In the last couple of weeks, I have asked the readers here on Training4cyclists.com to answer some questions (here, here and here) that didn’t have a definitive answer. These questions are just some of the questions you should ask yourself at least once in a while. I believe it is crucial to make a decision and, more importantly, believe in it.
Winners are winners because of their decisions
When you enter a road cycling race, you will have to make decisions repeatedly. You will probably make some good and bad decisions. Winners make mainly clever decisions. However, I would rather say that winners always make wise decisions. The ability to make a hard decision and stick to it is a skill that characterizes winners. They have the confidence because they know that hard decisions are a part of road cycling and that there are two outcomes: Winning or losing.
Riders dream about victories
I guess most serious riders dreams of victories, but the fact is that most riders never win, and very few riders win quite many cycling races throughout a season. If you race 10, 20, or maybe even more races per season and never win, you lose confidence to make the right decisions at the crucial moments or, more importantly, the confidence to stick to the decision you make.
You probably know the feeling of launching an attack and when you are 75m ahead of the bunch, start to speculate whether that was a little too early. However, these speculations will not make you a winner because when you have launched your attack, there are only two outcomes, and you shall keep your focus on only one of them: Victory.
Winners take decisions and stick to them
I believe that decisions make you a better cyclist. You will make both good and bad decisions, but the decision in itself is not the only winning move. It is the confidence to make a decision that is the winning move. That skill separates winners from ordinary riders. That is how decisions can make you a winning cyclist.
Anyways, what was your best/worst decision in a road cycling race this season?
4 thoughts on “How Decisions Can Make You a Winning Cyclist”
My worst decision in a race this year was during the first race where I was actually capable of not getting dropped. I live in Norway and as the racing is not split up by ability, races are sink or swim, so my fitness had previously not been up to par. I had been participating in a local weekly series for 2 years, never making it beyond half-way through the race before getting dropped. I always finished, but the goal was always “how far can I hang on before I get dropped?” Not a particularly positive outlook.
During this race, a few weeks after I started doing interval training instead of just riding around, I suddenly found myself not having trouble hanging on. Previously I had been on the ragged edge from the start. Not this time. I was able to stomp up the short hills along with everyone and even passed some folks! I’m heavy, so that was not something I am used to!
A few laps into the race, I found myself thinking about positioning for an upcoming hill. I wanted to be toward the front. Suddenly I was the first rider. I didn’t want to make any dumb mistakes, so I was afraid to ride over to the side to let somebody else go around. So I kept a too-high pace all the way (1km?) to the base of the hill I was worried about. By then I was already over the line, and I blew up on the hill and got dropped.
If I had the confidence not to panic about the upcoming hill, nor the timidity to do what I knew I should have done when I found myself in front, I would have been able to finish the race.
I was not prepared mentally for what to do if I was actually able to be a player in the race, so I was caught off guard and did something dumb.
The next week I was ready mentally and I had zero problem finishing and even contested the sprint! That was the best decision; being prepared mentally.
Joseph, Your experience shows us very well the importance of analyzing performance in races. It is the best time to learn about tactics and I believe that you’ve learned a lot from these rides.
Thanks for sharing your story.
Pingback: Killer intervals for VO2 max
my stupid Decision was in my 3rd race when i broke away w 3 riders ,
but it’s not the problem yet.,, the problem is the three riders were from one team 😀 XD
they killed me softly..XD