THE BOP BLOG

Blog entry #5: The First Wall is Mental

By July 28, 2014 No Comments

The ​F​​irst ​W​all is ​M​ental

by Chelsea Shanoff

We were eating a large meal of Indian food near the beginning of tour, when Wesley looked at his plate as if he was full. “The first wall is mental– keep eating​!!” Yelled Steph, like a coach.

This is, in fact, true and can be applied to many aspects of​ ​bike ​touring​. Most obviously involving food, because many hosts like to feed us huge meals, and it would be rude to turn said meals down, right?! (Refer to #whatiate blog post by Chris).
Going a little bit deeper, this statement can be applied to long days of cycling. Obviously you must listen to your body and ​take breaks ​as necessary, but you also have to realize that there will be times when you are tired and feel like​ ​stopping, just because. When this happens, it takes mental skill to push past the desire to stop and just lie in the grass (although we do do that frequently, too). ​

For me, the most mental part of bike touring is getting up hills – whether they are long and gradual, or short and steep. ​Going into the tour, I was most nervous about not being able to make it up the hills. After spending the first couple days figuring out how to efficiently use my gears and momentum, I realized that the rest is using willpower and mental state to get up!

To make the climb more manageable:

[ssbluelist]<ul><li>push past the desire to coast down hills — even though it feels so great and like the right thing to do, it makes going up the hills harder​</li><li>don’t look ahead at the whole hill; just look a foot in front</li><li>motivational pep talks​ (or profanities)​ under your breath – some of the boys have taken to yelling insults at each other, which helps them push themselves up the hill</li><li>listening to energetic music​ ​ or podcasts​</li></ul>[/ssbluelist]

​Happy Biking!​