Most people that I talk to about cycling, especially those who have been in the sport for a while, smile knowingly when I ask about the pain… There are reasons why cyclists constantly talk about suffering, the pain, the fight, etc. to describe riding with intensity. I’ve come to learn this over several years of dedication to riding and training. What I’m finding is that cycling has become one of the most powerful tools of self-development and mental focus I’ve ever come across for myself. I don’t remember it this way as a kid, of course. All I remember are the fast descents, racing my friends up each hill, and endless summer days.
These days, as a year-round cyclist, I’m very interested in the mental game of cycling. This year has been a more successful year for me in terms of my riding abilities. I’ve found that I can climb faster, finish training rides with my team, and get dropped less often in races. These are all outward signs of improvement, but I’ve discovered that they may not all be due to increased physical abilities. I give the credit largely to a deeper understanding of my emotional state on the bike. Of all the things I’ve learned in the past few years, probably the most important is how to be more relaxed on the bike when the intensity starts heating up and learning how to quiet the distractions.
This is a topic I intend to explore more, and not one that I even planned to write about this morning. It was inspired by my reading of this article by Kevin Todd.