Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Thought Replacement

Cycling often functions for me as a microcosm of life.  It's a smaller, rather more controlled circle of limited boundaries in which to try things out.  Since much of the focus is on the physical aspect of power against the forces of wind and climbing, it's sometimes easy to forget that it is the mind which ultimately powers every endeavour.

I've been experimenting with saying one word from a mantra or validation phrase on every third stroke of the pedals and synchronizing this with the breathing.  That is, on the first right stroke, I will breathe out, focus on pushing the pedal hard, and saying in my mind the first word of the affirmation.  Then I will soft pedal the next left and right strokes, giving both legs a brief respite.  Finally, I'll breathe out, push hard, and say the second word of the affirmation on the next left.  And so on.

The natural tendency is to synchronize the breathing with one or the other leg, but this leaves things unbalanced.  Focusing on every third revolution balances the effort between legs and repeating whatever affirmation during moments of hard effort replaces any thoughts of the suffering with what I choose to put in my head.  It can be as simple as "keep going."

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Today is two years to the day since Wouter Weylandt died racing his bike in the Giro.

We all take risks every day, in cycling and in life, and often it is the seemingly innocuous little things we don't see that can have tragic consequences.  In Wout's case it was some low stonework that he clipped on a descent, and instantly he would never see his wife and child, nor race a bike again.  And yet, the man died doing what he loved.