The Mind Game

The mind game: the constant battle between mind and body. People often talk about mental vs physical ability – I’m not one to put a percentage on it but I firmly believe that the mindset you can put yourself in can really affect what you are capable of physically.

I would like to share an example with you:
You are suffering up a climb: there just seems to be drag after drag. You keep telling yourself just get to the next turn. Good you made it, now to the next one. Your body is aching, lungs stinging and your legs are burning but you just keep telling yourself to push. You get to what you think is the final corner only to turn and see it is still going up with no end in sight. You stop pushing so much, almost stopping. But why? Physically only moments ago you were capable of getting to that point, of pushing on those pedals. It was only when you turned and saw the climb continuing that all of a sudden your body stopped the desire to keep pushing. Have you had this kind of experience? I know I have.

Put yourself in these shoes, come L’Étape Australia in December this scenario is one that could very well creep up behind you as you tackle the Perisher slopes. So how can you keep focused and keep out the negative thoughts when this happens?

My top piece of advice would be to focus on the process at hand, stay in the moment. I am currently trying to learn another language: if I only looked at the top of the mountain which is fluency then I would have given up by now. I am focused on each turn, each small stretch of the mountain knowing that every bit further I get, the closer I am to the top. Just like this, when these thoughts start to creep in then focus on those aspects that can push you further, get you to the top: hydration, eating well and maintaining a comfortable cadence. Sometimes when my mind wanders I also like to imagine my pedal stroke, keep that image going, it’s amazing how that little bit of focus and concentration can push you further.

Cycling is full of wonderful moments, but it is also a sport where everyone can push their limits. There are no defined boundaries for how much you are willing to push and suffer. This is an element I love. Enjoy the suffering, embrace the pain and go further than you thought you were capable of.

 


Always a team player, it is common to see Amanda sacrificing herself for her teammates.

The 2012 and 2016 Australian road race champion is known for her big heart and big engine. Amanda recorded her first European victory at the Giro del Trentino Alto Adige – Sudtirol in 2015 and has taken a big step up as a leader in the outfit following the retirement on Loes Gunnewijk.