Mental Opportunities of Training and Racing

The month of April started with the goal of having a successful day on the bike with my Rio Strada teammates at the Rapha Prestige event in San Francisco.  This longer, much climbier ride/race was definitely outside my comfort zone and I did as much as I could to train for the distance and elevation gain involved.  Unfortunately, the best laid plans didn’t help me on the day and my back decided it was not in the cards for me to finish the ride.  I really felt like I let my teammates down, especially when I saw the team’s “DNF” on the final result a couple days later.

That day was like a hard punch to the stomach.  In the days that followed, I hoped to find something positive in what happened, but it was extremely difficult to do that.  Julie took the time to give me much support and guidance.  The advice she gave me made that day an anomaly when it could have been the start of a bigger downward spiral.  She helped me turn my focus forward.  I resolved to work harder on my core strength, climbing and distance riding.

I also decided to do some races for flat out speed… FUN stuff… mood enhancers for bike racers!  For me, that’s a good, fast criterium.  Only a week after that down day at the Rapha, I won my first race of the season.  Then, somehow, some way, that win turned into four straight podiums over a four-race span.  It’s a huge turnaround for me that has resulted in wanting to do more to improve and get stronger — mentally and physically.  The momentum is going the right way, much faster than I ever could have imagined.

Through this last month, I realized more than ever the value of having a great coach.  It’s not just physical, it’s very mental, also.  Having that voice of reason and experience to help you see the forest for the trees and not focus on the wrong things… it’s priceless.

Heidi Littenberg, o2fitness athlete