At some point, most riders become interested in competitive cycling. Becoming a competitive cyclist takes plenty of hard work and a competitive spirit that strives for victory no matter what. Anyone who takes this route should be ready to put in the dedication and commitment it takes to excel in the sport.
There are two aspects of becoming a competitive cyclist. There’s the physical training aspect, which most people seem to focus on the most. It’s understandable that most riders want to focus on being in the best physical shape possible for any competition. It is this aspect that leads them to search for that magic set of workouts and special training that would make them more physically fit for competition. However, there’s also another aspect of become a competitive cyclist that most riders tend to ignore to their own detriment. Budding competitors don’t place as much emphasis on the mental aspect of the sport as they should, which leaves them at a noticeable disadvantage when it comes time to line up.
Anyone who wants to become a competitive cyclist should focus on having the desire and the drive to compete and to win. After all, one can have great potential carefully crafted through intense physical training, but lack the competitive spirit and a desire to win. It is the rare athlete who has the potential to not only be an athlete with immense physical potential, but also the intense drive that’s needed to be competitive and to win races. A true competitor who places his or her focus on what’s needed to win will always beat out those who have great athletic prowess, even if the competitor is not as physically fit.
There are many cases of competitive cyclists not having the best physical prowess or even the greatest talent, but one thing they had that put them over the top was the intense and overwhelming desire to compete and win races. These cyclists do everything they can to cross the finish line first, from studying race tactics to maximizing their strongest traits and skills. Even if a competitor has limited physical gifts, having that positive focus and an overwhelming desire to win can make all the difference between merely finishing in the middle of the pack every time and being at the top of the podium several times out of the entire season.
One mistake that competitive cyclists make is always focusing on fixing their weaknesses as opposed to fine-tuning their strengths. Competitors can’t make the mistake of assuming that if they’re already good at one area that they shouldn’t improve upon it and instead move on to another weak area. Although being well-rounded is an admirable goal in many cases, further sharpening the best traits and using them to their advantage can help put a competitive cyclist at the top of the podium. For example, if hill climbing is your strength and sprinting is your weakness, learn how to harness your hill-climbing skills to break out of the pack. Every competitive cyclist should build a physiological profile that maximizes their best skills instead of merely bringing their mediocre skills up to par.