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  1. #1
    Struggling at the Back Ghostman's Avatar
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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.
    "Hot and overcast. I take my gear out of the car and put my bike together. Tourists and locals are watching from the sidewalk cafes. Non-racers. The emptiness of those lives shocks me."

    --Tim Krabbe, "The Rider"

  2. #2
    nom nom nom Frunkin's Avatar
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    5.

  3. #3
    Struggling at the Back Ghostman's Avatar
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    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.
    "Hot and overcast. I take my gear out of the car and put my bike together. Tourists and locals are watching from the sidewalk cafes. Non-racers. The emptiness of those lives shocks me."

    --Tim Krabbe, "The Rider"

  4. #4
    Dirt-riding heretic DrPete's Avatar
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    Looks like you started two threads--my long answer is in the other one.

    The whole crashing/injury thing is a little overblown. I raced 15 cat 5 races last season and saw 3-4 crashes, nobody seriously hurt, and no bike irrevocably destroyed.
    "Unless he was racing there was no way he could match my speed."

  5. #5
    semifreddo amartuerer 'nother's Avatar
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    I'm not particularly competitive but I decided to take up racing this year for the opportunity to work with a team that several of my buddies are on. Of course I'd love to be the guy crossing the line first but I know that's not always going to happen but I'm cool with the idea of working together to get someone else there. With any luck, in a season or two someone else will be doing the same for me.

    But, even if not, it's still fun. And *that* is the value proposition. It's not about winning inner tubes or a $5 gift certificate to the local bike shop or even getting to the podium at all (though of course that would be nice!). For me, it's about camaraderie and adrenaline.
    Can you pass the test?
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  6. #6
    Banned. El Diablo Rojo's Avatar
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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.

    But the number one reason? I really really really like it.

  7. #7
    cmh
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    1. Keeps me motivated to stay in shape.
    2. Feeds the competitive monkey on my back so I don't make a fool of myself racing people on multi-use paths that don't know they are in a race.
    3. Getting beat regularly keeps the ego in check.
    4. Most importantly it makes me feel like I am 17 years old again which is when I first raced a bicycle. (I took 21 years off of road racing and just took it up again last year.)

  8. #8
    nom nom nom Frunkin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmh
    2. Feeds the competitive monkey on my back so I don't make a fool of myself racing people on multi-use paths that don't know they are in a race.
    lol

  9. #9
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    gets me off the couch. No way I would train as hard without the motivation fo getting ready for races.

  10. #10
    Style-challenged platypus's Avatar
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    what's better than going out riding your bike hard with a bunch of other, like-minded, folks? Racing rocks!

  11. #11
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Why not race?
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  12. #12
    Royal Grand Exalted Pooba smoke's Avatar
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    1. it's fun
    2. it removes the aforementioned monkey from my dorsal area
    3. the sweat and pain of hard workouts brings a feeling of 'aliveness' that i find to be kind of important when one is on the wrong side of 50; it's a feeling that, while not being the best you ever were, you're not giving up. you're still good enough to push yourself. hard.
    4. damn monkey!
    5. even if i don't win, finishing high and beating "kids" 15 years younger than me slows the aging process. it's true. i looked it up. and if i only have one chance in a million of beating the best guy in the state.....well, today just might be my lucky day

    -smoke
    'In the end they will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us, "Make us your slaves, but feed us." '

    -Fyodor Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor

  13. #13
    Senior Member
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    because it's the toughest sport there is.

  14. #14
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Once you have some real fitness and pack skills you can be competitive cycling on 10-15 hrs/week of "training" (I just like to ride, so it's not really training). The more important thing is pack skills-- you can make up for a lot of lack of fitness with skill, possibly more than the other way around. And winning, or at least doing well, regularly depends a *lot* on your ability to know where to be when and how to get there. There's a lot more to it than pedaling hard and getting lucky at the line.

    But *why* race?

    Because it's fun. I'm sort of the opposite of patentcad-- I do most of my road "training" by myself or in small groups without a lot of the road racer ego thing. I race pretty regularly though.

    (and I'm a middle aged guy who raced a bit in his late 20's then just came back to it in his late 30's and am racing better, and at a much higher level, than I did then)
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  15. #15
    Aut Vincere Aut Mori Snuffleupagus's Avatar
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    Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women.

    That, and I like riding my bike. A lot. Racing gives my love of riding focus.

  16. #16
    Slow'n'Aero DrWJODonnell's Avatar
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    I look GREAT in spandex.

  17. #17
    Senior Member curiouskid55's Avatar
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    Its easier to have someone else kick your ass than to do it yourself.

  18. #18
    starting pistol means war YMCA's Avatar
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    Because century riding is false competiton.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Duke of Kent's Avatar
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    Because I'm a sadist?

    Well that was only true in the 4s...we'll see about this year. Haha.
    "If a non personal post makes you feel as if you've been attacked, maybe the problem IS you."

  20. #20
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ed073
    because it's the toughest sport there is.
    You need to try adventure racing... 72 hours of biking, climbing, swimming, running, kayaking, horse back riding, hiking, on no sleep.

  21. #21
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by slvoid
    You need to try adventure racing... 72 hours of biking, climbing, swimming, running, kayaking, horse back riding, hiking, on no sleep.

    You need to race the Marmolada to understand true suffering.

  22. #22
    You know you want to. Eatadonut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slvoid
    You need to try adventure racing... 72 hours of biking, climbing, swimming, running, kayaking, horse back riding, hiking, on no sleep.
    Please. Horseback riding? It's like driving a furry car.
    Weather today: Hot. Humid. Potholes.

  23. #23
    Used to be a climber.. GuitarWizard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slvoid
    You need to try adventure racing... 72 hours of biking, climbing, swimming, running, kayaking, horse back riding, hiking, on no sleep.
    Ehh.....climbing a remote 20,000+ foot mountain is no walk in the park either, particularly when the climb lasts a minimum of 3-4 weeks
    1999 Trek 2500 - hit by a car on it in May, 2011 and currently bikeless

  24. #24
    You know you want to. Eatadonut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarWizard
    Ehh.....climbing a remote 20,000+ foot mountain is no walk in the park either, particularly when the climb lasts a minimum of 3-4 weeks
    ? What form of climbing is this that takes 3-4 weeks? Even on foot that shouldn't take more than a few days. And I'm not a climber (the kind with pitons), but I haven't heard of climbers who spend weeks going up a face.
    Weather today: Hot. Humid. Potholes.

  25. #25
    Banned. El Diablo Rojo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eatadonut
    ? What form of climbing is this that takes 3-4 weeks? Even on foot that shouldn't take more than a few days. And I'm not a climber (the kind with pitons), but I haven't heard of climbers who spend weeks going up a face.
    I think he's referring to the time it takes to acclimate to the altitude.

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