Anyone else struggle to be happy with their race results?

I’ve just done my first Tri of the season, I PB’d in all 3 disciplines, came 8th in age group and 20th overall. If you offered me these results before the race I’d of snapped your hand off. However the initial satisfaction has worn off and now the self analysis has begun- I should be have done this better, that faster, why he faster than me? Etc… I find I do this after every race. I seem to be never satisfied.

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This advice is coming from a crit/road racer, so while it’s applicable to tris, it might not jive completely.

I don’t see this as something your should struggle with; it’s you wanting to push yourself to be better. You just have to make sure you’re looking at it from a healthy mindset.

If I’m entering a race, I always have some goal that I’m working towards. If it’s a results goal (i.e. podium, top 10, etc…) then I know exactly where I need to put myself. If it’s a process goal (i.e. getting in a breakaway, attacking throughout the race, helping my teammate get their result) things get a little more muddied.

Your satisfaction in a race result is going to come from how you look at it afterwards. Did you achieve your goal?

If yes, great! --Now you have the opportunity to ask yourself how you can do even better next time. This is where you’re looking at your data, seeing where you can improve, and taking that information to get a better result next time.

If you didn’t meet your goals, you still analyze your data and performance, but you have to come at it slightly differently. Look at your numbers, your performance over the whole race; what was it that you did (or didn’t do) that caused you to underperform? You have to look for things that you can take action on. If it’s not something you can control (the weather, course conditions, etc…) then you have to just let it go and focus on what you can actually change.

Wanting to improve and not being totally happy with your results won’t ever go away, but it can be a healthy driver in your competitive nature and if you use it correctly you can have it be an incredible motivator. --If it makes you feel better, 2018 was my best year on the bike since I’ve started racing, I got over 15 podiums that I can remember, about 5 actual wins, and one of those was the state championship for my category. This is a season that most people would be ecstatic about, and I was for the most part. But as the season came to a close I was left wishing I could have done even better. It happens. Use it to your advantage and become the best competitor that you can.


Most of the time I’m satisfied with the race result I got on the day, because I’m generally pretty good at executing well and putting in a performance that does justice to my fitness and training.

That’s not at all the same as resting on my laurels and thinking I can’t get better. I always think I can improve something (especially in tri where there are so many different aspects to it), otherwise I’d have quit racing years ago!

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I think it’s normal for most people. I’d be more worried if you didn’t want to do better. IMO it gets unhealthy when people can’t keep this in perspective. For example, I just spent a weekend racing out of state with a guy that was hard to be around because he didn’t finish to his expectations. Always blaming someone else why he didn’t win, podium etc… Don’t be that guy.


Consider talking with a sport psychologist. I suspect you will be diagnosed as human…possibly male.

Good luck.


Although this Matt Dixon podcast is about dealing with failure, he outlines the ultimate difference between success and failure and it’s impact. TLDR(L): After the agony of defeat or jubilation of success, the end result is the same: getting back to work to be even better.

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I guess it depends on your goals. I have been racing for 40 years now and these days my goals in every race are the same- don’t finish last. It sounds stupid but I race for fun and my goal is to do the best I can and enjoy the race. So, I go as hard as I can and am satisfied with doing my best. I don’t beat myself up except when I do something stupid.


I know the feeling. I’ve started taking some podcast advice and putting a process or skill goal around the race in lieu of results.

My last race I had a goal of drafting as much as possible. Didn’t matter where I was just if I was hiding.


My main thing with racing is to just have fun regardless of the outcome. I’m a firm believer in not taking life too seriously. So as long as I put forth my best effort I’ll be happy with the results regardless of where I finish. At the end of the day, race results are meaningless, no one cares where you finished except for you. (Unless you’re making six figures plus racing your bike that is!)


Thanks all for your replies, I like the idea of going in with specific goals not just the result. For instance my next race I’m really going to focus on my transition.

[quote=“Benjamin_Reynolds, post:9, topic:15308”]
At the end of the day, race results are meaningless, no one cares where you finished except for you. (Unless you’re making six figures plus racing your bike that is!)
This is so true, nice one for pointing it out

I don’t get paid to race. The results really never matter. Just enjoy the experience and the journey, is my 2 cents.


Not sure of the exact quote: “It’s about the journey, not the destination”.

When I was time trialling I wanted to do break 20 minutes for a 10 mile TT, or “Do a 19” as it’s known. I worked hard, struggled passed lots of issues but then finally I did it. As I pulled back into the HQ I felt nothing, I felt quite deflated in fact so I guess it happens. I’ve felt more elation beating a time on a strava segment!


I think this feeling is exactly why we all sit on a stationary bike so much…

Personally, I had a couple results I was super happy with recently. Better than anything I’d done last year. But I immediately thought, “Welp, really blew that last corner. If I’d have gotten that right, that guy wouldn’t have got around me.” Or, “man if I hadn’t grabbed brake I would’ve kept the wheel and probably snuck into the top 10.”

It’s normal!

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I sold my xc race rig a week after I buried myself in training, did all my homework, and did completely horrible. Mostly was my fault due to pacing and some other things. I was so frustrated, embarrassed, and just over it. Put the bike up for sale a week later and sold it. Went 100% road after that moment a year and a half ago. I bought another xc race bike last year and I plan to get back into xc. But, I was over it. Fast forward: starting to slip into that again: have put in more hours during offseason, training, you name it, and the results are not there. From being on the podium almost every week or top 5 to being dropped at your favorite crit, your mind begins to wander. The only difference in my training is using TR plans. Took a month off, hitting two crits this weekend. So, we’ll see how it goes. I’m so close to my 2 upgrade too.

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A couple years ago I became so embarrassed of my fitness that I quit racing and I’ve gone into hiding, riding the trainer with a few, select outdoor rides and usually alone on nice days. I solely train for cyclocross now. I’ve dealt with it by not racing and focusing upon training to obtain a level of fitness less pathetic than where I’m at now.

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Ambition is a double edged sword - it drives you to success…even after you have succeeded…Ambition converts your success into a failure, and uses it to drive you to greater success…and so on…

Satisfaction means tempering your ambition, I’m afraid I haven’t figured that out yet.


@JoeX wise words, wise words indeed.

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