Viewing 40 posts - 81 through 120 (of 128 total)
  • Athlete life…. :(
  • twonks
    Full Member

    Don’t mean to sound condescending but well done in opening up Kryton.

    You didn’t have to do that. The fact you did shows you are beginning to understand that there is something underlying – the need to in essence always seek the respect of others.

    This is where it could get prickly and tbh is best addressed through a professionally and suitably trained listener. I’m not but I have seen similar traits in people close to me over the years.

    Something early in your life will have set off the need for acknowledgment in what you do. It doesn’t have to have been something negative or even memorable – but something has happened I assure you.

    Please don’t pour your heart out further here if you are not comfortable with it, as things get very deep very quickly.

    The purpose of me saying this is to give you a bit of thought guidance. Something might be triggered. You might think I’m talking out of my poop hole or wayyyy off the mark.

    Either way, don’t make any rash decisions just yet, even of one of them is to tell me to trott on 😂😂

    molgrips
    Full Member

    enterprise sales

    That sounds tough, I bet you don’t sell many of them with the price of dilithium these days.

    bazzer
    Free Member

    I totally understand how you feel. I trained and raced Ironman/Tri for a number of years. Generally loved the training but everything else in my life suffered because of it.

    Last race was Ironman Austria about 3 years ago and am not sure if I have been out on my road bike since. (anyone want a Cervelo P3 Di2) I now run for fitness and fun, though find it odd to go out the door with no real plan. I ride Enduro Motorbike and do a bit of mountain biking which I have realised I really missed.

    I was mid pack at races and realised I hated the stress of travelling worrying I had forgotten anything. I only really relaxed once I hit the water, then I knew there was nothing I could do if I had forgotten something in transition.

    I miss the discipline of training, not the stress of racing.

    I also like being able to do stuff spontaneously without feeling guilty about missing training.

    RamseyNeil
    Free Member

    On the plus side just think how stressed you would be if you really cracked it and became one of the best in the world and were having to jet off all over the world to events .

    Kryton57
    Full Member

    Lol, Nino doesn’t look stressed as he wheelies around Cape Epic.

    Twonks, I have typed out a long response, because in parallel I anticipated you question last night. I’m just considering whether and how to post it.

    scotroutes
    Full Member

    A thought… you’ve mentioned this need for external verification/acclaim. I don’t think that makes you in any way unusual. I’d say that the majority of Instagrammers, Bloggers, Vloggers etc are exactly the same, just seeking it in a different way.

    weeksy
    Full Member

    The one thing that jumps out in all of this is “enjoyment”. Sure i get you’re a racer and a much better one than me, but i’m still not feeling you’re enjoying the riding. It sounds like it’s more of a chore to an end-goal rather than an enjoyment thing ?
    I do get that we have to put in the hard work to be competitive, but not without enjoyment surely ?

    Your write ups are quite insightful and a good warning to me and my lad embarking on our racing. So thank you for that at the very least.

    c_klein87
    Full Member

    been following this thread, racing used to be so important to me, social plans and proper relationships suffered slightly. long covid took me out pretty bad for a few years and decided then I had no intentions to race my mtb again, bought a trail bike did some bikepacking and started running, did my first trail marathon few weeks back and won, so happy to just be fit again and not so stressed about training! but enjoyment is key, luckily never need too much motivation to “train”

    RamseyNeil
    Free Member

    Lol, Nino doesn’t look stressed as he wheelies around Cape Epic.

    I was really poking fun at your fear of flying . I hope you have overcome that one now .

    On a more serious note you have to enjoy what you are doing and racing at any level is hard . You may need to consider that you have been as good as you could have been and decide whether you are prepared to put in the same time and effort for no tangible gain in performance or whether you are happy to ride your bike for pleasure , be it racing , touring , commuting , pottering with your family , or fun rides with mates .

    Kryton57
    Full Member

    Ah sorry. Yes and no, I fly unmedicated by nervous using CBt techniques to help out.

    One day they’ll be a long trip to see the extended family in the Caribbean on the now smaller planes which will test it out.

    wbo
    Free Member

    Important to differentiate between enjoyment and satisfying here… a lot of training isn’t especially enjoyable for endurance sports, and if the satisfaction disappears motivation soon follows.

    saynotobasemiles
    Free Member

    There’s some really good comments/answers here from people who can clearly sympathise.

    The overriding thing for me seems to be lack of enjoyment and the validation aspect.

    If you do something you enjoy and if you’ve got a competitive personality witha bit of natural talent, then chances are you will be good at it. I’d imagine perhaps that’s how you ended up here? But I wouldn’t try and kid yourself into enjoying something any longer just because you are indeed good at it and like the validation. That said it’s a trap many of us fall into.

    I’ve been in a similar situation before and I think you probably need to remove yourself from it totally (the racing and training part) to know whether you want to go back, refreshed and ready to crack on or get stuck into something new. Only time will tell but you will definitely know. I did.

    There may well be something else you are great at and enjoy more but you’ll never know if you pigeon hole yourself into one niche sport/discipline.

    ayjaydoubleyou
    Full Member

    Important to differentiate between enjoyment and satisfying here… a lot of training isn’t especially enjoyable for endurance sports, and if the satisfaction disappears motivation soon follows.

    Does depend on the person and the sport. I’ve heard from a lot of amateur traithletes that they bloody hate the races, and only do at most a couple a year.
    But they really enjoy the extensive and variable training for them, for both the endorphins and the effect on their health.
    Seems the races are only there to keep them honest.

    MTB racing might be a bit different. You can power meter and HRM yourself to the gills and get all the stats you want both for training and to monitor and pace yourself during an event but those numbers won’t actually tell you who is the better mtb rider.

    For transparency, I’m fairly crap as a racer, both XC and enduro. I enter occasional races for the experience and the fun; and partly because for me thats what the sport of mtbing is, at least in part.

    That doesn’t mean I can’t or dont enjoy a play about on the jumps with my friends or a trail centre lap with the missus.

    But over the summer I’ll be glued to the TV, wishing I was Minaar or Schurter or Moir; and trying and failing to come top half in my category at a local race is my tiny slice of trying to feel that.

    rollindoughnut
    Free Member

    Here’s something that helped me a little.
    Lining up at a cx race, wishing I wasn’t there and feeling guilty for having such treacherous thoughts about something I felt so passionatly in love with before. I suddenly realised that out of my original cohort of vet 40 race buddies, only about 5 of the original 50 were there.
    Sure enough, I checked the start lists. I’d say 60-80% of the guys I’d raced against in the past were no longer racing cross.
    Made me realise I wasn’t alone in my doubts.

    crazy-legs
    Full Member

    only about 5 of the original 50 were there.
    Sure enough, I checked the start lists. I’d say 60-80% of the guys I’d raced against in the past were no longer racing cross.

    There’s always a high level of churn, especially at amateur level.

    Very few people can really justify the expense and the training requirements year after year after year – IME of racing, a lot of people will do about 5 years or so then take a break for family reasons and then maybe return to a more targeted form of racing in their 40’s, perhaps doing a couple of big events or redirecting their efforts to whatever the latest thing is: Sportives, gravel, 24hr…

    molgrips
    Full Member

    You may need to consider that you have been as good as you could have been

    This is how I rationalised it. I have a set budget – I have a certain amount of talent, time and mental energy I’m prepare to invest. My aim is to maximise the product of those three. I can’t commit more time or mental energy without sacrificing something else more important. Those people who do better than me have bigger budgets or fewer other demands.

    There are people (men) out there with families who don’t take a big role in family life, especially with young kids, so they carry on racing. Their partners may or may not be happy about that. However I want to be present for my kids and my wife, so that means far less training time is possible.

    mogrim
    Full Member

    I was mid pack at races and realised I hated the stress of travelling worrying I had forgotten anything. I only really relaxed once I hit the water, then I knew there was nothing I could do if I had forgotten something in transition.

    lol – I’m off to Granada to do an ultra tomorrow, and I’ve got a checklist as long as my arm of all the crap I need to take 😀

    For me the race itself is just something I need to keep the motivation up, but then again I’m not bothered in the slightest about the final result, other than finishing and not coming last. @Kryton57 perhaps you could try to change the challenge? Something where completing the race is an acheivement in itself – this also lends itself to longer, more enjoyable rides while training, rather than turning yourself inside out doing intervals. When the long ride is the most important session it takes a lot of stress off the weekday training, and if you miss a session it’s a lot less critical.

    scotroutes
    Full Member

    @Kryton57 – I was going to suggest you identify as female to improve your results but British Cycling seem to have closed off that avenue (for the time being at least).

    crosshair
    Free Member

    Interesting thread as ever with you Kryton. Thanks for sharing.

    A few thoughts jumped out.

    I think the whole ‘athlete’ self-label is an odd Amercianism (from the Trainerroad podcast?) that doesn’t fit the British scene. You’re not an athlete if it doesn’t pay the bills- you’re a salesman who messes about on a bike.
    That’s not a criticism- but maybe re-labelling might help you take the pressure off of yourself?

    Thinking back to my own Crit journey from a zwfit racing fun-cat MTBer who’d never even done a group ride to a Cat 3 fighting to get in the break in Cat 2/3 races- in hindsight, it was Darren’s list that kept me going!

    1. Buy a race license and enter a race
    2. Not get dropped
    3. Finish mid pack
    4. Finish top third
    5. Work on the front
    6. Contest the sprint
    7. Bridge to a break
    8. Attack
    9. Contest the points
    10. Win!

    Without those process goals along the way, I’d have never bothered carrying on for 60 races in 2 years. And when I finally ticked off number ten, it felt like winning an Olympic gold!
    Maybe you need more ‘fun’ process goals to stop your training feeling like such a chore? Smash a few KOM’s or beat up on some MTB club riders? Be a big fish somewhere rather than always feeling like you’re not quite good enough.

    I think for me, breaking my hip and Pelvis when I was 18 really helped me feel happy in my own skin when it came to sports.
    I knew I was never going to amount to much athletically, so anything I could achieve was always in the context of being grateful to be able to do anything at all still.

    The thing about racing is that you are not in control of who else turns up or what the wind and ground conditions are going to do- so it’s hard to gauge progress objectively.

    If you want to keep training for the health benefits then perhaps you could work with your coach to think up some challenging but achievable process goals to focus on? Session a technical local training loop faster, climb a hill faster, improve a time on a local cub ten etc etc and just let the real racing be a fun bi-product of the fitness.

    wors
    Full Member

    I think the whole ‘athlete’ self-label is an odd Amercianism (from the Trainerroad podcast?) that doesn’t fit the British scene. You’re not an athlete if it doesn’t pay the bills- you’re a salesman who messes about on a bike.

    I thinks that a bit unfair, just because it’s not something he doesn’t do professionally or gets paid for doesn’t mean he isn’t. I work as an engineer but I wouldn’t say that’s my identity, it’s just something I do that pays the bills.

    molgrips
    Full Member

    You’re not an athlete if it doesn’t pay the bills- you’re a salesman who messes about on a bike

    Doesn’t sound like he ‘messes about’ to me.

    Athlete is a difficult term. I mean ostensibly it means someone who does athletics. In this case, maybe racer would be better? Not sure.

    crosshair
    Free Member

    As I say- I more meant it as a compliment. It seems to be an import from USA that everyone who wants to be can be an athlete.

    Without having a category of one- it’s the best way to accept your lifestyle compromises.

    crosshair
    Free Member

    So if you consider an 11th place result in say a 60 rider field. To the self styled “athlete”- that could be a crushing disappointment. The exact same outcome for the “gamekeeper who rides bikes” would feel completely different because it wouldn’t come with the weight of expectation.

    masterdabber
    Free Member

    I think the whole ‘athlete’ self-label is an odd Amercianism (from the Trainerroad podcast?) that doesn’t fit the British scene. You’re not an athlete if it doesn’t pay the bills- you’re a salesman who messes about on a bike.
    That’s not a criticism- but maybe re-labelling might help you take the pressure off of yourself?

    It’s, perhaps, interesting to think that for much (most) of the 20th century the Olympics was, in theory, limited to amateur participants. The reality, of course, was a lot more blurred than that.

    crosshair
    Free Member

    Yes- their athletic potential was likely funding their training even if they had a day job. Whereas if the sport is nothing but a drain on the family budget- it’s no surprise to then feel the full weight of responsibility that the proces comes with.

    Kryton57
    Full Member

    The definition of Athelete is different to that of a distinction of Professional (paid) and Amateur (unpaid). I’m definitely the latter.

    I’d argue 10-12 of defined, specific and coached workouts with dietary plans and other advice is a bit more than messing about tbh.

    longer, more enjoyable rides while training, rather than turning yourself inside out doing intervals.

    I do do longer rides at weekend, fairly structured z2 between November and Feb moving to less structured MTB and club rides sometimes.

    BruceWee
    Full Member

    I would have considered myself an athlete when I was training 20 to 30 hours per week and competing every weekend even though it wasn’t paying the bills. The funding I was getting wasn’t even allowing me to break even and I was relying on my parents support to keep training and entering competitions while I was failing various university exams (barely managed to scrape a BSc in the end).

    Officially I would have been a student rather than an athlete but the amount of focus I put on my studies was miniscule compared to the focus I was putting on competing.

    I think you can call yourself an athlete if your chosen sport dictates what you eat, when you go to bed, and where you are for over 50% of your weekends, regardless of how you pay the bills.

    I mean, unless you’re a 3rd division footballer it’s difficult to pay the bills through sport unless you are at the absolute top level (and even then the vast majority are going to be relying on lottery money, not private sponsorship and competition winnings).

    crosshair
    Free Member

    Well clearly the pressure that comes with being your definition of an “athlete” isn’t leading to many happy outcomes Kryton.
    (As I said)

    It may be that you don’t need to change what you’re doing- just reframe how you think of yourself which will in turn reframe how you perceive your results. (As I also said)

    I’m currently averaging 12h26 structured training a week on the bike for 2022 and I’m sure as heck no “athlete” 🤣

    I think 20-30 + some sponsorship would definitely qualify BruceWee 😱 👌🏻
    When I said pay the bills as an amateur athlete I was paraphrasing and meant pay (or at least contribute towards) the cost of the sport v a professional athlete who can sack off the day job.

    jameso
    Full Member

    I think you can call yourself an athlete if your chosen sport dictates what you eat, when you go to bed, and where you are for over 50% of your weekends,

    I know what you’re saying, and I’m not saying anyone’s wrong here. But since it’s a forum etc : ) Perhaps calling ourselves keen riders, racers or athletes at this level says more about our mindset than what we’re actually doing. You could do the training and pick either of those 3 tags. Like the difference between racing in a self-supported event and ‘doing ultra-endurance’. Same thing, different pitch. The stories we tell ourselves and all the different reasons for them.

    Kryton, fair dues to you for being honest about your motivations in racing. In not knowing that I probably made unfair assumptions or conclusions in my 1st post. I don’t mean this to sound as flippant as it might and I could apply it to my own riding, many of us probably could – I saw a meme a while back about non-pro bike racing as ‘the lengths men will go to to avoid therapy’. So many in cycling find an outlet or cover for other things as it allows us to compete, or control weight, be alone, run away from home like kids do, etc.

    footflaps
    Full Member

    I think the whole ‘athlete’ self-label is an odd Amercianism (from the Trainerroad podcast?) that doesn’t fit the British scene. You’re not an athlete if it doesn’t pay the bills- you’re a salesman who messes about on a bike.

    Very much an Americanism, as an ex-Crossfitter it always amused me that everyone in the box was an ‘Athlete’ even if this was your first session and you’d only been in the box for 5 minutes. Unless you’re in the Elite field you’re just messing about IMO no matter how seriously you take yourself.

    BruceWee
    Full Member

    Yeah, but we’re talking about actual sports, not Crossfit 😉

    molgrips
    Full Member

    Unless you’re in the Elite field you’re just messing about IMO

    Disagree. If you’ve got a coach and are putting in lots of hours of targetted training to a specific programme then you are the very opposite of messing about by definition. You may not be top of the field, but that’s where natural ability comes into it.

    The actual word ‘athlete’ is poorly defined anyway. It could just refer to someone doing athletics, for example. But I also used it to describe myself as a sprint athlete purely as apposed to an endurance athlete, nothing to do with my actual fitness level. It’s a bit more succinct than ‘sprinter type person’ which is somewhat more vague.

    BruceWee
    Full Member

    An athlete is similar to porn. You can’t define it but you know it when you see it.

    martinhutch
    Full Member

    The term ‘athlete’ has been slightly cheapened by Strava regularly using it to refer to the likes of me.

    ac282
    Full Member

    I’ve always thought of it as cyclist = someone who rides a bike.
    Athlete = Someone who would do an interval session on the turbo on a sunny day because that is what is written in their training plan.

    continuity
    Full Member

    Having read the entire thread, and wishing I’d poked into this sooner – I can empathise with having felt many of the same things as you, Kryton.

    Despite at points training upwards of 20-30hrs a week, I would never have called myself an athlete – though mainly out of British self-deprecation and insecurity. I even have to be fit for my job – lots of people in my career call themselves athletes (with a weird hyphen in there).

    I agree wholeheartedly with those who have raised the label as an issue: if you call yourself an athlete and you then aren’t experiencing the life that you view as appropriate for an athlete – be it wins, success, validation from other people you define as athletes – you are necessarily going to be smacked in the face with a load of cognitive dissonance and that hurts.

    To me, this sounds like a failure to set meaningful goals – both progression goals and mastery goals. If you don’t need or want goals, then you aren’t the kind of person that should be investing this much time into it and, like many posters, should just enjoy the pub ride. Without goals, training is just thrashing yourself and misery for misery’s sake. Which will, eventually, make you miserable (and the last two years of misery have taught me this lesson pretty hard)

    continuity
    Full Member

    Just to follow up – I didn’t mean to oversimplify the issue (it’s obviously not just one thing at fault here) but to suggest that the whole athlete thing appears symptomatic of a wider issue – of having a one-dimensional narrative to drive your happiness and ego.

    Kryton57
    Full Member

    The more this thread goes on, the harder I find it to answer the question and in fact the more I find I can’t be arsed to either*, because what does it matter?

    The short answer to twonks content is I probably seek validation after a hardsh childhood leading to an estranged parental relationship where from the age of 12 I’ve had to do/earn everything myself. I have a strong work ethics and restleslly keep going, and really am not sure when or how to stop and settle. That is probably the same with the cycling, I think once committed, I batter away at it until I can’t. i then think I get frustrated with downtime activity – rest, beer, life – because it feels like it’s a compromise. So, I’m like never balancing set of scales.

    *I don’t mean to disrespect the contributions made, I mean that I find it easier not to think about it.

    wbo
    Free Member

    ‘You’re not an athlete if it doesn’t pay the bills- you’re a salesman who messes about on a bike.’

    I was going to pick up on this, as it doesn’t work on so many levels, but then reread Crosshair’s thread and came to the conclusion that’s his personal trick to manage the pressure, worry of training. Which is ok, but it might not work for everyone.

    crosshair
    Free Member

    Yes I certainly didn’t mean it as a slur- I just genuinely think it’s a healthy way to frame what us non-athletes do.
    There’s loads of great positives about being a chuffing quick “Salesman/Postman/Gamekeeper/IT Geek on a bike”. Once you become aware of your rankings in the natural order of your chosen sport- it seems the only sensible way to stay engaged in it. As it’s pretty tough mentally to flog away at something you know you can’t commit any more to than you already do.

    And having an all encompassing hobby to keep you driven and focussed and passionate is a great outlet for stress. And that’s not to mention the health benefits that come with having the metabolism of a 20 year old.

    I’m currently training for Dirty Reiver. Even with 12.5 h a week- I know it’s only going to get me round in maybe 9h45 v 10h last year when the real athletes do it in under 7.
    Yet because I don’t take myself too seriously, I can literally be happy whatever the outcome.
    And in many ways- I’ll have way more respect for the folk who didn’t bother training and slog around in 13 hours than those who are sponsored by the local bike shop to help them train 15-20h a week but only finish in 8h30.

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