Guest Article: Focus
@scaler911 likes beer and pizza, as we all do. I bet Jensie does too. He races more, we drink more, he has to finish each stage at the Tour, us, not so much. There must be a balance to all our cycling lives. Since we don’t have to earn a living racing we can relax a bit but this word “relax” maybe where the trouble lies.
Yours in Cycling, Gianni
“For him who has no concentration, there is no tranquility”- Bhagavad Gita c. BC 400.
If you ask people close to me about my ability on the bike, you’ll probably hear different versions of the same story, “Scaler is a genetically talented cyclist, but it’s too bad he lacks focus.” I’m the first to admit it. If I put any energy into developing a solid training plan, laid off the IPAs, and (my VMH’s fine/ healthy cooking aside) stopped having pizza and Monster energy drinks for staples at work, I might be able to be consistent in my beloved craft. Instead, I have a few flashes of decency, but I’m mostly just pack fodder and excuses these days.
I’m consistently amazed at people that have this ability to focus. It’s akin to a superpower I think, like flying or laser beams shooting out of your eyeballs.
It really breaks down to a few different types of focus, with the endgame being the same. Focus from a global perspective: setting and achieving season-long goals, from winning the TdF, to being the first up the big climb at your local Tuesday night club ride; abiding the hard days of winter Rule #9 training; not having that 5th slice of combo pizza that you wash down with your 4th (or 8th) beer. Focus in the short term- be it tapering before a Grand Tour, or spending time in the shop making sure your rig is cleaned and tuned to perfection before your group ride. Focus in the moment- being right near the front before the big climb, finding just the right gear, the right stroke, position, rhythm. This is the one place I can find that focus. All the joys and troubles of day to day living melt away. All that’s left is the deep, singular objective of the task at hand. Pushing a little harder to bridge to that wheel 50m ahead of you; not making eye contact with them as you stay in focus, or my favorite-smiling and saying “Hi” just before grabbing the shovel to make the Pain Cave a little deeper.
I firmly believe that this, along with choosing the right parents and a bit of luck is what separates us mortals from the pros.
There are many hours and kilometers where we suffer alone. Velominati strive to Look Fantastic, and we make sure our machines glisten and are properly silent. We study our heros as well as the douchebags. This all requires some form of focus, and I hope that I get as good at it as others here already are.