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Thread: Have you fallen in/out of love with road racing?

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    Default Have you fallen in/out of love with road racing?

    Long story short: I can't decide whether I want to commit to another season of road/crit racing this summer. Granted, I've only had two seasons of racing under my belt, but here are my thoughts:

    1. It's a pain in the ass to get to race locations. We all drive an hour each way out of the city in the spring, spend two hours suffering in shit weather, and then drive back into town. I did one stage race and the travel is exhausting. If I'm going to spend an entire weekend away, I think I'd much rather do it as an adventure rather than as a race. It's easier with crits since those all happen within city limits though.
    2. I'm a mid-pack finisher, or on my good days, in the lead group in my current self-seeded category. I could probably move up and resign myself to being pack fodder with the faster guys for some additional challenge.
    3. To get any better, I'm probably going to have to spend more time training. I've averaged about 8 hours a week over the last two seasons and even then, I always felt like I was spending too much time training and not enough time riding for fun with my buddies who don't race road. One of my teammates also pointed out that I'd probably have to scale back on the frequency or scope of how often I go out just to take riding photos. I don't know whether that's something I'm willing to give up.
    4. I'm crash-averse. I know this is part of the game and I've been lucky not to have been involved in any major wrecks that have taken either my bike or my body out of commission *knock on wood* but I know it's only a matter of time. I see lots of silly people doing some really sketchy things just to sprint for 25th place and don't want to be near that at all.
    5. I have way more fun riding and racing 'cross and am thinking about focusing all of my efforts on that this year.

    Any of you go through this thought process/cycle? Have you left road racing and come back? Why or why not?
    My name is Hung | Instagram | Website/portfolio

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    Default Re: Have you fallen in/out of love with road racing?

    Slightly different kind of answer to your question, but I all but stopped racing CX when I moved to Chicago, precisely because of Point #1 on your list. My time is valuable, so the math of spending 5 hours to race for 45 mins, versus riding from my door for 4 hours and having another hour to do other things, is pretty biased against racing. For me.
    my name is Matt

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    Default Re: Have you fallen in/out of love with road racing?

    I stay in love with road racing by not doing it all the time. If I'm not feeling it, I don't put pressure on myself to go and when I race it's because I'm excited to do so. I'm lucky that I have a ton of local races to do all year, so I only end up traveling a few times.

    As for being crash-averse, you're not alone. My two worst crashes were at the hands of a snowbird driving a minivan and a dog on a stupid, evil retractable leash. The next, less damaging, crashes have been on open roads, riding with friends or in groups. Last comes the close calls and small crashes in races. Point is crashes can happen when riding bikes and in my experience racing isn't any more dangerous than other types of riding. I just keep telling myself that so I don't worry about crashing as much. It usually works.
     

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    Default Re: Have you fallen in/out of love with road racing?

    You obviously need to get into endurance MTB racing. Sure, you have to travel, but it's way fun, and you can ride your bike all day long.
    Dustin Gaddis
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    Why do people feel the need to list all of their bikes in their signature?

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    Default Re: Have you fallen in/out of love with road racing?

    I have had similar thoughts countless times.
    You have to weigh the pluses vs. minuses for yourself.
    My pluses;
    Racing is the best means of staying very fit-the best means of avoiding morphing down to what Mark Swartzendruber refers to as a "Lickspittle and Wobbldonk". The biggest fear of every once-decent roadie is devolving down to a "Lickspittle and Wobbledonk".
    Racing is thrilling. The pre-race jitters progress to real race adrenaline and then there is a huge sense of combined relief/satisfaction/contentment when the mission has been accomplished-a decent result and no loss of skin.
    My minuses;
    Pretty much everything you said plus;
    Insane moto-marshals who buzz within inches of my left bar and hand at 50 mph to chase down some alleged offender of the white line rule, which is sometimes me.
    High entrance fees and cost of gas/wear and tear on vehicle.
    Getting up at insane hours to make it to race in time to register and warm up, not to mention scout out course.
    Going to bed early on Friday or Saturday night to get up at insanely early hour/middle of night per above.
    Putting up with the Shouting Racer-every pack has one or two-shouting out orders to chase, shouting out alleged rule violations, shouting cause they suck.
    Dealing with oncoming cars, incompetent corner marshals, stray or loose dogs, farm tractors, and other hazards on non-closed courses-the norm in The Midwest.
    Racing for typical Cat 3 prizes of a pair of socks or a month's supply of stale Hammergel.
    Getting guttered-cross winds rule in The Midwest in Spring.
    The infernal squealing, chattering, clanging, warp-warp sounds of various carbon wheels in a race bunch, not to mention the smell of burning brake pads in the wet.
    Finding a decent clean place to take that last minute sh*t that the nervous pre-race jitters summon out of nowhere when no free portapotty or bathroom is near the start-line.
    Missing the start/line-up/rollout call and racing to the start in a complete panic that all you've gone through was a waste of time.
    Mixing up super-hot embrocation with the chamois butter and having no choice but to race with excruciating burning nuts.
    Dealing with dangerous feed zones and other racers' girlfriends ignorance of how to perform a hand-up.
    Finding yourself shelled and OTB with your fellow Lickspittles and Wobbledonks and worse yet, trying to forge alliances/working together among said Lickspittles and Wobbledonks-the most humiliating and humbling of human experience short of forced public nudity
    Having your post-race modesty towel fall and being fully exposed in front of some other racer's really hot girlfriend-with a severe case of shrinkage/complete pud internal retraction.
    Showing up at a race only to discover you forgot to pack your f*cking shoes.
    Putting up with pre-race car stereos cranking out really sh*tty music some a-hole thinks makes him look/sound cool.
    Messed up/unorganized/computer-failure stricken registration lines.
    Pinning on numbers-jabbing one self, going through both layers of jersey, loose or misaligned numbers, everything about pinning on numbers to jersey sucks.
    Watching ugly dudes walk around after race like they have a corncob up their arse.
    The obligatory post-race assemblage that loiter dangerously near the finish line impairing marshall/referee/organizer from getting finishing numbers and getting in the way, just to recount every sordid detail about their stupid race in blow-by-blow fashion, all the while sitting on their top tube pretending to be handsome and cool.
    Do I sound bitter? Jaded? Burnt-out? I LOVE road racing!
     

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    Default Re: Have you fallen in/out of love with road racing?

    Quote Originally Posted by FSonicSmith View Post
    Do I sound bitter? Jaded? Burnt-out? I LOVE road racing!
    Nailed. It.
     

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    Default Re: Have you fallen in/out of love with road racing?

    "Having your post-race modesty towel fall and being fully exposed in front of some other racer's really hot girlfriend-with a severe case of shrinkage/complete pud internal retraction."

    Cracking me up! Best laugh I've had all week

    Hmai and others have pretty much nailed it. For me I actually love road racing, more so than CX even. But it's the law of diminishing returns and there's just too much to invest for me (both on and off the bike) to race anymore.

    Nowadays, I'm all about what Darren and Co are doing. Go out and ride, (hard if you want) enjoy the ride, If I wanna stop and take a pic I do.
    I'm in love now with the low stress approach to Road Riding. I'm enjoying taking in all the scenery, and the senses are acute when riding now. I'm loving that I can see, smell, and feel the ride. I couldn't do that while pegging the ticker doing intervals, or trying for all my might to hold onto a wheel while dying a hundred deaths. Training was too structured, and too strict. Riding is a wonderful, blissful thing.

    Of course I say all this cuz I just was never any good at racing the road. If I was actually up there contending for the win? That'd be a different thing all together..... ;)
     

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    Default Re: Have you fallen in/out of love with road racing?

    Quote Originally Posted by FSonicSmith View Post
    I have had similar thoughts countless times.
    You have to weigh the pluses vs. minuses for yourself.
    My pluses;
    Racing is the best means of staying very fit-the best means of avoiding morphing down to what Mark Swartzendruber refers to as a "Lickspittle and Wobbldonk". The biggest fear of every once-decent roadie is devolving down to a "Lickspittle and Wobbledonk".
    Racing is thrilling. The pre-race jitters progress to real race adrenaline and then there is a huge sense of combined relief/satisfaction/contentment when the mission has been accomplished-a decent result and no loss of skin.
    My minuses;
    Pretty much everything you said plus;
    Insane moto-marshals who buzz within inches of my left bar and hand at 50 mph to chase down some alleged offender of the white line rule, which is sometimes me.
    High entrance fees and cost of gas/wear and tear on vehicle.
    Getting up at insane hours to make it to race in time to register and warm up, not to mention scout out course.
    Going to bed early on Friday or Saturday night to get up at insanely early hour/middle of night per above.
    Putting up with the Shouting Racer-every pack has one or two-shouting out orders to chase, shouting out alleged rule violations, shouting cause they suck.
    Dealing with oncoming cars, incompetent corner marshals, stray or loose dogs, farm tractors, and other hazards on non-closed courses-the norm in The Midwest.
    Racing for typical Cat 3 prizes of a pair of socks or a month's supply of stale Hammergel.
    Getting guttered-cross winds rule in The Midwest in Spring.
    The infernal squealing, chattering, clanging, warp-warp sounds of various carbon wheels in a race bunch, not to mention the smell of burning brake pads in the wet.
    Finding a decent clean place to take that last minute sh*t that the nervous pre-race jitters summon out of nowhere when no free portapotty or bathroom is near the start-line.
    Missing the start/line-up/rollout call and racing to the start in a complete panic that all you've gone through was a waste of time.
    Mixing up super-hot embrocation with the chamois butter and having no choice but to race with excruciating burning nuts.
    Dealing with dangerous feed zones and other racers' girlfriends ignorance of how to perform a hand-up.
    Finding yourself shelled and OTB with your fellow Lickspittles and Wobbledonks and worse yet, trying to forge alliances/working together among said Lickspittles and Wobbledonks-the most humiliating and humbling of human experience short of forced public nudity
    Having your post-race modesty towel fall and being fully exposed in front of some other racer's really hot girlfriend-with a severe case of shrinkage/complete pud internal retraction.
    Showing up at a race only to discover you forgot to pack your f*cking shoes.
    Putting up with pre-race car stereos cranking out really sh*tty music some a-hole thinks makes him look/sound cool.
    Messed up/unorganized/computer-failure stricken registration lines.
    Pinning on numbers-jabbing one self, going through both layers of jersey, loose or misaligned numbers, everything about pinning on numbers to jersey sucks.
    Watching ugly dudes walk around after race like they have a corncob up their arse.
    The obligatory post-race assemblage that loiter dangerously near the finish line impairing marshall/referee/organizer from getting finishing numbers and getting in the way, just to recount every sordid detail about their stupid race in blow-by-blow fashion, all the while sitting on their top tube pretending to be handsome and cool.
    Do I sound bitter? Jaded? Burnt-out? I LOVE road racing!
    This is starting to sound like the pluses and minuses of being in an indie rock band.

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    Default Re: Have you fallen in/out of love with road racing?

    I love road racing. I haven't road raced in about 16 years. I wrote this piece back in June.

    I remember what it took to get me there the first time around, and I'm just not into the idea of going through that again.

    And I love gravel and trail riding. But I don't like mud, so 'cross is something I love to watch, hate to ride.
    DT

    http://www.mjolnircycles.com/

    Some are born to move the world to live their fantasies...

    "the fun outweighs the suck, and the suck hasn't killed me yet." -- chasea

    "Sometimes, as good as it feels to speak out, silence is the only way to rise above the morass. The high road is generally a quiet route." -- echelon_john

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    Default Re: Have you fallen in/out of love with road racing?

    I liked road racing when I had full support, was fit, didn't have to care about a family, was driven to the location and raced point to point races in France. I used to race crits too but the point was to make some easy cash, track is much more entertaining.

    Now that I'm have a family with young kids and a partner that is not the least interested in cycling I only race cross and MTB. Cross because it doesn't require too many hours of training to have fun, MTB because even if you don't have the level to fight for the top positions the race will still be enjoyable. On the road if you missed the break the peloton fall asleep and in the end it is just a boring group ride. If you are not fit you'll be dropped. It is bad for your self esteem and a crappy ride.

    I still do a road race once in a while to unlock the body but this is more a mean than an end goal. I don't feel bad about it as there are so few road races in the area. They have become too difficult to organize. It is not worth the effort.

    Now I'd like to create a grass/dirt track league. The only thing needed really is a field.
    --
    T h o m a s

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    Default Re: Have you fallen in/out of love with road racing?

    ive fallen out of love with road racing, but im riding more, and (way) faster/stronger, and happier.

    i stopped loving road racing because it was turning me from a human into a body. if i was riding well i was happy, if i wasnt riding well i was sad. and i was a mid-pack B grader (lots of feeling i wasn't). i didnt really DO anything else. on a really good day i could hang on to an A grade pack if i was lucky. i had too many hours invested in something i didnt love, it was talking away from doing the things i really enjoyed (i build frames now too).

    im riding 5 days a week, including my current focus racing on our local outdoor concrete track, and will transition to some late-season crits, and then into cross for the winter.
    i currently only ride about 8 hours a week over 5 days, but this is enough to be improving and racing well in A-grade Track and CX.

    the best thing i have done for enjoying my compeditive cycling has been get a coach.

    it isnt much more time to invest from me and its ime i enjoy, we talk each week and he writes me a daily/weekly/monthly/6monthly plan.
    it gives me a thorough process for setting quantifyable goals and feeling supported to achieve them, they are what training schedule is built around.
    i write a training diary daily (2mins max) and my plans adapt to suit current form and other variables.

    i think choosing someone who has ridden Track and crits at a the highest level was very important, making it clear to him that i was asking for happyness, not speed, has been vital to the success of the relationship thus far.

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    Default Re: Have you fallen in/out of love with road racing?

    I fall in and out of love with racing at different points in every season and pretty much every race. But I'm still doin it. Don't overthink it. If you dread it more than you enjoy it...

    PS cross is 10x better than road racing...if you like cross more than on the road, can the road season and come into CX time hungry and not on the edge of burnt out on racing...you don't need to race on the road to be successful/a monster on the CX course.
     

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    Default Re: Have you fallen in/out of love with road racing?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Tollefson View Post
    I love road racing. I haven't road raced in about 16 years. I wrote this piece back in June.

    I remember what it took to get me there the first time around, and I'm just not into the idea of going through that again.

    And I love gravel and trail riding. But I don't like mud, so 'cross is something I love to watch, hate to ride.
    Last line of your essay sums it up for me: "Though lately I've been hanging around some active racers. And when the group winds it up, I get that itch..."

    Nick

    “If today is not your day,
    then be happy
    for this day shall never return.
    And if today is your day,
    then be happy now
    for this day shall never return.”
    ― Kamand Kojouri

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    Default Re: Have you fallen in/out of love with road racing?

    I've had a long love/hate relationship with road racing, I think that is a pretty typical feeling, which most of us go through at one time or another, at least those of us with a somewhat normal psyche. I think it's to be expected for something that, on the one hand is so tough to excel at and on the other such a selfish and pointless endeavor. It really requires one to be so all consumed to really excel, that you have to shut out everything else in your life. At some point, the accolades, the "OMG you're so strong", begin to wear off and you naturally wonder why you are spending so much time and money on the racing. Of course it's great to be super fit, which is something you can only get from the impetus of competition. I've always been glad to have accomplished what I did in the sport, but man, I missed a lot of other stuff as well. At least at my age now, I think I'm getting to a point where I can just enjoy riding with some buds and leave it at that. Having a strong competitive side, is both a blessing and a curse, an expensive curse for sure!
     

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    Default Re: Have you fallen in/out of love with road racing?

    Tom said it all very well. There's a strange time curve to the whole thing. You get a glimpse of racing, start training, move up a little in the ranks after a couple seasons. The personal bar keeps getting raised in your mind......must train more, must get faster, must "totally commit". More races and travel distance. The "OMG you're so strong" becomes territory that you feel you almost have to defend like it's your identity. It seems like it's really important and the dudes you ride with just enforce that vision.

    Most of us realize ultimately that we're just mid pack, it's just that the pack changes from 4/5's to 3's. But now the watermark to even show up to a Cat 3 race is fairly high for the average working guy. So you either keep up the training to participate or look for a different venue. If you're not enjoying it, I mean you come away feeling positive about the whole thing, it's time to do something else. We're not going to "impress" anyone and 99.5% of people can care less.

    There are lots of things to do in life, including JRA on a nice day. If you're hating the time away on weekends, training time, etc. Do something else.
     

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    Default Re: Have you fallen in/out of love with road racing?

    I did the bulk of my racing in the 90's. I was fortunate to be in South Carolina which had a good organization and state USCF director. Racing would start in late February and finish up in October. Most races were organized so that there were events on Saturday and Sunday so the trip was worth it. I could race almost every weekend April-September if I was willing to drive a few hours. Looking at the schedules these days, there seem to be several big events but not the smaller races in between that make the travel worth it. Race weekends for me were usually a road race on Saturday and a crit on Sunday. Some special events would have a short time trial on Friday evening or early Saturday morning with the road race in the afternoon followed by the crit the next morning. From what I've seen, promoters are bundling into big events with big purses.

    The flip side are the hard group rides. If your goal is to go fast and be competitive, there is plenty of that with the fast group rides. When I lived in Hawaii, there was usually a weekly world championships most Saturdays. VA Beach had the Pungo Death rides which were harder than most races I ever did.
    Weight Doper

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    Default Re: Have you fallen in/out of love with road racing?

    Agree with many of the sentiments shared. Raced for a while and was doing a lot of mileage with focused training. As my career begin to take off, it quickly became evident that I couldn't have racing fitness, a progressing career, and good relationships with family and friends. I ultimately decided that the career which enables this hobby and family/friends were more important than being a strong Cat 3 racer. It was hard to walk away at first because the "your so strong" was such an ego boost. Ultimately, I've enjoyed riding more and I'm not that much off my form of a Cat 3. I do hope that life and my career will settle down to the point I can race CX consistently again. Now I ride the bike, sometimes in anger, sometimes for adventure, but mostly hang out with buddies and bust each other's balls.
    Nathan H

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    Default Re: Have you fallen in/out of love with road racing?

    I haven't raced for five years. I don't remember what killed it for me, I think it was work stress mixed with a shitty offseason one year.
    I just fell back in love with riding a few weeks ago and am racing next week.
    I was so mediocre last go around, didn't train and was overweight.. trying to fix all of that this time around.
    I've fixed the work stress thing, have a ton of free time to train, and actually love bicycles again. I really can't wait to pin a number.
     

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    Default Re: Have you fallen in/out of love with road racing?

    If races were $20-30 and 2-3 hours a weekend, as opposed to $150-200 and 5-8 hours, I'd love to race. Given the cash and time investment required I'm out.
    Jason Babcock

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    Default Re: Have you fallen in/out of love with road racing?

    I've discovered over the past few months that I crave the structure of training. The race bug bit me again a little bit while at the Gorge Roubaix this past weekend. I'll probably throw my hat into at least a few of the weekly crits this summer.
    My name is Hung | Instagram | Website/portfolio

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