The Life and Trials of amateur racing

As I sit here with Bronchitis :unamused: and a very average season, I can’t help pondering the mental challenges of amateur racing.

Most of us have jobs and families yet we try hard to discipline ourselves around coaches orders, nutrition, training, racing and other exercise or recovery based activities. Currently I’m feeling a bit unfulfilled - hopefully that’s temporary - and frustrated with the daily training based requirements and inflexibility but, does everyone feel like this from time to time?

It just feels a bit “meh” to watch your mates help themselves to a pizza and a beer without a second thought, and pop out for some uncategorised whoop whoop fun around the local woods doesn’t it?

I’m interested in others thoughts, and mental management tips for this.

I look at cycling and racing like this. Once it stops being fun, you either change something or you stop. It’s meant to be fun, not a limiter.

I can’t for the life of me remember where I heard this phrase but I think it’s true ‘Cycling asks for so much but gives so little’.

This is why I believe that hanging self worth on figures and race results is a slippery slope.


I think it depends on your expectations. Mass start racing is difficult as you are racing head to head. TT’s at least let you see your personal progress regardless of where you place. If you can no longer embrace the gains in fitness and the satisfaction of the personal discipline then maybe take a break. Do some adventure riding as a break. I guess you could play softball…


Its up to the individual and your mental toughness is certainly going to be tested. How seriously you take your sport. If you want to participate, or be a contender and your competitive within yourself. Its very individualised.

And every athlete goes through peaks and troughs, just like form/fitness. it could be, you may need to do a local ride to enjoy that aspect of riding, rather than training day in day out by yourself. Or, take a day to try and get Strava PR’s, KOMs, that’s a good motivator.

Also…can you switch off, the sympathetic system, once your of the bike, stop reading about cycling, training etc. You need that mental break, this has been covered by a few TR podcasts

When I got to a place like that I just shut it all down. I take around 6 weeks of structured training off and just ride my bike. Leave the Garmin at home and put the trainer up. I take that time to get back in the gym, take over dog walking duties, and go on a ride if I feel like it. Usually at 4-6 weeks this feeling resides and I reassess any goals, change them, etc… A few years ago I quit racing for results. Then again it was short track XC racing. I started doing ultra endurance events and told myself just have fun with it and enjoy what it provides in my life.

Riding my bike gives me physical and mental balance. Family of 6 and my job is stressful, I need cycling!