Racing is not even close to what cruising is like. I cruised Lake Superior for 15 years and now race in Chicago. Cruising is relaxing. Racing is not.
I race on a Sydney 41 and we do long distance and buoy racing. Buoy racing is always challenging because of other boats, mark roundings, and the weather. Long distance, like the Chicago-Mac, is a great time, but the constant sail changes is crazy.
Racing teaches you about boat handling, sail trim, and how not to panic when things go wrong. I have learned that if I can use my racing background to get into an anchorage ahead of the crowd or a storm, I am much better off. The best cruising sailors I have ever met once raced. I recommend racing to everyone, even at a simplier level like Flying Scots. You will learn a ton.