Cyclists and Peak Performance

Does Your Head Get in the Way of Your Racing?
What does it take for you to reach your potential as a cyclist? The true challenge in cycling, triathlon and marathon running is the competition between you and the race course, you and the clock, but primarily between you and your mind. Success in cycling and these other endurance sports is all about your mental ability to handle the pain and fatigue of oxygen debt, about your ability to master the limits that you think you have. The endurance sport athlete's most formidable opponent can be found in the mirror. Look at yourself! You are both the problem and the solution! 


Are you mentally tough as a cyclist? Is mental training an active part of your preparation or simply an after-thought? Do you know how to consistently harness the power of your mind to lift the level of your performance? Or are you your own worst enemy out there? Do you do better in practice than actual races? Are you regularly beaten by athletes you know you should own? When the going gets tough, do you get scared and break down? 

How about your motivation as a cyclist? Do you have the inner drive to do what's necessary to achieve success? Do you have a meaningful goal that helps keep you focused and moving forward through the brutal and oftentimes monotonous grind of daily training? Without a "big enough why" or a personally compelling goal your motivation will stall out. You have to be able to ask yourself on a daily basis, "How is what I’m doing today and right now going to help me get to where I want to go?” Far too many athletes make a “deal with the devil.” That is, they trade what they want the most, for what they want right now.

 Additional demands in cycling include...

  • Consistently practicing "pushing the envelope." You have to be willing to regularly bust your butt. That is, you must live the winner's creed, get comfortable being uncomfortable!"
  • Developing the ability to handle competitive pressure. If you can't learn to control your nerves, then you'll never race to your potential. Staying cool in the clutch is a mental skill that you can easily master with practice.
  • Mastering pain and fatigue. This means that you have to know two things: first, how to control your focus when you begin to hurt; second, how to neutralize the negative thinking and self-doubts that almost always tag along with the pain.
  • Concentration. You must develop the ability to focus on what's important and block out everything else. Your mental skills in this area directly affect your ability to effectively handle pressure. In fact, the wrong focus before and during your races is the #1 cause of choking and psych-outs.
  • Ability to deal with adversity, setbacks and failure. Winners build their success on their failures. They learn from their mistakes and then leave them behind. What kind of "reboundability" do you have?
  • Mental preparation ahead of time. Do you know how to use imagery, mental rehearsal or visualization to maximize your chances of success? Did you know that mental rehearsal can significantly help you stay calm in the clutch and build your confidence? 

You’d never go into a race and leave the physical part of your performance to chance! So why compete and leave this all important mental dimension to chance? You have to believe in yourself and have the self-confidence to focus on yourself and not your opponents when you're under pressure. You have to be able to handle last minute negativity and self-doubts. You have to be able to master your fears.

With a little work, these mental skills as well as a few important others can be systematically trained to the point where you develop the reputation as a mentally tough competitor. My CD program, The Best Mental Toughness Training Program for Cyclists (ON SALE NOW!) will take you to the next level!

Are you struggling with performance anxiety or a slump? Do you consistently perform better in practice than when it counts?

My one-on-one consultation service will help get you back on track! Call me at (413) 549-1085 or email

As a Sports Performance Consultant Dr. Alan Goldberg works with endurance sport athletes of all kinds helping them develop mental toughness, better handle competitive pressure and perform to their potential. He has worked with professional cyclists and world-class triathletes from around the country. As a regular columnist for Fitness Swimming and Swimming World, Dr. G writes on the subjects of peak performance and mental toughness. He is the author of, "This Is Your Brain on Sports", "Sports Slump Busting", "The Racers Edge" and his latest CD program, 14 Steps to Mental Toughness. Check out his most popular program- Mental Toughness Training Package for Cyclists-Special Savings.