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Pedaling Into Possibility

Updated: Jan 25, 2023

Photo courtesy of I Ling Thompson

January is a wild and beautiful gift. With the holidays and winter solstice behind us, daylight expands as we muse on the prospects of the new year. We embark on a fresh 365 day ride around the sun as we create space to imagine the possibilities: What kind of ride do we want it to be? Who do we want to join us? How do we want to show up? Where do we want this ride to take us? The beautiful part is that each of us receives this gift every year and it never loses its charm.

You’re not alone if you’re already imagining the start of bike season. Whether it’s a rocky desert descent you’re fantasizing about, wide open space to pedal that stretch of gravel or anything in between, harnessing the power of your mindset now will set you up for a superb bike season. While Nike infamously made us believe we could simply Just Do It, expanding our mindset isn’t an overnight transformation. Since our brain is like a muscle, it develops and rewires patterns over a span of time through deliberate practice and repetition. Since that progress isn’t linear, pairing these three mindset tips with your winter training sessions can boost your motivation and enjoyment in the growth process.

1. Observe Your Behavior.

Start by bringing attention to your thoughts and your words and observe how you talk to yourself. What story(ies) do you tell yourself? What limiting beliefs might you notice? Instead of judging your words or thoughts, think, “how fascinating” or “that’s interesting” as you become an observer of your own behavior.

2. Reframe Negative Language.

How you talk to yourself matters. If you notice any negative language, practice reframing it. Instead of saying “I can’t” (e.g., do 8 pull-ups, hold a 1 minute plank), say “not yet.” In this way, you move from feeling defeated in the now to achieving in the future. Instead of saying “I have to” (e.g., go to spin class, chop vegetables) say “I get to” or “I want to.” In this way, you move from feeling like everything is a chore to it being a gift or a privilege. It also helps to strengthen your gratitude practice. While these shifts might feel subtle at first, they are quite impactful over time.

3. Visualize Your Future (Spring) Self.

Training your brain to visualize a successful outcome on and off the trail is highly effective to improve your performance. Visualize what you want to happen by using words such as: “What if” (e.g., I pedal through the top of this climb?) or “I would like to” (e.g., ride that techy trail feature). Repetition is key so that it becomes a recurring habit. Picture yourself accomplishing your goals. What does it look and feel like? Visualize yourself reaching your goals before you go to sleep at night to reinforce the imagery.

Remember that change occurs in small increments over time so give yourself grace and find fun in the process. There’s an infinite amount of possibility that lies within each of us and using these mindset tools will help you discover it on and off the bike.

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