Mind Over Matter: Page 3 of 4

Training & Health

10/14/2008| 0 comments
by Jim Lehman and Jim Rutberg

Mind Over Matter

Your mind and its power to either enhance or hinder your ability to perform at your best.

to see if you’re really accomplishing what you set out to do today.

Lose your Fear of Losing

You race conservatively when you’re worried about getting dropped. This is the primary reason racers do not take the risk of initiating, joining, or working in a breakaway group. The truth is, there’s a chance your breakaway won’t make it, and a chance the break will make it, but that you won’t be able to keep up with it. There’s also a chance that making an effort off the front could mean that you get spit straight out the back when the peloton catches you. Yet, there are some other important results you may garner from trying anyway.

Some riders notice that riders they were intimidated by had to work very hard to catch them, and when you realize you’re powerful enough to make them hurt, they suddenly become beatable. Riding aggressively and showing that you’re willing to commit to potentially winning moves also makes it more likely that other like-minded racers will join you. The way you approach races, and the way you ride, can help you generate a reputation that helps you get into, and stay in, the right moves. 

Clear your Mind

Once you commit to the effort of a breakaway or a chase, clear your mind and just go. There is a lot of strategy in bike racing, but the time for considering the costs and benefits of a move came and went before you committed to it. Once you’re on your way, don’t waste time and attention on second-guessing and devising contingency plans in case this move doesn’t pan out. You made the decision, and you can’t control what the rest of the race is going to do in response. The only performance you can truly control is your own, and throwing the full weight of your effort and commitment behind your decisions increases the chances that you’ll actually be successful.  

Turn Setbacks into Opportunities

Several of my athletes have returned from mid-season injuries to have the best performances of their careers. Saul Raisin broke his pelvis when he was run over by a motorcycle in the Three Days of Dunkirk, yet six weeks later he finished ninth overall in the ProTour Tour of Germany. Ryan Trebon broke his wrist in the Tour de Toona in the summer of 2005, then stormed through the cyclocross season a few months later and eventually finished XX in the USGP Series and second at the US National Championships. And then, of course, there are the US Paralympic athletes I’ve worked with; men and women who are blind, missing limbs, and living with brain injuries who are nonetheless committed to competing and winning as elite athletes.

Setbacks in the form of illnesses and injuries can be a blessing in disguise when they help you get more rest than you would have normally afforded yourself. In the cases of Saul and Ryan, their injuries allowed them to take time off during periods of the year when their fellow competitors were racing and training full-bore.


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