I thought it might be nice to share some of the things that I wish I had been told when I started racing. I may have been told some of these things when I started, but I only recognized their importance later. They are simple concepts but sometimes hard to accept. I still need to remind myself of these points today even.
1. You will have bad days on the bike in training and at races; there is nothing you can do to prevent this! It might sound harsh, and you might say that you can control everything so things come together at the perfect moment, but that’s not how it works. We are all human, and our bodies are unique. There is no formula that can predict every single stressor in your life and calculate the perfect efforts, recovery, fueling, etc., to be 100% every day. You need to be kind to yourself and accept that things will not always go to plan. It is okay when it doesn’t work out the way you wanted. It is about realizing that you still have opportunities and that one bad experience or occurrence will not ruin everything you have worked for!
2. You will receive a lot of advice, but you need to be careful with how much you try. Talking to others and listening to their stories and experiences can significantly benefit your progress in the sport and life. It is like the saying about how we learn history, so we don’t repeat the mistakes of those before us. We do the same thing today when we listen to what other people went through and the experiences they had. The key is ensuring that you do not switch everything or never change a single thing because someone said so. I find that being open-minded to what people recommend or share is beneficial and can lead to you learning a lot quickly.
3. Being flexible is key! As I mentioned above, you will have days that do not go to plan. It is about rolling with the imperfections of life and working around them. Cycling involves a lot of outside factors that can’t be controlled, so having an open mindset and being flexible will benefit you a lot. These benefits can be seen in performance, attitude, and overall enjoyment of the sport. Suppose a travel day turns into a nightmare. In that case, there are limited things that can be done as a rider, but being flexible and accepting the situation will leave you with less stress and more energy when you finally arrive and need to perform. It might sound like a small thing, but the ability to be flexible will help immensely in this sport!
Those are three small things that I wish I had known when I started cycling and three things that I still remind myself of today. They are simple and broad at the same time but are elements that will help you perform at your best and stress less, which leads to more enjoyment when cycling!
Thanks for reading, and I hope you all are enjoying some hours on the bike this winter!
All the best,