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  1. #1
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    First race - Lost motivation

    Finally there was a race at my 'home track' where I've been riding for the last year and a half. This was the first race I ever took part in and just decided to do it for fun. I guess you'd call it an XC race but I'm not sure about that..

    The race was 3 laps of a very technical track that I am quite familiar of. In total about 16 km and it took about an hour for most people to finish. I didn't really know what to expect but I knew that I usually do 2 laps after work quite often and occasionally 3 laps on weekends on this track so I knew it wouldn't be too tough for me. What I didn't think was that this time I was riding in the middle of the day when I normally ride in the late afternoon. Here in the tropics it makes a huge difference temperaturewise and I was knackered and dehydrated when I finished.

    I went off the track and crashed after the first 5 minutes into the race and ended up exhausting myself trying to catch up with the group after the mistake. I didn't finish last and I was just happy to finish the race as some other competitors didn't make it in the heat. It was my first race and I chose the open class instead of beginners class so overall I was happy to finish the race and went home with a smile on my face.

    For some reason it took me a whole week to get back on my bike after the race (I normally ride 3 or 4 times a week) and I didn't enjoy it. I can't say what it was that made me feel that way as previously I've been completely obsessed. I just did fee km's and went back home.

    It took another 2 weeks to try again, partly due to weather but also because I just didn't feel like it. This time I remembered how I felt last time and was worried that I wouldn't enjoy riding this time either. I started pedaling and completely forgot what I had been worrying before and after 2 minutes i to the track caught myself smiling riding the familiar track. It was a huge relief to enjoy the riding again.

    My motivation is back now and I can't wait to go riding again tomorrow if the weather is ok. I am just wondering why I had that 3 week period when I was fed up with riding and have you guys ever struggled similar way? Maybe I OD'd a bit while training for the race? I can honestly say I wasn't disappointed in my result as I only wanted to finish my first race so I don't think that put me off.

    If you've experienced something like this do you force yourself back to the saddle or just wait until it feels good again?

    I would appreciate any comments, thanks!

  2. #2
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    This happens to me alot, I train hard for an upcoming 5k or 10k race, complete it, and stop training for a month.

    For me its kind of the "end" its what i put forth all the hard work for and after im done i always feel like i can take a break. or i dont have anything to train for so why keep going.

  3. #3
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Re: First race - Lost motivation

    I love racing. I enjoy the intensity. I enjoy the sense of purpose and rhythm it gives to my season. I enjoy the rigor. But there are some definite downsides.

    I think most of us who race, at least in traditional XC, don't just want to finish. I know I want to beat a few people. I was bummed out when I had a slow period and finished in the lower 50% for a while. It upsets me a little when I do something to prevent myself from having my own best race. And seeing people I was faster than finishing ahead of me during my slow period was also difficult.

    Lately, I think telling people how to prepare for their first races is actually not good for the sport. I think a huge part of being prepared is having a few races behind me. The first time I went to a bike race (cyclocross) I was pretty unprepared. I'd been riding a lot and wanted to try racing. I taught myself a flying dismount and went racing. It actually went fairly okay, but I think that was dumb luck and a discipline that's more forgiving than XC in some ways.

    Now, you know that you should probably enter your appropriate class, get some training time in during a representative time of day, ride a little more conservatively, and figure out how to drink more water during the event.

    I actually programmed my season with the expectation that I'd be feeling less motivated after my big event. When I've been building for something for several months, yeah, of course I feel a little empty afterwards. But it's not like I make a profit on riding bikes, and it's not my only form of exercise. So if I follow my big event by chilling out a bit, maybe trying to ramp up on running after neglecting it for a while, where's the harm?

    My big event for this year was a month ago. It went really well. I have enough gadgetry now to tell that i was pretty stretched afterwards, though. For the last couple of weeks, I've been catching up on some work stuff, making a trip to one of my favorite, further riding spots, taking a vacation. My next "real" race isn't for five months or so, so whatever.

    I usually think in terms of seasons, rather than individual races. If I have a plan for what happens between one race and the next, it's easier for me to avoid either resting on my laurels and sabotaging my next event or getting into a pattern of hard weeks and race weeks that doesn't allow me to recover, so I don't get stronger throughout the season.

    Plans are a little dangerous too. They can suck the fun out of riding, a lot of them have more road work than I want to do, and in the past, I've found it somewhat demotivating when life has gotten in the way and thrown me off course. Since I'm an adult with a life, that happens. But I feel like my plan worked fairly well for me this year, even including getting thrown off in April and re-tooling my competitive goals some in May.

    Point being, yeah, that's normal. What's next is up to you - problems aside, did you enjoy racing? Do you want to do it again?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  4. #4
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    Re: First race - Lost motivation

    Thanks for the replies. I certainly learned something even I thought I was well prepared for riding in hot weather. I just wasn't prepared to ride in really hot weather.. there was no breeze either and it was really humid as well.

    Did I enjoy racing? I did but it wasn't much different when I ride just for fun. I enjoyed the social side of it but the competition itself didn't add much to the experience. I might do another race to see what that feels like the second time but I am not too excited about it. I'm exiceted about today's afternoon fun ride thou..

  5. #5
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Maybe don't bother. Why pay money to ride trails you ride anyway, but at a worse time of day? Or, just wait until this one comes around again. If I'm going to travel and pay money to ride my bike, there had better be some kind of hook. I get a kick out of racing, but lately I'm more critical of how much travel I have to do and how interesting the course is.

    I'd suggest not training for the next one, if you do decide to do another race. Given your last experience, how important would you say your fitness was versus all the problems you had? Really, at this stage when I was getting into racing, I was just trying to race a lot. When training per se becomes something that will be useful to you, you'll recognize it and then you can decide if you want to double down. If you're still not feeling particularly excited about it, probably it's time to move on.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  6. #6
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    Re: First race - Lost motivation

    There are 4-5 tracks within 30 min drive from where I live and entrance fee to a race is around 6 USD so I don't mind trying again. Just for the atmosphere if not for anything else.

    I've been competing in other sports before but just didn't feel the same excitement for mtb for some reason. I don't really care as I love to ride just for fun. Had another great ride just few hours ago.

    Thanks a lot for taking the time to write all this.

  7. #7
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Gawd. My local races run more like $25, and most are an hour or further away. I miss racing closer, for cheaper, but my region's excited about enduro and cyclocross, not cross country. Luckily endurance is doing okay too, so I can put together a season I enjoy and that plays to my strengths. But I'm a little jealous.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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