The First Wall is Mental
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]