Friday, 24 August 2007

Am I Ready To Race?

Anyone who has read a cycling forum has "heard" the question. Usually it takes the form of "I can ride my bike about (x) mph for (y) long, so what do you think?" Well, here are a number of replies, all of which, in my opinion, are valid.

1. No, you're never ready for your first race.
2. Of course, get the first one over with and see what it's about.
3. Are you ready to get yelled at by a bunch of people you've never met about things you don't understand?
4. Can you ride in a freaking straight line?
4a. For miles and miles?
4b. When you're right next to 50 of your closest friends?
4c. With no hands?
4d. While taking a drink from your bottle?
4e. At 25mph?
4f. When you are seeing triple?
5. Do you look good in lycra?
6. Is your bike going to explode when you put it under extraordinary stress?
7. Are you going to explode under extraordinary stress?
8. When you ride in the winter, do you anxiously await the onslaught of numbness in your hands and feet so at least they stop hurting?
9. Are there sweat holes burned through the wood floor where you ride your trainer?
10. Do you enjoy driving an hour to warmup on a trainer in a parking lot for an hour so that you can ride in a 40 minute crit and then drive home?
10a. And get charged $35 for the pleasure?
11. How do you feel about being scared out of your mind?
12. Can you change out of your bibs, give your tackle a full baby wipe shower and get into shorts all while wearing a towel in a public parking lot?
13. Getting up at 6 on the weekend, do you just LOVE IT?
14. Have you been wondering what to do with that extra thousand bucks every year?
15. Can you puke at full speed, without losing your line?
16. Do you have entirely too much skin and need to lose some?
17. MOST IMPORTANT!!! Are you ready to make a ridiculous blog to announce all of the minutiae of your racing and training exploits, joys, hates, successes and failures?

There are as many replies to this question as there are people to ask and answer it. After one season of racing, I can say that there is nothing short of actually racing that will prepare you for racing. Riding with a fast group like the 10am rides or the goon ride will help you get the feel for it, but until you clip in a go over the line, you'll never know if it's for you or you are for it.


Kate said...

Don't forget about the wife/girlfriend factor. Is your FPG cool with you spending all of those hours on a bike, not home, racing with other boys, dressing in spandex and leg shaving? If the answer to all of those questions is yes, you are most assuredly ready to race.

Walter said...

Regarding number 10. HA HA HA
I think 10 - 12 minutes is more realistic. The best is when the whistleman pulls you aside and you look at your watch to realize you only lasted 5 laps or so. Even as your throat was burning and your legs turning to jelly with your eyes on fire you were not good enough to stay with the real racers. Thank you for playing. On days like that I try to leave before the end of the race so I don't have to come up with excuses for why I couldn't even hang with that guy I always beat in the town line sprint on the group ride.

Bob said...

I just started a blog for that very reason. It's nice to publish a record of all your failures for the world to see. Also to impart my infinite wisdom. Sounds good to me.