Cycling is suffering – Fausto Coppi.
If bike racing is all about who can suffer the most, then asking your body to work beyond the point of comfort in order to stay with a lead group becomes a requirement. It happens during a race, on a tempo training with your mates, climbing that mountain, riding those extra miles, cycling is suffering.
Like the pistons of a car motor, your legs must continue moving up and down to push the pedals while your mind ignores the cry of your muscles to stop.
Despite your heart pounding and moving up into your throat, your mind has to ignore your body’s please and continue sending signals to keep working at that same level of effort. Your mind is the key component to this and critical to any success you’ll achieve.
You can follow a training plan perfectly and prepare your body well, but if your mind hasn’t been trained to manage the pain, failure is likely. This is simply about mental toughness.
As cyclists, we all know the feelings that occur as the pace goes from moderate to more intense. When the workload becomes painful and the body wants to stop, we start searching within ourselves for the moment when we will give in.
Some days we can stick it out a little longer than others, but eventually we reach the point where we make the decision to pull off and slow down. Physically it feels good, but mentally we, underdogs, know we need to be stronger and be able to hold on longer before easing up.
Very often cycling and suffering on a bike is all about mental toughness.