If you’re like me, life can throw you some interesting curve balls. One day you’re riding every weekend, mixing so much gas your relatives think you’re investing in an oil company. The next day your doctor tells you “the news” and you have to stop riding. Or maybe you lost your job and can’t spend the money. Or maybe family time has to take priority and you’re sitting at little league and volleyball games instead of prepping your bike in the garage. Whatever the reason, there are times in life where we have to step away from twisting the throttle. The good news is that it’s temporary, and as long as we stay focused, we’ll be back on the bike in no time.
Back on the Bike
It’s that time when we come back to the bike, after some time off, that we need to have some “real life” expectations. Most of us don’t think of time off the bike as a lessening of our skillset or our fitness. We have this memory of who we were the last time we were on the bike and we want to be there again. This mindset can be dangerous because it can quickly lead to injury, soreness no one wants to have on a Monday morning, or disappointment in who we’ve become.
When you do get back to riding, you need to have a reset. You need to have a mindset shift that allows you to prioritize the reasons you’re riding and not trying to be the person you were before you stopped riding. Focus on the small wins, like the fact you’re riding at all, instead of reminiscing on how fast you used to be. Having the ability to enjoy #GettingSeattime should be the priority. A simple place to start on those early times back on the bike is to tell yourself “I get to ride today”. This allows you to put the focus on the enjoyment of riding and less on the outcome. If you start putting pressure on yourself to be the person you were before, you won’t enjoy the simple fact that you’re riding again.
I had to do a mental reset by doing a physical reset. I knew it would be hard to get back on the bike and not feel like I used to feel. So I grabbed my Sherco Manual and reset my suspension to the SPORT settings. It’s been 3+ months since I last rode and I was playing around with my suspension settings a lot. What better way to reset the bike, body, and mind by starting over. I’m so glad I did this, I had so much fun on the bike and it felt really good. There are still things to adjust, but to have a solid platform to start riding again feels so good. It helped me mentally jump on the bike in a state of “I get to do this”, which is right where I need to be. As I get more comfortable, and feel back up to speed, I’ll start the baby steps needed to create consistent growth.
Want to read more on some of the principles I talked about in this article, the Atomic Habits book is for you!