Ever feel a bit flat with all of the training, racing, travel and preparations? Hows it going at home with the family and friends? Need a little down time on the bike because of work, injury or illness?
Why do I ask all of the above questions? Simple, without support even the strongest athletes can have a tougher time coping with day to day life. Everyone has down days but add work, injury, training, travel, racing…. you get the picture.
We need a support structure to cope with the stresses of everyday life. Add what we do to our bodies as athletes and you will need even more support. I am not suggesting that you need a sports psychologist but I am suggesting that you remember not to get to wrapped up and forget about friends, family and loved ones. I know that this seems like an impossible task when you work 40 hours a week, train 6-20 hours a week and have a family or a significant other in your life.
Years ago when I was struggling with my new found career a friend said something to me that has stuck with me. “Grow your base and your point of freedom will climb higher than you can imagine.” What this friend was sharing with me is a common networking principle that at the time I embraced and other times ignored regrettably.
I did not enter into Road Racing as a lark it was thought out and even planned to lesser extent. I had returned to cycling 8 years ago to improve my weight and health. I accomplished those goals faster than expected. I then wanted to ride in some long distance tours and so I did. Before I knew it I was itching to go faster. Then I chose to switch jobs. When I did, I found myself in a job that for the most part I like but the competitive stressors from my previous job were not there and it was driving me nuts. So I chose to race and start a Road Racing team.
My first thoughts were how am I going to fit all this into my life. After talking it over with my number 1 cheerleader Mrs. Rob, AKA: Kim, it was decided we could make it happen. Notice how I wrote we? My wife and I are two working professionals with 2 very active children. So I did not take it upon myself to just start racing. Aside from the financial and time management aspects of the sport of Road Racing there is one I never put much thought into until last year when I had to cut my season early, support.
What do I mean support? There are the practical items of support: money, mechanical and physical. This article isn’t about the practical aspects of support. Instead I am talking about the support we all need as humans, emotional support.
By now you have heard several times that any athletic endeavor is 10% physical and 90% mental. When it comes right down to it we as athletes need someone to say Good Job, Good Luck, You will get it next time, you killed out there and I am proud of you. Even if we stunk it up and finished off the back we need positive support and input from others. Why? Well its not just because it feels good to hear these things but instead brings balance to “Stinking Thinking”. If you have been racing for more than one season you will meet some of the most dedicated individuals you will eve meet. I am not talking about Pros I am talking about your teammates and fellow amateur competitors.
All of us are competitive, type A personalities and because of this we are self critical to the max. So in times of stress we let negative thoughts slip in to our internal dialogue. This stinking thinking is self induced stress we do not need on top of everything else. There is a cure and its your friends and family!
Let your friends and family know whats going on, what you are thinking about what you are struggling with, you might be surprised they may say the one thing you need to not only get back on track but to help you net the win you were looking for. But you say that your friends and family are burnt out and tired of hearing about to cycling conquests? There is a cure for that too!
Make more friends! Hence my little network marketing slogan above.
I am going to take a moment and thank all of my supporters!
- My wife Kim and children Tessa and Connor – My number one fans
- My parents who are the ones who started my crazy love of bikes
- My extended family who rides and likes to hear cycling stories – I think
- My teammates who many of you are like brothers to me
- The cycling twitterati who have been a real support surprise and are the inspiration of this article
- The amazing athletes I am privileged to coach
Thanks goes out to everyone who has been cheering me on lately. I really appreciate all the well wishes!
Now get off the computer and go ride.