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  1. #1
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    Tell me why you devote all of your free time and a huge amount of money to racing.

    This isn't a question that is just coming out of the blue. I have been racing for three years now. I've won some races. Now I'm a top half finisher in Cat 1. But I've lost it. The drive that had me dreaming about winning at any cost is gone and now I get home from work and just stare at my bike for a couple of minutes just willing myself to get changed and out on the bike but I can't. I'm not depressed, at least not seriously. I still enjoy hanging out with buddies and doing other stuff. But the hunger in me that had me make big jumps in short amounts of time is gone. I put a lot of pressure on myself this winter to earn a cat 2 road upgrade and get onto an elite team. But, I had a tough spring that had me off the bike for months at a time. I feel like the training that I have to do to be at the level I want to be at is insurmountable at this point.

    So that's were ya'll come in. Tell my you love racing and what it means to be so I can be inspired to care about something more than just winning, cuz It looks like I am not going to be doing any of that this year. I need some inspiration.

  2. #2
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    Whilst I certainly don’t put all my time and effort into racing or riding these days I do know the feeling! A several years ago I spent the best part of a few seasons trying to be fast; I had a few good results mostly top five finishes in “open” races (our enduro’s here didn't have rider classes at the time) but eventually I just stopped. I felt burnt out and was constantly hampered with colds and server lack of motivation. Whilst I never fully regained the motivation I once had, I spent time focusing on having fun and that’s it!!!

    Do yourself a favour, get out on the MTB and ride a new trail, or on the roadie and tackle that epic climb, decent or ride… Enjoy it for what it is, you, a bike and a challenge worry about the rest later. I am sure the motivation will come back!
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  3. #3
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    Because I have friends who are no longer alive that would kill to be able to ride a bike, go fishing with their kids, or hold their wives again.

    And every day that I don't, I'm insulting their memory.
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  4. #4
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    I have fallen into the same boat as you. Two things worked for me - CX racing and making my training interesting (I actually like to train now more than I like to MTB race).

  5. #5
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    I have realized recently that my motivation comes in waves.

    And to answer your question, I too feel the same way sometimes. I started riding mountain bikes because it was fun. Same with racing... It was all fun and games. But now Im to the level where it is just a lot of extra stress in my life. Now there is money, my reputation, and my long term goals on the line when I come into a race.

    I still have fun when I go out on the bike, but fun comes second and my training ride comes first...

    Next season though, im taking a hearty month off to lift weights and do other things I like, and when I get back on the bike, im going back to singlespeed. Also I plan to race a lot less. Maybe limit myself to 8-10 races a year instead of every weekend/every other weekend.
    Raised in a Chicken-Coop by Chickens

  6. #6
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    Truth: the more you give the more you get out of it.

    I started coaching a youth team as well as helping manage the team I race for. I give a lot of time and my own personal resources, but it really helps motivate my riding since I still want to keep my performance level at its maximum, especially for the kids (one of high schoolers was dropping me last fall).

    I get A LOT of motivation from that. It also keeps me super busy doing lots of stuff: ordering uniforms, organizing equipment, getting sponsor support, updating website, being active with team facebook posts, organizing group rides, distributing uniforms, taking race and podium pics, etc., etc.

    So it all goes hand in hand. And if I'm not racing well, at least I have other purposes at the races.
    Last edited by Poncharelli; 06-04-2013 at 10:31 AM.
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  7. #7
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    I think my biggest problem is that in the back of my head always thought I could go pro. Not necessarily make huge amounts of money and be a superstar but I always had an inkling that I could at least race a bike and scrounge out a meager living from it for a little while. I've always told anyone that asked if I could go pro that the chance is very small but I have the body type for it. That's what I've always believed and this is the first year that I am not any closer to going pro than I was last year and that fact is really dragging me down.

    I think I just need to harden the f*ck up and get out there and remember why I started riding in the first place.... Because it is just f*cking fun.

  8. #8
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    This is only one season of many. It sounds like you are probably still fast but just not on the podium. What about just riding your bike? Maybe the motivation to train and race will come back if you give it time. Say f%^k racing and just ride (way easier said than done). If you keep riding you will likely maintain what you have, and if/when your motivation comes back, you can start racing again. For me, I can get caught up in rough thinking that if I dont place well then I suck, which really isnt true. I suck for a lot of reasons, but none of them are due to racing or riding. It is easy to get caught up in winning but its the first thing that kills my mental state.
    ATV = fat A$$

  9. #9
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    I'd say you should take a season off and do some dream rides across miles of wilderness.
    Forget about the racing for now and then have a good think in the autumn. If you still aren't bothered then find something else to enjoy and don't beat yourself up about it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by climbinthebigring View Post
    I think my biggest problem is that in the back of my head always thought I could go pro. Not necessarily make huge amounts of money and be a superstar but I always had an inkling that I could at least race a bike and scrounge out a meager living from it for a little while. I've always told anyone that asked if I could go pro that the chance is very small but I have the body type for it. That's what I've always believed and this is the first year that I am not any closer to going pro than I was last year and that fact is really dragging me down.

    I think I just need to harden the f*ck up and get out there and remember why I started riding in the first place.... Because it is just f*cking fun.
    If you look at Giger, Kulhavy and Schurter, you will see that there is no "body type" for pro MTB racing. You can either produce a boat load of watts/kg, or you can't.
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  11. #11
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    I am aware. But there are no 220 linebacker builds out there racing bikes professionally.
    They call kulhavy big and he weighs like what 170lbs. That's not big for the average human.

    Also. Taking a season off isn't really an option because I'm on a partial scholership for cycling so stopping would mean transferring to a cheaper school.

  12. #12
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    Tell me why you devote all of your free time and a huge amount of money to raci

    Quote Originally Posted by climbinthebigring View Post
    I think I just need to harden the f*ck up and get out there and remember why I started riding in the first place....Because it is just f*cking fun.
    "The beatings will continue until morale improves!"

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by climbinthebigring View Post
    I am aware. But there are no 220 linebacker builds out there racing bikes professionally.
    They call kulhavy big and he weighs like what 170lbs. That's not big for the average human.

    Also. Taking a season off isn't really an option because I'm on a partial scholership for cycling so stopping would mean transferring to a cheaper school.
    You should expand your perspective. The average human (human =/= American) is definitely below 170lbs.
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  14. #14
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    Tell me why you devote all of your free time and a huge amount of money to racing.

    Quote Originally Posted by climbinthebigring View Post
    But the hunger in me that had me make big jumps in short amounts of time is gone. I put a lot of pressure on myself this winter to earn a cat 2 road upgrade and get onto an elite team. But, I had a tough spring that had me off the bike for months at a time. I feel like the training that I have to do to be at the level I want to be at is insurmountable at this point.
    I'm not very clear what point you're at in your training so far this year?

    Is it that you've been off the bike for a few months, tried to make up ground with a tough four weeks or so of training, after that four week block you're now tired, unmotivated and getting dropped in races?

    If your aim is to upgrade from Cat 3 to Cat 2 on the road it's a maths problem.

    http://www.usacycling.org/news/user/story.php?id=580

    You need 30 points from road races. You can potentially earn the most points per weekend in stage races and longer road races, so by riding that type of race each week, in preference to mountain bike races, it increases your chance of upgrading. Up to a point the more chances per year that you have to score points the more likely you are to achieve your goal.

    The quality of field in a road race is likely to vary a lot depending on where the race is located also. If you can find some of the smaller, more remote races, "chippers", the riders are unlikely to be as good as in popular well attended races, increasing your likelihood of picking up points and a category upgrade.

    It's a cheap tactic but it works. A point from a race in the middle of nowhere is still a point towards your category upgrade.

  15. #15
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    Wait. You get scholarship money for being a Cat 3 roadie and Cat 1 MTB? Huh?
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  16. #16
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    I was going to say that unless you are making a living racing, then don't sweat it and just have fun with it and try to reach personal goals.

    Now that you said the scholarship, you kind of are making a living doing it. I don't have any advice for you. You can either step up and keep doing it, or do something else. Only you know that answer and what you really want in life.

    Most importantly, I would pick an actual major that will be able to pay the bills after college and work hard at it to fall back on if you do decide to give up on cycling.

    I feel bad for all of the college athletes that give up on taking an actual major and graduate with a degree that is more or less worthless and they pretty much had to choose that degree in order to practice their sport enough to be competitive. All the while the school is raking in the cash from said sport. Everyone says, "they knew what they were getting into", "they got a free degree from doing it" and while that is true, I am a firm believer that they should be paid for their time and what they do and the sacrifices that they make.

  17. #17
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    Wow, 220 and linebacker built! I would say to start ditching weight and no lifting. I am not aware of any elite level biker being over 200 lbs. I am not saying that they don't exist, I just have never seen one, particularly in mtb racing. What sort of scholarship you on?
    ATV = fat A$$

  18. #18
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    Having clear attainable goals helps, maybe your goals need updating? Maybe do something different with your riding and training to freshen it up?

    You don't want to quit, otherwise you would have simply quit and not posted your Q.

    I like racing for the buzz at the start line, riding new trails with competitive traffic, and the satisfaction of riding well and pushing myself. I recently upped to C1, I'm not looking forward to the added mileage, and I've made my peace with a back of the pack finish, but still I'm looking forward to the event and enjoying the race day, including the travel, seeing a new area, and just being part of the event, -and feeling fit.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by climbinthebigring View Post
    Tell my you love racing and what it means to be so I can be inspired to care about something more than just winning, cuz It looks like I am not going to be doing any of that this year. I need some inspiration.
    Try golf. You'll come running back to racing mountain bikes immediately.

    ---And that's from a guy (me) who used to play near scratch. I said near, never made it to that level. It was nearly a full time job just to keep my technique at a level to shoot good scores and cost a lot of money. Way more expensive and time consuming than anything close to mountain biking.

  20. #20
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    If your passion is to win races, I can see the trouble with your motivation. If your passion is to rides bikes, there should be no problem.

    I only had a handful of podium finishes in 8 years of racing (and only 2 wins) and I am still a sport level rider. But my motivation never waivers because it is all about passion for riding. I need to temper my passion so that it does not result in injury actually.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by climbinthebigring View Post
    I think my biggest problem is that in the back of my head always thought I could go pro. Not necessarily make huge amounts of money and be a superstar but I always had an inkling that I could at least race a bike and scrounge out a meager living from it for a little while. I've always told anyone that asked if I could go pro that the chance is very small but I have the body type for it. That's what I've always believed and this is the first year that I am not any closer to going pro than I was last year and that fact is really dragging me down.

    I think I just need to harden the f*ck up and get out there and remember why I started riding in the first place.... Because it is just f*cking fun.

    Yes, this is your biggest problem. You sound like you're overly focused on results and losing sight of what gets you there. It's a common problem for athletes because you set goals for yourself and put a lot of time, effort, and money into achieving them. When the results don't come, frustration, pessimisim, depression, etc. set in. That leads to fatigue, both mentally and physically. You start competing not to fail or overly concerned about not performing. That can lead to negative self-fulfilling prophecies. Then you're toast.

    So what I would suggest is you focus on are the things you can control. You can't control where you place, how quickly you move up categories, your time, who you're racing against, if you flat, how your legs feel, and the list goes on and on. What you can control is your preparation. When you go out to ride, focus on the little things and forget about the outcome. So think about hitting corners as hard as you can, attacking climbs, managing your cadence, fighting for position, etc. Focus on all the elements that are involved in riding the best ride you can. You have no control over who shows up and the time your competitors ride, so just let that go. A more effective goal would be to focus on consistently posting your post ride rather than where you place. Those results take care of themselves if you do the little things right.

    I would also suggest paying close attention to your thoughts. You sound like you are being overly critical of yourself. Maybe use a thought journal and write out what you're telling yourself, because what you're thinking has a huge impact on how you feel. Lack of motivation is often due to expectations of failure and the negative thoughts that come with it. If you focus on what you can control, the motivation and fun that goes with riding has a much better chance of coming back. Give yourself a break and recognize that this endurance sport crap takes time. You've had some adversity, and everyone does. It's learning how to keep pushing that seperates pro athletes from really fast guys who don't do much with their talent. It's often a subtle difference, but ends up being huge in the end results. Embrace the adversity and take it as a challenge. Sorry to get all preachy.

  22. #22
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    Cheaper than my previous hobby (auto racing) and provides the same amount of adrenaline but with the added benefit of cardiovascular health.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by serious View Post
    If your passion is to win races, I can see the trouble with your motivation. If your passion is to rides bikes, there should be no problem.
    ^^This. speaking personally, I was a mountain biker before I was a racer, and when I'm no longer a racer, I'll still be a mountain biker. I just like riding bikes...the details of the what, why, and how that occurs ebbs and flows.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces View Post
    ^^This. speaking personally, I was a mountain biker before I was a racer, and when I'm no longer a racer, I'll still be a mountain biker. I just like riding bikes...the details of the what, why, and how that occurs ebbs and flows.
    Exactly. One of the great things about cycling in general is that it can be done for years and years, road and off road, racing or nonracing. I've had more years of not racing than racing. Some years with more road hours than mtb. Mixing it up is good. Racing is too hard and pays too little to take it as seriously as the OP seemed to be.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by butryon View Post
    Wow, 220 and linebacker built! I would say to start ditching weight and no lifting. I am not aware of any elite level biker being over 200 lbs. I am not saying that they don't exist, I just have never seen one, particularly in mtb racing. What sort of scholarship you on?
    Pretty sure he is alluding to NOT being 220 lb.

    Putting in a ton of work only to get your ass handed to you by more talented riders is certainly defeating.

    You can either use this as motivation to get better, or just be content with where you are at talentwise.

    Is what it is..

    I can assure the OP that his sentiments have been shared by countless cyclists working their way up the categories.

  26. #26
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    my bad!
    ATV = fat A$$

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    You should expand your perspective. The average human (human =/= American) is definitely below 170lbs.
    Huh? Do you mean American male cyclist or just male? Average American male over 20yrs old is about 195lbs according to the CDC. We are a chunky bunch in general.

  28. #28
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    Anyway to clarify I don't get a huge scholarship, it's just a basic one that brings private school down to a state school level. Anyone with decent grades and a good ACT or a better varsity player in high school can earn the amount I get from a ton of small private schools out there for all kinds of sports, not a huge deal. But I would transfer if I stopped racing, that's not going to happen. The 17yr old Cat 1 roadies don't go to college, they go to Europe... That being said there are a few ridiculously fast guys that I race that have been to Europe or are from Europe. I'm a 3 on the road cause I'm a skinny mofo that can't sprint and doesn't have money to make it to the mountains so points are though to get. I spend a **** ton of time off the front only to get reeled in cause no one wants to work... It's a bit frustrating. For school I am a CatA (123's in reg USAC) in collegiate racing and just work for our fast guys with a good finishing kick and roll in OTB after my job is done which is always catching the break if we don't have a rider in it.

    I started riding a mountain bike because I was bored and it looked fun. Somewhere in there I lost the fun and if I wasn't tearing the legs off of everyone and making at least top 10 than I would get really angry with my self. Started racing road and cross too because it was all so fun. But I think that this thread is helping me realize that I put way to much pressure on myself and if I am going to keep doing this at the level I'm at right now and above that I need to find the fun again.

    Oh, ya and I am in no way ever counting on a paycheck from cycling, I'm a business major and I could go full time with my summer job and make a living without a degree, I also have an in with a trade union. I just always thought it would be a great experience to race professionally for a little while even if I had to work another job which would likely be the only way I could ever do it. I know people that have raced pro for a little while both road and MTB and for some it's to much and ruins the sport for them and others say it was the best experience of their lives.

    Thanks everyone for your suggestions and analysis, except Leduke, who started off strong but for some reason got super salty...

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetboy23 View Post
    Huh? Do you mean American male cyclist or just male? Average American male over 20yrs old is about 195lbs according to the CDC. We are a chunky bunch in general.
    =/= means "Does not equal".

    And the average male in many third world countries (the majority of the worlds population does NOT live in a developed country) is significantly smaller than the average male in the US.
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  30. #30
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    Never stop playing.

    Shenanigan rides, an adventure, wheelies, goofing off, skidding in the parking lot, track stands, a unnecessary jump or a tail whip are all easily added to a rest day or a training ride and have a huge change in your outlook on riding. Sometimes playing around with a new skill or just riding for enjoyment make the training so much easier.

    Change how you view suffering. The more you can make it about seeing what your body can do the easier it will be to see torturing yourself as something desirable.

    Never stop playing.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drider85 View Post
    Never stop playing.

    Shenanigan rides, an adventure, wheelies, goofing off, skidding in the parking lot, track stands, a unnecessary jump or a tail whip are all easily added to a rest day or a training ride and have a huge change in your outlook on riding. Sometimes playing around with a new skill or just riding for enjoyment make the training so much easier.

    Change how you view suffering. The more you can make it about seeing what your body can do the easier it will be to see torturing yourself as something desirable.

    Never stop playing.
    This.

    I make a point of boosting a long, low jump or two at warp speed each ride. Preferably towards the end of a ride, so if I'm riding with friends, we can come back and looking for the landing, and see who got the most air.

    Sh!t talking is always fun.
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  32. #32
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    As BB King sang it, "the thrill is gone."

  33. #33
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    If you had a few months off in the spring you're just not going to be getting better results this year. Focus on having fun and getting ready for a great year next year. Focus on your grades as well, they're more likely to provide an income for you long-term than cycling is. Remember what you're there for, learning and getting a degree, the cycling is a means to an end, it shouldn't take away from the end.

    It's near the end of my season and I'm feeling a bit burnt out too, especially after just having a stupid, solid spill on my road bike. I need my arm to feel better (just a deep divot near my elbow, falling on the road hurts! I don't know why people worry about cactus so much, I pull needles out of my arms or legs after almost every fast mtb ride, but asphalt is hard) and get out for some fun rides. I'm super strong (for me) but I feel like my flow/mtb skills are lacking. My race season started in January though. I'm looking forward to a month and a half with no racing.

    Anyway, don't worry about this season's results. Focus on the camaraderie, the fun, and getting ready for next year, and kick as much ass in your classes as you plan to on the bike.
    Can't wait for the snow to melt and the dirt to dry

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