Valuable Cycling Advice

The most valuable piece of cycling advice I ever received did not come from a professional cyclist. In fact, it did not come from a cyclist at all. It came from a former Navy Seal.

We Live in the Information Age

We live at a time in the Information Age like no other. We need our information as fast as possible so we can respond as quickly as possible. Data speeds need to be unlimited and most importantly, it needs to be fast. So fast in fact, that the re-heat timer on the microwave often seems slow now in comparison. One minute can feel like an eternity when waiting for that baked potato. (Or more like nuked potato).

Information has made it's way into every facet of our lives. It literally follows us around in our pockets and on our wrists and has changed the way we live and yes, even the way we ride.

The Best Cycling Tip Ever

"You need to stop fiddling with your computer and stop changing gears all the time," my friend tells me as we roll down along the bay.

"What do you mean?" I ask.

"You're constantly changing gears and looking at your computer," he responds. He goes on and tells me something that has changed my cycling and even how I approach challenges in life ever since.

"Turn it off," he says.

"What? No way. I need to load this to Strava later."

"Turn it off."

"Ok," I complied begrudgingly. He is a former Seal after all. Plus he had at least 80 pounds on me easy. I wasn't going to have him tell me a third time - I was already pushing it.

Then he tells me, "Dave, don't look at the computer to tell you how you're doing. Listen to your body to know how you're doing. Pay attention to what your body is telling you."

He had my attention. We were still rolling but the pace had slowed a bit. I was processing what I was hearing.

"First check your breathing. Are you breathing too hard? Are you straining? No? OK. Next, check your arms and legs and grip. Are you tense?  If so, loosen up. Listen to what your body is telling you. Next assess the environment around you. Is there a tailwind? If so go with it. Is there a slight rise or fall to the road? Go with it. If not, then adjust what you need to, and only then. Go with the flow of the road. "

This lesson has stayed with me ever since. It has is changed the way I ride. It has helped me to stay loose on the climbs. It has helped me to carry just the right amount of speed through rollers.  I have become both faster and more efficient as a cyclist because of it. And these days it's helping me on descents (I've been riding the brakes and not placing enough weight on the front wheels lately). It has also probably saved me from a few potential accidents as well. Some days I'm not as rested or as mentally acute or aware. On those days I dial back my riding and don't push as hard.

Leave the Cycling Computer at Home

Don't forget to listen to what your body is telling you.  On some days, it is still better to leave the cycling computer at home.

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