Perhaps an odd question for the TR crowd, but myself I gave up competing against other people way back when I was a kid, to be more sociable. I wasn’t involved in competitive sport, just against friends and I figured out that people don’t like losing all the time, so I stopped trying to beat them.
Scroll forward thirty odd years, and I was watching this Q+A with Lionel Saunders during my training session and wondered if I’d benefit from having someone to beat? Maybe just in my local CC, but find someone a bit better than me and re-engage the desire to win.
Or maybe you think the “beat yourself” or “beat the course” approach is your way or even the better way?
What say you, TR users?
- I’m out there to beat the field, times are interesting but getting ahead of “the other guy or gal” drives me
- I challenge myself, it’s enough to strive for a PB
- The course is my opponent, I’m satisfied to do the course justice
For me, there are so many variables around racing my rivals and I get much more nervous and stressed when I put that kind of pressure on myself. However, weirdly, I use that strategy when training, like I want to be better than so and so.
Last year my goal was to win state championships for crit, meaning I had to beat all the other women in my category. It made me so anxious and even writing this out makes my heart race a little!
I prefer the anxious feeling I get just from excitement of going fast and challenging myself. If I win, awesome! If I don’t, let’s hope I just felt I pushed myself.
I’ve no control over the other athletes, so I just strive to be the best I can personally be. The results in terms of race position are what they are.
I think whatever your initial experience is, matched with your innate personality, will define your answer.
My first year of racing I was all about just having fun, thinking how cool it was just to be racing.
Second year shaped my racing ideology. Maybe half way into one of the typical RR, I roll up to the front of the pack to see what’s going on. Was told a lone rider went off the front a while back…and no one went after him. I tried to whoop things up and get a chase going…no one was into it, at any point. No one wanted to race, they just wanted to ride around on a Sunday morning looking fancy. My competitive fires were lit. Towering inferno styles.
The next race I was determined to race…cuz heck, no one else wanted to! I attacked off the line and kept attacking every time the group caught back on. Again, half way through I pulled off to side and for the first time looked behind me. Woah! Field decimated! Ha! Maybe 40% of the riders were left. I went on to win that race. It was my very first win and a regional championship to boot! Woot!
From then on I’ve always raced to completely crush my opponents. No apologies whatsoever.
Everyone enters a race for their own reasons. Mine is to race and to race as hard as I possibly can.
If I don’t win, I’ll have at least made it as devastatingly hard as I can for you to win!
Totally not true. See above.
I wish I could “beat the competition”.
I started bike racing in my late 50’s and am now 61. Racing age 62. The guy who wins the races I enter is USAC no 1 in our class nationally and has been on a bike competitively all his adult life. There are 5 or 7 guys who if they enter the race then I am racing for no 6 or 7. That said there are people close my my abilities and I take delight in besting them.
But ultimately this game I play is about myself and my inner mental and fitness journey. So in the end PB is the ultimate.
I’m would say that i’m a mix between the first and second answer.
I chose the 2nd answer because i think that fits my personality more.
I think what drives me the most in this sport is that I haven’t got the early success that i have compared to others things i have done. So I want to go out there and do better than i previously did but i also want to continue to progress because it’s so I can be at the front of the field and possibly win a race. After that then you have the goal of moving up categories.
There are so many carrots to chase that keeps me motivated.
Last year was a cat-up year for me, I didn’t expect wins but I put everything I had into it and a few podiums really helped the competitive nature come out. There were consistently a few guys I know I couldn’t beat, that I just tried to hang with, but this year (January hero anyone?) I’m much stronger and feel I have a good shot at some wins.
I finally started to race forward last year though, that was something I struggled with and hated so much. Too many times I was content to hang onto a position and watch behind me to make sure I had a gap but wasn’t focused enough on the next position in front of me that could be right around the next corner.
Haha, totally true @Captain_Doughnutman! I meant more in terms of which athletes actually enter the race, as opposed to what cruel and evil punishment you dish out to them during the race!!
Having only been active for the last two years or so, really, since not too long after high school, I feel pretty content to be competing with myself.
If the work I put in ever takes me out of the mid-pack, I’ll happily change my choice
At this point in the training year, I’m pretty level with where I was last year but I’m hoping to be able to maintain my training consistency into the actual racing season to improve my results from last year though. Last year, I dropped off pretty hard in February & March due to frequent travel…
To answer your question though - I am competetive… but realistic. If I aimed for podium every race, I’d be pretty depressed right now I try to pace myself every race so that I end up completely buried at the end, haha
A little of all of them. I race XCO mountain bike races in lower grades, and if I’m not in the running for a podium I’m at least giving everything to catch and pass whoever is currently in front of me. I absolutely have PBs I want to beat on various road climbs about the place. And if I do an XCM or similar race this year my goal will probably just be to finish in a reasonable time as I don’t usually do longer events.
It’s a mix of all 3 for me. I love the feeling of chasing another rider and trying to beat them, but as long as I do better than my previous ride I am more than happy.
Away from a bike ‘race’, I’m not competitive at all. I can happily roll around with friends, chat and just enjoy my environment.
Ask me to hand my license over and pin a number on, something in my brain just changes. I suddenly see all the other riders as a threat and I go into ‘fight or flight’ mode. I definitely come down in the fight camp. My ability to converse is limited to single words and I’m on the lookout for the next attack.
I dare say that during this period, I’m actually not a nice person. I’m there to see what I’ve brought and what you’ve got too. I kind of need you to be good, to push me, giving me something to push back against.
I’m a steady training kind of guy, no finishing sprints, no keeping up with others, I know the pace I want and I hold it almost always aerobic, easy while everyone else wants to burn up.
So in the vid I linked the opening question is what has Jan Frodeno meant to Lionel Sanders career, and he talks about learning to race for himself only, but really most of the response is about wanting to battle with Frodeno again and again, for the chance to beat him!
I’m in my running clubs annual competition for the first time. First race put me second in my group, then found myself in a training run with the guy in first last week…I had to drop him, which isn’t like me.
I don’t ride regularly with my CC, but I’m sure they’ll run a similar comp, or I could commit to the TT season.
A few years ago I tried a really minor OW swim race, I was a long, looong way off first place, but I did make 3rd and it really felt good for months.
Maybe I was just in a bad mood on the trainer while I was watching Sanders talk about Frodeno but it I started to get angry at certain people in my life, then the world in general and…
The switch flipped. My steady sweet spot interval tripled in output as I raged.
I reigned it in, but my anger took me through the whole 90mins.
And it was easy.
And it felt good.
@alsayers, there are many kindred spirits in this community and it’s nice to see another one!
I also started racing at 50 (time trialling) and have made great progress, recently gaining the local club V50 title in my small club. I figure mid to low in bigger open events but I’m hugely motivated by beating (a) my own PBs and (b) a friend and rival in my club with whom I am very closely matched and who also trains on Trainerroad!
For me PB is king and it’s a massive motivation (and ego-boost) to still be getting faster at 55!
Good luck with your racing this season!
Process goals: beat my PR
Outcome goals: win my AG in the A races
I am a triathlete, I should add
As others have noted - it totally depends on the situation for me. I’m very driven during training and during my time on the race course, but when I’m out for a simple spin with friends or teammates I have no real pride of place on any particular township line sprints or hill climbs
Maybe it’d be most accurate to say I’m competitive in all things but I’m competitive towards my goals. If my goal is to have a nice coffee shop ride where I catch up with a friend then I will do everything I can to do so. If my goal is to smash faces for the first 50 miles of a road race to keep the pace high so a teammate doesn’t have to worry about any breaks then I do everything in my power to do so.
Just depends on the goal
I’m the least competitive person on this whole forum.
I’m really a personal best sort of racer. While there are certain individuals I try to finish ahead of, I figure as long as I’m pushing myself and riding to the best of my ability then the rest will take care of itself.
Not competitive, I just like going really fast and making sure that people follow me in races at the end.