and to you this means just one thing: it's time to bike.

Not just for fun though, you're ready to race. You're ready to push up impossibly steep hills, sail down sharp descents, and become one with your cadence as you cycle steadily and fearlessly over miles of gentle flat roads that extend far into the distance.

According to USA Cycling, more than 3,000 bike events— including road, track, mountain bike, cyclo-cross, and BMX style races— are sanctioned through the organization each year. So now that you're ready to kick your biking into high gear, the only thing left to do is choose which race(s) you want to compete in.

With events catering to everyone from elite pros to first-time racers you'll have no trouble finding a competition that matches your style and skill level. Heck, there are even "races" that aren't really races at all, more like recreational rides held simply to celebrate the pure enjoyment of the sport.

Considering suggestions from lifelong cyclists, race organizers and those who simply just enjoy a good ride, we've rounded up this list of exciting and scenic races that we're sure any bike enthusiast would rate as top-notch.

We know you're ready to race, so make your pick, sign yourself up and get your ride on.