How do you define "races"?

IF I sign up for it , it is a RACE…:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Im either racing to win a overall, a classification, or beat all my buddies…

To echo some other thoughts: in the context of training, it’s “an event I’m training for.”

In the context of other conversations, I’ll define a race more particularly. It’s interesting to compare how different the experience is casually participating in a running race (where, depending on the event, you may well see people walking a 5K race), and trying to “casually” participate in a bicycle race. Watching my running friends expand from running races into trying out a bicycle race… it’s a huge culture shock.

But in the context of training, it doesn’t really matter whether it’s chip timed, mass start, individual start, first across the line, noncompetitive, a charity event, or whatever. What matters then are two things:

  1. what are the demands of the event as I’ll do it, so that I can train appropriately, and
  2. how it fits into my schedule and priorities, so that I can taper appropriately.

Agree 100% but would add the need for some sort of rules, guidelines, and regulations that are followed. I am thinking of Zwift “races” in particular since they have a start/stop and first/best but without regulation (except the championships) on weight, power meter calibration, etc. I would call them a hard workout rather than a race.

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A group of men riding together. Period.

Competitiveness isn’t unique to Y chromosome


Depending on how long/hilly it is, and how good a time you want to set, a fondo/sportive can be plenty challenging, and require some dedicated training.

From a training perspective, one of the key differences of a “race” is that you need to stick with the bunch, regardless of what the bunch is doing. If the bunch is doing over-threshold attacks, then you need to match that. So your training needs to include over-threshold efforts.

But even for a timed sportive, you are trying to set your best overall time, which normally means steady sub-threshold efforts over a sustained length of time. While drafting can help, if the bunch is going faster than you can sustain, then you are better off dropping out of the bunch and continuing a sustainable pace, rather than going too hard and blowing up later.

Everything in life is a race, unless, perhaps, if we decide not to care :thinking:

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For TR purposes…a ‘race’ is any event you want to train for.

To me a race is just that - a race (including Road, TT, CX, MTB whatever). You know when it’s a race - you get a number and the purpose is to win (even if know you’ve not got a hope!).

A sportive, grand fondo etc are not races in my mind (not to say i don’t usually have a target time in mind or they are easy) - people are doing them for variety of reasons, some people stop, some don’t etc - all about finishing really rather than an actual race. These are ‘events’ in my head.


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For arguments sake about half of most fields, maybe even more of open races are people just interested in finishing. They are only racing against themselves.

I’m in the US and I consider it a race if there is a USAC official at the start line. If it’s not usac sanctioned I still consider it a race if there is a podium at the end and the top x number of people across the finish line get a prize. This is pretty binary and probably excludes a lot of what others would consider a race.

My definition of a race is an organized event with a defined start and finish where you are trying to achieve the quickest possible finish time.

If only there were a word to describe events that are not races as well as actual races, then we could use the correct word and end the debate… :face_with_monocle:

It seems people just don’t get the question. This isn’t a dig or anything, but I genuinely wanted to know if we were all talking about the same things when we talk about racing. For example:

A sportif

A road race

A Crit

All are events, not all are races. All events will be difficult. None is any less important. However the the physical demands in terms of types of fitness very different.

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And all events have different physical demands based on the type of event and the particular course. No need to say “However the physical demands…”

Not sure I follow your point. Training advice for riding an “A event” might be the same as for an actual sanctioned “A race.”

Why not? The physical demands may be different. In a Crit for example you might need a big 15s power but only need to ride for 1hr, but something like The Etape d’Tour you may not need to have the huge 15s surge but you might need to ride for 6 hours. Very different physical demands, no?

Sure, even the physical demands for each stage of Le Tour are different, and its a road race.

A moot point. I don’t think any of us here are going to be entering any 3 week stage races.


Then you asked the wrong question, because it doesn’t matter if you race it or ride it. Training advice is shaped by the particulars of the event and course.

Oh I give up😡

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