July 18, 2010

Confessions of a cyclist: racing

By Elisa | 10 Comments »

Stage 3 in Bici's Tour de Birmingham race series.

It is confession time, folks. I dislike bike racing.  Sorry, let me clarify: I don’t like actually racing myself.  I like watching races, planning races and helping with races.  I just don’t particularly love racing my own bike.

I am sure you are confused, as Bici is often putting on races and I travel to other towns to race a bit.  I like supporting people, what can I say?  But lately, with Bici hosting a month long racing series, it has become clear that racing is not my thing.  Why?  I am not very competitive.  I simply don’t care about winning against my friends (who are mainly the ones who race here), or feeling like I am dying and still not good enough. I just want to ride!

If I do race, I do it for fun, NOT to win.  This was the case for the Huntsville alleycat, where I joined up with some other friends and let Anna and her riding buddy actually try to win the race (they kicked ass, btw).  I had a great time and don’t regret getting nearly DFL.

Part of me feels like a loser for not wanting to race.  I really really enjoy 40-70 mile fun rides, like the upcoming Tour de Cahaba and the past Tour de Cure(s) I have participated in.  Those are riding just to ride, not to beat anyone or to win.  In Birmingham, we have a big racing culture, with the roadies, mtn bikers and Bici.  I am gearing up to cheer on our own Anna in Cyclocross season and can’t wait to see her on the podium!  I have a blast hooting and hollering and ringing the ole’ cowbell, but you probably won’t see me with a number pinned to my side anytime soon.

What about you?  How do you feel about racing?

Enjoyed This Post? Share with others:
digg | stumble | del.icio.us


  1. On July 18th, 2010 Richard said:

    Do what makes you happy.

  2. On July 18th, 2010 Big Clyde said:

    I like racing, but am also not competitive. I just think it is fun to see so many people out there at all levels. The cycling club teams with their intensity, the “office teams” out for fun, and the nervous racers (like me) that are just happy to be able to achieve something that is new to them.

    Just do your own thing.

  3. On July 18th, 2010 Chris said:

    I am totally with you about racing, Elisa. That’s why I worked on putting together a FUN event here in Huntsville and tried to stay behind the scenes. I enjoy watching others race, but ultimately I don’t have the ‘competitive edge’ and just like to ride. The one race I did do was Bump n Grind about 6 years ago. Made the mistake of entering in the sport class when I should have entered beginner and was definitely DFL in more than one category. I even pulled over during the race to let another rider use my pump. Live and learn. Have fun watching the races!

  4. On July 19th, 2010 Jenn said:

    I’m extremely competitive, but I’m with you on bike racing, for a different reason…I absolutely hate riding in a peleton. Why stare at the back of somebody’s jersey when I’ve got blue sky and beautiful countryside all around? Takes too much concentration and, for me, drains out all the fun. Not to mention…did you SEE all the crashes at the beginning of the TdF this year? I don’t need to be wrecking at 50kph+, thanks very much.

  5. On July 19th, 2010 Bliss Chick said:

    Must be in the air. I’ve been thinking about this for most of the summer and trying not to get cranky with the folks who feel like bike racing is the pinnacle of the biking experience. Do what you love, naturally, but I’m all for fun rides over racing.

  6. On July 19th, 2010 Ghost Rider said:

    I used to race…bike racing was my entire life many years ago. But now I have a love/hate relationship with it…I mostly just want to have fun and have long lost my competitive spirit. Sure, it’s fun to sprint with my bike buddies for style points at the end of our rides, but that’s different than pinning on a number and doing it for real. “Real” racing is a drag!

    Richard hits it on the head: “Do what makes you happy.”

  7. On July 19th, 2010 mamavee said:

    yup- not about the speed for me. I like to just to it and finish. When I do a swim it’s just me and the water and my own time. Same with doing a tri. Just me doing each piece as well as possible and not giving a shit when people twice my age pass me by. I’m just happy being out there.

  8. On July 19th, 2010 meligrosa said:

    im rite tehre with you. before reading the post, gotta say i love the feeling of the picture. looks like friends gettin ready to take off (or taking a break) :D
    a group of us recently signed up for the SF randonneurs and most of us decided to stop plenty here +there. We stop too much to make their assigned times, but that is OK, we still have tons of fun.

  9. On July 22nd, 2010 Val said:

    I learned long ago that I just don’t have the killer instinct that it takes to race, so I don’t. I have participated in one race, though, and had a blast – it was the cargo bike race at the Cycle Messenger World Championships, and I came in 9th! Of course, there were only 11 competitors, but I was in the top ten worldwide, nonetheless. Mostly, it was just a load of fun, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

  10. On July 24th, 2010 2whls3spds said:

    Raced many years ago, and was pretty decent at it. No longer care if I come in first or last. But I do enjoy riding and watching races on occasion. I doubt I could break 25mph on a road bike anymore, but I can ride all day long at 12mph…

    Nothing wrong with working races if that is what gives you pleasure.


RSS feed for coments on this post
Both comments and pings are currently closed.

No public Twitter messages. You Should Follow Me on Twitter
  • Things We Believe In