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Why do it? Off the back.(16 posts)

Why do it? Off the back.ORdirtydown
Jan 27, 2004 10:50 AM
I am 2 weeks out from the first race of the season. I have been reviewing last year and looking at my schedule for this year. Why am I doing this again?

I am a 40 yr old family man that took up cycling 3 years ago. I started racing last year as a way to accelerate my conditioning. The true reward that I seek is to be able to enjoy a full 6+ hour day of epic mtbing adventure riding. I just love being outside exploring on a bike.

The road racing challenged me much more than I expected. I tried it all last year; tt, crits, stage. Basically, got my ass kicked all over. My first race last year, I didn't even finish in the top 80. Why would I come back for more with greater zeal and passion? I have this driving voice that is always shouting, "I can do a lot better than this!". I just want to be competitive in the 4/5 field.

The first race is 2 weeks away. It will be a tough race to gauge my improvement. They combine the 3/4/5s. Hopefully, I can apply some of the things I learned last year. I hope I can have a good performance that will encourage me to continue through the season.

I may be experiencing some over-training anxiety right now. I have a hard time believing I could actually over-train with my limited training schedule. I only put in 16+ hours a week including strength training. I probably get about 12 hrs/week on the bikes.

Why do you do it?
Because you enjoy ittreebound
Jan 27, 2004 11:04 AM
I was half-way through grade school on the day you were born, you young whippersnapper, so none of this "old" stuff, okay? ;)

We do it because we enjoy it, it gives us goals, it gives us gains, it gets us active, it gives us focus, it gives us life, we ride because we do. It's as simple as that.

Do it, live it, don't ask why, ask why not.
I can tell you why =)CARBON110
Jan 27, 2004 3:36 PM
After being run over training for racing I went through a period where I was unsure about whether to race again due to perpetuating my injury and possibly making it worse then it is. But thanks to Beth ( LFR ) and my coach I decided, and I am happy I did, that racing just adds to much fun and excitment and more importantly depth to my life.

My first year racing I got my ass handed to me too and I have been fighting back ever since. Failure to succeed in sport is no reason to walk away disappointed. My first race I ever did I lasted about...20 minutes before I felt this warm sensation cover my entire body. I just started shutting down and for the first time I had reached my physical limits. I have since increased my limits by training correctly. It was the first time my heart couldn't take the pressure but it was to late for me to stop since I was already infatuated by being in the peloton. I finished the race, alone and didn't really perform well for the rest of the year until I learned how to train to race well

After that I learned how to train for racing and enjoy just being on my bike and not being to concerned about every ride. But to balance enjoyment with specificity

Here are some good reasons why you should race:

-The scenery you see from your bike seat,sunsets,sunrises,the heat off the tarmac in the summer,riding in the rain snow,cold and mist
-Health, I've never been so healthy in my entire life
-consistancy in my day to day life
-developing friendships like any social atmoshpere
-viewing/traveling to new parts of the country on your bike

-accomplishment whether you win or not
-the feeling of confidence and productivity from training
-adrenaline from going 55+ mph on two wheels an inch wide
-improvment and watching yourself grow as an athelete
-strength of mind and achievment from racing in the rain at 28 degrees for 3 hours and finishing
-more fun then anything else other then sex and mix drinks on the beach

-passing someone for the first time in a time trial, and then passing two more people
-getting dropped on a hill only to fight back and dropp those who dropped you-redemption
-helping a teamate win a race-selflessness with exhaustive effort
-respect from your girlfriend or boyfriend for your devotion and discipline

TO measure your success you should have a goal every time you get to the race line. That goal may be a top 30 finish a top 10 finish or a win or merely just to sit in and look for your limiters practicing for that race you want to win.

There is a race called Rock Hill in SC that's in early April. It's about 80 miles long with some rough pavement and rollong hills. Everyone complains it is to long to early in the season, I love it and my only goal for it is to stay in the top 10 the entire race until the last mile where I don't care how I finish that race.

So, I practice eating at the right time, drinking, laughing and making jokes with my amigos but never falling back from the front until the finish where it is always a crash fest and I stroll in untainted. If I don't feel like I am getting a good work out I will make it hard by shifting up a gear or just shooting off the front for 5 minutes and coming back. Make sure you have goals and make them achievable

This is why I race after the most traumatic event of my life
Thanks agains LFR!

I hope you give it another chance =)
re: Why do it? Off the back.dlbcx
Jan 27, 2004 4:28 PM
I concentrate on intensity. I work on both getting the power up and being able to hold it. Also, I work on my leg strength by using big gears and low cadence since from some of the studies I have seen say that older athletes tend to lose strength.
As the days get longer, I start doing longer rides. But, as much as I like to doing 6 hour rides, so I just don't have the time so I try to get in 3-4 hour rides. I usually use the early RR's for endurance. Also, I get some good intensity work out of it, too.
Remember you can get overtraining from not just riding the bike; your work and family can add to your overtraining, too. Stress doesn't just come from training alone.
Challenging Fun!Keeping up with Junior
Jan 28, 2004 7:15 AM
Lots of reasons.

I had been riding for 20 years. On weekends I could hang with all the racer boys on the touring rides but knew that we were not really racing. It always made me wonder if I could stay with them in a real race. Well after one season of racing I found I have the legs and would regularly finish in the field at races. What I really enjoy is the mental side of racing and learning how to "think" in a race will be one of my goals for the season. I want to be at the front of the field, not just "in" it.!

Another reason I race is because of my son. He spent six years on the back of our tandem. A great bonding experience. How many other activities are there when you spend 5 hours in a day only two feet from your kid? As he became a teenager he became too "big" in his mind to be on the back of the tandem. He also had decided he had outgrown BMX racing. So now he races as a Junior.

Racing with my son is great. We get to train together. We get to spend time together traveling to races. We get to watch each other compete and both appreciate how much effort it really requires. In addition there is the challenge. His secret goal this season is to beat dad. My secret goal this season is to not get beat by him. Makes for some good winter motivation since he was getting close to taking me a couple times at the end of last season.

To stay in shape. I now have a reason and goal to work out in the winter. Used to when I got busy or didn't feel like it or it was too cold I would blow off training. Training didn't matter as I could always complete the century or charity ride. Now when I don't feel like training I do it anyway because I have to be ready for race season. Goals motivate and drive me.

It's not a ball sport. I was never an athlete in school. Now it is great to see friends that called themselves athletes who really aren't. A certain satisfaction comes from knowing that in the long run I am the athlete and the only sports they get are from the Lazyboy in front of the big screen.

You can read about my first race at this link. It tries to explain the fun of racing to a non-racer.
Bravo! Well Done! -nm-CARBON110
Jan 28, 2004 7:59 AM
Why you should raceMR_GRUMPY
Jan 28, 2004 7:48 AM
I try to think of this, every time I get my ass handed to me.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena...Who
strives valiantly, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions,
and spends himself in worthy causes. Who, at best, knows the triumph of
high achievement and who, at worst, if he fails, fails while daring
greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls
who know neither victory nor defeat.

This is over a hundred years old, but still fits pretty well.
'Only' 16 hours a week? - - - slacker!hrv
Jan 28, 2004 8:45 AM
A 4/5 putting in 16 hours a week? Wow. You're one serious racer. As long as you're enjoying yourself, and not beating yourself up, then it's all good. Don't feel like you have to do the race, but then again, don't you live in the area so it wouldn't be a big travel expense (Cherry Pie, right?)?

This is my 3rd year as a 4/5, 49 yr. old. I'm still one slow f**k but I do it, can't explain why. My tt times are slowly going down, so I'm headed in the right direction. Anyways, back to the question. The one thing I'm trying to change this season is having a clear, positive outlook on the season, and that includes changing my outlook from '..I'm thinking of doing this or that race' to '...I'm doing (or not doing) the race'. No more on the fence, mother plucker! Either s**t or get off the pot, let the chips fall where they may.

Having clear goals, and good decision making capabilities, will breed success. Now decide what you what to accomplish with the race,maybe more pack racing experience, etc., and if you can't think of a reason to do it, don't! Especially if you're close to overtraining now. Feel good about whatever decision you make and move on.

Have a great season!
12 hrs/wk on the bike for a 2nd yr, 40 y/o racer is a lot. Thatbill
Jan 28, 2004 10:34 AM
ain't really what I would call a limited schedule -- I know Cat 3's, successful 3's, that aren't putting that kind of time in. You probably ought to temper it a little. You're not 20 any more, and you need to give your body recovery time. Everything I've read about guys our age (I'm 45 -- I'm not trying to make you any older than you are; please take no offense) is that you need recovery. Whatever you're doing, you need to build up to, and you need rest. I think shorter workout periods, with structured intensity and rest, works. Keeps body and mind a little fresher. No Cat 4 races last more than about an hour, maybe an hour and a half, two hours tops (and rare -- one fifty miler last season), so that you don't need to ride for zillions of hours at a time.
I raced Cat 4 last year (starting the season racing Cat 5) in my first full season of racing, with maybe 6-8 hrs week training, sometimes not that much (I'm including training and racing), and I was finishing midpack in the 4's, with several top 15-20 finishes, and a couple of top ten finishes as a 5. So, it can be done. I wasn't winning any races, but I got to where I felt I was really racing, and I sure was having fun. And, in the DC area, racing may not be as competitive as, say, Colo, but it's pretty competitive.
At least 2 races this year in OR, cat 4/5 75 mile, 105 miles(nm)hrv
Jan 28, 2004 11:03 AM
like I said, one and a half, maybe two hours. nmbill
Jan 28, 2004 11:10 AM
Maybe for you,The General
Jan 28, 2004 12:31 PM
but at Elkhorn last year, it was 105miles 4 1/2 hours+ for the 3/4/5 field and that was moving. Of course we covered 8000' with a 8 mile finishing climb.
Hey Gen! Elkhorn + Mt. Hood both have 4/5 only div this year.nmhrv
Jan 28, 2004 1:00 PM
That's what I hear, butThe General
Jan 30, 2004 7:58 PM
I will be doing RAO the same weekend as Hood and planning on going for the overall again at the CCP100 which is the same weekend as Elkhorn.

I am doing Columbia, haven't been to it before.

re: Why do it? Off the back.benInMA
Jan 28, 2004 11:05 AM
I do it cause it's so fun...

Honestly if you're a 4/5 and you're doing 16 hours a week you should be crushing everyone. If not you're probably overtrained.

I'm a lot younger than you, I can't necessarily do 16hrs a week and be at my fastest. I need lots of sleep, etc.. to recover, especially as weekly hours climb.

Have you read anything like Friel's "Cyclists Training Bible"? That type of book might be helpful for you.
d. all of the aboveORdirtydown
Jan 28, 2004 11:25 AM
For some reason Tuesdays are my worst mental day. I grunted out a hill workout with some good friends last night. My legs are wrecked but mentally I feel great.

I am not a naturally gifted athlete. It takes my body longer than most to acclimate to a new activity. However, I tend to be more persistant (obsessive) than others.

I feel good about my cycling progression. My first 3 years I focused more on endurance and skills. Racing last year was an introduction to greater intensity and focused bike handling skills. I am training this year with a much greater emphasis on intensity. Currently, I am doing Force/Hill workouts during the week and endurance rides on weekends. In March, I will do cruise interval training during the week in prep for the TT series in April & May. In May, I will do more interval training for the crits series that runs June through August.

As the weather breaks and the trails clear, I will do more epic mtbing on the weekends. By July, I just enjoy all of the fitness gains and ride whenever I can through the summer.

Originally, I took up road racing to help get in better condition for mtb racing. I very quickly found that road racing is much more challenging (and less time consuming). We put together a group of guys that are excited about working together as a team. Introducing the team strategy aspect adds a whole other level of fun. Hopefully, there will be enough of us at the same fitness level that we can use team strategies.

My first race is the Cherry Pie (Oregon). I will let you know how it goes.