I would probably participate in a race, too, if given the chance, but I don't really have the time to train for one. Not only that, but I live in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where there aren't really any hills; except for a few by the riverbank, all of which have big red signs at the bottom of them. The highway isn't too hard to get to though, I suppose, and that's some nice uninterrupted riding.
A little less than a year ago (summer solstice 2009) I started a tour from here to the Vancouver, the whole trip (one way) being about 2000km by our route. I went with my brother and two friends, and now I'm hooked. Going back to school next fall, so it could be hard to find another time for a tour in the near future, but maybe I'll scrounge up enough bucks some summer. Did the whole trip on a Kona Fire Mountain (a 30-some pounder) with a couple minor modifications. But that's nothing; my two buddies built their own panniers and put all their weight on the back wheel! Definitely have plenty of good stories from the trip.
I've been trying to learn to make my own repairs lately, but I'm not exactly mechanically-inclined, and the learning has been slow going. I'm hoping that joining this forum will get me a bit closer to self-sufficiency.
Glad to be on board!