Road Cycling Mental Tips

April 15, 2016

  • by
  • Peter Reese

Before the rubber meets the road, the neurons fly across synapses.  Adept riders turn their sights inward before the season heats up in a quest to make the most of every mile in the saddle.  Active Junky’s got three tips to inject into your noggin’ today for season-long success.

Find – Or Recommit – To A Mantra

In yoga, exhaling breath is part of the release of tension and sharpening of focus often accompanied by a deep resonant sound (in total, known as “pranayama”). Martial arts sensei instruct acolytes to vocalize a pronounced “kiai” which translates as “uniting the spirit.”  Cyclists benefit from adopting a word or phrase – spoken or not – that serves the same purpose.  This season, the words “Suffer Better” are worth considering ( as their “give your all and give back” mission elevates the value of every oxygen molecule burned this season.  Use your chosen mantra with every exhale when the road tilts up and home is still a 45-minute ride away.

Pick Your Rules

Notice the admonition is to “pick,” not “make.”  Will you ride your bike, on the road, as a vehicle that obeys traffic laws?  What about sticking to designated lanes and paths with clear demarcation?  Or will you run red lights, pound on car hoods when they get too close and salute drivers who don’t dance to your telepathic commands?   Decide now as each path has its own consequences.  Your behavior is a result of brain-based decision making – that should trump gut-level reactions on the road.  Seek a place of clarity, conviction and consistency that promotes both riding awareness as well as relative relaxation.

Embrace The Place

Three years ago, a misinformed attempt to ride the roads of Las Vegas turned into a Frustration Fest.  The swarming crowds and bike-blind drivers on the Strip made a daunting mission more than perilous.  A desire to ride fast and continuously was misplaced – and totally my mistake.  When the shift was made from aerobic achievement to peddling like a circus cyclist (minus the high wire), the fun began.  Counting the number of open beer bottles at 9am became the metric, as did feeling the heat from Treasure’s Island volcano.  Thanks to beta from a local bike shop, longer bike-friendly roads were found circling the city when time for a serious training ride presented itself. Indeed, every place and moment equals joy, challenge, instruction or encouragement (and humor)

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