Adversity as Opportunity

It is training Wednesday and today we have another guest post from Steve Weller of Bell Lap Coaching. Steve has been coaching since 2004, and brings practical experience and a scientific background to his athletes. Steve began racing while attending Dartmouth College, where he studied biology and physiology. In his years of coaching, Steve has helped both amateur and professional athletes acheive their goals, with dozens of wins, medals at National and World Championships, and upgrades to Cat. 1 and 2 in road and mountain, as well as Pro MTB. With experience in road, track, cyclo-cross and mountain bike racing, Steve now focuses on the New England and NRC road season, racing for one of the nation’s top amateur teams, BikeReg.com / Cannondale (formerly Fior di Frutta).

Be sure to visit the Bell Lap Coaching website for information on coaching and training. Steve will be posting regularly on Wednesdays about training and racing – if you have any questions for Steve, let us know.

Life as a competitive athlete is filled with challenges and obstacles of many forms:  flatting, crashing, getting caught out in bad weather, juggling family and job responsibilities with training and racing.  While many cyclists derive satisfaction from overcoming the challenges of a hard workout or race, those other unexpected obstacles can be harder to take in stride.

We can’t control when or where we’ll run into bad luck and adversity on the bike (or anywhere else).  Regular and thorough bike maintenance usually goes a long way to preventing equipment related issues, but flats and other mechanicals are unavoidable.  The same with crashes, last minute problems at work, bad weather, etc.:  we can do our best to avoid these scenarios, but they happen to all of us at some point.

It’s easy to get hung up on the downside of those times when adversity comes your way, but instead of focusing on the negatives of a situation, I encourage you to focus on what you can control:  your reaction to the situation.   Did a flat tire take you out of the race?  Focus on trying to get back into the field, and use that opportunity to work on your TT skills and pacing.  Decreasing daylight, and sometimes broken bones from a crash confine us to the trainer.  Instead of dreading that trainer time, why not use it to work on your mental toughness and focus?   Bad weather, delayed flights, and problems at work are all things we can’t control.  But, staying calm and minimizing your stress and anxiety will likely leave you feeling fresher for your workout or race.

Coaches and athletes work together to create an optimal training and racing environment, but many days on the bike are far from ideal.  Embrace the challenges that come your way, and work on controlling your reactions to those obstacles.  Try to make the best out of those situations, and remember that perseverance and mental fortitude are skills that you can train when things aren’t going your way.

To contact Steve, email him or give him a call at  413.376.4880.

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