Had a bad time on your bike and lost your mojo? It sucks, but it happens to even the best riders.
We asked the lovely Angela Hibbs, Jennifer Holden, Jenny Hudson and Fiona Hunter Johnston of Fusion RT Fierlan on how they hold themselves together after a disappointing result.
Let it all out!
It’s okay, and totally understandable to be… err… A bit more than a little upset when things don’t go to plan.
Angela explains it well: “I find it very hard to process such a result… Ask anyone who puts a huge amount of effort into what you do and when a plan does not come off or something happens to stop that, it is hugely disappointing.”
Angela has a good way to vent her frustration: “I swear a bit”.
Make sure no children are in earshot and turn that air blue! And/ or, have a cry, stamp your feet and let those feelings out!
Once you’ve let the raw emotion out, talking and sharing your thoughts (like anything in life) with someone is the best way of trying to move on and take something positive away.
Learn to improve on the things under your control…
Angela offers a little ray of sunshine for when things don’t go right: “I am usually a positive person, so once the reality has sunk in that it’s game over I’ll try and find some positives from it… Even if it’s stupid and small … There always has to be a positive somewhere…!”
Sometimes unfortunate things happen, once you’ve worked out your frustration, try to think about what happened and could have been in your power to change. “you learn something every race you’re in, sometime the issue was avoidable” says Jenny.
The ladies recommend you work through whether you could have done a better job of checking over your bike, if you need to rethink race tactics or your bike positioning… Or even what you had for breakfast that morning!
And let go of the things that aren’t under your control.
Unfortunately, there’s quite a lot that can go wrong with a bicycle – punctures, mechanicals, and (especially horrible) crashes.
“Sometimes things will happen…Road racing…it’s a lot of riders in a small space so crashes are going to happen at some point, it’s inevitable. At some point across a season or 2 seasons you are likely to be involved in some… Whether it’s your fault or someone else’s.
You can learn and try and minimise your likelihood of being involved in one but sometimes it is unavoidable” says Angela.
Jenny has a good saying for dealing with the nature of the beast: “one of my favourite sayings in this situation is it’s bike racing . It happens, it’s not the end of the world. There are always other races, it’s a disappointment but there is nothing you can do now, it’s bike racing.”
Know that you can only control your own performance, everyone else’s is down to them. Sometimes it just isn’t your day to win – and that’s OK! “It could simply be that other riders were stronger on the day, I find that easier to process!” says Jenny.
Remember the saying that if you’re the most intelligent person in the room, you’re in the wrong room? The same applies to bike racing – you’ll only get better if you push your riding against strong contenders.
Bad times happen to everyone
Even the ladies of Fusion RT have bad days on bikes! Angela recalls her last bad bike day…
“A few weeks ago I had a terminal mechanical with my new racing road bike, it was Game Over after 20 minutes… I spent the next 45 minutes following the group behind in the car… my first experience of doing that and hopefully my last, it was horrible!” recalls Angela.
Not wanting to watch everyone else on the team ride their bikes while she sat there with her broken bike on the roof, Angela refocused on the next challenge.
“I was determined not to let the next event get away, so ahead of the RTTC 50 Mile Time Trial I checked the bike thoroughly, checked my race pace plan, checked my preparation and taper and focused on the job in hand…” says Angela.
“The experience had made me more determined to achieve that goal and go out there and do my best and not have to experience that disappointment again… .This thinking worked… I Won!” says Angela.
This will make you stronger
Fiona sums this up nicely: “A disappointing result will make you more savvy and motivate you to try and avoid whatever circumstances that might make it happen again.
It will make you more resilient, especially when you get a better result next time and you realise that bad result wasn’t the end of the world after-all!”