Some years ago, when people asked me what “I do”, I would tell them that I ride my bike. Then I would add, “oh, I have a job too.”
That’s what it felt like. Even when racing at an amateur level, bike racing has a tendency to dominate your life. Just to be a decent local-level racer requires a pretty big time commitment. You’re always thinking about getting the training session in, or obsessing about not being able to train.
I think that is one reason why it’s tough for young racers to stay with the sport. The sheer amount of time is overwhelming.
If I wanted to concentrate on running, I think I could be pretty competitive on about 1/2 the time required for bike racing.
And then there is all the driving to races week after week. Once the racing season starts, I feel compelled to race every week if at all possible. That’s another oddity with bike racing: if you don’t race every week (or multiple times in a week), you feel like your competition is leaving you behind.
It all adds up to a lot of compulsive behavior. Last year, for me, it was over-the-top. Lots of volume early in the year, lots of races, and a focus on doing well at Masters Nationals. And not enough rest. That ended up being a disappointment.
I told myself that this year I was not going to be so neurotic, and would try to simply enjoy riding, training, and racing. I wasn’t going to feel like I needed to keep this crazy schedule.
But I notice that I’m already getting that “I need to race every weekend” feeling.
So when the weather forecast for today was not looking too promising, I decided to pass on the two racing opportunities that were available. Instead, I went for a thoroughly enjoyable, hard after-work ride on Friday followed by wine and pizza (would never do that the day before racing). Then I was blessed with a weather-gift today. And I didn’t have to spend 7 hours in a car, $40 in gas, and $35 in entry fees.
And my house has been cleaned, laundry has been washed, groceries have been bought.
Now I just need to lose the “everyone else got faster today” feeling.