Getting Mental Again
Wow tonight's ride was a kick in junk. Temps were in the high 80s and possibly 90s on the road and I felt like a fried dog turd. Damn!! I just could NOT get a rhythm going, especially in the breathing department. The first steep ass climb (at mile 1) had me nearly stroking out and seeing Jesus. It must have taken me 45 minutes of my two hour ride to get in the groove.
But everything came around and I got my 33.5 miles in. At a red light at mile 33.0, just after the bottom of a steep ass switchback decent a motorcycle pulls up along side me and the dude says "wow, you were really moving down that hill!", I just said "yeah, coming down is the easy part, going UP is a different story!"
Felt spent mentally and physically tonight. Not something I wanted to feel 4 days before the Wilderness 101, but it did give me a chance to implicated some of the stuff I read over today about the mental side of training and racing.
All forms of riding and racing have their mental aspects, I mean it's ALL tough! I find I'm challenged the most during 12 and 24 hour solos and all the hours in between (13, 18, etc.,).
When you find yourself signing up for events like a 12 and 24 hour solo race, you just kicked it up a notch, and need to hold on tight for some real mind fornication. The Solo "Mental Demon" reaches into your skull grabs your brain, bends it over an empty barrel of HEED and does things to it that I believe may be illegal in many of our southern states. Just when you think the demon has satiated it's want of seeing you suffer, it stuffs your spent brain back in your sleep deprived cranium and tells you that you have another 12 hours to go, laughs and moves on to the next poor bastard that signed up Solo.
Add in the physical aspects like muscle fatigue, sleep deprivation, nutrition, and you have a full on roller coaster ride for the brain. But we're not done yet. You need to through in some financial and logistical pressure of doing the race and/or getting to the race too.
Can you stay calm after a crash or mechanical? Can you deal with a monsoon the night before the race or during the race? Can you adapt to setbacks during the race and roll with the punches that will surely be thrown your way as you ride lap after lap for up to 24 o 25 hours? I for one have answered "no" to many of these questions at least once, and often more in my short racing history.
Then mental aspect of racing (hell, life for that matter) and setting goals for my racing is something that I have needed to work on for years and the following articles that I found on Pez Cycling by USA Cycling Level 2 Coach and licensed psychotherapist Marvin Zauderer are good reading and contain some good tips that I plan on trying to incorporating into the remainder of my 2007 and planning my 2008 season.
1. Train Your Mind Part ONE
2. Train Your Mind Part TWO
3. Positive Self-Talk
4. Managing Emotions
7. True Suffering
The above articles are also available in PDF format at Wholeathlete.com.
I have come out of every single endurance event I've done learning SOMETHING new about myself and/or racing. I think that's what keeps me going back. It would be so damn easy if it was JUST about riding your bike for 24 hours. Thank God it's not or it wouldn't be nearly as fun!
I'm always on the look out for ways of getting through a Solo suffer fest and these are my most recent finds. I'm sure I'll keep looking and post more as I find them.