Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Doubt

When the sh*t goes down and the screws are turned, we all wage the war against the ingress of doubt. Like cold, salty ocean water, doubt will find its way inside a breach and then... it's only a matter of time before the ship goes down.

Following an effort so hard that it leaves the eyes bloodshot and your feet fried, a rider tries to sort out the race's details. How can one's fitness vary so greatly on back-to-back days? All things being equal, one can point to doubt.

At times, denying doubt is harder than any of the physical efforts doled out. When the group is strung out into a razor sharp point and riders begin popping, doubt becomes tough to ignore. At that moment, the difference between a good day and a bad day is determined by the mind's willingness to ignore the persistant whisper of that f*#ker doubt.

Image courtesy John Pierce, Photosport International

11 comments:

-p said...

Pick yourself a training route that goes up and over the local mountain range. There's nothing to doubt if you've got to get back over that thing before sun down.

Frenchy aka Bike Boy said...

There is no doubt- BKW is back with another great post

Paul said...

Determination destroys doubt

juzme said...

A few molecules of embrocation driven into the olfactories by the turbulence of fast spinning legs eases doubt also.

Anonymous said...

No doubt.

ted

oldFonzie said...

I'm not sure, but reading this article somehow reminded me of this one in Newsweek:

http://www.newsweek.com/id/151758

Supposedly there's a genetic trait that makes kids less likely to learn from their mistakes. Apparently it's inherited in about 30% of us which makes me think there's got to be a genetic advantage to this mutation for it for it to be so prevalent.

I think it's to overcome doubt. The normal person gets their butt kicked the first time they ride a race and learn that there are other things to do. But the mutants out there who don't learn don't get these doubts and come back for more.

Jim said...

Determination destroys doubt

Not always. I've been in a few races where doubt took determination's mother out for a nice fish dinner, then never called her again. Sometimes doubt wins.

But what is it that doubt causes? Packing it in before the legs are truly finished? Tactical errors? It seems to me that determination in equal parts with fitness and good judgment are the keys to defeating doubt. Doubt also fuels performance; fear of failure, fear of giving in to doubt and having to live with the knowledge that your will buckled before your legs did, is a great motivator.

Anonymous said...

there's no doubt involved when you're at 201bpm and on the rivet believeing you're dishing out the pain, and then someone attackes you like you're standing still.

That's just a fact.

But it sure then breeds doubt the next time you think about trying to string out the group on a climb ;+)

Billy D said...

In response to oldfonzie:
Supposedly there's a genetic trait that makes kids less likely to learn from their mistakes. Apparently it's inherited in about 30% of us which makes me think there's got to be a genetic advantage to this mutation for it for it to be so prevalent.

Alternatively, there may be a collective advantage to having 70% of us learn and 30% keep trying.

frilly said...

Well spoken Jim. I have found doubt to be most helpful in progressing my own HTFU program. Someone once told me the challenge is to overcome yourself.

Carl said...

Thanks for a great article. It's something we all know, but it helps to have it reinforced. I never doubt that I can make the ride I've planned -- until I make a wrong turn (or 3), find I forgot a ClifBar, have an annoying flat, etc. -- and then I start spending energy I didn't intend to spend, and then I start doubting my plan. And that's all it is -- doubt. I know my abilities, and I can read my body very well. I know whether it's a 50 or 70K day within the first 3K, and whether I can take on that great 11K climb and still have gas in the tank on the way home. It's only stupid doubt that makes me question it!

The most important thing I've learned from this, my best summer of riding ever, is that just because my legs hurt doesn't mean they're tired. Pain, it turns out, doesn't eat into my average speed or keep me from getting home.