It seems unfair that on the same week that daylight savings is zapping the life out of me that we should have the rare rainy day in Florida. It’s been pouring rain since around 3 a.m., and even now it’s bleak and dark and wet. The rain is expected to continue through the day, which means no lunchtime ride with my fellow cyclists. Part of me is happy, I’m sore from yesterday’s workout and an after-work run with a friend, but part of me wants to get out on two wheels and practicing the stopping that I seem to be sucking less at lately.
It’s amazing how one little change can change everything. I feel like I see it daily in Crossfit, one little tweak and suddenly a lift just happens, a rep becomes easier, and a goal is conquered. I realized last week that the change that needed to happen for me in cycling is in my head.
I’ve posted about what a hot freaking mess I am since day one, but for those who don’t know, I’m not exactly graceful. While I love cycling, if I’m not in the act of actually cycling, everything else is not my strength. Going? Well that requires clipping in, sometimes while moving through intersections with other people around you… problematic if you barely have the coordination to walk and chew gum at the same time. Stopping? Even a bigger issue as I have to get my feet out and figure out which way to lean AND not run into the person in front of me or brake too late and end up in traffic.
Every single time I have to stop I say “shit” outloud. It’s a habit. Every single time we have to go again I end up using a stronger curse word, and falling behind the group.
For as long as I’ve been doing it, I realized it for the first time last week.
And in that same moment I realized, while colorful and amusing, all I’m doing is setting myself up to fail. If my habit is to say “shit,” unclip, lean the wrong way and fall over then it stands to reason that unless I change some part of that equation, I’m going to always do the same thing.
I’ve created a habit, and worse than that, it’s a habit based on negative self-talk and negative thinking.
With that realization, it was time for a change. On Saturday’s ride last week I had one goal, keep my mouth SHUT when it came to stopping and going. Unless I wiped out in an intersection and was in danger of being run over by a mack truck I was not going to say a word until I was successfully clipped or unclipped, whatever the case may be. Controlling what was going on in my head was a different story, but if I could just break one tiny stage of the cycle, maybe I could break the whole thing.
And of course, it WORKED. By the end of the ride I wasn’t panicking when we hit a red light that changed suddenly. I came to a stop and was upright without thinking much about it. We were joined by a faster group of riders who were finishing their longer route and I admit, I did caution them that when the time came to go again it might get dicey, but when the light turned green I pushed off and clipped in like a pro.
I’ve still got a long way to go with my cycling skills, but I’m anxious to go out again and have another great, incident free ride. I know that so much of what goes wrong starts in my head, and when it comes to cycling, I think I’ve figured out a way to make the little negative voice hush up for awhile.
Now if only I could get the other guy to stop singing “I Will Survive”…