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  1. #1
    Daniel the Dog
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    Is performance or fun more important in racing?

    I am a mostly cat II bike racer. I do short track, cross country, and endurance events. I prefer endurance events. I am an above the fold cat II racer and have won some different races; however, I'm just as likely to enter an event like the High Cascade 100 and get 20 or worse. I may be a loser but that is okay with me. I don't need a trophy to have fun.

    How about you?

  2. #2
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    First year Cat 3 here. I did a few races last year and had a blast. I did a 5hr endurance mtb race and got 17th out of 23 but had a blast. My bike was having mechanicals otherwise I would have done better. I have since now converted to Tubeless to prevent flats from goat heads and thorns.

    I think it really just depends on what you want out of the race. Are you riding to have fun and a weekend escape, riding to compete and see where you place, or riding to give it your all and not holding anything back.

  3. #3
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    Here is my 2 cents worth. I do a few endurance races each year. I do have goals depending on the courses i race. I believe that to have fun, I need to train properly for an event. If I place, fine, if not, who cares. I have ridden in my age group and in open SS and it was always enjoyable. So set some goals, for yourself, train, then ride and have fun and do as well as you can.

  4. #4
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    Having fun usually leads to better performance. Lighten up, look around, smile at other racers. You will go faster.

  5. #5
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    No one is paying me to race so it's all about fun. That said I enjoy training and doing good at events gives me a sense of accomplishment. You'll probably never find me on a podium at the bigger endurance events but it's not going to stop me from trying.

  6. #6
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    To me its all about fun! I always like to beat last years time at endurance races but if I don't its no big deal. Training for and event then finishing strong and feeling good is all I'm after. The icing on the cake for me is if I can crack the top half of the field..

  7. #7
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    You performance is in direct correlation with how much fun I'm having, if I'm not having fun I may not even finish. But at the same time I will always push myself to the limit and go for that win.

    Basically fun has always been more important to me. There are no losers among those who finish.

  8. #8
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    If biking ever becomes full out performance and not fun I will stop racing!
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  9. #9
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    I was chased a lot in the woods by bullies when I was a little kid so i tend to have a blind focus on what I am doing and am in my own world, having fun, but looking like I am not having fun, even today

    it has to be fun, and it is fun, always.. but: between start and finish I am no ones friend. same for hard training rides I am not very social. in a race if I am gassed and blocking I will always indicate I'm pulling over to left or right side in 'so many feet' and am nice about it...and I congrat and cheer peeps who pass me... other than that I will chew my way forward in seemingly mad fury and tunnel vision.

    all this I just said is for standard XC races.

    endurance races are different as I roll out with zero pressure and half-speed and have tons of fun and as I stack the miles, hopefully I reel people in slowly and only last lap or last 10 miles do i become the black-hearted dick who just wants to finish

  10. #10
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    I race, and I dont win, but I usually have fun, thats why I continue to do it. Im just getting into endurance racing. I don't compete against the other racers, I mainly compete against myself.
    Grit, spit, and a whole lot of duct tape!

  11. #11
    Chicken or egg? Moderator
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    Some days you're the hammer, other days you're the nail. Often it's just relative performance according to the size of the pond you choose to play in. If you can't learn to have fun under both scenarios, your time in this sport will not be very long.

  12. #12
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    I have fun (get enjoyment) training towards performance goals. Races can hurt, but it sure feels great when you are having a strong race/training day.

  13. #13
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    Training for me is half the fun, doing well in a race is the other half. If you're really sucking and struggling its hard to have fun.
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  14. #14
    FKA Malibu412
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    Quote Originally Posted by robertdavid View Post
    Here is my 2 cents worth. I do a few endurance races each year. I do have goals depending on the courses i race. I believe that to have fun, I need to train properly for an event. If I place, fine, if not, who cares. I have ridden in my age group and in open SS and it was always enjoyable. So set some goals, for yourself, train, then ride and have fun and do as well as you can.
    This. No fun to go out on a 25 miler and hit the wall at 14. Top 10 or podium? Meh, bonus if it happens.
    Everything that kills me, makes me feel alive

  15. #15
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    I never win so it's really about the experience of doing it for me. I do set small personal goals sometimes like be faster than last year and things like that but nothing big. My sort of overall goal in any race is to finish. I don't like quitting. I don't mind coming in last or close to last but I hate quitting.

  16. #16
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    This +1. I am not fast and probably never will be, my body type doesn't get mistaken for "cyclist" ever . In any particular event I enter, I won't be competitive as a "racer" but I still like being outdoors and riding my bike. I like the adventure and the challenge to finish, in whatever place that may be. I like to challenge myself to get better/faster each year . To me, that and the training for an event is the fun of it all.

    Quote Originally Posted by catsruletn View Post
    I never win so it's really about the experience of doing it for me. I do set small personal goals sometimes like be faster than last year and things like that but nothing big. My sort of overall goal in any race is to finish. I don't like quitting. I don't mind coming in last or close to last but I hate quitting.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by OnThaCouch View Post
    This +1. I am not fast and probably never will be, my body type doesn't get mistaken for "cyclist" ever . In any particular event I enter, I won't be competitive as a "racer" but I still like being outdoors and riding my bike. I like the adventure and the challenge to finish, in whatever place that may be. I like to challenge myself to get better/faster each year . To me, that and the training for an event is the fun of it all.
    Same here. I've got asthma and allergies and that combo often leads to sinus infections. I even consistently placed 3rd to the last in a few races last year while illness plagued me. So for me it's all about fun and seeing what I can do with the cards I've been dealt. It also feels pretty awesome to go from 3rd to the last then have a good day and get 2nd place cat II.

    HC100 is a blast. That race keeps me motivated riding in PDX slop and the boredom on the trainer.

  18. #18
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    I think fun is more important, but... if I'm not performing well enough to at least hope for a good finish, it's not so much a fun race but an expensive training ride. Having said that, it's been awhile since I've competed for a podium (since I upgraded to cat 1, as a matter of fact) so my expectations for a good finish are much lower than they used to be.

  19. #19
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    At 50 years of age I should be able to separate fun and performance, but I still have not made it. If I do not perform as I hope, I generally do not consider the event to be as much fun.
    I am not in the league with most of the respondents here (plus, I am built more like a line backer than a cyclist), so a podium finish is not usually realistic for me, but my goals are personal based on time and trying to finish in the top half of my age group, which should be smaller this year at 50+.

    My wife reminds me that even finishing a 100 miler is an accomplishment, but the competitor in me is hard to convince.

  20. #20
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    Fast correlates with fun for me. The faster I'm moving, the more fun I'm probably having. So the performance and fun are directly correlated for me.
    "...when I stand to climb I'm like the Hulk rowing the USS Badass up the Kickass River."
    -michaelscott

  21. #21
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    Im in the same boat as most of you. Im a average rider on a non-race bike. But the training and events just add to my mountain bike passion. Have a 6hr in two weeks and im pumped. I dont care about where I finish just want to get 60 miles in. Two weekends ago was my first 6hr race and finished 14 out of 28 with 53 miles. Family limits my training so podiums are out of the question but fun is the goal.

  22. #22
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    +1.

    Bikes and racing can be a lot of different things to different people at different times, but, at 52, I still haven't quite gotten over the desire to perform well. This slightly obsessive "hobby" started with BMX 4 decades ago.

    Performing well is fun, and that's personal, whether it's placing or PRs you're after. It's just a lot of work that you have to let yourself step back from once in a while.

    I don't really try to explain this to my wife. My kids don't ask, they don't want the answer.

    Quote Originally Posted by coyotegulch View Post
    At 50 years of age I should be able to separate fun and performance, but I still have not made it. If I do not perform as I hope, I generally do not consider the event to be as much fun.
    I am not in the league with most of the respondents here (plus, I am built more like a line backer than a cyclist), so a podium finish is not usually realistic for me, but my goals are personal based on time and trying to finish in the top half of my age group, which should be smaller this year at 50+.

    My wife reminds me that even finishing a 100 miler is an accomplishment, but the competitor in me is hard to convince.

  23. #23
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    One of the reasons I like solo 12-24hr races over XC it they force you to go slow from the start on all climbs but you still get to enjoy your descents. As I said before fun is always first in my book but at the same time I've been racing my entire short life so once the gun goes off I don't know how to hold back. I leave everything on the course no matter how much it hurts, its harder to find the fun mixed in with the pain but it's still there. But like I tell my friends who tell me they wish they were as fast as me, "just because your good at something doesn't make it any less painful when you give it your 100%".

    I shy from short XC races because I don't like searching for the fun hidden beneath all that pain and suffering. I prefer the long slow death of the 24hr

  24. #24
    Daniel the Dog
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    I am probably better at short track and cross country; however, I enjoy the more laid back attitude of the endurance races. The shorter races can get dicey as guys position themselves. I agree.

  25. #25
    FKA Malibu412
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glide the Clyde View Post
    This. No fun to go out on a 25 miler and hit the wall at 14. Top 10 or podium? Meh, bonus if it happens.
    Quoting my own post cuz I hit the wall at about the 12 mile mark at R2R. Wasn't ready and didn't have much fun during the last 2/3rds of it. Post ride beers and hangin' with you and the rest was good though.

    I'm not much of an endurance racer most of the season but I usually have more fun. I love the vibe and pace of short track, though. Most fun I have racing all year.
    Everything that kills me, makes me feel alive

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