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Written by Jonathan Spicker   
Sunday, 30 December 2012
Your Brain on a Bike (Cool Gus Publishing 2012)
by John Brent Pyre
Review by: Peter Wimberg
Without fail every Tuesday from May through September at the Cleves Time Trial Series as we’re sending off riders to battle the 10.25 mile course we hear any of the following:

“This is the first time I’ve had this bike out all year”
“I haven’t trained at all”
“I’ve been feeling really slow lately”
“I don’t know why I’m here. I’m not very good at this event”
“Lets go. I wanna get this over with”

What kind of performance can you expect with those comments? Not good and this book will reinforce the idea that training your mind is as critical as the time put into training your body. Ultimately we will achieve our best results when both our mind and body are in optimal condition.

I know that this ‘train your mind’ idea can seem a little out there. As we all know, cycling is really just about being strong on the bike and having the best strategy for the event.  If this is what you think, then you probably don’t need to read this book because to train your mind you need to open it first. For those who are willing to do this by taking the simple steps needed to get our mind in the game I’d recommend taking the time to read these 130 or so pages.

One very simple theme to the book is to stay positive and believe in your training, your skills, your equipment and your abilities. You do this by learning how to control your thoughts, being aware of all that is going on around you, being confident, taking care of your body, and being sure to have fun. Seems easy enough and it actually is if you decide to be aware and properly prepare. The author will allow you to follow a mythical rider as he encounters many of the same issue we encounter in our training and racing.

I’ve read several other books and magazine articles on this topic. There is strong evidence that the top athletes aren’t necessarily any stronger. Rather, they have taught themselves to tap just a little bit deeper into that reserve that our mind has established to keep us from going over the edge with our performance. We’re all looking for added power and/or endurance on the bike. We can buy faster wheels, lighter frames, and power meters and then train like it’s our job. While this could yield great results why not spend a fraction of that and devote a little time to learning how to use your mind to improve your performance? This book provides a comprehensive guideline to a variety of strategies to be more successful on the bike.

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