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  1. #1
    Senior Member thehammerdog's Avatar
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    Psychology and it's impact on cycling..

    As someone who wears glasses and thus needs contacts to sport fancy sunglasses I rode today with shades and no contacts. I found that since I could not see far ahead I powered over hills that I would normally see and get psyched out before even reaching them. I rode more consistent and less fearful of the hills. I am not a climber. This was the second time I rode with out my glasses and found that my lack of vision helps me focus on riding and not the pending hills....I was wondering if anyone else psyches themselves out when riding?

    1 mile sprint in 2.37 not bawls out but steady push.

  2. #2
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    Psychology plays a big role in cycling. That's the reason why I haven't been able to finish crits, but can easily do crit training rides that are harder than the crits themselves. Doesn't make sense but that's just the way it is :/.

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    Sometimes, I forget to wear my HRM chest strap and notice afterward that I rode faster, since I'm not obsessing over my max HR.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    If I didn't wear my glasses, I would accidentally ride off the road and crash.
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

  5. #5
    Oil it! sfrider's Avatar
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    Most beginners have the opposite problem: they ride way too hard and never develop any base endurance.

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    Before my lasik surgery 11years ago I was -12 and -13 in each eye. Without my contacts in I need a dog to get me to the bathroom in AM to get my contacts in to see. Had I rode a bike it would have been a nightmare. I tired to run once without contact or glass and it did not work. Thank the Lord for lasik I am 20/25 nothing needed not even reading glasses at 52.

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    I've noticed that too.

    When climbing the worst hills, I will look down, right in front of me, and before I know it, I am up and over the hill. If I keep looking at the crest, I never seem to get there.

    With headwinds: When I try to fight them, I get nowhere and become frustrated; If I adopt the attitude of just accepting that I can't go as fast or as easily into the wind, and just plan on going slow and steady and enjoying the ride, I hardly seem to lose any speed!

    I believe that after physical fitness, psychology is the most important aspect of riding. Both seem to have much more effect on one's riding than do things like equipment and groupset.

  8. #8
    Senior Member EnsitMike's Avatar
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    I know this may seem "tasteless" now days, but I grew up dreaming of one day being like Armstrong. I rode mountain my whole childhood and always had him in mind. Since I've recently gotten into road after a very long break from riding, I still picture Lance riding next to me. I don't know what it is, but I can sprint endlessly up hills and absolutely dust my buddies who don't seem to have the same inspiration, I'm talking gaining a minute on one hill not a couple seconds.

    It may be fitness, or genetics, but it feels psychological because I know I am in pain, but I just don't let it stop me like they do.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryRider View Post
    With headwinds: When I try to fight them, I get nowhere and become frustrated; If I adopt the attitude of just accepting that I can't go as fast or as easily into the wind, and just plan on going slow and steady and enjoying the ride, I hardly seem to lose any speed!
    There's a pretty thin line between a sub-threshold effort and a supra-threshold effort. With a headwind, the speed change between the two is diminished as is your perception of the benefits of the harder effort.

    I agree with your approach -- but I guess I don't consider it psychological. It's a matter of learning how to pace yourself under different conditions -- going with how the effort feels rather than how fast it looks. Same thing applies to climbing hills.

  10. #10
    Senior Member robabeatle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EnsitMike View Post
    I know this may seem "tasteless" now days, but I grew up dreaming of one day being like Armstrong. I rode mountain my whole childhood and always had him in mind. Since I've recently gotten into road after a very long break from riding, I still picture Lance riding next to me. I don't know what it is, but I can sprint endlessly up hills and absolutely dust my buddies who don't seem to have the same inspiration, I'm talking gaining a minute on one hill not a couple seconds.

    It may be fitness, or genetics, but it feels psychological because I know I am in pain, but I just don't let it stop me like they do.
    Pin up!

  11. #11
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    I usually offer my rides, as agonizing as I make them for animal suffering somewhere. I know, sounds crazy but we all row a different boat. Suffer from depression too, so mind stays clear while riding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EnsitMike View Post
    I know this may seem "tasteless" now days, but I grew up dreaming of one day being like Armstrong. I rode mountain my whole childhood and always had him in mind. Since I've recently gotten into road after a very long break from riding, I still picture Lance riding next to me. I don't know what it is, but I can sprint endlessly up hills and absolutely dust my buddies who don't seem to have the same inspiration, I'm talking gaining a minute on one hill not a couple seconds.

    It may be fitness, or genetics, but it feels psychological because I know I am in pain, but I just don't let it stop me like they do.
    Maybe it's the dope?

  13. #13
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    When I approach hills I just keep repeating to myself ... "it's not as bad as it looks".

  14. #14
    Senior Member eja_ bottecchia's Avatar
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    All sports have a psychological component. We are not the only ones.
    My current stable:

    1989 SLX Bottecchia (Campy Athena 11s)
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  15. #15
    Senior Member THSdrummer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EnsitMike View Post
    I know this may seem "tasteless" now days, but I grew up dreaming of one day being like Armstrong. I rode mountain my whole childhood and always had him in mind. Since I've recently gotten into road after a very long break from riding, I still picture Lance riding next to me. I don't know what it is, but I can sprint endlessly up hills and absolutely dust my buddies who don't seem to have the same inspiration, I'm talking gaining a minute on one hill not a couple seconds.

    It may be fitness, or genetics, but it feels psychological because I know I am in pain, but I just don't let it stop me like they do.
    I understand, except my heros are Mark Cavendish or Fabian Cancellera. Mark's first season was the first year I started watching cycling. Since then, I've been hooked. As I entered my first triathlon, which had the swim leg cancelled so we started TT style on bikes, I pictured Fabian Cancellera time trialing after dropping Peter Sagan in the Tour of Flanders this year. Cheesy, yes. Psychologically boosting, perhaps.

    I do tend to psych myself out, especially in running. I get caught up with hitting certain paces no matter what and tend to ignore how I feel until it all comes crashing back onto me. I've since taken out the option of seeing my current pace on runs, or rides, which allows me to focus on maintaining what I can do long term. As per hills? I just try to take each a section at a time. I did so on the 2nd biggest hill of my triathlon. I divided it up and ended up passing 10+ people here. I got anxious on the next hill (probably the 1st biggest hill) and attacked from the start and barely grinded over the top. In that 5 minute window, I learned how to climb well and how to not climb.
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  16. #16
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    90% of cycling is 50% mental.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Nachoman's Avatar
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    Speaking of . . . .
    I've been wanting to read a book called "Sport Psychology for Cyclists" by Saul Miller.
    It allegedly teaches athletes how to cultivate the thoughts, feelings, and insights necessary for optimal cycling performance.
    .
    .

    Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.

  18. #18
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thehammerdog View Post
    I found that since I could not see far ahead I powered over hills that I would normally see and get psyched out before even reaching them. I rode more consistent and less fearful of the hills. I am not a climber. This was the second time I rode with out my glasses and found that my lack of vision helps me focus on riding and not the pending hills....
    This sounds dangerous. Your sight tells you of a wide variety of threats you really need to know about as soon as possible so you can respond appropriately.

    Getting psyched out is a separate problem. My guess is that problem will go away on its own as you ride more.

  19. #19
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    I was riding a treat up to January 2009, then raging bushfires swept through my area, destroying my home and killing 34 people in a nearby township. I stopped riding for months as I picked up the pieces. I still am nowhere back to where I was when I rode my fastest-ever century in January 2009.

    External factors can play on a rider's mind as much as the immediate environment.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by thehammerdog View Post
    As someone who wears glasses and thus needs contacts to sport fancy sunglasses I rode today with shades and no contacts. I found that since I could not see far ahead I powered over hills that I would normally see and get psyched out before even reaching them. I rode more consistent and less fearful of the hills. I am not a climber. This was the second time I rode with out my glasses and found that my lack of vision helps me focus on riding and not the pending hills....I was wondering if anyone else psyches themselves out when riding?

    1 mile sprint in 2.37 not bawls out but steady push.
    It is contrary to the point of your post, but perhaps you are not aware that many lines of stylish cycling shades are available to be fitted with prescription lenses mounted behind or instead of the standard lens. This has become quite common. You can buy the base sunglasses from a sporting goods supplier and take them to the optometrist/optician to be fitted with the prescription lenses or in some cases buy the whole thing from the optician. Just sayin' you don't have to wear a combination of shades and contacts. I am sure many will respond that wearing contacts while riding is quite routine, but after I had the wind blow a lens out of my eye (with shades) and had to ride home half blind, I said never again.

  21. #21
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    Just tell your body to stop complaining (paraphrased from Jens Voigt).

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