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Endurance Cycling – The Mental Edge

Becoming a successful endurance cyclist mean taking care of the details. People obsess about equipment, training and nutrition by very few put much effort in to mental training. You need to be both physically and mentally strong to do well with endurance cycling. Many times it is the rider who is tougher mentally that wins, not always the fittest.

Visualize your success but see it as a reward for the suffering. Develop in your mind the idea that every moment of pain or discomfort is making you grow invincible. How you perceive pain and effort will dictate how your body will respond to it. Embrace the suffering as we wouldn’t be doing this kind of event, be it a road centry or a solo 24 hour mountain bike race, if it was easy.

A recent study with cyclists showed that a decreased perception of pain lead to higher performance. In a double blind experiment, half of the group were given 1500 mg of Tylenol an hour before a maximal time trial test. The group with the Tylenol had the same perceived exertion with a higher average power output and significantly shorter times to cover the distance. I don’t advocate anyone taking painkillers before events but it does illustrate how it isn’t physical limitations but perceived feeling that can limit performance. I have worked with a number of athletes that don’t end up working to their potential until we change the mental state because they were limiting how hard they would go, not due to physical exhaustion but the perception of it.

The human mind is an amazing thing. We can get used to almost any hardship. If you are living in a war zone, after a while it will seem normal. Use this adaptation to improve you cycling performance. Do things in training to make it mental challenging so that when it’s time for a race, mentally it seems easy.

When ever you are riding in bad weather or against adverse conditions, don’t focus on how you feel but the fact that your competition isn’t out there with you. Each ride you do in adverse conditions improves your ability to mentally deal with them.

Here are some of the things I recommend to change your comfort zone.

  • Cold Weather Riding
  • Night Riding
  • Hard intervals at the end of a long ride
  • Multiple Long and Hard Days in row
  • Riding in the Rain
  • Ride with people faster than

It’s in you to become a better cyclist. Helping you get there is my goal. Equipment, riding skills, fitness and nutrition all have to be dialed in to reach your potential. To take your next step on that journey visit http://www.cyclecambridge.com


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