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Racing is the only way to improve!

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Racing is the only way to improve!

Old 09-22-11, 06:02 AM
  #1  
JonathanGennick 
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Racing is the only way to improve!

Is it true? I don't believe it. While driving to do some trailwork on Monday, a friend looked me in the eye and told me that racing was the only way to improve one's riding.

I don't believe it.

It can't be true.

My friend's view of what it means to "improve" is too narrow.

I looked at my friend, told him about the park bike I had built last year, and how practicing at the skate park had gotten me to the point being able to hit small jumps. That's improvement, right? And without racing.

Why does it always have to be about racing?

Does it always have to be about racing?

Thoughts?
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Old 09-22-11, 07:40 AM
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Sounds like your friend is a little insecure about his own skill. If improvement only happens during competition, then what's the point of training?
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Old 09-22-11, 07:41 AM
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I think there's something to be said for pushing yourself beyond the limits of what you're comfortable with, but you don't have to be racing per se to do that.
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Old 09-22-11, 08:45 AM
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Not the only way - but a good way. I find most of my gains happen during the preparation for an event or race.
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Old 09-22-11, 09:52 AM
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agree with sscyco its all about the preperations for the race I think that helps you improve. Once I sign up for a race I like to go into it prepared otherwise I might have just coasted along. At the end of the day as long as your riding your improving.
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Old 09-22-11, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by sscyco View Post
Not the only way - but a good way. I find most of my gains happen during the preparation for an event or race.
I have to concur as well. I have experienced the most progression from preparing/practicing for races. There are some things that I just could not psych myself up to hit until I got the extra adrenaline shot from serious race pratice.
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Old 09-22-11, 11:45 AM
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I ride recreationally with racers. Trying to keep up requires mental preparation, and keeping up means I do stuff WAY out of my comfort zone. Riding solo is a walk in the park - I never p[ush myself that hard. Riding with those guys is a knuckle biter that leaves me spent and a better rider. I improve without racing by riding above my skill level. Amazing the stunts you can pull off without knowing you could. Best advice - get your head out of the way.
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Old 09-22-11, 01:13 PM
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I've never competed in MTBing before, but I always find that I push myself the hardest when I'm joy riding with a friend who's better than I am. When I raced BMX, I always held back during gate practice before the race because I didn't want to push too hard during practice & injure myself right before the real race. When I'm joy riding with a more skilled friend, I'm not worried about injuring myself nearly as much as I'm worried about keeping up, so I try a lot of things I might otherwise be too scared to do. This applies to everything I do in life that can be competitive--gym, bikes, motorcycles, skating, etc.
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Old 09-22-11, 02:32 PM
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Seems like I'm the opposite of most here. When I ride techy singletrack it's easy to push myself to the edge, but I'm holding back more these days since injuries seem to take twice as long to heal as they did when I was much younger, and the loss of physical conditioning as a result of the downtime just isn't worth it.

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Old 09-22-11, 03:58 PM
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I celebrate your opposite-ness!
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Old 09-22-11, 04:07 PM
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I haven't raced my bike, so I can't compare. I save racing for running. But even without racing, it's not like I haven't improved at all. Would I have improved more if I had been racing? No doubt, but that's probably because I'd be hardcore training and would never just be like "today I think I'm just going to ride in circles around a parking lot and see how long I can hold a wheelie" or something stupid like that.

The difference I find riding by myself versus riding with other people is that when I'm solo, I'm more likely to go back and session some feature, whereas when I'm with other people, we usually try to keep the ride moving along. I enjoy riding with people better than me, since they push me to ride faster, and I'll improve my speed, but at the same time, I really won't have a chance to work the techy stuff, since they don't want to wait around by some drop while I session it and watch while I go over the bars the first 5+ times (well, maybe they do, but I don't want them to see it).
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Old 09-22-11, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Zephyr11 View Post
. . . I really won't have a chance to work the techy stuff, since they don't want to wait around by some drop while I session it . . . .
You just need some better riding partners . I understand though - - it's not something you do on a normal trail ride, because the others get antsy and want to keep spinning the cranks. But it's half the fun of going to the local stunt/DH hill and riding with other people: with the right group, nobody thinks twice about pushing back up and hitting a section a half-dozen times until we all feel like we've got it down (or get tired of trying and say "another day for that"). It always seems like everyone feeds off each other's progression and ups everyone's game.
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Old 09-22-11, 06:40 PM
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riding improves your riding. racing is one type of riding. racing makes it easy to compare yourself to other riders. some folks feel it necessary to do that. others don't care.
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Old 09-22-11, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by cryptid01 View Post
riding improves your riding. racing is one type of riding. racing makes it easy to compare yourself to other riders. some folks feel it necessary to do that. others don't care.
+1
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