Thursday, May 20, 2010

Don't get hung up on the "best bike"

bike racing: the penultimate guide: Bike racing 101 - part 3 - it's not about the bike, is it?
Bike racing 101 - part 3 - it's not about the bike, is it?
Well it could be about the bike, if it matters that much to you. Let's face it, it's hard work racing - sometimes it can be just as important (or easier) to you to just cruise, get fit(ter) and not worry about racing. Maybe just dabble but don't commit.

I have some problems with this myself, which I'll share now. Dabbling is great. I dabble in Art. But I'm always wondering 'whatif'. What if I had committed to art? Or music? Or writing? Or cycling, for that matter? Life is about decisions and compromises and living with the results. By total immersion you may well achieve your potential, but it's unlikely that you will achieve anywhere near your potential by dabbling. Of course you can always rationalise these decisions and worry about it all later, but I wanted to make the point - dabbling is not going to help you to achieve at the highest level.

It's a sliding scale, though. Maybe your life allows you to dabble 20% of the time in cycling, and maybe that's enough time to reach 80% of your fitness potential? Just be aware that this trade off is your choice, so don't come to me in 20 years time saying that you could've been a pro if only you'd committed yourself... phew, glad that's out of the way. I never really wanted to be a pro, I just wanted to win club races - really!

So - given that we are dabbling here, not immersing - we are going to maximise our efforts and results and minimise our time. That's the thrust of my argument. Let's get the best result for our buck. Which brings me to bikes. You don't need the flashest gear to win a race. (It may be motivating to have flash gear, but it won't be a bigger lever than your fitness and skill level.)

My winningest bike was an $800 Shogun in 1984.