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.