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Old 12-14-08, 07:22 PM   #1
SunFlower
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Why Dont You Race ??

So today I did the Urban Cross cyclocross race in Palos Verdes Estates. As most people in the south bay know this area is very popular for cycling. Todays race had about 10-25 people entered into each catagory. However, I noticed about 500 cyclists riding around the area today who were NOT in the race. I just wonder, what are your reasons for NOT racing ?
From my experieces in jogging, the average race gets about 3,000 - 6,000 runners in a 5k or 10k. However, I have never seen more than 20-30 people in a cyclocross race in the south bay yet there are thousands of riders in the area all the time.
Most of the riders I see around the streets have full jerseys, expensive bikes and appear to be dedicated cyclists.
Why dont they race ? Why dont you race ? Just curious......
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Old 12-14-08, 07:35 PM   #2
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I don't race bikes for the same reasons I don't race cars, speedboats or airplanes.
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Old 12-14-08, 08:23 PM   #3
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Most people just aren't that competitive. Or good enough. Or care to put themselves at risk. Well more risk than JRA anyway.
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Old 12-14-08, 08:27 PM   #4
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I ride to relax, take my time, enjoy the outdoors.
Competing kind of takes that away, doesn't it.

Their faster than me? Good for them. But I bet I had just as much fun!
Maybe even more.
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Old 12-14-08, 08:43 PM   #5
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You're making a judgment based on very limited data. Those who race cyclocross are a small subset of those who race. The most popular type of racing in SoCal is road racing (criteriums). The bigger criteriums in SoCal attract 500+ racers.

My wife does running races and only the biggest races in SoCal attract thousands. You're lucky if the average 10K get 1,000 runners. There are a lot more people who run seriously than ride seriously. Also, running races generally don't require much in the way of "race skill" and running races have MUCH less risk involved than cycling races.

Basically, you're trying to compare apples to oranges.

BTW, I race because I like to race.
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Old 12-14-08, 08:59 PM   #6
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Like mentioned before it's cyclocross, not crits. Crits are pretty popular in Socal. Check out El Dorado Crit in Long Beach as well as Torrance Crit.

As for why I don't race, I'm just not in that kind of shape yet. I used to be in good running shape about 2 years ago in high school. Ran track and played soccer all 4 years, hit college took a break the first year took up cycling in the summer and now I'm trying to get into decent shape again. I want to race even if I'm not great at it, racing in general is like a high...it's fun.

As for why there are more runners vs. cyclist racing, running is cheaper. Much, much, much cheaper to compete.
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Old 12-14-08, 09:02 PM   #7
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I didn't race before because I didn't think I had the fitness to do it. In all honesty, I did. I've got a few races scheduled next year, and joining a team.

I've been running competitively for a few seasons now; while the Baker 2 Vegas run relay is my holy grail of events, I by far enjoy cycling more.
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Old 12-14-08, 09:17 PM   #8
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I do race, but I think it's perfectly reasonable for most people to not want to race. Mass start bike racing requires a very different skill set than riding in group recreational rides, and carries a lot higher risk than those rides. It also sucks up a huge amount of time-- you really can't just race once in a while, you have to race pretty regularly and focus a lot of your riding on being prepared for it. In running races most people are trying to get a better time than last time. In bike races (mass starts) the time is irrelevant-- just the order you cross the finish line matters.
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Old 12-15-08, 07:08 AM   #9
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I like to compete in activities that I know I'm very good at. Cycling is not one of them.....well, except for posong.
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Old 12-15-08, 08:13 AM   #10
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I like to compete in activities that I know I'm very good at. Cycling is not one of them.....well, except for posong.
If I followed that mantra I wouldn't compete at all.
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Old 12-15-08, 09:26 AM   #11
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I used to race, mostly road races in the 70's and 80's. Then I did some mountain bike races (and even one cyclo-cross!) in the late 80's/early 90's.

For me, it was just a whole lot of training focused on a relatively short-time event.

Now I ride double-centuries and try to finish in the best time possible (for me), knowing that there will be lots of riders who will be faster! A double gives me a full day of riding, i.e. more bang for my training and entry fee buck. So yes, it's somewhat competitive, but it's not a race.

Same thing with climbing events like Breathless Agony. It's not a "race" in the true sense, but everyone (pretty much), is going as fast as they can to either post a personal best time, or finish ahead of their buddies. So it's fun, competitve and it lasts a whole lot longer than the average Crit. or even local road race (yes, there are exceptions!).

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Old 12-15-08, 09:32 AM   #12
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I like to compete in activities that I know I'm very good at. Cycling is not one of them.....well, except for posong.
And spellong.
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Old 12-15-08, 09:48 AM   #13
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SunFlower, wasn't that your first race?
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Old 12-15-08, 10:11 AM   #14
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I do triathlons b/c to me, they are more fun. I know that I will never be competitive at a pro level, whether in cycling, running, swimming, or tri's, but I enjoy all three. Therefore, I do what I enjoy the most, that is a combination of all three. I might try a road race at some point, just to see (on my road bike, not my tri bike!), but I doubt I would do it on a regular basis, like I do for tris.

As to why more people overall don't bike race as compared to foot race, well, there is a general perception (fueled by TdF press coverage) that bike racing is for pros only, whereas foot races are viewed as something anyone can do, and the goal is just better fitness as opposed to winning. Witness the popularity of marathons as a life goal (and something similiar does apply to triathlons, I admit), while very few people have a life goal of competing in a century (or other long distance bike race/ride)
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Old 12-15-08, 10:34 AM   #15
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SunFlower, wasn't that your first race?

yes
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Old 12-15-08, 10:36 AM   #16
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I do triathlons b/c to me, they are more fun. I know that I will never be competitive at a pro level, whether in cycling, running, swimming, or tri's, but I enjoy all three. Therefore, I do what I enjoy the most, that is a combination of all three. I might try a road race at some point, just to see (on my road bike, not my tri bike!), but I doubt I would do it on a regular basis, like I do for tris.
One of the things that you'll probably find is that if you're less than superhuman your first few races will be very disappointing. It's not necessarily because you can't do it, but because there's a huge skill set that you won't get unless you do a lot of the big race-oriented training rides and a few races. Even the big race oriented rides don't give you the full flavor. It takes most people the better part of a full season (or more) to get comfortable and feel like they're racing. I got dropped shortly after the line in my first crit, and now I race at a pretty high level.

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Witness the popularity of marathons as a life goal (and something similiar does apply to triathlons, I admit), while very few people have a life goal of competing in a century (or other long distance bike race/ride)
Once they start getting into longer rec rides it seems that lots of people get interested in riding centuries-- and I think a century is way easier than a marathon. It's getting people to get up to doing 30+ miles at a stretch that's probably the hard part.
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Old 12-15-08, 10:40 AM   #17
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Once they start getting into longer rec rides it seems that lots of people get interested in riding centuries-- and I think a century is way easier than a marathon. It's getting people to get up to doing 30+ miles at a stretch that's probably the hard part.
True, but those are people who are already cycling. You don't find anyone who is not a cyclist who says "I'm going to ride a century", but you do find plenty of people who don't jog/run, who say "I'm going to run a marathon", and that gets them into running/jogging, whereas there is no draw into cycling (other than TdF, and that just reinforces the false view that only pros race)
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Old 12-15-08, 11:31 AM   #18
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I do triathlons b/c to me, they are more fun. I know that I will never be competitive at a pro level, whether in cycling, running, swimming, or tri's, but I enjoy all three. Therefore, I do what I enjoy the most, that is a combination of all three. I might try a road race at some point, just to see (on my road bike, not my tri bike!), but I doubt I would do it on a regular basis, like I do for tris.

As to why more people overall don't bike race as compared to foot race, well, there is a general perception (fueled by TdF press coverage) that bike racing is for pros only, whereas foot races are viewed as something anyone can do, and the goal is just better fitness as opposed to winning. Witness the popularity of marathons as a life goal (and something similiar does apply to triathlons, I admit), while very few people have a life goal of competing in a century (or other long distance bike race/ride)
While this is true to an extent, you can't just wake up in the morning and run a crit. You can do that with a 5k. Even the Cat 5's in our area are pretty fast compared to the average rider. A 5k race isn't going to be hampered by hundreds of people off the back, whereas a crit or road race will. There are fun rides which fill the gap, but the initial costs to do a century fun ride are about $1,000 as opposed to about $150 for a 5k.
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Old 12-15-08, 11:59 AM   #19
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Because I'm too fat...there, I said it.

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Old 12-15-08, 12:03 PM   #20
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Also, a lot of people are simply not competitive by nature.
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Old 12-15-08, 12:15 PM   #21
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yes
So why didn't you race before this past weekend?
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Old 12-15-08, 12:31 PM   #22
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So why didn't you race before this past weekend?

For a few reasons..... - I didnt know about any local races that I could enter. When the Tour of California came through Redondo Beach I knew so little about cycling racing that I thought I would go down that morning and enter the race. I thought it would be just like a normal running race where everyone can enter. In running races the fastest in the world run with the slowest.

I looked into mountain bike races and they were all at least a few hours drive away. Also, when I looked at distances for the races they were between 10-100 miles long. At that time I was riding about 10 miles a MONTH and I could barely ride up a hill. I would have entered though had they been closer to home.

For cyclocross I first saw them racing in about early October in PVE. That was the first I had ever seen or heard about that type of racing. I asked around and bought a cross bike. So.....I entered my first race yesterday.

I also plan on racing mountain bikes this summer and some crits in the local area.

I'll race no matter how fast or slow I am. Pride is a sin and fear of embarrasement will forever limit you in life.

When I see this chaps riding around on $5,000 bikes, doing 600 miles a month, wearing full jerseys, knowing EVEYTHING about cycling, bikes, pro's, training, and blah blah blah and they wont even enter a race its pathetic.

I believe its important to support your sport and the support the people who are trying to provide opportunities for racing and grow the sports popularity.

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Old 12-15-08, 12:34 PM   #23
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btw - I compete in just about every other sport I play. Tennis, surfing, running, basketball and boxing.
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Old 12-15-08, 12:41 PM   #24
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When I see this chaps riding around on $5,000 bikes, doing 600 miles a month, wearing full jerseys, knowing EVEYTHING about cycling, bikes, pro's, training, and blah blah blah and they wont even enter a race its pathetic.
Pathetic? Nah. Being serious about cycling as a hobby doesn't mean you have to race.

Personally, I get a little burnt out on spending money to ride my bike. I do some mountain bike races and some organized road events, but I try to limit them. Riding a bike does different things for different people. Bikes allow me to escape and explore, something I wouldn't feel if I was racing every weekend and consumed by training.
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Old 12-15-08, 12:54 PM   #25
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I use to race then started a family and didn't have time for the training. Although I don't run my impression is that you can train on your own to fit it in to your daily schedule. For mass start bike races you need to train in a group to develop the skills that are needed to not only be competitive but safe. This requires that you have a constant schedule that usually happens in the prime hours of the day or weekend.

Its already been mentioned but I'll more than likely miss a lot less work if I trip in a running race verses going down at 30mph in a crit!
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