(From Coach Steve, Sun Mar 5, 2017) We do a lot of riding. It takes a long time to build up the endurance to finish – and even more – to excel in a XC mountain biking race. So sometimes we get caught up in grinding out the miles to get our legs and lungs ready. But just like every sport, there is another component to mountain biking and that’s the mental game.
The mental part of the game is framing your obstacles as learning opportunities and not dwelling in frustration. It can be hard to watch another rider make a tough section but you can’t compare yourself to anyone other than yourself. Viewing each obstacle as a chance to challenge yourself and get better is just as important as giving yourself credit for failing at it. Learning to fail and get back up and try again is your fastest way to improve. I’ve covered the practice of “cleaning” an obstacle before — the habit of trying and retrying something until you’ve mastered it. Technical mountain biking can be likened to figuring out a puzzle. It can be any number of reasons that something is hard for you:
- Do you see the line through the obstacle?
- Are you applying enough power?
- Do you have your timing down?
- Can you lift your front wheel?
- Are you shifting your weight at the right time?
- Do you have traction?
- What is your attitude toward the challenge?
Mastering your mental game will help you get in the right frame of mind to answer those questions