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"The 33"-Road Bike Racing We set this forum up for our members to discuss their experiences in either pro or amateur racing, whether they are the big races, or even the small backyard races. Don't forget to update all the members with your own race results.

View Poll Results: My view on racing psychology
Never really think about it. 2 18.18%
I rather rely on intuition than psychology. 2 18.18%
I use it all the time while racing. 5 45.45%
How I feel is more important than how I think. 1 9.09%
It can make the difference to winning or not. 6 54.55%
Too complicated to think about. 0 0%
I just do what I am told. 0 0%
I only care about the sprint finish. 1 9.09%
It's part of my race plan. 5 45.45%
Rather wait and see what happens than try and make it happen. 1 9.09%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 11. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-19-17, 06:21 AM   #1
Thunder Horse
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Poll: My view on racing psychology

The above poll is open indefinitely.
You can pick more than one choice.
All voters are anonymous.

Last edited by Thunder Horse; 06-19-17 at 06:34 AM.
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Old 06-19-17, 12:49 PM   #2
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I don't feel like a lot of that is actual psychology. And I think I go through most of them at various points of a season, and sometimes in a race.

In a sprint, I don't think, I react.

In a really hard race, I constantly remind myself to do things.

If I'm feeling good, I race a lot more by intuition.

If I'm struggling, I may fake a bit more. Conversely, if it's in the closing miles in a break, I may fake a bit of weakness.

Sometimes makes a difference because if you simply give up or check out att the wrong time, you can lose.

Not complicated, and no one telling me anything.

Sometimes part of a plan, sometimes cue off more established riders earlier on.

What's your actual question?
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Old 06-19-17, 01:34 PM   #3
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A good yoga class can help.
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Old 06-19-17, 03:00 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
I don't feel like a lot of that is actual psychology....
...What's your actual question?
Your answers are all relevant to your view on racing psychology. Thank you for your post.

Just to clarify: Psychology 'is the science of behavior and mind, embracing all aspects of conscious and unconscious experience as well as thought. It is an academic discipline and a social science which seeks to understand individuals and groups by establishing general principles and researching specific cases'. (Wikipedia)

The actual question is to understand the general view, or approach, to racing psychology by road racers in this forum.
Any other responses to that may inadvertently bias a reader's vote.
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Old 06-19-17, 08:00 PM   #5
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I voted that I don't think about it. I don't have any mind game things I do. Almost everything is a conditioned response for me. If I could dump my racing algorithm I could make a good racing application I think, because all my reactions are probably predictable.

I'm struggling. Rival rider leaves a gap in front of him, threatening to split the field, putting me in the wrong half. I instantly wave riders behind me to go. In a few seconds, after I've caught my breath, or panicked even more, I get on one of the wheels moving up and get carried across the gap.

On leadout rider's wheel who is a friend but not a teammate, say 1 km from the line. A rival rider comes up my side and tries to take my friend's wheel. After a few close moves I immediately disengage from my friend's wheel, knowing I can re-engage his wheel better, on my terms, closer to the finish.

Exact same scenario but now 500m from the finish. I aggressively overlap my friend's wheel on the same side as my rival. This keeps my on my friend's wheel but costs me shelter/energy. Zero contact as I try to use other rider's personal space (aka Sphere, around the bars and front wheel) to move people, not actual contact. In other words I move riders away by invading the space around their bars/front-wheel and making them uncomfortable enough to move away.

Exact same scenario, 500m from finish, but the rival rider is completely willing to engage in physical contact to take my leadout's wheel. I try to stay in the rival rider's Sphere. However somehow I end up letting the rival in between me and my leadout. I immediately relinquish the wheel because I have no interest in physical contact, nor in battling for a wheel at this point. I just take the rival's wheel and its greater shelter from the wind. I adjust my sprint plans accordingly.

Is that all psychology? I don't think of it that way. It's just cause-effect for me. I can't verbalize most of it but most scenarios to me are familiar and therefore I have a reaction that pops up almost instinctively.
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Old 06-19-17, 11:54 PM   #6
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...Is that all psychology? I don't think of it that way. It's just cause-effect for me. I can't verbalize most of it but most scenarios to me are familiar and therefore I have a reaction that pops up almost instinctively.
Partly so. The psychology bit is applying your mentality to your riding; that will either bring the results you want, or not.
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Old 06-20-17, 05:39 AM   #7
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I don't know how much sense this question makes. When I feign tiredness am I using psychology? When I analyze my competitors to determine freshness is it psychology? When I determine who is going to be useful in a break is it psychology? Is knowing when someone is going to attack or start their sprint psychology?

Applying my mentality to my riding is...well...I don't understand what that is supposed to mean here. I know that I do well in long breaks so I hunt for long breaks and know I do well in them. To me that seems more like my physiology vs. CDR who is a "Wait for sprint" person.
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Old 06-20-17, 06:20 AM   #8
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The actual question is to understand the general view, or approach, to racing psychology by road racers in this forum.
Any other responses to that may inadvertently bias a reader's vote.
In that case, it seems like psychology would be very much determined by a person's perceived exertion levels and as such would be highly variable even during a particular ride/race.

Someone's probably not going to make certain moves or risks if they feel bad versus good. Physiology and exertion levels have to have a large component.
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Old 06-20-17, 06:58 PM   #9
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... Someone's probably not going to make certain moves or risks if they feel bad versus good. Physiology and exertion levels have to have a large component.
Sure, but maybe not as large as you think. There is also that mysterious component called the will, or desire, which can change feeling bad to "I don't care". ("Shut up legs! Do what I tell you to do". - Jens Voigt)
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... it seems like psychology would be very much determined by a person's perceived exertion levels and as such would be highly variable even during a particular ride/race...
Perceptions can also be highly variable about one's own exertion levels. Some cyclists have experienced being in an exertion level rut which may alter one's perception as being fatigued, when in fact it's just the symptoms of being in a rut.
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Old 06-20-17, 07:08 PM   #10
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Sure, but maybe not as large as you think. There is also that mysterious component called the will, or desire, which can change feeling bad to "I don't care". ("Shut up legs! Do what I tell you to do". - Jens Voigt)
In my experience in both cycling and running, will is nearly completely dependent on perceived exertion and relative performance, whether in training or racing.

I can have identical power numbers and either hang with a group or get dropped simply based on whether or not I physically "feel" a specific way. My mind only follows my body.

I know others that seemingly operate the opposite of that, and can seemingly "will" their way to almost anything regardless, but I'm apparently not one of those people.
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Old 06-20-17, 09:40 PM   #11
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Thanks for sharing rubiksoval.
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...I know others that seemingly operate the opposite of that, and can seemingly "will" their way to almost anything regardless, but I'm apparently not one of those people.
I am a bit that way myself, and certainly when a physical limit is related to Max Heart Rate. If I push passed my max HR I start to blackout. Fortunately I have always stopped pedaling and veered off the road, but almost as quickly come back to full consciousness to get back on the road and keep going, but at a lower HR. The first time was scary. I try not to stay at or above Max HR few a few seconds.
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...I can have identical power numbers and either hang with a group or get dropped simply based on whether or not I physically "feel" a specific way. My mind only follows my body...
Don't forget that your body also follows your mind.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a good approach for changing thoughts and behaviours. Behaviours can be changed when the cognition (thoughts/attitudes) changes (body following mind). Thoughts can also be changed when the behaviour (actions) changes (mind following body).

Example: I am struggling up a hill, and my mind starts looking for reasons to stop struggling, usually by slowing down (mind following body). However, I decide to change psychological tactics by putting a smile on my face, and keeping it there. My ego naturally tries to discourage me from this contradiction. But I insist (will). Then the mind starts to look for reasons for me to be happy. When it does I no longer struggle up the hill, but actually enjoying it. My pace can stay at same tempo, and after a while it can even pick up to where I was before I struggled (body following mind).

That part where my ego was having a go at my behaviour (the smile) reveals that most of the time, during difficulties, my mind follows my body. But as I explained, that does not necessarily have to be.
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Old 06-27-17, 05:45 PM   #12
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A good yoga class can help.
How?
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