The dedication of focus
It always intersting to observe the ebb and flow in my focus on training/racing. The begining of off season actually is very focused due to the structure of my training program. The prescribed strength training plan makes it easy to just follow the plan, put your head down and go day to day.
Motivation during the endurance phase takes a hit due to the difficulty of getting out in the cold and weather. Focus tends to rise once the interval phase starts up as each workout is mapped on the calendar and is well defined. Typically I'm gung ho for the first race and ride focused.
So far every year focus and motivation dips a little into this part of the year. There isn't a defined race State series here just some odd races here and there. So it's difficult to keep focus sometimes. In addition, being an obsessive bike geek also tends to draw concentration. Not to mention just being regular person with family, work taking priority.
In my interview with Dave Morris, I asked him what are the characteristics that separate elite riders from their amateur counterparts?
He said: "From a mental standpoint, the pros seem to stay more focused on doing what they need to do to get the job done, while amateurs will often allow themselves to become distracted. They preoccupy themselves with things that don’t really matter and lose site of the big picture. "
So it's understandable for elite and pro athletes to be really focused. At cyclingnews, Gunn Rita-Dahle says her success is due to an unrelenting focus - she describes herself as a '24-hour athlete'.
But it's a little hard to explain to normal people (or even myself) why hack amateur would want to be similarly focused (and boring). At the company picnic the other day they had a huge water slide set up. The kind that ends in a ramp and launches you into another pool. Designed for carnage. I didn't want to do it for fear of getting hurt and ruining my season. Yes, my vet-sport season in a sport that is barely on the radar in this state. All of 5 or 7 races in a year. Ooooh yeah! Umm mountain bike racing? Is that like triathlon or something?
It's even hard to explain to my wife, who is a cyclist, why I am bringing my trainer on vacation to ride in my parent's garage.
Don't get me wrong, I love to ride, but for non-naturally talented people like myself to excel in competition it takes focus and dedication even at the hack level. Riding is fun, but drilling yourself into the ground doesn't happen on happy-happy-joy-joy alone.