This book is about using the power of your mind to ride your best. The subjects of cycling fitness and nutrition are well documented, but how to train the cycling mind is a less familiar aspect. I found it a fascinating read which gave me lots of tips and advice about mental training.
It's written by two renowned experts. Mark Beaumont, the Scottish cycling legend and Dr Jim Taylor who is a leading authority on sports psychology. This book isn't just for round the world cyclists or serious racing cyclists, it's for everyone who uses a bicycle. This is summed up nicely in this quote from the book:
"...it is about getting the most out of yourself and your life...to give you the inspiration, insights, information, and tools to find your own personal greatness, and experience essential meaning, satisfaction, and joy in both your cycling and life journeys."
This is a key point- the information in this book can be just as useful in everyday life. It's about using your mind to overcome adversity and become a more positive person. The book has 240 pages with a sharp design that features bold images of Mark on his training runs. There are tips and exercises that can help you to train your mind. It's thought-provoking stuff and it made me think about my rides and how I can apply this knowledge to ride better.
Take the chapter on 'attitudes'. It teaches you to have a positive attitude when you go on a ride. If its bad weather you could moan about this and it will have a negative impact on your performance. But if you see bad weather as just a part of the experience of riding a bike you will feel more positive about it. You will see it as something that you take on to achieve your goal.
There's so much great content in this book. There's even a chapter about emotions with tips on how to overcome the trauma of a bike crash. I found the most interesting chapter to be the one on 'self-talk' which is about the things you tell yourself when you are riding a bike. Negative self-talk, like saying "I can't do this" when faced with a steep hill will have a negative impact on performance. The book tells you how to train yourself to use positive self-talk, even in challenging situations.
The book is filled with real life examples of cycling psychology from Mark Beaumont. These sections are called 'inside Mark's mind'. For anyone who has followed the cycling adventures of Mark this is the highlight of the book. It provides an intimate and personal insight to what was going on in Mark's mind when facing these challenges. For example, he recalls a low point during his around the world cycle. He was in Canada and encountered a herd of bison. He found this experience with nature exhilarating. It helped him to refocus on why he loves adventure cycling, that opportunity to see amazing things. It pulled him out of the mental low point.
This book delivers on both the insight into Mark's cycling mind and providing you with practical advice. It's not just for adventure and competitive cyclists, but anyone who wants to improve their mental fitness.
The Complete Guide to Cycling Psychology is published by the Global Cycling Network. You can buy a copy from the GCN website.