Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Why Race?

Race season is soon approaching and it makes me think of a question I’ve asked myself quite often…Why do I race?

I find my self diving on average 6 hours most weekends of the summer to go to races, often times places that I would never go if there hadn’t been a race there, sometimes in conditions (very hot, raining) that I would normally never ride in, and After adding up the cost of gas, race license, normal wear on car, registration, it costs me about $75+ a week. Plus all the time involved, an entire day maybe more.

Making sandwiches, organizing and pack all race gear and food in car………..1.5 hours

Making fixes to bike to make sure it is race ready……….. On average 1 hour

Travel time............ On average 6 hours

Waiting for awards........... About 1 hour

Another less measurable cost is the mental one. There is less riding just for fun.  Training rides are often times painful (hill intervals, LT intervals, sprint intervals).  Other times when I feel like riding I feel pressured not to because I'm tapering off before a race.

Why would anyone want to put themselves through all of this? Some may say that they want to find out how good they are. This is an OK reason for the first few times someone races but after that you should have a good idea of how you stack up.  Professional athletes from more popular and lucrative sports often say they compete for their fans or God.  I don't believe people who say that . Here are some reasons that are more likely to be true…

1…….So you can have some sense of accomplishment that comes along with training and being better than others.

2…….So others will respect you and you can make friends. There is a bond after doing a hard event together.

3……..To have fun (Racing I think is about as much fun as a group ride. Group rides are free so having fun is not a good reason on it's own I don't think.)

4…….. To make money (not really a factor in mountain biking)

Depending on the person and the situation the reason people race is probably a certain percentage of each of those four reasons.


1speedTi said...

I've asked myself the same questions on occasion. So every year I set some goals for myself. Sometimes they are personal bests, other times they are measured against other racers. Doing this makes me feel that my racing has a purpose and that I can see some progression.

mikejoos said...

Good point, through racing there are more measurable goals that goals can be created and achieved; those goals are defiantly motivation to race, and get better.

However you can set measurable goals for yourself out side of racing. For example, creating your own personal time trail and try to beat your time or to get through a particularly hairy technical section with out dabbing.

The down side to accomplishing goals your own goals is that it is less gratifying than in a race setting because it helps to have others recognize your accomplishments and provide support.