5 ways to be a better cyclist
Be your best. It’s a simple concept, and hard to achieve. So we keep it simple and straightforward here, with five easy-to-remember mantras that will help you be your best in tangible ways.
Leading you in this is our new FasCat Coach Justin Bowes, an experienced coaching veteran across various disciplines.
1. Be Present
Most people use cycling as an outlet to help with the stress of daily life and responsibilities. While that is a great motivator to get out and get your ride in, to have a successful training session you must be in the moment and ready to do work. Reduce as many distractions as possible before you start.
Breathwork is a great way to let go of the previous distractions so that you can be present.
2. Be Prepared
You cannot do your work properly if you don’t have everything you need at the ready. Here are just a few suggestions to do ahead of time, so that when it comes time to train, all you have to do is hop on the bike:
- Check bike over, lube chain, put it on trainer if need be
- Block time in your calendar — and share it with those who need to know
- Get your nutrition ready - bottles filled, food laid out
- Upload training route, even if you are doing your favorite loop. Apps like VeloViewer are helpful to determine the best routes or segments to execute your efforts on. Your head unit will give you an estimated T.O.A. so you aren’t late for anything after.
- Lay out clothing. Use Epic Ride Weather to predict weather on your loaded route.
3. Be Flexible
Of course you want your body flexible and ready to perform, but we are talking about your emotional state. Life happens, and sometimes even the best laid plans get jumbled. What will you do if your work day goes later, you get a flat/mechanical, the weather changes? Have a back-up plan when things go sideways.
4. Be Focused
Since you adhered to being present, the next logical step is being focused on your workout. It isn’t just being focused on the numbers, but also how you are executing the workout: your breathing, your form on the bike, your recovery from each effort.
Training solo can make it easier to stay on task, but then you can aso feel overwhelmed or let yourself slide on the efforts when riding alone. So, tape a mantra to your stem or fun sticker to remind you of what you are doing.
Don’t go out with a partner who is doing a completely different workout than you. Know when to say when. Save the social for the group ride.
5. Be Positive
I wish it wasn’t so, but our daily lives are surrounded by negative images and voices. Our sport should be a positive space for us to achieve our goals and better ourselves. If you do not have a positive mindset, it doesn’t matter how strong and fit you are, you will still fall short of your goals and leave fitness on the table. The mind-body connection is so very important and often working on our mental strength is neglected if not flat out ignored.
One mantra I like: “What the mind believes, our bodies must achieve.”
If we don’t fill our own minds with positive messages, who or what will? Develop a short mantra to say to yourself over and over while you are training.
Smile while you are doing a challenging interval or segment. Our subconscious picks up on that emotion and then equates going hard to having fun!
Change your language and self-talk. Be conscious of negative words or words that don’t lift your mood. Here are some words and phrases to substitute:
- sick < healing
- hard < making me stronger
- train < get faster
- tired < getting faster
- hungry < ready to fuel
- intervals < go fast sets
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Justin Bowes brings over two decades of coaching and elite-level racing experience, coupled with a fervent passion for teaching, to every client he works with. Justin has coached National, Regional, and State champions across various disciplines, and loves competing himself in Gravel, Road, MTB, and Cyclocross races nationwide, racing alongside his athletes. When not immersed in coaching, training, or racing, Justin values moments with his wife, Andrea, and their trail dog, Lukenback, at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Central Virginia.To get started with Justin, please fill out our New Athlete Questionnaire.