The Power of Love

Hardships-often-prepare-ordinary-people-for-an-extraordinary-destiny.-C.S.-Lewis

You’re not built like an athlete.
You need to lose weight.
You’re too old to be doing that extreme stuff.
You’re not fast enough.
You have to train harder.
You train too much and you’re being selfish.
You can’t do it all.
You’re going to hurt yourself.
Why don’t you just go to a gala instead?

I don’t think you understand. I made a promise.
I don’t think you understand. I don’t really care what I look like to you.
I don’t think you understand. I don’t really care what you think.
I don’t think you understand what love does to you when you no longer have it.

I know I’m not built like an athlete.
I know I’m not thin and muscular.
I know I have to train harder… harder than anyone else around me. It’s been like this all my life.
I know I’m not fast. I never have been and probably won’t ever be super fast either…. but I’ll go way farther than the person on the podium because I’ll never quit.
I know I can’t do it all and that’s why I surround myself with lots of people who HAVE done this and are willing to help me do it again.. together.
I know the risk of hurting myself. I pray. ALL THE TIME.
I did go to galas. But now it’s personal. It’s for love.

Can I do this? Can I really do this?

I’ve been trained by the best. I’ve put in my blood, sweat and tears.

But I’ll be honest… I have become quite nervous. I question myself, my abilities, my sanity, my reason for doing this. And there you have it… the words from Berenice’s mouth as I was hobbling during the run at my first Triathlon (Stanley’s Triathlon) still echo in my head.

“Remember why you are doing this!” — Berenice Puga

Are you mentally tough as a cyclist? Is mental training an active part of your preparation or simply an after-thought? Do you know how to consistently harness the power of your mind to lift the level of your performance? Or are you your own worst enemy out there? Do you do better in practice than actual races or events? Are you regularly beaten by athletes you know you should own? When the going gets tough, do you get scared and break down?

How about your motivation as a cyclist? Do you have the inner drive to do what’s necessary to achieve success? Do you have a meaningful goal that helps keep you focused and moving forward through the brutal and oftentimes monotonous grind of daily training? Without a “big enough why” or a personally compelling goal your motivation will stall out. You have to be able to ask yourself on a daily basis, “How is what I’m doing today and right now going to help me get to where I want to go?” Far too many athletes make a “deal with the devil.” That is, they trade what they want the most, for what they want right now.

Becoming a champion (however you personally define “champion”) also demands that you consistently practice “pushing the envelope.” You have to be willing to regularly bust your butt. That is, you must live the winner’s creed, get comfortable being uncomfortable!” Your success demands that you continually move towards your physical and emotional limits. When you’re tired and your body is screaming for mercy, you have to stay with the discomfort just a little more. When you don’t like the training conditions, weather or course, you have to learn to embrace them. Finding adverse conditions to train in is simply being smart! Sooner or later you’ll have to compete in them. If it intimidates you to train with or compete against much better competition, seek them out! They are your ticket to the next level! Get comfortable being uncomfortable and you’ll become successful. The only way to really excel in your sport and in life is to get in the everyday habit of pushing your envelope.

Becoming a winner also demands that you develop the ability to handle competitive pressure. Does pre-event nervousness sabotage all your hard work and good coaching? If you can’t learn to control your nerves, then you’ll never ride to your potential. Staying cool (see below for example) in the clutch is a mental skill that you can easily master with a little practice. If pre-event jitters have gotten the better of you before, then with the use of several reliable relaxation and concentration strategies, even you can learn to consistently keep yourself at “good nervous.”

Mastering pain and fatigue is another mental skill needed to achieve success in cycling. This means that you have to know two things: First, how to control your focus when you begin to hurt; Second, how to neutralize the negative thinking and self-doubts that almost always tag along with the pain. Much of your confidence comes from this latter sports psychology skill. If you think you lack the confidence that you should have given your talent and success, then chances are good that you haven’t been doing a good job controlling your negative self-talk. Training your “inner coach” is critical if you want to learn to feel good about yourself and believe in YOU!

Concentration is another master skill needed to achieve success as a cyclist. You must develop the ability to focus on what’s important and block out everything else. Your mental skills in this area directly affect your ability to effectively handle pressure. In fact, the wrong focus before and during your century is the #1 cause of accidents. The great thing about concentration is that with a little practice, you can learn to excel in this mental area.

Becoming a champion also means that you have to learn how to deal with adversity, setbacks and failure? Winners build their success on their failures. They learn from their mistakes and then leave them behind. What kind of “reboundability” do you have? To the champion, failure is something that you do to get to success. It is the ticket that allows you to reach your goals.
Remember, cycling to your potential depends a great deal upon how well you mentally prepare ahead of time. Do you know how to use imagery, mental rehearsal or visualization to maximize your chances of success? Did you know that mental rehearsal can significantly help you stay calm in the clutch and build your confidence? Are their points in your century ride where you always fall apart? Mental rehearsal can help you turn these weak spots into areas of strength.

You’d never go into a 100 mile plus ride and leave the physical part of your performance to chance! So why ride and leave this all important mental dimension to chance?

Sent to me by Coach Darin

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4 Responses to “The Power of Love”

  1. LOL… And I just thought I’d have to buy a really expensive bike. Shucks!

    Just kidding. Awesome post, thanks I needed it!

    Like

    • I know right?!?! I do have the most awesomest bike though!!!! My “Mimi” is a ROCKSTAR!!! She shames all the other bikes on the trail with her grace and beauty 🙂

      Like

      • That’s because she hasn’t seen the Italian Stallion, CaVelo Rosso out there… LOL. Been trying to figure out how I was going to respond to your comment for HOURS. 😉

        Great comment that one.

        Like

  2. kelly cavazos Says:

    I love the beginning of this! All of it actually:) So proud of you girlfriend!!!!

    Like

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