I’m sure a few “regular” readers of this blog (hi Mum) have been on the edge of their seats for the past few weeks wondering if I actually completed the mega ride I was undertaking just after my last post explaining Why I’ve kept striving for more cycling goals.
Well I completed the 160 kms ride at a pace far faster than ever before – and went on to complete over 1000 kms of riding in the month of March. And yes, the new gloves helped, plus the support, advice and encouragement of other Tour De Cure riders. There is no shortage of great tips and tricks on offer – some technical, some food related, some equipment related. But riding up a long steep climb one morning I received the best advice yet.
Think less, ride faster.
My primary goal is obviously to stay upright on the bike – so this was not an invitation to throw caution to the wind, but a reminder that what holds us back most of the time from pushing our boundaries physically, is our minds, not our bodies.
I’ve learnt that to ride faster for longer, my heart rate needs to get used to spiking higher and for longer – simply put, I need my body to develop memory for what really hard work feels like, and to know that I will recover afterwards, so that my mind doesn’t tell me to stop. But when you are one of the slowest in the group, everyone is always waiting for you after each climb, the speed of the peloton is adjusted to suit you, and self doubt abounds. Those little voices telling you that you’re an idiot to try this, you’re just not good enough, you have no idea what you’re doing, and you look ridiculous in lycra.
I’ve trained my inner voice not to wake up when the alarm goes off with a 4 on the clock a few days a week. That way I’m up and about before it tells me I need to stay in bed. Just do It, as the famous line goes. But “not good enough” little voices were still demonising me until that moment climbing up the Old Pacific Highway.
A week after I received the advice to think less, I rode a 10km training loop 40 seconds faster than I had 6 weeks earlier…. a massive confidence boost that body and mind can be trained to go faster!
Everyone involved, whether new to it or not, is pushing themselves to their physical limits to train and complete an event like the TDC Signature Tour – for me it’s 400kms in 3 days, for some 1100kms in 9 days. There’s a lot of effort going into fundraising, stress due to time away from family and friends, and the emotion of the personal stories surrounding the cause of finding a cure for cancer. Some of the people I ride for were detailed in EyesUp Rolling #5 – and new ones are surfacing regularly.
The human mind is incredibly powerful…. but just like my cycling legs, my mind needs a lot of training to serve me in the way I need. Sometimes, thinking less can help.
I’m humbled again by the support for the cause – you can find my fundraising page here if you’d like to click to contribute.