“The hardest thing, after all the work and all the time spent on training and technique, is just being fully present in the moment.”
One of the toughest things when working with an athlete is getting them all the way to the start line in perfect physical shape, then watching it all fall apart on the racecourse. You’ll hear athletes refer to a course as a “ house of horrors” or “ a comedy of errors” as their outcome goals spiral out of control.
One tactic that’s worked really well for me in several areas of life and sport is to acknowledge the likely mayhem and certainty of things getting out of control. The better we can step back from a situation and approach it with a clear and connected mindset, the better the end result.
“Playing the tape all the way through” and setting “Plan B and C” paths if things go awry is very valuable, especially a few days out, when we have time to think of alternate paths or strategies.
The second tactic is to find a simple process goal or almost a mantra to focus on before and during the race.
Words like “ ride smooth” or “ just don’t slow down” can go a long way towards setting an intention. Pair this with a good set of breaths, both before and during the event. It sounds a little woo-woo, but don’t forget to breathe!
I’m excited to be heading to MTB Nationals in Winter Park, CO this July!
I’ll be supporting athletes, riding some bikes, and will definitely bring a fly rod along for the evening hatch on the Fraser River. If you’d like some race-day support at Nationals, reach out, and let’s see if I can help you have your best race of the year.