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Motivation - is it the time of year?

JohnpsandersonJohnpsanderson Posts: 380
edited September 2011 in Amateur race
Motivation seems to have deserted me, possibly because i've just ticked off the last big aim of the season. Is it the time of year? How do other people deal with this if it happens?

For me: i've been road racing at 4th cat/go race level for the last few years. This year I even did OK in a couple of local crits - but find it hard to see 2nd place in a Go-Race crit as an achievement when it really is the bottom of the pile. Moving up the categories doesn't appeal - I've decided that I don't want to take the time to / can't afford to drive round trips of 150+ miles on a regular basis to get seriously into road racing. Likewise for cyclo-cross, which is equally far flung...

I'm not keen on chasing superfast TT times. Although we have fast courses relatively close (the E2 course) i've ridden on them and felt like I was just waiting to get hit by a lorry...

I had considered taking on an Ironman. To that end I trained for and ran a marathon in May this year. I aimed for sub-4 hour and achieved it - but found it exceptionally painful and the long runs VERY boring. There wasn't much of a feeling of success afterwards - more of an empty 'that's that ticked off then'.

The final commitment of 2011 was a sportive in France, which i'd ridden before. Although it was a slog - and the 120 miles took about 6.5 hours - my prep was ruined by colds etc so although I i knew i'd make it round I also knew i'd suffer and wouldn't be fast. On the day it was 26c plus and as a result I suffered a lot. Again - more of an empty 'that's that ticked off then'...

I'm not sure whether it's the realisation that i'm not cut out to be an elite, the frustration with the cost/travel time of going to races, or the winter blues coming early....
Put me back on my bike...

t' blog: http://meandthemountain.wordpress.com/

Posts

  • come back to brum and enjoy the pain of Mucklow's in winter
  • come back to brum
    If only - especially now these road circuits keep springing up every 5 minutes!!!
    Put me back on my bike...

    t' blog: http://meandthemountain.wordpress.com/
  • GiantMikeGiantMike Posts: 3,139
    OK then. You seem like a sensible chap. You have 2 choices:

    1. Train you a$$ off and try to get as good as you can. You'll need to be motivated, have a training plan, possibly a coach and some money. Train for specific purposes, rather than just riding. Target some key 3rd and 4th CAT races and try to get as many points as you can. Remember that it never gets any easier no matter how good you get, you just get more points and race against more capable people.

    2. Accept that some people are not cut out to be very competitive (either physiologically or through a combination of lack of training and/or natural talent and a desire not to suffer when they have to). Bimble round trying to have fun where you can.

    From your post it sounds like you're drifting from option 1 to option 2. 99.9% of riders are not elite riders and want to do better. Have you considered another sport, either as a temporary or permanent change? Or something with a bit more interest (like fell running or cross country, cyclocross, MTB)?

    For me, I'm mainly in option 1 (self-coaching and improving at 40 years old), Picked up some 4th CAT points this year and hope/expect to get 3rd CAT next year. I quite like the 'suffering' element of training/racing because I think it's doing me some good and I therefore don't see it as a chore even though it's a load of effort for little actuual return. I've had several option 2 moments, but then I remember I'm great in bed and I can't be elite at everything!
  • GiantMike wrote:
    OK then. You seem like a sensible chap. You have 2 choices:

    1. Train you a$$ off and try to get as good as you can. You'll need to be motivated, have a training plan, possibly a coach and some money. Train for specific purposes, rather than just riding. Target some key 3rd and 4th CAT races and try to get as many points as you can. Remember that it never gets any easier no matter how good you get, you just get more points and race against more capable people.

    2. Accept that some people are not cut out to be very competitive (either physiologically or through a combination of lack of training and/or natural talent and a desire not to suffer when they have to). Bimble round trying to have fun where you can.

    From your post it sounds like you're drifting from option 1 to option 2. 99.9% of riders are not elite riders and want to do better. Have you considered another sport, either as a temporary or permanent change? Or something with a bit more interest (like fell running or cross country, cyclocross, MTB)?

    For me, I'm mainly in option 1 (self-coaching and improving at 40 years old), Picked up some 4th CAT points this year and hope/expect to get 3rd CAT next year. I quite like the 'suffering' element of training/racing because I think it's doing me some good and I therefore don't see it as a chore even though it's a load of effort for little actuual return. I've had several option 2 moments, but then I remember I'm great in bed and I can't be elite at everything!

    What sleeping?
    Expertly coached by http://www.vitessecyclecoaching.co.uk/

    http://vineristi.wordpress.com - the blog for Viner owners and lovers!
  • ju5t1nju5t1n Posts: 2,028
    GiantMike wrote:
    Have you considered another sport?
    Ace ace ace
  • SurfrSurfr Posts: 243
    I hit a slump about 2 weeks ago. Basically after the National 12. I entered the Welsh 10 champs the following weekend and only equaled ,my PB instead of taking a chunk out (PB from a much slower course). This was enoguh to put me in end-of-season mode. Now I've just cancelled my 3 peaks entry and havge taken the month off. Base training and Pete Reads Black Book starts in October. Until then it's beer and mates time.
  • Have you considered another sport
    Yeah - that was basically where i was going with the marathon and dreams of an Ironman. But the running was so physically painful/mind numbingly boring that it didn't resemble any form of enjoyment.
    Remember that it never gets any easier no matter how good you get, you just get more points and race against more capable people.
    That is almost the problem. I have been busting a gut to perform in 4th cat races and have got to a point where I can be competitive at the sharp end when all goes well. I even got a 2nd in a crit, 6 inches off the win. But it didn't feel like an achievement - it almost felt shameful to consider it a success...
    Put me back on my bike...

    t' blog: http://meandthemountain.wordpress.com/
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    Motivation seems to have deserted me, possibly because i've just ticked off the last big aim of the season. Is it the time of year?...........
    Well now is definitely a good time to be short on motivation - if you can't chill out and relax at the end of the season then when can you?

    It's a shame you're not still in B'ham because you could have joined the growing band of Beacon cyclocrossers - it looks like we're going to have a really good season with several new members coming along and giving it a go.

    Ruth
  • Where are you that you have to travel 150 miles to race? Or do you mean just this time of year?
    Being competative in any sport is not just about physical ability but also mental strength, especially in cycling. When your suffering you can guarentee so are others so you just have to remember this.
    Also the more successful athletes tend to be highly self motivated so you have to become mmore self motivated. Some coaches may help with your motivation, also maybe sports psychologist but cheaper if you can do this yourself :D
    If you think your limitations are purely physical then you just have to trian harder or better or maybe do different events. Continental sportives are more like races, but with hundreds of riders so can always find competition and routes are great, just try a couple a year.
    Enjoy your cycling and you tend to get motivated easier and surprisingly get faster and better.
    No point training if you feel low, it just makes you feel worse.
    Every year I stop around october ( too old to go all year lol) then start back about Jan and get dropped by riders who should not drop me :D but I know it is temporay until I ride more so dont let it worry me .
    When you struggle in races just dont worry about it and treat it as a stepping stone or training to help you improve.
  • Where are you that you have to travel 150 miles to race?

    Colchester, Essex. I meant to ride on the road rather than closed road circuit races and get into races that were 3/4 rather than 2/3/4 (i'm unlikely to get entry to a 2/3/4 race because of our local league rules) - all the local races are league races - so to fill in the gaps to get regular racing the alternative is to go further afield.

    That said - midweek is also a pain in the backside - my round trips to nearest (mid week) race series are:
    North Weald - 85 miles (2 hour trip)
    Hog Hill 100 miles (3 hours +!)
    Dunton - 90 miles (2 hour trip)
    Lotus - 120 miles (3 hours)
    Hillingdon - 200 miles (through the M1 junc on the M25? Who knows!!!)
    Put me back on my bike...

    t' blog: http://meandthemountain.wordpress.com/
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    Not a member of an ERRL club then? Tough to get a ride in the Eastern region unless you are.
  • Not a member of an ERRL club then? Tough to get a ride in the Eastern region unless you are.

    No - I AM in an ERRL club - but the races are strung all across the Eastern region - which is large - hence lots of travelling. The additional problem is that 2/3/4 races are selected with the preference towards 2nd cat, then 3rd cat, then 4th cat. This then means i'm only likely to get a ride in the 3/4 races....
    Put me back on my bike...

    t' blog: http://meandthemountain.wordpress.com/
  • MikeWWMikeWW Posts: 723
    Just doesn't sound like you are enjoying it-might be good to take some time off.
    Maybe you are doing too much training on your own? Not sure.
    At 49 and only been cycling for a couple of years I will really struggle to make 2nd Cat (4th at moment) but love it. Cross season just starting which is even more fun and being at the wrong end of the age group not expecting top 10's. Hurt like hell racing last weekend but can't wait for Sunday. Supposed to be a fun hobby-if its not fun why bother?
  • Colchester is pretty much between the places that hold crits too. I was going to recommend Hog Hill when I saw Essex but you're way North.

    Could be worth your while getting in touch with the guys who run the Woodbridge Crits and seeing if any of the Suffolk races are close enough (but I suspect you've seen their race calendar and Woodbridge is nearly as far as Hog Hill).

    Have you considered moving? :wink:
  • the guys who run the Woodbridge Crits

    ....that'd be ME then :-D I went for the 'there are no local races at weekends so i'll be proactive, organise some, and ride if I get the chance' approach.... Suffice to say being a race organiser (in my experience) is work enough on any given day - never mind trying to squeeze in riding in your own race....!
    Put me back on my bike...

    t' blog: http://meandthemountain.wordpress.com/
  • HibbsHibbs Posts: 291
    Not a member of an ERRL club then? Tough to get a ride in the Eastern region unless you are.

    No - I AM in an ERRL club - but the races are strung all across the Eastern region - which is large - hence lots of travelling. The additional problem is that 2/3/4 races are selected with the preference towards 2nd cat, then 3rd cat, then 4th cat. This then means i'm only likely to get a ride in the 3/4 races....

    Not in the ERRL.
  • Not in the ERRL.

    I understood that they were - although you are right -i've checked and they are done off licence points declared on the entry form instead (after an equal split amongst member clubs has been made - for full events). In any event - the far flung nature of the racing is my bigger gripe - I want to race on a weekly basis if i'm going to do it properly and the cost/timespent travelling is the barrier...

    Anyway - i'm feeling a bit more positive and have decided to (again!) target a sub-2 hour ride in this http://www.beaconrcc.org.uk/open_races/lmtt/index.html in 2012 as well as signing up for the SPOCO SE series.

    And when the local circuit races kick in - i'll go along to those with the focus on having fun.
    Put me back on my bike...

    t' blog: http://meandthemountain.wordpress.com/
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    Anyway - i'm feeling a bit more positive and have decided to (again!) target a sub-2 hour ride in this http://www.beaconrcc.org.uk/open_races/lmtt/index.html in 2012 as well as signing up for the SPOCO SE series.
    Good man! Best time trial in the Midlands. (And I'm only a little biased) :D

    Ruth
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