Don't Give Up
In the last week or so I’m sure you have all seen that Mark Cavendish proved all of the doubters from the last three years wrong in winning not only one but four stages of the Tour of Turkey! As a rider who has always massively looked up to Cavendish I was delighted to see that he was undoubtedly back at the top of his game. This newfound winning streak has shown that self belief and consistency are key to succeed.
For many riders, Cavendish included, illness can unfortunately have a long term affect on a riders fitness and ability to win races. We have also arguably seen this on a smaller scale with Peter Sagan who suffered from Coronavirus at the start of the year but later came back with a convincing stage win at Volta a Catalunya. Both huge names in cycling but have also unfortunately been faced with large scale criticism from some cycling fans and internet trolls on whether or not they had ‘passed it’ so to say. But clearly they haven’t and they both stayed consistent with their own preparations and never gave up. Hence this weeks blog shall be all about not giving up and why it’s so important to keep going.
First and foremost, if you are genuinely unwell or injured then it’s paramount to rest and recover instead of plowing on through a training or racing block. In this instance, rest and recovery will be your best friend in order to help you have as little time off as possible. This is because carrying on at the same rate will stress your body far more than it is able to cope with during illness or injury, this can therefore unfortunately lead to an elongated length of time off of the bike. Thus, try to think longterm rather than short term during these frustrating times. You may not be winning races straight away and your role may change within your team but winning is never off the cards if you really want it, but just remember to have patience on your way back up to the top.
For a lot of riders the temptation to give up during a race once they have missed a move or suffered from a mechanical can be overwhelming. However, it’s super important in these situations to stay calm, trust in your own ability and keep going. As our bodies are being put under such intense strain mentally and physically our judgment can be a little off. It might feel like the end of the race for you, but often if you carry on and don’t give up you’ll see that the front group has sat up and the race all comes back together again: putting you in a great position to contest the race!
Photo Thanks to Cc Hime
Similarly, if you compete in cyclocross or mountain bike cross country, you may feel your competitors are too far ahead of you in order to catch and pass them, however due to the technical nature of off road racing, you may find that they have an issue on a technical section or while they are fatigued towards the end of the race they may make some silly mistakes out on the course ahead of you. Just because you can’t see that back wheel ahead doesn’t mean that you won’t see it again. Equally, carrying on and not giving up, no matter what discipline you compete in, will also give you lots of training benefits in comparison to if you had just given up and called it a day.
However, if you have crashed you should most definitely think about how you feel and asses the damage to your body before getting back on. Yes, it might seem like a noble thing to do jumping back on your bike and carrying on, but if your bones are broken or you have done some serious damage, the title of the blog does not apply to you! I’ll reiterate that you HAVE to look after your body and think about the longevity of your career and health. You can’t neglect your body in this way and then expect it to be fine along the line. Unfortunately you can do so much more damage carrying on once seriously hurt. But if you are genuinely ok and not suffering broken bones, serious tissue damage or concussion then by all means get back on and chase. But just please please please think about your body first.
Photo Thanks to Autumn Collins
At the end of the day, not giving up is an important part of competitive sport, however you can also relate this to a training session. You will get reap benefits from carrying on (as long as you are healthy enough to do so) and I am yet to come across a person who has regretted a session or a race once they’ve completed it. Trust in yourself and your training, no matter what your setback may be, you will get there. Don’t listen to the doubters, unless that lack of belief motivates you in the same way it did for Cavendish. Propel yourself into your comeback and I promise you the hardship will always make the success that follows all the more sweeter.
Until next time, don’t give up and keep chasing your dream!