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Old 01-31-07, 04:10 PM   #1
Ghostman
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Why race? Seriously. I'd like to hear your thoughts.

So I am a middle aged guy that has become obsessed with cycling. I want to try road racing and intend to do some Cat 5 races starting in a month or so. I bought a powertap, get advice online, train, etc etc.

But racing is an odd sport compared to so many others. For example, I play basketball once a week and compared to basketball, road racing is a strange value proposition:
1. You can be decent at basketball without training 10-12 hours (minimum per week).
2. You can be decent at basketball and half the time (on average) you will WIN! There are many racers out there who never win anything (I admire them by the way and expect to be one of them).
3. Only occasionally will someone get hurt in basketball or other team sports. In road racing, someone is likely to get hurt in alomst every race. Maybe multiple people. Maybe seriously hurt.
4. The time investment versus improvement curve is very harsh in riding compared to other sports.
5. Participants in other sports are (I hate to start this debate but its true) friendlier and less suspicious of newcomers (I know I know, see 3 above).

Anyway, I think I know the answers but it is a funny sport.

Last edited by Ghostman; 01-31-07 at 04:52 PM.
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Old 01-31-07, 04:11 PM   #2
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2.
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Old 01-31-07, 04:14 PM   #3
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C.

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Old 01-31-07, 04:14 PM   #4
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...go on....
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Old 01-31-07, 04:16 PM   #5
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1. There is something gritty about racing another guy. Someone will come out faster than the other.

2. It's a game of wits. Usually the smarter guy winds up ahead.

3. I haven't found any other way to push myself as hard as I do during a race.

4 It keeps my mind on what I eat, how long I sleep, and anything else that may affect my health.

5. It's fun as hell.
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Old 01-31-07, 04:18 PM   #6
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I race because:

-it makes me a better, stronger cyclist.
-It teaches you that the engine also needs to be properly tuned---eating healthy, resting, exercising, striving.
-being on a team encourages me to stay on top of my training,
-Competition is exciting, and a bike race is no exception.
-It's amazing what you learn about yourself and what you can accomplish through racing.
-Because it fuels my love for cycling, it keeps me on the bike when I'd otherwise stay off the bike (bad weather, cold, wind, feeling lazy, etc.)

No, there's not a lot of glory in it for most of us. There are some strong athletes who are regularly duking it out for the top 5, but for the rest of us it's about training with a goal, getting out there, and trying to do better than last time. It's great stuff.

I noticed you're in the DC area-- come out with our club/team on Sunday at 9 AM. We leave from Capitol Hill Bikes. Lots of racer brains to pick, and it's a good, laid-back bunch.
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Last edited by DrPete; 01-31-07 at 04:26 PM.
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Old 01-31-07, 04:22 PM   #7
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it's the only thing i've found that keeps me riding my bike regularly. if i don't have anything to train for, i'd probably only ride once in a while and not be in very good shape.

plus, i never did competitive sports in high school or college. i guess i'm making up for lost time in a way.
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Old 01-31-07, 04:34 PM   #8
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Once you try one race, the question "why race?" ceases to exist
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Old 01-31-07, 04:41 PM   #9
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Well, it's pretty simple...try it...if you like it, it will consume you and drive you...if you don't like it, now you really know. What's the problem?
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Old 01-31-07, 04:46 PM   #10
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The rides I love to do are comprised of regular racing guys, Cat 5 through 2. They're fast. I suck at racing. But on a good day I can have a decent showing on the local club rides vs. the local racers. So that's like a no entry fee race for this weenie. If I race, even if I never get a result, it really does make me considerably faster/stronger and the weekend rides/friendly competition becomes much more fun.

There is however one over-riding altruism in racing: every dog has his day. If you keep showing up, keep trying, ride near the front and pay attention, something good will happen, you'll feel good, you'll make the break, etc. It even happens to me. I've gotten 2nd, 4th, 5th over the years through a combination of good timing/smart moves/luck. And trust me, I friggin SUCK at this.

But ultimately I do enjoy it or I wouldn't do it. And if you don't, I wouldn't bother. It's about having FUN, despite the overwhelming take-it-way-too-seriously nonsense half the road racers seem to exhibit. The only difference between the beer softball league and USCF bike racing are the beer bellies. And of course the softball dudes get more babes. They don't shave their legs.
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Old 01-31-07, 04:50 PM   #11
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I suck at all stick and ball sports. I could play basketball every day of my life and I still couldn't jump more than 6" off the ground. When I played little league my batting ave was 0 for three consecutive seasons. I played pop warner football and was ok but not great...and far more likely to get hurt than cycling. I played tennis..sucked. I've only been really good at one sport and that's racing cars, unfortunately costs too much money. I'm getting better at cycling and can see myself being a competitive cat 3 by years end. Anyone can and does the stick and ball stuff, a lot of guys ride bikes but not many race, their something kind of special about it.

But the number one reason? I really really really like it.
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Old 01-31-07, 04:53 PM   #12
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Oy, I replied in the other thread. Can we get a mod to merge these?
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Old 01-31-07, 04:55 PM   #13
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My fault. I had a typing error and created multiple threads.

And the answers are really good so far....
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Old 01-31-07, 05:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghostman

But racing is an odd sport compared to so many others. For example, I play basketball once a week and compared to basketball, road racing is a strange value proposition:
1. You can be decent at basketball without training 10-12 hours (minimum per week).
2. You can be decent at basketball and half the time (on average) you will WIN! There are many racers out there who never win anything (I admire them by the way and expect to be one of them).
3. Only occasionally will someone get hurt in basketball or other team sports. In road racing, someone is likely to get hurt in alomst every race. Maybe multiple people. Maybe seriously hurt.
4. The time investment versus improvement curve is very harsh in riding compared to other sports.
5. Participants in other sports are (I hate to start this debate but its true) friendlier and less suspicious of newcomers (I know I know, see 3 above).



Do you play basketball 1 on 1 on 1 on 1 on 1 on 1 on 1, etc? Basketball is a TWO team sport. 50% win, 50% lose. In a race with 50 guys, the winning percentage goes way down. Even guys on a cycling team race against each other. Ever have a team mate block your shot in basketball?

As far as time investment goes, do you play basketball with guys who play 10 hours per week? I bet those guys are better than the weekend warrior types if they have a long term committment to the sport. Plus, is your once a week basketball game in a league where if you score XX points per game or get XX rebounds qualifies you to play in a better league?
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Old 01-31-07, 05:01 PM   #15
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-makes me want to ride more

-because the strongest/fastest guy dosen't always win

-basketball/football/baseball/etc. you dump yourself for only seconds before getting a rest or a timeout but in cycling it can be an all out effort for over a hour
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Old 01-31-07, 05:04 PM   #16
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Remember how fun it was when you were in high school and your basketball skills were always increasing? That's how it is with me and cycling.

39 years old and improving on the bike every day.
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Old 01-31-07, 05:10 PM   #17
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Why I race bikes:
1. Beats eating chips in front of the TV (aka keeps me focused on being fit)
2. I like competition against myself (time trials) and others (crits, road races)
3. It's fun
4. It's not a start and stop sport, continuous action.
5. It's hard, in a 203 beats per minute kind of way
6. Every now and then you get a little nugget that brings you back for next weeks race. You make the break, win the field sprint, don't get dropped, new best TT time, etc.
7. Gets me out of the house for hours at a time (see number 1)
8. It's fun.
9. Bikes are cool looking and I love riding it.
10. Never ending pasta bowl at Olive Garden rules the Sunday evening after a stage race.
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Old 01-31-07, 05:12 PM   #18
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Racing is more personal then other sports cause of pain you can inflict on others and yourself.
Ego plays impotant part, "I can take/inflict more pain then the other guy" is the idea here, kinda like boxing.

Last edited by marcelinyc; 01-31-07 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 01-31-07, 05:13 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cat4ever
Why I race bikes:
1. Beats eating chips in front of the TV (aka keeps me focused on being fit)
2. I like competition against myself (time trials) and others (crits, road races)
3. It's fun
4. It's not a start and stop sport, continuous action.
5. It's hard, in a 203 beats per minute kind of way
6. Every now and then you get a little nugget that brings you back for next weeks race. You make the break, win the field sprint, don't get dropped, new best TT time, etc.
7. Gets me out of the house for hours at a time (see number 1)
8. It's fun.
9. Bikes are cool looking and I love riding it.
10. Never ending pasta bowl at Olive Garden rules the Sunday evening after a stage race.
+1
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Old 01-31-07, 05:18 PM   #20
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im pretty much with el diablo, no co-ordination with basketball/baseball/football type things
i run cross country and an injury lead me from running to biking and i havent raced yet but im getting really excited
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Old 01-31-07, 05:23 PM   #21
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I race for the good days.

The bad days really suck, but the good days are sweet!!!

And training rides aren't the same.

Andy
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Old 01-31-07, 05:28 PM   #22
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I see your points on the ammount of time it takes to be competitive in this sport compared to others, but for most of us who take it seriously, we enjoy being on the bike whenever possible... be it 10, 15 or 20 hours a week. Going w/ a cliche... its a lifestyle, you can't be good if you don't practice all the disciplines of the sport, training, rest, diet etc...
Its also a great way to push yourself to limits that are hard to reach otherwise.
So I race because I love it, its what I do and its who I am.
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Old 01-31-07, 05:35 PM   #23
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If the race if fun, then the 10 hours is well worth your time. My thing about racing. I don't think it makes one love the bike. A clue is the fact 10 hours seems too much time to spend training.
If one just rides for fitness, and enjoys' ones saddle time; then it is about the bike. I fear racing just feeds the competitive spirit and does not cause one to love the act of cycling. If you were a true cyclist, 10 hours would not be enough to feed your addiction.
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Old 01-31-07, 05:36 PM   #24
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My experiance is more pooled from riding competitively.

Bike racing is pretty much nothing more dependent on yourself, if you put in the miles and you trained more than the other guy you will win, theres no team its just your wits, your legs, and your heart.

Theres nothing better than be the first to crest that 500m 16% grade and looking back into the eyes of your opponets and knowing that you are faster than them.

basically if you have a competitive personality its fun as hell.
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Old 01-31-07, 05:38 PM   #25
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I dont know though racing can be one of the most painful experiances of your life, that steep long hill where the top is the finish after 80 miles of hard riding hurts, and something screams in your mind to get off but you dont.

Bicycle racers are a little crazy.
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