I’ve finally invested in some books on endurance cycling. One is by John Hughes. John talks about the usefulness of “power words” as part of your mental preparation. These are words that describe you as an endurance rider and with which you can associate a whole lot of visual imagery to help when you race.
I eventually came up with three pairs. Each word in a pair is associated with the other. As an endurance cyclist, I am / want to be:
- Light and fast
- Focused and determined
- Happy and content
Light and fast
“Light” describes my style, as I am not very strong and have problem knees. “Light” is also how I want to be in my technique on the bike; i.e. light on the handlebars, light on the saddle, nice and relaxed and feeling like a feather, no big wasteful efforts, and so on. Surely the perfect approach to endurance cycling!
However, this isn’t being light for its own sake. I am light and fast! High cadence; high speed!!!
Focused and determined
Throughout the race, I should be focussed on … going fast! On getting to the end as quickly as possible! I did well with this for most of the Graperide Ultimate but, to my cost, unknowingly lost it at one stage near the end.
Sometimes, focus is not enough. What is instead required is extreme focus. That is, determination! When I am physically and mentally hurting, all I will have to rely on to get me to the end is sheer grim irrational determination.
Happy and content
If I’m happy, I’m positive. If I’m happy, I will always be finding good things to enjoy and keep my mind off the pain and drudgery. My spirits will be high. And, if I’m happy, I’ll have a far greater chance of finishing the race and dong so with a good time.
But the happiness will be one more at the "content" end of the spectrum than the "euphoric". Euphoria has its place and I quite often allowed and used feelings of great joy to bolster my spirits on the Graperide Ultimate. However, there's going to be even more drudge and pain on the Taupo 4-lapper. I'll be there because I want to be there; I'll be there because I love cycling; and I'll be happy and content with whatever crap and pain the race is going to throw at me!
... And you?