In the midst of putting time and effort into training and racing, one element that can often be overlooked is making sure you’ve got your head in the right place. The mental aspect of cycling is just as important to success as the physical. Maintaining focus during a race allows you to follow through with race strategy, save energy, stay nourished, be aware of race dynamics, and give your best effort. During training and daily life, having a good mental outlook helps maintain the consistency and lifestyle that supports your cycling habit through persistence, healthy habits, intense effort, and quality relaxation.
One of the challenges every cyclist will face is failure. At some point everyone has a bad workout, gets dropped from a group ride, experiences a mechanical problem that ruins a top placing, or fails to meet a top goal. Learning how to deal with these failures—small and large—is an important of being a cyclist.
Marvin Zauderer over at Pez Cycling has an article Putting Failure in its Place, that provides an introduction about how and why people respond to failure in different ways and gives some ideas about handling it productively. It’s not a guide to dealing with failure, but it’s a good place to start thinking about how disappointments affect our outlook and how we can react them. If you’ve never taken time to think about how you deal with set backs—on or off the bike—I think this is a good time to start seeing how you can learn and adapt when you fall short of your own expectations.