Balancing Life and Riding a Bike
A fellow Hampshire born cyclist, Caitlin Peters asked me to write a few words about balancing life and riding a bike. So, whilst on training camp with my new team for 2018 –WaowDeals Pro Cycling Team I put pen to paper.
Caitlin, rides for my first cycling club I-team. Being super talented with a fantastic work ethic, she is certainly a rider to look out for in the future!
Balancing life and riding a bike can be hard and it takes a long time to find a balance. And balance is the key! For young riders especially, it can be hard to find the right balance, with pressures left, right and centre from; friends, family, sports, school, work and more.
The biggest thing I have learnt over the years is that it’s ok to do things that may not be considered ‘perfect for recovery’ or as you envisage a pro living their life. I used to feel guilty about walking on a rest day, or simply making plans off the bike that didn’t consist of laying on a sofa. Switching off is good for your mind and ultimately that will make you better on the bike. I realised that the happier I was off the bike, the better I went on the bike- so do what makes you happy. Or at least plan ahead and make time for what makes you happy. If going out getting drunk makes you happy, plan it in for the off season. If it’s simply spending time with friends and family, plan it for a rest day!
It’s not just about being physically strong – it’s about being psychologically strong too
Cycling is much, much more than being physically strong. It’s about being psychologically strong too – having faith in yourself, being able to keep going when you don’t feel fantastic (its relatively easy to try hard when you are going well / winning, but when you are having a bad day out training on your own – that’s the big test of mental strength), and not letting what others do impact you and your training. Through social media, we all see glimpses of how others (including our competitors) are living – what type of training they are doing, and no doubt a whole bunch of exciting and fun things too. Who cares what your competitors are doing training wise – just focus on being the best version of you that you can possibly be. Back yourself.
Being a professional athlete means having to be super organised. I know what I’m doing for the next 6 months to a year already- general training plans, race plans and equally importantly spending quality time with the people who I love and make me happy.
For all you young riders out there, I hope there is a little something here that you can relate to and take away. Cycling is a sport – it is not life and death. It must be fun. Don’t sweat the small stuff.