Racing is a term that can put people off. I get it. I avoided races for a long time and had all my excuses to not do it. I didn't have the right bike, racing was only for people who can podium, and my ego couldn't handle the inevitable loss.
Eventually I tried it out though and discovered just how good it can be for me as a rider and beneficial for the community. I’m not a top-of-the-podium racer, but every year, and throughout the season I can see my progressions and attribute a lot of that to my involvement with ORS and the racing opportunities on offer.
Breaking that down even further, an article by James Wilson highlighted how ORS involvement has helped shape and develop my riding. His article is here and he starts with highlighting this quote:
"It takes three people to make you the best person you can be - someone better than you, someone equal to you and someone less than you." – Frank Shamrock
So here’s how I have seen ORS, and the three type of people, help make me a better rider.
Someone better than you
One version of this has been, “if you want to get faster, ride with people faster than you”. I can personally attest that this can be effective. However, finding people who are faster than you that also want to ride with you isn’t always easy. Luckily there are ORS Wednesday Nighters, where we have a diverse set of riders, and you can latch on to a wheel that’s just a little faster than you and help push you just a little harder than you’d otherwise ride. Even though I tell myself I’m pushing hard when I ride solo, being in the recreational race environment I definitely push a lot harder and reap the rewards as a result.
Someone equal to you
Your regular riding crew falls into this category, where you will usually be similarly paced up and down, with similar riding experience and technical capabilities. Riding with these people is fun and you know you’re going to have a good time. Riding friends in this category will keep you coming out and having a riot on two wheels - awesome. The risk of only riding with people in this group is that your progress can stagnate – the same trails, ridden the same way, at the same pace. And let’s face it, Saskatchewan has some great trails but significantly less than locations with legit elevation. Having regular opportunities to jump out of that rut, especially if you can bring your whole crew, is going to do good things for your riding. ORS offers weekly races and several events each year that create opportunities for you to grow, and they’re fun, too.
Someone less than you
Teaching less experienced riders requires you to dive deep and really understand what you’re trying to teach. As you learn how to help others ride better, you also learn to ride better. ORS offers formal instruction through our youth programs and are forever grateful to the volunteers helping the up-and-coming riders. At Wednesday night races there isn’t a formal coaching component. You are still able to support and encourage every rider to push a little harder, catch your wheel, and before long they’ll also being pushing you just a little harder to keep your lead, or even passing you and forcing you to up your game.
So whether you are chasing podiums and training 15+ hours a week, or just looking for a little extra motivation to get that cardio without staring at a screen, ORS is the group for you. Check out our calendar and join us for good times on bikes!