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To Race or Not To Race?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

To Race or Not To Race?

Old 12-18-10, 12:51 PM
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To Race or Not To Race?

I wanted to post here because I figured there is crossover traffic from the race forum, and from people who USED to race, and from people who have never raced and never wanted to.

Basically, I just want opinions. If you race, why? If you don't, why? If you used to and stopped, why?
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Old 12-18-10, 12:52 PM
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Testosterone.
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Old 12-18-10, 12:56 PM
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It's not a race.
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Old 12-18-10, 12:59 PM
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I have never raced and could give a rip about it. I have enough competition in my life. My thing is commuting and leisure.
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Old 12-18-10, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
Awesome.
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Old 12-18-10, 01:48 PM
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I ride my bike because I love the feeling. I race because its fun to push myself. And I agree with #1, also.
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Old 12-18-10, 02:04 PM
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Because there's something about bike racing that I absolutely love. Some years, esp 2000-2003, I really limited my riding. My mom was basically dying and I chose to spend a lot of time with her rather than on the bike or whatever. I went to races even though I lasted, in a few races, less than 2 minutes. I had some hope though, at least when I got in my car to go to the race.

I write pretty regularly on thoughts I have on this topic because, frankly, I don't know how to answer the question in a noun form ("I like the bikes" etc). I kind of fumble around with different answers.

hope
https://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...ke-racing.html

not necessarily competition
https://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...ct-or-not.html
starts with a nice comment from a long time friendly rival, continuation of above
https://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...ct-part-2.html

overcoming
https://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...pointment.html

being humble
https://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...s-on-road.html

camaraderie
https://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...e-wedding.html
(I have never been in the military but I can imagine that in a small, cohesive unit that has fought together that you get a sense of camaraderie that you simply cannot get in any other way. Ditto bike racing.)

adventure, redefining limits
https://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...kermesses.html
When I "rode" I thought I was pretty good. Then I learned just what is possible. And that "possible" was well below what the pros did. I learned I was not good.

how I got started
https://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...ic-and-me.html

earlier version of why I race (forgot I wrote this)
https://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...do-i-race.html

psychology
https://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...meone-out.html

cdr
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Old 12-18-10, 02:17 PM
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racing is better motivation to ride more and become more physically fit.
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Old 12-18-10, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Grumpy McTrumpy
racing is better motivation to ride more and become more physically fit.
1+

Unless there is some overarching goal; I'm too lazy to just ride aimlessly. The goal doesn't necessarily have to be racing (I used to do most of my miles commuting, and I have given some thought to touring), but it can't be quite so mundane as just riding around loops on the weekend. It's fun, yea, but it's not anything like doing actual work towards a goal.

Basically, sometimes riding can get really hard and not fun. I need a goal to carry me through those tough times. Cycling is something you can't merely dabble in; it requires fitness to participate. If you quit during a hard time, you might never be able to get back into it.
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Old 12-18-10, 02:41 PM
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This is a question I have pondered a lot about recently.

I used to race every week, in fact, I had the opportunity to race 3-4 days if I wanted, I chose 2 days. I loved the fitness you can obtain, the frightening levels of pain you could endure, the rivalry, but the novelty wears off..... same old courses, same old competitors, same old results, same old biased officials.....
It is said that there is a HUGE difference between RACE fitness and riding fitness, believe me, the difference is worlds apart.
Now that I'm getting older I've chosen to race less and train smarter.
I've found another way of keeping "race fit" and "sharp"......My Sat morning HAMMERFEST ride is actually longer and harder than the Masters racing I do, so the days I decide to race, I'm ready.

Last edited by stevegor; 12-18-10 at 02:45 PM. Reason: correction
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Old 12-18-10, 02:45 PM
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For me, it's pure fun. Plus what grumpy said.
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Old 12-18-10, 03:45 PM
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I race because it adds excitement and it drives me to constantly push myself. Its not that I don't enjoy just getting out and riding because I do. Racing is kinda like the spice on the food (ie riding). The only negative is that it takes lot of time. Time to travel, time to train, and of course the race days them self. That's where I'm at now I'm torn between weather I have the time to race. Mainly because if I am I'm going to give it my all and it definitely consumes a lot of my time. I couldn't race much early this season because of work. I ended up leaving that job because it literally took all my time leaving me zero to spend ridding and very little with my family. After I left I had lots of time to ride and train but the season was about over. I had planed to continue to train hard this winter and be more competitive and race more this up coming season but I took another job that was not suppose to take all my time but has recently. I barely get to ride once a week now if I'm lucky. I'm hoping this will change after Xmas but we will see. My heart is in it though its just making the time that's hard. I envy the guys that don't have this problem. So for now I'm building up my bike how I want it for next year with hopes I'll be able to free up some time to ride more soon.
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Old 12-18-10, 03:54 PM
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I race because I like having a goal and trying to obtain it... same reason why I train

I'm also having lots of fun doing it and generally speaking he racing scene hear is filled with great people and I've made some great friends from it

I also really like seeing the up and coming juniors progressing and do well at a national and international level
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Old 12-18-10, 04:22 PM
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To me, the presumption that riders ought to be racing just never quite made sense. I drive a car every day, and just about everyone I know does, too. I drive to get places, or just for fun, but have never had any desire to start racing NASCAR. I've done lots of walking and hiking in my life, but have zero desire to get into Olympic walking races. I eat, but have zero desire to enter an eating contest. So to me, it just makes sense that most road riders wouldn't care about racing, and I suspect that's the way it actually is.

I might feel a little bit differently about it if I was faster. If I was less concerned with the integrity of my bones, I might feel a little differently about it.

That being said, though, I did enter the Texas Time Trials this last summer. This is a distance event, not like a 40k time trial or something, and the atmosphere is pretty laid back. There's some first class people riding, but there's people like me out there for fun, too, so I could fit in okay. I came in 11th out of 16 in the 12 hour race, about what I expected.
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Old 12-18-10, 04:25 PM
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point out exactly where the evidence of said presumption exists.
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Old 12-18-10, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Grumpy McTrumpy
point out exactly where the evidence of said presumption exists.
Seriously? On this forum? Really?

Ever seen a thread here about how you're too fat for this sport, or how your bike weighs too much, or how your wheels weigh too much, or how your helmet weighs too much, or power / kg, or average speed, or leg shaving, or powertaps?

Every single one of those topics carries a presumption that you're racing, or at least preoccupied with speed and / or the racing culture.

None of this is ever discussed on mtbr, or other forums here that also are about road bikes, like touring or commuting. Unless you're trolling, it's pretty hard to argue that this forum isn't preoccupied with racing.
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Old 12-18-10, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Lanterne Rogue
Seriously? On this forum? Really?

Ever seen a thread here about how you're too fat for this sport, or how your bike weighs too much, or how your wheels weigh too much, or how your helmet weighs too much, or power / kg, or average speed, or leg shaving, or powertaps?

Every single one of those topics carries a presumption that you're racing, or at least preoccupied with speed and / or the racing culture.

None of this is ever discussed on mtbr, or other forums here that also are about road bikes, like touring or commuting. Unless you're trolling, it's pretty hard to argue that this forum isn't preoccupied with racing.
Preoccupation with speed is not a presumption that riders ought to be racing. Going fast is fun. Just because you want it to be easier to go fast, or get better at going fast, doesn't mean you want to compete against other people. For some of us, setting personal bests is our own challenge and motivation to continue exercising.
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Old 12-18-10, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Lanterne Rogue
Seriously? On this forum? Really?

Ever seen a thread here about how you're too fat for this sport, or how your bike weighs too much, or how your wheels weigh too much, or how your helmet weighs too much, or power / kg, or average speed, or leg shaving, or powertaps?

Every single one of those topics carries a presumption that you're racing, or at least preoccupied with speed and / or the racing culture.

None of this is ever discussed on mtbr, or other forums here that also are about road bikes, like touring or commuting. Unless you're trolling, it's pretty hard to argue that this forum isn't preoccupied with racing.
that's not very exact.
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Old 12-18-10, 05:08 PM
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I lived beside and rode with a former British pro who convinced and trained me to race. I loved the competion, discovering my own limits and the comaraderie. I stopped when life (family and career) required my attention. Again, I knew my limits and knew I was not going pro. Now I enjoy a lot of solo rides and group rides with friends that like to push. It isn't racing but it quenches the competitive desire. Now that the kids are away at college, I may well race again, haven't committed yet.

There is no right or wrong. You have the desire and time to commit or you don't.
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Old 12-18-10, 05:26 PM
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A quick perusal of page one indicated to me that, by far, the majority of threads concern equipment questions.

Second would be comedy threads.

I found four threads on page one that ambiguously dealt with increasing speed, or training for such (including this one)

53 threads total.

and on the other issue, allow me to quote myself a'la pcad


Originally Posted by Grumpy McTrumpy
Occam's Razor

1. everyone is serious when they say "you are too fat for this sport" because they know exactly what your body fat percentage is and have plugged it into a formula which lets them know if you meet the criteria for entry into this sport. This is accomplished through a new phenomenon known as "third party cross-internet psychic body image awareness projection". It's a well-known and highly respected and often used talent that more and more of us have. Therefore you must be too fat for this sport because the entry criteria are exceptionally stringent, especially for the amateur non-racing aspect of the sport, which we all know is even stricter than the professional arena.

2. they are joking. you have no sense of humor.

(you choose)
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Old 12-18-10, 05:38 PM
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Interesting question that only you can answer. For me I race-against myself every day. I have never had an interest in beating others or in winning, truth be told I find it more uncomfortable to win. Those that know me well however state I am hyper competitive. Maybe I just need more time on a psychiatrists couch. Better still more time on a bike. Though I do not race I love to follow the sport and admire those that commit to racing.
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Old 12-18-10, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Grumpy McTrumpy
point out exactly where the evidence of said presumption exists.
Oh, if you want specific examples, you can google it up yourself, I suppose. A general example is the concept of "junk miles", which assumes that just generally riding around isn't worthwhile because it isn't preparing you for anything other than just riding around, and is therefore pointless.
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Old 12-18-10, 05:53 PM
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Whatever.

The vast majority of equipment threads here are about racing bikes and the equipment for them.

The only reason for cyclists to be obsessed with weight (either yours or your bike's) is if you're racing.

As for the claim that "setting personal bests for speed" is not racing, well, that's just a new personal best for silliness here. And that's saying something.
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Old 12-18-10, 05:56 PM
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I don't race because 1) I suck, and 2) I can't afford to piss off my employer with an injury.

That's it, really. I don't race my car for the same reasons. That doesn't mean that it isn't fun to mess with race-quality stuff.
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Old 12-18-10, 06:00 PM
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I raced because my "friends" encouraged me to do it and because it became an excuse to consume "mass quantities" (i.e., lots of Mexican food and beer) afterward.

Oh yeah . . . back in the late 1970s it was thoroughly kewl to be a bicycle racer in my neck of the woods.

Last edited by ciocc_cat; 12-18-10 at 06:10 PM.
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