Peer Pressure, FOMO, and Cycling Identity

Have you joined rides/events because others convinced you to do so, or simply because you thought you should?

I certainly have… but it wasn’t always clear to me that the ride/event wasn’t enjoyable simply because it was not aligned with what I truly enjoy doing on the bike. Many times I thought it was because I wasn’t good enough, experienced enough, or strong enough. Well, sometimes it was because of that :thinking:

Then there is social media: Instagram, Strava, Facebook, etc. If you are like me, cycling feeds take most of my feeds on these sites. I see all the traveling people do to participate in cycling events/camps, scenic and awesome routes, nice weather, races that look badass, countless hours on weekends, big groups of friends, the list goes on. Wow, riders everywhere sure are having all sorts of fun!! Oh and what about this one: someone posts a comment on your Zwift ride on Strava asking why you did not go outside to ride, because the weather was so “nice” and it’s finally “warm” - and little do they know you have so many personal commitments you can’t afford to go for that nice 3h ride outside? I catch myself in a “funk” sometimes thinking how I could be doing this and that, and instead I can’t because of… well, life.

All of these things can often times clutter our minds and detract from who we are and what we like, and most importantly, how we feel abut ourselves, our cycling, and our personal accomplishments.

So I thought I’d share how I plan to handle this:

  • I’m going to be true to myself and stick with what I like, regardless of whether everyone else seems to be doing something, and/or something is a “tradition” in cycling.
  • I am going to keep things in perspective. Many of the riders in my area and in local clubs are much younger/older than me, and do not have the same commitments that I do. Sometimes I think it’s a small miracle that I am able to fit it as much as I do in light of the hectic life that I have right now. So I am going to celebrate that. Celebrate each ride, each workout, each event. I did it!!!
  • There are many events and trips I’d love to do, but can’t at this point in my life. So I am going to stop beating myself up for not being able to do it, and will find events that bring me joy, fulfilment and that I can realistically commit to. Zwift events count here also, and I won’t worry about what the outdoor purists think :smiley:

I hope this post is helpful to those who also feel some peer pressure or FOMO!!

Ride On!!


This made me giggle… I know many of them… I’ve been told I’m crazy because I enjoy doing workouts indoors or that people that zwift are not real cyclists. Thankfully I don’t care what people say and I love waving at these outdoor purists when I pass them going up climbs :rofl:


We must be feeling the same aura!!! I get that pushback from my team captain all of the time. :expressionless: I live next to Boulder so, of course, I get a lot of ribbing that I’m never riding any of the epic-ness. I will always be a flatlander at heart so good thing I could ride east/away from the mountains, if I wanted to ride outside. But I don’t. Only in the last year have I gotten over the crippling fear of being killed on the bike, after a friend/coach died. I have always enjoyed riding inside and have just grown to love Zwift and feeling Strong, as opposed to demoralized or terrified, and the feeling of accomplishment and sense of community. It doesn’t mean I still don’t feel Less Than when I’m around my teammates and cycling friends but I paid my dues (rode in all conditions, rode all day, etc.) and accomplished enough before kids that I know I don’t have to prove anything and others have different priorities or are in different phases of life. I will get to get away for camp this year but probably not much riding/racing outside, after it. The training on Zwift keeps me strong enough to ride with my team when I do, which brings it full circle to the Why’s.


Love this!

Crit racing is the thing in Minneapolis and there are so many races and people I know talk about how great they are, blah blah blah. I tried crit racing a couple years ago and it was fun but only kind of. I am not built for short, fast races but I tried to convince myself otherwise. I am glad I came to my senses! The TTs and the longer road races are all outside the city often a 90+ minute drive away. My rule is, if I am going to be in the car for as long or longer than the actual race/event, I am not going to drive there. Gravel rides are many and I like them very much but they are usually an hour or so drive away too. So I pick a few long ones and am happy with that. Often what I really enjoy most is going off alone on my bike for long rides and exploring. It’s my happy place :grin:

When it comes to Zwift events FOMO is sometimes really strong, I don’t have to spend an hour or more in the car after all! But like Angie, I try to keep the whys in mind and that helps me sort it all out. Then I can be excited and happy for everyone who is doing the big event and not feel like I have missed anything.


Wow I can totally relate to each of the posts here! I love training and riding inside- I find myself becoming more and more of a zwifty!! I have now seen what could happen in a bike crash and have PTSD from Terry’s crash.


Yes! For me it’s racing. Several of my good friends are racing this year and loving doing crits and such. Racing just…doesn’t interest me. I love to push myself to go longer or harder, but to me racing a crit would be like getting dropped from a group ride, only with an audience watching. I’m vaguely reconsidering whether I would enjoy road races or TT’s since that’s more my riding style, but I don’t know. Then my question is what will be my motivation to keep pushing and improving if I don’t want to race? I do love traveling for cool rides, but work, budget, and life limit how much of that I can do.


@stacypro - I am exactly the same way in crits- not for me - I do enjoy TT and road though - what about zwift racing?? Those are good motivators for me too. I


Zwift racing doesn’t interest me either. I don’t seem to be able to push myself like that. I just shrug and gear down. :woman_shrugging::sweat_smile:

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I have a hard time in Zwift races too @stacypro, but maybe for a different reason. I am not the type of rider able to hold sustained power for long periods of time. I plan to go back to doing some Zwift races, but I will chose the hilly ones (like NYC, Watopia Hilly, Richmond UCI Lap and Bologna), where I actually have a chance. Just like IRL, I am not as strong on the flats and TTs, which is what most Zwift races are.

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I haven’t really thought of racing, only did one race in Zwift to date but after @Coach_Theia asked me if I raced after looking at my ability graph, it does give me some pause again. I feel like i have so much more to learn first thought about how to race in Zwift. I have no interest in IRL racing, I’m not afraid to ride IRL but trying to go fast on a road with other riders trying to pass me, not so much. Probably has a little to do with my being deaf in my left ear. I often can’t hear when people pass me until they are right there, especially when they don’t call it.

So far I’ve been able to stave off the FOMO, at least for IRL stuff. I dont think i can say that with respect to Zwift - i ‘had’ to do ZA, i ‘had’ to do TdZ this year (signed up last year and didnt do any of it) and i wanted to do the Andre Greipel mega ride Sat. I did skip the power up series but i will look at the VoxWomen series. Will depend on what it all is. If it’s serious climbing routes that I have no interest in doing, I’ll skip. I may not get the Tron bike for another couple of years, but that’s ok. I’m more interested in total miles (I set a goal of 4K for this year, i did 3K in 2019) and working on skills than i am the Tron :hushed:


There is so much to learn about zwift racing @PaleGail and much of it is learning while you go. It’s different than IRL racing in a lot of ways, plus you don’t have to worry about bike handling skills, crashes, or weather. Check out Zwiftinsider for tips on racing and then just try it! Most races are 45 - 60 minutes but Team Fearless offers some short women only beginner races if you just want to get your feet wet. :smile:


I totally didnt see this until now @Stefanie but I will have to look into maybe trying a few shorter races first. But, I’m trying not to get sucked into FOMO and want to keep my training schedule first and do other stuff like this in between on optional ride/endurance ride days. I did TdZ (for the ugly jersey) but decided Tour of Innsbruck and VoxWomen just weren’t in the cards this year due to scheduling - and the courses to some extent. I almost broke down and then reminded myself training comes first :grinning:


I love this topic. I remember when I first started working with Theia and one of the biggest things I learned was to “know your why’s.”
My why’s:
I am not a big racer. I look at outdoor races as adventures with directions! On Zwift, I look at racing as a way to push myself- sometimes to push the envelope. If I blow up, all I have to do is unclip and fall on the couch. I focus so little on the outcome or where I place.
I don’t think I’ve ever finished a tour or multi day event on Zwift.

I like challenging myself and taking myself out of my comfort zone.

I like being around people and having a community. I like encouraging others and being around others who like to do active things.

This year, I started training for off road triathlon mostly because I needed to start swimming to help strengthen and stretch my body after a long term injury. I’ve always wanted to learn how to run for distances and now being an empty nester and retired from my profession, I have the time and energy. Luckily for me, a woman I mountain bike with is a triathlon and master swimming coach. So- the timing was right.

Even doing this- I keep my why’s in check. I have to listen to my body. I want to be in shape, but I don’t want to take the fun out of cycling or use it as a way to feel bad about myself.


This resonates a lot… I am joining a racing team this year and I want to keep this in perspective.


This is why I have never been tempted to race (either IRL or on Zwift) as I know how my brain reacts to competition and the impact it would have on mental health.