Last time I post about this year edition of Uraz Cross Bike race. It was my first race in this year and it was difficult. It was first and… I think the last one in this year. Why? After this race, I decided to stop, to rest and cancel my starts for this year. I feel tired, maybe burnout and should stop for some time. Also, decided to write this post about racing on amateur level, and why I should stop here. Racing are great, but also have a lot of disadvantages. Of course, you can’t agree with me, but just read me arguments. I don’t want to discourage anyone – it’s only my decision and my point of view.
The most important thing is safety. My and my family safety. Racing is always a risk to contusion or accidents. In forest during MTB race we can hit into tree, on road wipe the body on the tarmac. It isn’t anything nice, I know this, because I had some accidents on both cases. I didn’t break anything, but it was not pleasant anyway. You can lose your health for some time – or forever, if accident will be serious. If you’re an amateur – is it really worth it? You risk your health, your life for… for what? Place on non-important race? Metal medal? Or maybe just satisfaction? It isn’t worth it.
After one ride and falling in forest, I have shoulder pain for about four months and can’t make strength training for about six months. Recall: I didn’t break anything, it was only strong hit, nothing special, but I was “not fully functional” for really long time. It’s very frustrating, but it wasn’t the worst thing in that case – after about three weeks, I decided to ride, but on road, to avoid any bigger vibrations. Cornering with some sand on road… and I broke skin on my second side. Really, hilarious thing, when you try to sleep, but can’t do this, because have pain on both sides. I know, it was my fault, too much bravado, but it was a great lesson for me, how not to ride.
Of course, you can have accident on free ride, it’s true, but chances are always much smaller than on race – during race, emotions are very important, you fight for as good place as it’s possible, sometimes forgot to… thinking. With that, we make mistakes, and mistakes are the shortest path to accident and pain. Also, your life situation is very important. When I was single, it wasn’t big problem – because there was only I (and of course, my worried parents, but it isn’t the same). Since I was in a relationship, my thinking was changed – I think not only about me, and forgot about consequences, but also about second side. If by stupidity, my or other participant mistake, or just fat I lost my health… it will be problem and load. And I don’t want to be a load for anyone.
Racing costs not only money, but also time, something, that you can’t buy anywhere. You must prepare to race, but on this point, let’s focus only on race time. I always started on races, on I could get using my car – let’s say up to 150 km from home. Higher distance discouraged me: I would have to drive a car much longer than ride race, it doesn’t have sense for me. Even if race is much closer, for example 70 km from home – it was about two hours to prepare bike and myself, about hour to arrive at destination point, then wait for start, race, and after that preparations and go back. Finally, almost whole day. I very like my job, but it takes a lot of time and this thing (time) is always in deficit. If I decided to spend one of weekend’s day on race, it’s always big hole for my free time.
Yes, I do it in my free time and should enjoy, but it isn’t always simple – where is time for family? Where is time for home? Sorry, it’s much, much more important that any race, any place, any medal. I can drive to race with my partner (I do this, she is amazing supporter!), but I know, that would be exhausting for both of us, if I started every one or two weeks. Again: this is easier, if you don’t have close family, if you are single etc. If not, think about them: when do you walking together last time, when do you go to park, for ice creams etc? Rest time with other people can be amazing and fantastic occasion to talk about everything.
Racing means costs. A lot of costs. Every time I must pay for start, I must arrive at destination (by car in most cases), I must buy some food for this. all these costs aren’t big – everything depends of race level, but I write only about constants costs for each race. We should remember, that there a lot of extra expenses – we will upgrade or exchange our bike during our adventure with races, we will buy better clothes, we will equip training tools (more about this in training section). These means it is a continuous spending of money for this.
But we should also prepare for accidents and contusions – so we will spend money for doctors, for treatment and rehabilitation. The question is not whether I will have accident, but when and how serious. It’s true, nobody is perfect and you should prepare for that. In summary, races means a lot of additional costs. Do not get me wrong me – I think every money spending for hobby that we love is good spending money, but… we should also think about that and be a realist . There is also your real life, not only cycling and racing. It’s your work, your money, you can do anything you want with it, but losing for vicious circle… Not good option.
If you want to race, you should train. You don’t have to do this, but it always important – of course you can only go through the race and finish it, but I promise, after one, you would like to be better. Training means another time spend for race – not directly, but it’s for race, not free ride without any plan. And plan, you should use training plan to be better, without that your progress will be much slower (or it will be regress).
If you will decide to train correctly, you will spend time to get information how to be better, ho to train, how to monitor your progress, consult with specialist, make a special performance tests and also buy some additional equipment like trainer for winter season. Of course not all in one time, but it’s real progress. In summary, you will have many additional things, many additional requirements and some additional pressure associated with your training plan – remember, workout must be done! It’s a joke, but many, many people do this. They are only amateurs, but train like a pros and spend a lot of time for this. It’s ok if you can divide your time and do not neglect other areas of life, but often it’s a real problem.
Want to try something else
Finally, something very important for me – I lost the will to racing. Just that, really. There are no positive emotions from last year and my first racing year. I don’t know how, I don’t know why, but it happened – if I want to start, in the beginning I’m very excited. But after this first impression, I become more and more discouraged and tired. After finish, I just want go home, I’m not happy as before. Some people may say: you are aging! Maybe, but I think it may be because of very intensive last season, and also because of some contusions.
I decided to stop racing, because I love this hobby. If I was still starting, without this happy, I would lose my hobby. It’s something like burnout on IT work – you can love this, but you should sometimes say “stop” and just rest. This seasons it’s for rest, for free riding, for photos, for enjoy every minute on bike, without any pressure, without meters, without race. I’m amateur, so, it isn’t any problem, there is no something like “regression”, because I can compete only with myself. I also want to try something else, something different from cycling. Life is too short for only racing.