Lessons Learned in Cycling
Thursday, July 20, 2017
Often times in the sport of cycling, groups of like-minded athletes will ride together on a regular basis. This activity provides a positive training environment, a social atmosphere, and accountability for individuals to ride more often. There are challenging times within each ride that can make a participant feel like they simply cannot keep up with the rest of the group, and the rider moves to the back of the pack. This is often referred to as being “dropped.” The main group rides away, and the person dropped is left to ride on their own.
Many of us can relate to this occurrence within our own lives, even if we aren’t cyclists. We try our best to eat healthy, exercise regularly, and sleep well. Too often we compare our efforts and results to others, and feel as though we simply do not measure up. We consider ourselves “dropped.”
Overcoming challenges and letdowns can be made easier by learning valuable lessons from the cycling world. When we feel like we are falling behind and disappointment is inevitable, it is important to keep the following tips in mind.
Remember that those in the front were in your position at one time.
All the people you see staying on track, doing well, and “riding away from you” were in the back of the pack at one point in time. When you feel like you are slipping, remember the key to creating a healthy lifestyle is to stay consistent, work through the challenges, and have confidence that your efforts will pay off.
You are not alone in your struggles.
Do you feel like you are the only one getting dropped? Does it seem like you are the only one having a hard time staying on track? As normal as it is to ask riding friends to slow down as you climb a steep hill, feel comfortable asking those around you to offer support through your challenging moments
Ride your own ride.
Those who sit at the back of the pack are forced to react to every change in the leader’s speed. Rather than being reactive to everyone else’s strategy, find your own pace and “ride your own ride.” Each new internet article and video on health and wellness can cause you to question your current path and pace. Take a deep breath, stay within your own plan, and you will find your journey to be much more smooth and consistent.
Avoid getting dropped in the first place.
One of the best ways to avoid falling off the back of a group ride is to avoid being in that position in the first place. Conserve energy and willpower by setting up simple systems to make your life easier. Learn to meal prep for your family or work week. Write your monthly workouts in your calendar to keep yourself accountable. Simple preparations can go a long way towards keeping you on track when the going gets tough.
Valuable lessons can be learned from our two-wheeled friends, whether you are an avid cyclist or not. Remember that those able to follow healthy habits with seemingly little effort were once in your shoes. Stay consistent in your fitness plan, ask others for help, and learn from the mistakes of those doing well. In time, your healthy habits will be a normal part of your lifestyle, and riding with the lead pack will be a breeze.
Nick Rozek Greater Green Bay YMCA
Workplace Wellness Coordinator & Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist