Wednesday, April 27, 2011


In light of some recent blog posts you may be wondering (I know I am) what effect my mental attitude had on my performance at Trans Iowa. I think that I did the best I could given my fitness on race day. I left it all on the course, but I was beat when I made it to the first checkpoint and I doubt I could have made it faster that day. My attitude was good on race day. I'm okay with how I did that day.

On the other hand, my attitude was crap for the two months preceding the race. That is where I failed. Because I had a poor attitude I didn't train as I should have. Many of my post-work workouts didn't happen and I slept in more weekends than I rode. My training was so lax that T.I., at ~60 miles of gravel and 30 of pavement, was still my longest ride of the year. I should have had multiple gravel centuries in, but I couldn't stomach the thought of 8-10 hours of riding on my days off. I'm not okay with that.

I'm not a big believer in The Power of Positive Thinking. Some days I just don't have it and I think that's okay. I do know the meaning of "quit" and I think I'm better for it. If you think that you can be positive all the time you're going to be in for a big surprise halfway through an endurance race.

That said the most important thing, whether training or racing, is to, no matter how you feel about it, act like you're going to do it. If you don't feel like getting up and going that's okay, but you'll have to do it anyway. Actually I think that this is one of the best sorts of training.

I remember someone saying to me once that a race was "90% mental" and it was probably true, but you don't train the mind for a race by sitting down and meditating. You train it by getting up and doing physical training even when you don't want to.

For more on mental toughness during a race check Guitar Ted's blog posts of a few months back. There's some good stuff there if I do say so myself:
Mental Toughness
Mental Toughness II


mr. f. g. superman said...

I know what you mean. I've been in that funk for about 2 years, buoyed temporarily by the tour back home 1 year ago last fall. Personally, Trans-Iowa was a tick off the list of personal battles and its hard to get motivated to ride for the sake of any longer. My mind is turning toward adventures with purpose to keep me stimulated to build fitness. Whether they take shape or I'm forever in this low point remains to be seen.

Nevertheless, hats off to you for pushing your limits for so long. I can say it has been inspiring for me over the years. Perhaps you deserve a rest, and don't need excuses to do so...or the subsequent guilt.

MrDaveyGie said...

Some Good thoughts to ponder.

Matt Maxwell said...

Superman (if that is your real name), there is a tendency to pile bigger and bigger adventures on. While I'm not against this and I'm certainly guilty of it one needs to get out and do "normal" sized adventures from time to time. I got to the point a while back where if I wasn't going out to ride a century I wouldn't even get out of bed. That was a mistake. Lately I've been getting out and doing more 10-15 mile rides after work and exploring gravel I've never been on within an hour of home.

At least for now I've been buoyed by my failure at T.I. On the other hand I am taking the summer off. No major races for me until next winter.

By the way, I heard about you and Mrs. Superman. Congratulations.

mr. f. g. superman said...

Thanks. Years ago we thought about it and had in mind something like Bilbo's 111th, but had since decided against marriage. It seems, however, that the Government had other plans and that we, not being very fat in the wealth, couldn't afford not to be.

Ari said...

It was great to see you and ride a bit with you. Would have been cool not to have missed that last turn.
Have a great season!
Ari Andonopoulos
Flandria Velosport.