7 Reasons to start Bike Racing this season

Hello and welcome to the first ‘useful’ post of 2017. I have saved it for this time of year, when I suspect many of us will be having the debate – to race or not to race? If you have decided to give it a go, take a look at this page for info that will come in useful. If you are still unsure, this post might help to provide a guideline as to whether you are ready to take to the startline for the first time. I hope that this post should provide a kick in the right direction – here are my top reasons to start racing.

  1. Your motivation will be sky high.

For most of us those first few races are something of a steep learning curve – that is to say they involve a through thrashing. Doing badly in your first race is nothing to be ashamed of and in the long term actually prove beneficial. Nothing provides quite such a good incentive to lose a few pounds, get up in the morning for that turbo session, follow a structured training plan and generally improve your riding.

2. Training effect

Following on from the last point – in my experience it is very difficult to push as hard in training as in racing itself. Competitiveness serves to wring out those last few watts, yes it hurts but the benefits can be massive. I’d challenge any rider to say they didn’t emerge from that first season of racing fitter than they ever were before (assuming they didn’t end up overtrained that is). Want to be the best cyclist you can be? Enter a race.

3. New bike day – if you like.

Just between you and I – unless you happen to be riding a 20 year old frame then your bike is unlikely to be holding you back. Never be put off entering a race because you don’t have top of the range equipment. It is the rider that wins – not the bike. If you do happen to be in a fortunate position, racing provides a brilliant excuse with which to convince your significant other that you need a new machine. Deep section wheels, power meters and various other pieces of equipment now begin to make more sense.

4. Rewards are sweet.

Of course it is satisfying to do well in a sportive or other non-competitive event, competing against yourself can bring much satisfaction. Let me tell you – it doesn’t compare to the feeling that accompanies doing well in a race. Personally I have never been so proud of myself as when I got to stand on a podium for the first time. All the sacrifices you make in preparation suddenly become worth it.

5. It isn’t that expensive.

Once again don’t be dissuaded if you have a tight budget, for more on this check out this post. Races are far cheaper than most sportives (at the time of writing most closed circuit races cost about £15). British Cycling membership is more costly than I would like but it does provide many benefits.

6. Bragging rights.

Lets face it – being able to wow your club mates with heroic tales of racing exploits is a tantalising prospect. Especially if they don’t race themselves, you may get away with some artistic licence. A few old favourites include “I was first in my age group” or “I attacked at the wrong time and got caught”, for purposes of this post I won’t include the translations. If nothing else you can give yourself a pat on the back for taking the plunge when many others choose to stay at home.

 

 

7. Why not?

In all likelihood, the worst that can happen is crashing or getting dropped. Neither of those things represent the end of the world. If you don’t give racing a try then you’ll never know whether or not it happens to be for you. You can even enter without a full race license, though this will render you illegible for any points should you finish in the top ten (more on this here). In my case I can’t see myself entering another crit for a very long time, but road racing still has much appeal.

As a final note. Racing has taught me a great deal about Cycling and possibly even more about myself. It has bought lows but also some amazing highs. Yes it may turn out not be to your liking but giving it a go won’t hurt and I would urge anyone to do so.

On that, goodbye from me.