Quitting Training & Racing

The best bar in the world, with the best people, is the course tape during a cat 5 race.

Or…for a more literal bar…the free one in the woods at Trek CX cup.


Anyone with a Top 10 finish at Nationals, in a twelve-hour event, is not your average racer or cyclist. But we’re all human, and I spend my life advising families in business, so I see a lot of right/wrong ways to age, to evolve, and to live/leave a legacy. A few things about the OP caught my eye:

I won’t presume to provide answers, as I usually can, based on this one thread. What I will suggest is that you think long, and think HARD, about the issues you’ve raised here. Forget the past: think about the present and the future.

  1. What do you love TODAY?
  2. How do you want to spend your time TODAY?
  3. Which responsibilities and roles matter most to you TODAY?
  4. If you were starting from scratch right now, how would you spend your time and your energy to create the best possible result for YOU, TODAY?

In addition to the obvious frustration with your race results, that first post speaks strongly to an undercurrent of feelings that your life has in some way changed over time, and that you feel a responsibility, but more importantly a desire, to change your behavior to fit what you now value more.

You will always have to prioritize in life. You cannot do everything you would like to do. But if you make the right choices (for you, today) then what you give up is not a “sacrifice” because you are choosing to give up something you value less in order to gain something you value more.

Really think about your options. Most likely, it’ll do you a lot of good to discuss this with your wife with transparency, honesty, and vulnerability. Then make your choices carefully, thoughtfully, and honestly. If you do all of that, you will almost certainly be happy with the results going forward. Whether you focus more on your racing or more on your kids, make sure you’re going to be happy with ALL of the consequences.

:stop_sign: A word of warning: The quality of the results will come from the quality of the process. If you half-ass this conversation with yourself, I promise you will come to regret it bitterly. The hard part is in being truly honest with yourself, and then making choices that align well with your values. Someone will undoubtedly push back and question your choices… but if you’ve done this right, it’ll be easy to stay on the right path.


Ages ago in the beginning days of XC mountain bike racing, I walked away from competing. While I had comparable bike handling skills to compete but I didn’t have the fitness. I was starting a career and family and just didn’t have the time to put in to be any better and what little I could get in became a futile effort getting nowhere. I chose then to stop being at best a mid-pack racer and stopped. I didn’t need competition or compare myself against others in my life that badly.

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Great post, thank you.

An update, I’ve had conversations with my wife & with my coach (two separate people for clarity).

My wife has suggested I don’t quit, but work with my coach to make it more manageable. She pointed out that this weekend with race prep and a pre-ride on Saturday I didnt do anything that wasn’t for that Race. No family time, no me time, no time to recoup from a busy job.

My coach is in agreement with you all. There’s no data driven reason that highlights this weekends demise and in fact I’m 1% from most of my X minute w/KG all time records in training. We came to the mutual conclusion as above; I love the training but am not enjoying the racing. As my wife has suggested we’ve worked on some ideas together to make life it a bit easier, including replacing tonight 24 x 1min Vo2Max with a Zwift crit to a) test my emotional response to the change and - once that was ok and not fraught with terror - b) test my physical output tonight vs the race.

What’s the betting its a mental thing eh? No prep, no anxiety, no travel and I’ll be hitting my numbers. I’ll let you know in a couple of hours…

In answer to this, this is some text copied from a reply on the other forum from a rider I know, this unashamedly appeals to me and I relayed this to my coach:

I’ve had decent results in Vets this year, a top 10, a top 20 and 25th in the 3 ranking races I’ve done plus a reasonable outing in the Marathon following the child at his pace. I don’t train specifically, I just ride my bike during the week, I like beer and crap food. Results aren’t the driver, having fun at the race and getting heckled / abused by an 11yr old who is going to be far better than I ever was is the best part – yesterday on every lap him and his mates were shouting “Whip it” over one of the hips / table tops on the course which I’m basically incapable of when blowing out of my arse, but he finds it hilarious.

Yeah at the end of the year I’ll have points on the board, I’ll have been heckled at every single race, I won’t come last and we’ll have fun.


Anyone with a Top 10 finish at Nationals, in a twelve-hour event , is not your average racer or cyclist.

Thats fair, but 12hrs at tempo (averaged) is a different type of challenge to 1:15 at Vo2max.

I would offer this: you obviously like being on the bike if you competed at a high level. If the dedication to compete is conflicting with family maybe teach your kids. I started a kids team locally and it is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. Really nice kids, cool families and a chance to cheer on someone else as they take on a big challenge (whether chasing a podium or just trying to finish). All the while, I get to ride my bike too

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I am a long distance bikepacker/racer for fun. It is always an amazing adventure. Awesome thing about it is that you dont have to do ridiculously long rides to train for it. (Thank you Chad and the TR podcast.

Its always a lot of fun. Planning to do the BC Epic this year.

I can get to that point after a poor racing performance and it’s all about racing mindset for me. I almost always enjoy my “B” races, it feels like I’m playing with house $ with nothing to lose. With “A” races, I just hate the idea of not performing to my expectations after all the work/time going into it (not even talking about results, but just executing well). Which is a really dumb way to look at it when I enjoy the training and build up on it’s own (the race should just be a bonus). It’s a fine line. If I don’t have at least one target “A” event, I can lose the drive/motivation that makes the training fun. If I care too much, I tend to second guess whether I gave it my all on race day and beat myself up. I’m trying harder to train for A races like A races, but mentally treat them more like B races in the moment with less pressure.

And don’t sleep on Zwift racing. I don’t do it much during my training build, but it’s a great outlet to burn off some residual fitness after the season is over. Just great fun and zero pressure.

Sure. But whether it’s a 12-hr tempo ride or speedsolving a Rubik’s Cube, a national top-10 result says you have the genetics and the training and the competitive desire to be among the very best. Which is, by definition, exceptional.

Still… everything changes over time, and we adapt. To new desires, new abilities, new opportunities, or to the loss/reduction of any of the above.

I think we may have found this issue - fatigue.

Did and enjoyed / had no stress issues in prep for the Zwift race tonight, knew the course started well at 4 to 4.5wkg, stayed in mid to front of the pack then at 7 minutes - BOOM! My legs said no and despite the fact I knew what I needed from them, knew I need to stay in at 3.2wkg ish in the draft (my FTP is 3.7wkg currently) the power stuttered and finally stopped like a car running out of fuel. I kept spinning at recovery and tried to rejoin subsequent groups, would sit in for a coupe of minutes until either BOOM! again or a gradient came along sucking my legs dry.

That is fatigue I do believe.

I think I’ve had such a good 4 months, that this and the throat soreness I had 2 weeks ago is a sign my body wants a rest. I don’t feel tired from the waist up but hey…

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From your description in this last post, yes… that does sound exactly like fatigue.

AND, I’d still suggest you think about all the other subjects that have come up. What a great time to review and question your choices to see if you want to continue forward exactly as you’ve been doing, or whether you want to make any changes.

You have the wonderful freedom that you’re having this conversation purely because you want to… not because you had a career-ending crash, not because your kid is on drugs, not because you’ve been hit with a divorce. So have the conversation with yourself. Best part? Whatever answer you choose will be the right answer! :grin:

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I raced 7 or 8 seasons on and off from junior through my 20s. At the end, I quit because I had no life. I was driving 2-3 hours each way to get to a 45 minute race.

I packed it in and didn’t ride seriously for like 10 years. I regret that. I wish I had transitioned to club rides and doing 5 or 6 fun events per year rather than a race every weekend.

IMO, it’s ok to quit and transition to a different aspect of the sport. In the end, we are finding our genetic limits and getting beat by those with better limits. If it’s not fun, you don’t have to keep trudging on.

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Fatigue might also have do to with the other factors you describe - busy job, no time for recovery over the weekend, mental stress because you feel guilty for neglecting the family and house.

Maybe just have a couple of weeks with no events, to give you time to catch up on the house work and have a fun weekend with the family. Its the wrong time of the year of course for XC racing, because there is a race nearly every weekend right now. I don’t know what your calendar is like, but maybe just drop the next few?

From what someone else said above, maybe marathon racing fitted your life and responsibilities better - less events mean less weekends away, even if the events themselves are more demanding.


My two cents. I am 53 on May 2. I started racing when I was in graduate school at age 35. I used to weigh 285lbs (not sure of brick or kilo at the moment) in that weight. I dropped weight through cycling and nutrition to 195. My journey has been similar. Racing and coming up short. I took time off racing from 2012-2020 and just rode with a shop club that was fast enough for fun and still enjoyed a post ride gathering.

SInce I began cycling in 2000 I dreamt of riding the Milano San Remo sportive. I am going to this June.

In my time off I used TR and various other training plans, hunted KOM, and just liked seeing my late 40’s and 50 body getting stronger. It was great. FTP increase is looming…HAHA… I am racing now with a team and do race practice rides on Tuesday nights. I FEAR crits. My job requires both arms work well, but I might do one or two this year after MSR.

If the danger signals go off, I just back off. I’m a Masters 45+ guy. No need to get hurt and not be able to do my job and lose out on family time. In the end for me it’s like golf. I compete against myself and if in a race I see a chance to go, I go, because it’s fun and I have common sense. No one pays me to ride my bike. So it’s enjoyable. I also have a strong meditation practice, twice a a day where I spend time engaging in higher states of consciousness and through that have learned when to recognize when the fun is ending and stress is entering.

Keep riding, keep racing if you chose, but definitely enjoy the process of the amazing things we older MASTERS can keep doing.

Best to you! I hope you find your Zen on two wheels.


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I think this lesson is applicable on a lot of areas of life…not just cycling.

Driving/commuting time just simply impacts quality of life negatively. The people that have 90 minute commutes each way to work…or think packing up their kid to take them 4 hours to some sports event every weekend are just bonkers to me. It’s not a sustainable lifestyle.

Thanks for all of the replies and advice. I thought I’d give this some time before I respond, specifically as I’ve just had 10 days off the bike with 5 days of that off work and returned today.

During May my training load reduced but my fatigue and race performance did not. But I continued with the events I’d entered at lower categories to get ensure I was in a fighting position but I still dropped back.

Worried about the fatigue I consulted my Dr. With my history of chest infections, plus in the last 14 months 3 x Covid and 3 x other respiratory ilness she’s getting me test over the next weeks for COPD (yikes), type 2 diabetes and/or scarring on the lungs. In addition though she changed my Clenil/Salbutomal to a Forstair inhaler. This seems to be better, in that my at home Spiro test has moved from 625 last week to 690 this week - the Spiro tops out at 750 so this is a good sign.

I have though had aching legs as if lactic burn when walking stairs over the rest period, and I deliberately ate to increase weight from 73.6kg to 74.5kg at 5’11.5. I race locally tonight, so I’ll see if anything has changed with the rest, Fostair and weight gain.

Mentally, I’m still on the fence. I want to race, but I also want to enjoy my riding. I’ve a month now of sharp workouts before an XCO followed by a 3-4hr race 2 weeks later, the latter will be the deciding point.

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I quit competitive sailing back in my mid 20’s, a lot of training, cost, travelling around the country, then one day fighting for something like 38th place in a Laser world qualifier, some other guy gets super aggro and I realised I just couldnt care less if I came 39th instead. I got to a decent level, winning a few regional events but I was never going to get anywhere near the goals I had dreamed about. I went back to it after about a 3 year break (for another year) and enjoyed it but realised I had made the right decision and rarely been in a boat since.

When I look back at various things I have done in my time - the sailing, then rock climbing which followed, its a similar pattern, actually I had most fun whilst still developing and doing it with other people. I then tended to get too keen / maybe a bit obsessive, which would mean the activity becomes less sociable and more about performance, for example I would do the higher level events (where everyone goes to bed early), as opposed to the more social events where everyone goes to the bar for a drink the night before etc. Actually I first got interested in cycling during a sailing nationals when I was holed up in my B&B on my own having a miserable time and TdF was on the telly…

With cycling I am doing my best not to make the same mistakes - keeping it fun, prioritising family time etc… but still training hard and keeping my fitness up


I couldn’t disagree more…there are plenty of good riders out there who fit your A & B group definition and have successful family lives.

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Good luck on this journey, most of us have been there at some point. I’ve taken breaks from training, and I’m on one right now. After one lack-luster race last year (after a 3 month block of focused training) I had the hard realization, that, “the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze” any longer. I’ve raced sporadically since 2004, so going on 20 years, so it’s not a new experience any longer.

I’m enjoying a yard that looks nicer. A relationship that’s a bit easier. More time with my son. More time exploring other interests like music.

I’m still working out, but I’m not beholden to any plan any longer, and it’s really wonderful. I’ve done this long enough to know that I cannot artificially produce motivation and that by taking time away from training, it might serve me to become interested in the future.

Things I miss: being a bit faster on the bike and looking better with my shirt off.

Things I don’t miss: always being tired, never having time for anything else.

Good luck, listen to your heart and gut and don’t stop riding for fun!

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Well i raced and one plus side for the first time in 3 months held consistent power over an hour, was able to engage my legs and speed through each lap without any drop off in power. All laps were within 2-3s showing great consistency.

But, 12% off the leaders and 7% off the rider in front of me to finish 11 of 14, consistent power remains low power with an NP of 225w from a January ftp of 265w.

Today I woke up feeling so tired - generally, not my legs - I can barely stay away/make an effort to move around immediately after waking, I’m just wiped out. Something is wrong, and I have some X-ray (lungs) and blood tests to try to find out.