Some mind games you can play out on the road
Psyching out others to gain advantage on the road
You can use your mind to control and manipulate certain situations when you’re out on the roads. That all might sound like Jedi mind tricks, but psychological tools can complement, or bolster, your physical abilities. Here are some strategies you can use during races or fiesty group rides.
We all know at least one or two shouters within our cycling circles: riders who impose their will upon others on a ride. Often, these riders just stop short of being bullies who do on occasion gain results by forcing others to take turns. But, it’s not really a wise or sweet way to go about things. Turn off these types and don’t be bullied. Instead, be subtle and measured with how you play situations. Subtlety is far more powerful and can have much longer lasting results. Slow down, think about it and do the Canadian thing: be a soft power.
Managing climbs no matter your strength
Climbs are often seen as places where you can’t hide, and to an extent, that’s true – although there are many ways to lessen the blows. In a group or a one-on-one situation in which you’re the weaker rider, try asking a throughout-provoking question that requires an in-depth answer. Ask just before things get serious. If the rider or riders take the bait, the chatter can diffuse any tension before a climb.
Over the top of a climb, riders usually ease off. Keep some gas in the tank and ride a little after you crest; it’s a morale killer. Even if it hurts you, it’s huge. If you happen to drop others on the climb, circling in the road at the top is the ultimate knockout blow.
The pain mask
Usually, it doesn’t pay to show that you’re suffering. As soon as other riders realize you’re flagging, they will get a huge mental boost. Your facial expression is your first tell. Grimace as much as you like when you’re out of sight, but don’t let others see your pain. Mask it, either with a grin or a wink. Your “white flags of suffering” don’t stop at the face. Any experienced rider will see them coming before they even show fully. Your whole body posture changes as you decline: bobbing around, fumbling, changing gears too often, getting out of the saddle to stretch more often and even checking devices. Focus on keeping your composure to mask your fatigue. Not only will this bluff help cover your pain, it will also help you feel better. The same goes with eating and drinking. Fuel out of sight if you can. You will appear much stronger in the eyes of the other riders around you. There are occasions when you may want to look as if you’re suffering. Then, you can turn on the power. This move is something you can only do once. So, make it count.