When I took up triathlon three years ago, my biggest challenge was learning how to ride a road bike. I was already a confident runner and open water swimmer but struggled a bit on the bike as it was all new to me. The first time I got on a road bike I was wobbling all over the place having only ever ridden a mountain bike before. Slowly I adjusted to the “feel” of a road bike and became happy racing on it.
My next challenge came when I qualified to represent GB at age group in the European Champs and decided it was time I bought a time trial bike to give myself any chance of racing competitively. The first time I rode the bike I noticed the speed straight away, without putting in much effort I was riding so much faster than on my road bike. Despite this excitement I felt scared of the bike, I really didn’t feel confident in aero position. I didn’t feel in as much control over the bike and also didn’t like not having immediate access to my brakes. Again, slowly I built up confidence on the TT bike until I could really push the power and race well on it.
I’m not sure exactly what triggered it, but something happened at the beginning of last year and I completely lost confidence even on my road bike. I had fallen off my TT bike taking a roundabout too fast the year before, and also witnessed the aftermath of a really bad crash at the European Champs in Kitzbühel, but I’m not sure it was any particular event that knocked my confidence. This lead to a really frustrating season of racing, where I was performing way below my capabilities on the bike as I was descending and cornering “like a granny on a pushbike” (disclaimer: I’m not actually saying grandmas can’t ride well).
Over this winter I am happy to say I have slowly built up confidence on my road bike, gradually taking descents and corners at more speed and generally feeling more comfortable on the bike. Spring arrived and with the weather improving I decided it was time I took my TT bike out for a spin. The logical location was the velodrome where I didn’t have to worry about traffic or potholes. Despite this I really struggled to be confident in aero position and was frustrated and actually a little bit scared. I decided to post on Twitter to see if anyone had some good tips for me. This was when Mike let me know about his new Confidence Centred Coaching and suggested we met for coffee and a chat.
Meeting with Mike definitely lead to a breakthrough. The first thing he told me was to stop telling myself I’m being stupid, that it is ok to be a bit afraid. What he then did was talk me through ways of basically changing my mindset, focusing on other things rather than every possible scenario where things could go wrong.
After meeting with Mike, I went on a couple of rides on my TT bike and worked on what we had talked through. Shortly after this was my first race of the season on my TT bike; Steyning triathlon. I managed to ride my bike with confidence. I did still take a couple of descents on the drops where maybe I could have stayed in aero position, but felt comfortable on my TT bike for the first time in a long time! This enabled me to have a fast enough bike split to finish first female. I was happy to see Mike at the finish and excitedly tell him how I’d managed to ride my TT bike with confidence for the first time in ages. There is still work to do but well done and thank you Mike, you have really made a difference! :D