Cycling and boxing are two of the very toughest sports in the World. When Stephen Roche was looking for motivation to train when preparing for the 1987 season he would sit and watch one VHS movie before going out on his bike. That movie was Rocky IV.
I have written before about what Rocky’s life would have been like had he been a cyclist but here are a few of the Rules that Rocky might give to cyclists :
Rule I : Going in one more round when you don’t think you can. That’s what makes all the difference !
Out on the bike there will always be times when you feel like sitting up and leaving the wheel in front go. Times when you feel like you can’t take any more pain. Times when you just want to lay down in the ditch and phone for someone to come and collect you. Those are the times when you MUST keep going. That is when you will build up not just your physical strength but more importantly, your mental strength.
Rule II : If you know what you’re worth, then go and get what you’re worth !
If you know that you are good enough to be an A1. Then go and do the training, plan your tactics, ride the races, get the points to upgrade, and be an A1. If you believe deep down that you are good enough then you can do it. The very same principals apply to someone getting dropped on a club spin who knows that they are good enough to stay with the group. Train more, prepare correctly and get your head into believing that you are going to finish the spin in the front part of the group. (Extra tip here : Aim to finish with the group. Do not set a target of ‘not getting dropped’. Your subconscious mind simplifies everything and breaks these down into ‘Finish with group’ or ‘Get dropped’)
Rule III : Don’t say you aint’ where you wanna be because of him or her or anybody. Cowards do that, and that ain’t you !
Always take responsibility for yourself and your actions. How often do we see riders complain about the negative riding of others that stopped them from winning. If you want to win, don’t let anything that any other rider does distract you from your goal. If someone follows you around the road every time you attack and you can’t drop them then that’s your problem. Own it. Train harder and make sure that next time you are in a race and you attack on a really hard section of road they will not be able to stay with you. If you are out in a training group and someone is sitting on and never doing a turn at the front. Let them. Who cares. It just means that you are at the front more often, working harder, getting fitter and stronger, and increasing the fitness gap between you both.
Rule IV : Life ain’t all sunshine and rainbows !
Everyday you go out on your bike the sun will not shine strong enough to increase your tan lines. There are times when rain is bucketing down and the wind howls an eerie call. Those are the times that you must go out there and ride your bike. If you race how can you expect to race in bad weather if you have not trained in bad weather. Your body will not magically adapt. Your bike control will not magically improve. Your mentality will not suddenly change to being glad that it is wet, cold and windy. To be able to race in the rain, ride a sportive in the rain or even train in a group in the rain you must ride your bike in the rain. A little hardship is a good thing. The place where all the magic in life happens is just beyond your comfort zone so go out there when it’s uncomfortable.
Rule V : I guess what I’m trying to say is, if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change !
You might consider yourself a sprinter who will never be able to climb. Or a climber who will never be able to hang on when the group is doing 40kph in a crosswind. If you want to climb better, ride better on the flat, loose weight or just feel fitter and healthier then you can do it. You might have to change your diet, your training or maybe even your bike (Show this section to your other half). But you can do it. Anyone can do it if you want to badly enough. If you never change the things you do, nothing in your life will ever change very much. If you want to make a small change every day for one year and then at the end of the year take stock of the difference that 365 small changes will have made.