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What's your motivation for racing? Or alternatively, why did you quit racing?

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What's your motivation for racing? Or alternatively, why did you quit racing?

Old 04-07-17, 03:57 PM
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What's your motivation for racing? Or alternatively, why did you quit racing?

I've been quizzing friends about why they race. Including guys who are pack-fodder at best. Things I have heard include:
1. "I've never felt more alive than when racing."
2. "I like the excitement."
3. "I never rode harder than when racing."


Other things that I think motivate people:
1. Thrill/danger
2. Recognition from others (including podiums), earning respect from peers
3. Rewarding feeling as a result of teamwork
4. Just liking the racing scene and socializing with other racers
5. The challenge of playing your cards (out-smarting the competition)
6. Measuring your fitness against others
7. Incentive to improve (moving up in categories)


I'm kind of on the fence in terms of wondering whether I will continue racing in the long-term. I'm trying to figure out what about racing will motivate me to want to do it. I kind of wish I hadn't podiumed on my first race. I know that probably sounds weird.
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Old 04-07-17, 03:59 PM
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Jewish guilt and existential dread.
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Old 04-07-17, 04:12 PM
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It's just like hitting yourself on the head with a hammer: It feels so good when you stop.
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Old 04-07-17, 05:33 PM
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It is fun sometimes.
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Old 04-07-17, 06:54 PM
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I asked someone that used to fly F-22s why he races. Seems to down to earth, so to speak. "Nothing I've done compares to flying an F-22 except bike racing." I think that's nuts but that's what he said.

For me it's about doing the best I can with what I have. I may not be optimistic about, say, winning when I line up, but I'll have my own goals/thoughts in mind based on where I am fitness-wise. It may be a triumph simply to sit up as the sprint starts. Or chase down one break for a teammate. Or, like most of my road races, trying to work for a teammate before the hills shear me off the back.

It's even better when I'm working with a few riders that know what they're doing. To me it's more like playing in a band, where you coordinate with each other. It's not a competition to try and beat the other bands per se, it's more just the melding of efforts to get a better finish than would be possible individually.

There's some combination of the physical effort along with the tactical thing. I'm always thinking about things, always debating if I should do this or that.

And the sprint?

Aki Sato on sprinting ? aboc Cycle Coaching

Which they lifted from cyclingnews at some point. I found it.
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Old 04-07-17, 09:31 PM
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@carpediemracing. Jeez that article got me going. Glad it's the night before a race.

To answer the original question.. I enjoy the competitive outlet. I was a runner in highschool but I was mediocre so every race was a time trial. Then I tried out Triathlon, but still, everything felt like I was competing against myself. Finally when I came to college I tried bike racing. The fact is that the whole thing is meant to be man vs man where it doesn't matter how strong you were or will be, but only how strong you are now. That's why I keep bike racing. That thrill when you come to the end of a race knowing if you made a mistake there is a one or two things you can target that cost you the race. No excuses. You go back to training to fix those mistakes and you try again.
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Old 04-07-17, 11:33 PM
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When you're racing, there's nothing else on your mind except the race.

Plus the thrills.

And chance of winning. The winning part is a lot about recognition from your peers, and/or feeling like you're better than them for a week.
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Old 04-08-17, 12:42 AM
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I don't like team sports... Growing up, my main sport was volleyball (strictly a team sport).
I got so fed up that I "we" would lose because of others on the team screwing up.

I like individual sports like golf and tennis, etc. but those are just kind of ho-hum, not enough excitement.

I am a very competitive person.
Cycling is perfect for me: (sort of) I can get the same training benefit on my own w/ or w/o others participation.
I like the mental aspect of trying to outsmart others that are in better physical shape than me and or have the support of a team to play the strategy card.
My biggest hurdle is I don't and never will have the cyclist physique to be competitive any higher then a Cat4. The best race weight I have ever been was 190#.
I have the perfect track body frame (Huge powerful legs and torso). I just can't compete when the road turns uphill and the skinny 110# midgets shoot off like a rocket.

My saving grace is those flat, fast, technical crits any day.
Winning might be fun (I never have) But it's not a priority to me... I would rather be the person that goes out and pushes the pace so hard for the entire race or
jumping of the front over and over making them chase that gets people dropped and listening to the rest complain about how hard it was.
It doesn't come across very nice, but.... I get my enjoyment forcing the people with the "I'm better than you attitude!!" to get gaped and dropped early on or just seeing them in misery hoping for the race to be over, as I roll in mid pack smiling
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Old 04-08-17, 06:09 AM
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I race for the last two minutes of a race. The rest of it can be fun, torturous, exasperating, exciting, or boring as hell, depending on the race.

The first time I quit was when I realized that I do not have even the slightest bit of talent necessary to compete at the highest level.

The next time I quit (maybe in another year or two) will probably be because I have better things to do than train my ass off to still get beat by uber-talented people with no life. Then I may return a few years later on when I can beat up on all the masters dudes and feel fast again.
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Old 04-08-17, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by mattm
When you're racing, there's nothing else on your mind except the race.
This is absolutely what it's about for me. There's nothing else you do in life that requires 100% mind and body focus the entire time. And when you occasionally slip into the zone where it feels like you can see everything around you with total clarity and it almost feels like you can tell what's about to happen, well, that's something I just don't get in any other part of my life.
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Old 04-08-17, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by globecanvas
This is absolutely what it's about for me. There's nothing else you do in life that requires 100% mind and body focus the entire time. And when you occasionally slip into the zone where it feels like you can see everything around you with total clarity and it almost feels like you can tell what's about to happen, well, that's something I just don't get in any other part of my life.
Omg me too.

The only racing I've ever done are time trials for a variety of reasons.

They become very very pure and focused to me. I see them as a succession of moments strung together and the task is to execute this moment perfectly and set yourself up for success in the ensuing several moments, all without losing sight of the overal arc of your race and how you can realistically hope to play that out based on your prep and everything you've learned about yourself coming up to race day. There is nothing else but that little bright spot of time that you are in right then. My husband took this cool pic of me on a training ride on the state TT course out in the desert. It's me silhouetted against the horizon with an endless-seeming succession of telephone poles strung off into the distance. Haha that captured it perfectly- sort of simplicity, sort of linear, sort of infinite.

Contrast that with my everyday life when I'm typically triple tasking all day long.

And also: I get a bit of a brain buzz from hypoxic efforts, I will admit. I am a little addicted to that sensation. I also like the people I race with, so that's another bonus.
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Old 04-08-17, 10:07 PM
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Here it is, the pic. Reminds me of a line from the TS Eliot poem, Four Quartets.

"A condition of complete simplicity, costing not less than everything."

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Old 04-09-17, 04:14 PM
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I quit racing a few years ago at racing age of 60. It was after going down in a training ride that was just one of those things. I flatted and slowed down just as a teammate was accelerating and looking backwards to see if there was any traffic from behind. It was a very hard crash.

At the time you would say that my teammate took the worst of it as he broke his collarbone and I just hit the deck hard. But my teammate was racing again in 6 weeks and I had horrible shoulder pain on every ride I took for 9 months.

That's when I hung it up. I rode for the next 2 years exclusively in the small chain ring: taking in the sights and smelling the flowers.

I miss racing. It is fun to be able to just get into the moment and not think about anything else. I used to compete in a couple of other sports (basketball and baseball when I was younger) and the only other one that compared was fencing.

I still dream about racing every once in a while. I had a dream about racing just last week.
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Old 04-09-17, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Heathpack
Here it is, the pic. Reminds me of a line from the TS Eliot poem, Four Quartets.

"A condition of complete simplicity, costing not less than everything."

So did you cherry-pick this line of T. S. Eliot's to suit your ego-driven exposition, or do you have an authentic love of poetry?

If it is the former, then I have no use for you; if the latter, then I believe we can be friends. So much so, in fact, that I will save a portion of the surfeit of snow here in the Northern clime just for you--so that you can water that oversized, southern California lawn of yours.

As for myself, formerly active CAT3. I don't race any longer and I don't have any plans to do so again in the future (even when I become a codger--I just think its unseemly). My life has, since I was very young, been a continuous, though happy, struggle between music and cycling. To excel in either avocation demands that you put in the proverbial ten-thousand hours of effort in order to reap a modicum of success. To a not inconsiderable extent, I supported myself through my college years by being a rehearsal pianist for budding opera divas and prima ballerinas in the San Francisco bay area. Music is my foremost passion; but cycling a very close second.
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Old 04-09-17, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Scarbo
...then I believe we can be friends.
Really??!! What a treat that would be! Cause I currently don't have any friends who are ******s.

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Old 04-09-17, 08:53 PM
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Old 04-09-17, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by globecanvas
This is absolutely what it's about for me. There's nothing else you do in life that requires 100% mind and body focus the entire time. And when you occasionally slip into the zone where it feels like you can see everything around you with total clarity and it almost feels like you can tell what's about to happen, well, that's something I just don't get in any other part of my life.
+1

life these days is a constant stream of distractions. smart phone is buzzing with a text or other notification, an email pops up, something new posted on twitter; we live in this world where so much is competing for our attention that it's truly a pleasure to get lost in one thing -- anything.

that exists for me with bike racing (although i definitely have moments of wishing that i was anywhere else!) or with hard training.

it also existed with rock climbing, esp trad climbing. 20' above your last piece, standing on sketchy holds -- you are LASER-focused on setting that new piece of gear.

there are numerous ways to get lost in those moments, but fewer of them involve everyday life.

hell, one used to be able to get lost in writing an email -- now there are 10 distractions before i complete a few paragraphs.
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Old 04-09-17, 10:52 PM
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^^^
I say all of the above just as I am contemplating not racing for the first half of the season.



head-scratcher.
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Old 04-10-17, 05:18 AM
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One thing that's happened in the last 2 years is that racing has taken a huge backseat to the rest of my life. In 2016 I looked after my ailing dad. We'd go for walks in warm winter weather, 60 deg and sunny in Feb or whatever, and I'd tell him how on a different year I'd be out riding my bike but it didn't seem so important anymore. My dad hadn't spoken for many years so our walks were either quiet or me monologging (is that a word?). That year I didn't race until end of May and I only did Tues Night races. I didn't promote races, didn't help with promoting races (except our club cross race). First time in decades I didn't promote.

This year I started a new job where I typically work 8-8 on a weekday. No cellphones during work, although some discrete peeks are okay, no browsing at all on work computers, and usually virtually zero time to browse/whatever even if I wanted to. The days fly by quickly because it's so busy. The downside is that I'm exhausted when I get home so I rarely feel like riding.

The days I'm free I'd rather spend with Junior than, say, go for a ride. So not too much riding. I've missed a bunch of races already, will probably need to wait until late April to race, and I'll race only because the Missus and Junior are visiting relatives and I'll be either working or racing. I can't even go karting while they're gone, no time! The two days I can race are the only two I'm not working until close.

I realized that my priorities are first Junior (the Missus is in here but she's interwoven through every priority here as we do stuff together for each of these things), second contributing to the household finances (through work and benefits from work), and then bike stuff.

Karting is very close to bike racing. I'll give up riding to go karting but I won't give up a bike race to go karting. The Missus hasn't seen me kart yet so it's foreign to her.
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Old 04-10-17, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by tetonrider
^^^
I say all of the above just as I am contemplating not racing for the first half of the season.



head-scratcher.
I hear poetry is good for the soul. The more ego driven and commercially motivated the better. Often casually referred to as music.

Basically everyone I ride with or know through biking are racers. Most fairly successful. LA and unwished for residency in the flat dull midwest put rest to about 25 years of interest in association with USAC or any other amateur cycling organization. Actually, I did two unsanctioned mid-week mtb training races at the local ski area around year 12. So many LiveStrong bracelets, they had a plastic container with like 10K of them and expected to order more, I had to politely walk away and never talk to any of them again. Hung up the bike and watched all the trails I'd built succumb to this scene's innovative new directions! It went much much better with the road scene.

Originally Posted by Doge
But why, given your list, would you spend time in a racing forum?
At least the majority here are relevant and come with some pedigree or sense of themselves. Most fairly successful. Frankly there are about 9 things I fairly strongly could do without for every half a reason I can commit to for wanting to race. As I answered this initially, being good at suffering.

Last edited by miyata man; 04-10-17 at 06:49 AM.
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Old 04-10-17, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by miyata man
I hear poetry is good for the soul. The more ego driven and commercially motivated the better. Often casually referred to as music.
Of course, that presupposes the existence of a soul and not just a finely-honed commercial sense.
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Old 04-10-17, 08:13 AM
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I stopped racing because I road enough (fast work commuter) to know how good I was/wasn't and the risk in the sport.
Simply too hard and too dangerous for how good I was. It took me about 5 years to figure that out. I did do several tandem fondo things later in life (low 30s) and that made me rethink my talent, but by that time I was into career.

Racing to me is entirely different than cycling/riding. The focus is winning, and it involves technical, ethical, management, sales and all kinds of stuff very different than riding a bike alone. I like that part, maybe because I'm better at it than I was racing myself. I think I have 40 years of racing experience, while I only was on the start line some 30 or so times.
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Old 04-10-17, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval
I race for the last two minutes of a race. The rest of it can be fun, torturous, exasperating, exciting, or boring as hell, depending on the race.

The first time I quit was when I realized that I do not have even the slightest bit of talent necessary to compete at the highest level.

The next time I quit (maybe in another year or two) will probably be because I have better things to do than train my ass off to still get beat by uber-talented people with no life. Then I may return a few years later on when I can beat up on all the masters dudes and feel fast again.
Not so sure I would count on that. The Uber talented people you're racing against now, will be the same Uber talented people you'll be racing against then, you'll just both be older.
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Old 04-10-17, 08:51 AM
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I've pretty much hung up industrial park crits, and chasing upgrade points.

I realized Cat 3 was as far I as was going to go in bike racing, and the various downsides to racing, including risk of crashing, time spent driving to races, for me now, outweigh the benefits.

I'm still going to do some other things, gravel racing, endurance events, just to have a motivation to stay in shape (ok get back in shape.)
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Old 04-10-17, 09:04 AM
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The big driver for me is the competition. I hate training, it's just miserable, but it's a necessity to compete. Additionally, at this point in the game, I have a lot of $$ and time invested in the sport, so it'd seem wasteful to just walk away.


With that said, I could see a big crash/injury, a new found interest, or life changes pull me away.
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