On Motivation

Itʼs easy to want to win on the day. One of the most annoyingly overused-for-the-sake-of-sounding-athletic clichés is: ʻhe just wanted it moreʼ. To assume that Guy A who wins the sprint wants it more than Guy B who finishes second is utter nonsense. (There is one caveat however, and that is timing – Guy A probably wanted it more four months ago, at 6 am, in the pouring rain when he manned up and got out).

Motivation is crucial in cycling due to the learning curve. Itʼs not like golf or tennis, where thereʼs fine adjustments and a myriad of new motor skills to be acquired. This means practices and training can be pretty tough with respect to motivation.

Any good coach will determine oneʼs motivational sources before building a plan, because it affects the plan.

People participate in athletics for four reasons:

  1. they enjoy the social aspect
  2. they enjoy learning and improving
  3. they enjoy competition
  4. they enjoy the kinesthetic qualities (or physical ʻfeelʼ)

This isnʼt a list where you pick one; 99% of participants are a composite of all four. And donʼt assume one is ʻbetterʼ than the other. When interviewed, what does the retired professional athlete always say he misses most? “The guys, the room, the road trips” Thatʼs the social aspect, and it shouldnʼt be dismissed.

Once you know why you ride, do one more thing – determine how you want to perceived. Do you want to be a relentless climber, an explosive sprinter, a selfless workhorse, or an all-around roleur? This info is somewhat predetermined by body type and natural strengths. If youʼre not sure, ask yourself which pro you would most like to imitate? Schleck, Cavendish, Voigt, or Cancellara?

Once you have this information you can start implementing it into your plan. Then you may as well start referring to yourself as Guy A.