To Race or Not?

Arbuckle23
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To Race or Not?

Postby Arbuckle23 » Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:02 am

I have a little conundrum.

I find that I am having thoughts on taking up racing with the local masters club. Crits and road racing.
But I am torn between thinking it might be a bit of fun, or that once I start it will take over my enjoyment of purely, "just going for a ride".
I suppose I mean that at the moment I just ride to enjoy and get/keep fit, do the occasional Fondo and just do what I want when I want.
My worry is that by racing my whole focus may shift to this I will lose (over time) the enjoyment of just riding.

What have others found? Does it enhance your riding enjoyment or eventually detract from it?
A reminder that I am 60, so no delusions of grandeur :D
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Nobody
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Re: To Race or Not?

Postby Nobody » Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:16 am

Arbuckle23 wrote:A reminder that I am 60, so no delusions of grandeur :D

I suppose another question to ask yourself is, how well do you heal at 60 yo?
Meaning it only takes one big off and you could be off the bike for months or more. I had a mild head-on just riding on the bike paths causing soft tissue damage to one elbow. It took about 4 months to heal. It's still a bit "clicky" 6 month later. I'm 50 yo this month.

Abby
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Re: To Race or Not?

Postby Abby » Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:27 am

Probably depends a lot on how well you know yourself. I personally have no trouble seperating 'racing' and 'riding', but I know a number of people who are 'all or nothing' and everything becomes about the races.

There's only one way to find out! I personally enjoy the odd race as it pushes me way harder than any other ride and its fun to explore my limits... :-)
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queequeg
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Re: To Race or Not?

Postby queequeg » Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:58 am

It depends why you ride. I was quite happy just doing my commuting and weekend Fondo/Audax rides. I got into the racing in 2015 after some riders in my club twisted my arm to give it a go.
I found that my fitness from commuting soon put me into A Grade (at the age of 43), and I was suddenly competing with guys who have been racing for 20+ years, are ex-NRS or ex-Pros (or even curent Pros!), and the reality is that I will never be competitive with those blokes without putting in a lot of dedicated training (at the expense of my other riding), which with a full time job and two young kids is just not possible.

Add to that, I got injured back in April (DVT) and have been off the bike for 9 months as a result. The desire to continue racing is now almost completely gone. I sold my race bike as it was just gathering dust.

While it was a bit of fun, I have also seen the injury side, and racing around a track with others in a competitive environment means that eventually you'll end up sliding along the ground at high speed. I have been in a number of races where I have been within millimeters of collision (not my fault), and guys have been seriously hurt (broken bones), and for my situation it is just not worth the risk anymore. I am still on blood thinners, so it's an easy decision, because if I do get injured, bleeding is an issue.

When I stepped back and looked at it from 30,000ft, I just saw no point in doing it. I am never going to be at the pointy end, and any racing I do is just taking away time from the type of riding I prefer, which is long distance endurance and Fondo's, where I ride at my own pace with my own goals, mostly on my own. So, as I get back on the bike this year, that is where I will be spending my time, and racing will be just something that I did once.

If I want to push myself hard, our club has a number of regular rides that are way tougher than a race.
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Thoglette
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Re: To Race or Not?

Postby Thoglette » Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:14 pm

Arbuckle23 wrote:What have others found? Does it enhance your riding enjoyment or eventually detract from it?
A reminder that I am 60, so no delusions of grandeur :D


I'll make three comments I think you should consider.

1. I don't like the UCI, WADA and the associated cronocracy (no different to other "world sports" organisations). I'll avoid giving either of them control over my body and wallet as long as I can.
2. Per km or hour of exposure, racing (or even just high speed group riding) is much more likely to result in a trip in an ambulance than just "going for a ride".
3. Racing very much narrows your viewpoint of what is good and what is valid. This is not unique to bicycles, it applies equally to boats, motorbikes and cars.


If you're the sort of person for whom every ride is a race, then go for it. If not, do consider Audax and similar group events.
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CKinnard
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Re: To Race or Not?

Postby CKinnard » Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:42 pm

If you crash and break bones or damage brain, it will detract from your overall enjoyment of just riding.

And cycling club culture states: "crashin's part o racing. if you can't take it, don't race".

NASHIE
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Re: To Race or Not?

Postby NASHIE » Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:49 pm

Just do it, Grab a day licence and do a crit. Good banter, gives you a bit focus, and racing is not really any more dangerous than a spirited group ride.
Last edited by NASHIE on Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

g-boaf
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Re: To Race or Not?

Postby g-boaf » Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:51 pm

Arbuckle23 wrote:I have a little conundrum.

I find that I am having thoughts on taking up racing with the local masters club. Crits and road racing.
But I am torn between thinking it might be a bit of fun, or that once I start it will take over my enjoyment of purely, "just going for a ride".
I suppose I mean that at the moment I just ride to enjoy and get/keep fit, do the occasional Fondo and just do what I want when I want.
My worry is that by racing my whole focus may shift to this I will lose (over time) the enjoyment of just riding.

What have others found? Does it enhance your riding enjoyment or eventually detract from it?
A reminder that I am 60, so no delusions of grandeur :D


Maybe what you really want to do is something like Haute Route events - these will challenge you, they are hard - make no illusions about that, but it's more friendly and you get to see a lot of places you wouldn't normally see and ride in places you'd never think of riding. At the front, it is still competitive though and you'll be among very fast and talented riders.

I find that kind of thing more enjoyable than criterium races. And there is also a lot less "banter" such as the guys shouting at each other in the races or after it.

And there are nearly always crashes in races. You hope it doesn't happen, but inevitably it does even with experienced riders. And when it does happen, it'll hurt.

Racing doesn't narrow any viewpoints though, there are plenty of racers out there who are perfectly happy to just ride along normally at normal speeds and just enjoy the scenery.
Last edited by g-boaf on Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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andrewjcw
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Re: To Race or Not?

Postby andrewjcw » Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:11 pm

If you're aware enough to ask this question, it seems very unlikely that you'll ever get so focused on racing you'll lose the fun of being on a bike. You can always try it out and see how you go. For the people that do enjoy racing, they'll never get the same enjoyment from riding if they aren't racing.

It seems the far greater and more prevalent danger is the people that have never raced, (because they think 'it isn't for them' or 'they aren't fast enough' or they'll embarrass themselves) but would actually thoroughly enjoy it if they just had a go.

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Re: To Race or Not?

Postby eeksll » Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:45 pm

are there time trial only races?

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Thoglette
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Re: To Race or Not?

Postby Thoglette » Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:45 pm

andrewjcw wrote:It seems the far greater and more prevalent danger is the people that have never raced, .. but would actually thoroughly enjoy it if they just had a go.


Danger of what, exactly?
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stevecassidy
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Re: To Race or Not?

Postby stevecassidy » Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:50 pm

To add another note of encouragement, I took up racing in my late forties (around 7 years ago) and have loved it ever since. I'd never won anything in my life before I won my first D grade race and got a huge buzz out of it. I've not won anything much since then but enjoy being part of the race and the added dimension it provides to my riding. I appreciate pro-racing much more having been part of a race myself.

Injury is a thing in cycling, I've had mates come down in races and out of them. I don't feel like racing is significantly more dangerous than bunch riding and at least help is close at hand if you do have a tumble.

I'd say give it a go on a 3 race licence to see if you enjoy it.

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Arbuckle23
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Re: To Race or Not?

Postby Arbuckle23 » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:09 pm

I understand the injury risk side of things. I took up racing Go Karts for a year at 50 when I retired from co driving rally cars :)
I can't see myself ever making the higher grades, just trundling round with the rest of the older blokes in the lower grades.
Of course a crash could happen, but you could get the same with a slow group on the road when someone makes an error.

My main concern is that will joining a racing club give me satisfaction long term for general cycling enjoyment or just keep doing what I am doing at the moment?

The club I am looking at joining is the Southern Masters Cycling Club just to get it out there.
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Re: To Race or Not?

Postby NASHIE » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:20 pm

Arbuckle23 wrote: 50 when I retired from co driving rally cars :)


That answers safety concerns, as a rally driver i reckon you guys are nuts :lol:

Timetrials- Yep ATTA - Aust Time Trial Assoc, Don't get much of a buzz from TTs, but another good way of pinning on a number and seeing what your form is like.

And guys don't get concerned with all the talk of training programs, watts, time trial bikes, suits etc etc ....80% of riders are just there to enjoy a days racing. And more often than not the guys with all the talk and best gear aint that fast :wink:.
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Derny Driver
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Re: To Race or Not?

Postby Derny Driver » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:21 pm

Lots of things I could say about this question. I was out coaching a lady this morning and she told me her boyfriend who is a good A grade racer got taken out on a coffee shop bunch ride yesterday and has a dislocated shoulder. He's never crashed in a race but this is the second time hes been brought down in a social ride. Lead rider hit a bump, hands slipped off the bars and the riders behind went over the top. So in my opinion racing is not necessarily more dangerous. I raced every week for 6 years and never fell off, never got hurt. I did fall on a wet painted line out training one night by myself ... so I dont think the danger factor is a good argument at all.
Secondly, and let me be a bit provocative as is my custom, let me say that people who have never raced cannot hold a candle to even a Club racing D grader. Lots of people think they are 'strong' on a bike until they get their bums kicked in a race somewhere by some old bloke or young pimply faced kid. Our Australian Triathlon coach often brings his squad out to a club time trial so they can be put in their place by the local punters. You might think you can ride a bike but if you were to commit to a couple of years of racing, you would go back to your Gran Fondo or Audax ride with a completely different mentality and an awareness of what your body is capable of.
I trained and raced triathlons for 3+ years, my dad was a cyclist and I thought I could ride. But when I started racing I got flogged every week in C grade and I could not even finish a crit for the first 6 months. And I was very fit. After sticking at it, listening and learning from people, I eventually made A grade and became 3 times the bike rider I thought I was. Racing will improve your riding in ways you cant even dream of.
If you are happy riding around in your comfort zone then by all means enjoy that. I cant enjoy it. I have no motivation to train unless I have something to train for. I need a weekly race or even something to aim for 6 months down the track to motivate me. I also enjoy the adrenaline rush which racing gives you. Ive driven fast cars and done plenty of exciting things but bike racing tops the lot for me. Puts me on a high for days or weeks.
For eeksl, yes there are time trial races you can enter. But you will be a rubbish time trialler if thats all you ever do. Ive just prepared young Mitch Wright for the National u19 TT tomorrow (he was 3rd last year). We do lots of track work and general road racing. I also lay claim to training a couple of Australian masters TT champions ...again these guys race crits, road races, track as well as TTs. Doing only TTs (because you are scared of accidents?) just makes you slow.
My view and opinion, think about it or dismiss it.
The internet will probably not make you change your mindset.
Cheers
PS I dont really disagree with any of the above viewpoints

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Re: To Race or Not?

Postby g-boaf » Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:27 pm

Arbuckle23 wrote:My main concern is that will joining a racing club give me satisfaction long term for general cycling enjoyment or just keep doing what I am doing at the moment?


You have to try it yourself and see if you enjoy it. Me personally, I see riding more as a way of getting about. I still have some involvement in the sport - but I realised I hated everything about racing.

Thoglette wrote:
andrewjcw wrote:It seems the far greater and more prevalent danger is the people that have never raced, .. but would actually thoroughly enjoy it if they just had a go.


Danger of what, exactly?


The danger that he might like racing, and that would support those organisations you don't like. I know you are trying to deter him, but you've just got to let him find out if he likes racing or not. You are probably driving people to take up racing.

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Re: To Race or Not?

Postby Thoglette » Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:48 pm

g-boaf wrote:The danger that he might like racing, and that would support those organisations you don't like. I know you are trying to deter him, but you've just got to let him find out if he likes racing or not.


My writing skills must be complete crap (unlike Dernie who captured the FUN side of competition better than anyone). I was suggesting he consider some points not previously raised by others.

He's since pointed out that he's already been a racer (in cars and carts), in which case he knows all about the sorts of bureaucracies he's going to be involved in. And probably a good handle on risk exposure side too. He might even be safe from the upgraditus that competition can cause newcomers.

I've not raced bikes (outside triathlons and I know that doesn't count :-) ) so I'm ill-positioned to comment on the esprit de corps in amateur racing.

But it appears to be even more of a team-oriented sport than motorsport, where I did most of my racing.
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Re: To Race or Not?

Postby g-boaf » Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:57 pm

Thoglette wrote:
g-boaf wrote:The danger that he might like racing, and that would support those organisations you don't like. I know you are trying to deter him, but you've just got to let him find out if he likes racing or not.


My writing skills must be complete crap (unlike Dernie who captured the FUN side of competition better than anyone). I was suggesting he consider some points not previously raised by others.

He's since pointed out that he's already been a racer (in cars and carts), in which case he knows all about the sorts of bureaucracies he's going to be involved in. And probably a good handle on risk exposure side too. He might even be safe from the upgraditus that competition can cause newcomers.

I've not raced bikes (outside triathlons and I know that doesn't count :-) ) so I'm ill-positioned to comment on the esprit de corps in amateur racing.

But it appears to be even more of a team-oriented sport than motorsport, where I did most of my racing.


Well, yeah, there is certainly team tactics there, go watch enough local races and you'll see it from time to time. And you'll probably find a lot of good people there as well.

Arbuckle23
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Re: To Race or Not?

Postby Arbuckle23 » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:16 pm

For the record.
I am a member of the CAMS bureaucracy.
I am on the CAMS Stewards Panel, the CAMS Officials Panel and a member of the CAMS State Council.
Was Secretary of the CAMS Rally Panel for quite a few years.
A Life Member of my car club.
And been part of the organising team of many State Rally Championship and National Championship Rallies in Victoria

I am used to the politics of sport :)

But that's not what I want to do with cycling, because I still do all of the above in motorsport.
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RichB
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Re: To Race or Not?

Postby RichB » Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:23 pm

Nobody can answer the question outright for you as you'd know. But if you have a hint of competitive spirit and a question mark of if should you do it, then IMO you already know the answer, it's just a matter of degrees. From other racing I've tried, it's not all sunshine and rainbows, when it's good it's amazing, and when it turns to !! BAN ME NOW FOR SWEARING !! it's really !! BAN ME NOW FOR SWEARING !!. So if it holds for cycling, that cost benefit is one only you can answer based on your circumstances. But none of us are getting younger and for me it's one of many things I'd like to try before it's lights out. I know I won't be top level, it's way too late for that, I just want to experience it and give it a crack. I'll find out in a few weeks!

Ban me now for swearing? Really. This forum needs to grow the fck up.

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foo on patrol
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Re: To Race or Not?

Postby foo on patrol » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:59 am

Just get off ya lazy arse and do it, don't ask others if you should, just do it! :wink:

I'm 60 and made a come back to racing after a 33yr absence and I had some saying oh do you think it's a good idea? WTH is with that and do you know what, after three laps, all of my old thought processes came back. I find it hilarious that people ask questions on if it is a good idea to be racing at my age. :lol:

Do it and don't live with the regret that you didn't do it and for the naysayers..............you can't live by "what ifs" :P

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RobertL
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Re: To Race or Not?

Postby RobertL » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:23 am

I started racing last year, and I agree with a lot of what Derny says - even from my limited experience.

After a couple of years commuting, with the second year combined with group rides, I joined a club and turned up for my first D grade race. The race was 25 minutes + 2 laps. I describe that race as hanging on for grim death for 25 minutes, and getting dropped for the two laps.

My club has crit races every month, and in my second race I kept up with the bunch for the whole race. The next couple of races I kept up comfortably, but stuffed up the sprint and finished in the bunch. The race after that I got the sprint right, and came second. Podium!!

I've now set a goal of getting promoted to C grade.

I have also done a few other races run by other clubs, sometimes at a higher grade than I am used to.

I have found that just these few races have really increased my speed when bunch riding. They can't have made me any fitter by themself, but it has just given me more experience in going faster and harder and pushing myself.

And it impresses my mates. When one of them says that they did a River Loop at 30km/h, I say "that's good. I did a 30 minute crit at 40km/h the other day." :)
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Re: To Race or Not?

Postby ft_critical » Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:34 am

Being summer I race 3 times a week. Other than riding to and from I do no other riding. I have been racing for 10 yrs starting just on 40yo, State Grade is C2, club A/B depending, Masters A.
I find that anything that is not a race doesn't really excite me that much.
When I need the miles solo or in a group though I find I am happier to ride to enjoy; I feel no need to keep pace on hills or sprint for signs - unless I want to.
I have crashed in a race once, but more often and seriously when not racing.
The answer to your question probably relates to how much you like adrenaline and how addictive your personality is. Adrenaline and high performance environments, though not necessarily winning.

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hamishm
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Re: To Race or Not?

Postby hamishm » Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:10 pm

I joined the local Vets club a few years back and raced for a couple of years, mostly crits. Won a few races in C grade in breakaways which was good fun, but I could never sprint. My fitness was the best it ever was. Ultimately I quit because of other priorities.

There were crashes too often in the crits though. Usually someone would come down due to a pedal strike. Once me and a few others were taken out by some moron sprinting into a gap that wasn't there. Cracked my new carbon frame and I took a ride in an ambulance to check for concussion. I always thought the most dangerous grades were B and C where power and speed were good but skills were lacking. The A graders were safer.

I kept riding my long Audax rides while racing and I still do that now.

So I'd say try it and see if you like it but beware the dangers.

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MichaelB
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Re: To Race or Not?

Postby MichaelB » Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:12 pm

Lots of people think they are 'strong' on a bike until they get their bums kicked in a race somewhere by some old bloke or young pimply faced kid.


Had to laugh at this from DD, as I'm under no illusion that I'd get my bum handed to me on a platter without hesitation. Personally, I enjoy what I do, but that's me.

I'd say, give it a go and see where it takes you. If you don't like it, stop. If you do, keep going !!

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