What separates the pro mountain bikers from me and you? Matt Mooney from MTB Fitness take’s a look.
If you’ve ever been to a race or mountain bike event watching the pro’s then you’ll know they seem superhuman. They can go flat out for hours. They can send crazy big jumps. Backflip like it’s a walk in the park. Hammer down trails at a bazillion miles an hour. Fall off at 30mph and break their backs… to be back on the bike in 6 weeks. So, what separates the pro’s from us mere mortals? Or, more to the point, what traits do the pro’s have that we don’t? Or at least not to the same level.
- Ridiculous work ethic. It’s easy to think that pro’s are paid to ride and so can dedicate their life to training. Most pro’s got there on their own backs before that though. And a lot of pro’s still have to work for a living. Many wake up at 5am and train for 2 hours before work. They’ll be out on their bike for hours everyday. Come rain, sun, sleet or snow, they will be out their training and riding. They will hit the same line over and over and over and over, looking for seconds gained. They will track their rides to intimate detail and plan everyday of training months in advance. They work HARD
- Discipline. Emotions and feelings come second to the plan. Don’t feel like riding today? It’s on the plan, you are going. Don’t feel like hitting the trails HARD? It’s on the plan… you best pull some motivation to go all in out of somewhere. Don’t feel like squatting today? Tough, get under the bar. Fancy a pizza instead of a salad? Tough. It’s your mates wedding and you want to drink? Bad luck, there’s a race in 6 weeks so you are on water. Discipline for a pro athlete means total and complete dedication to the plan.
- They work with coaches. You can’t be an expert in every area. The pro’s work with nutritionists, strength coaches, mindset experts, physios, skills coaches, mechanics and more. You can’t spend a few hours reading about training and expect to have the same knowledge as strength coach who’s worked with athletes for 10 years. You can’t read a couple of books and expect to have the same knowledge as someone with a degree in nutrition.
- Selfishness. Athletes need to be selfish and that can come at the expense of those around them. Your partner wants to save for a house deposit? You need that money for that new frame and that trip abroad to race. It’s your partners birthday on race weekend? The race comes first. Lie in with the telly and partner on a Sunday morning? Sorry, it’s base miles in the diary. Athletes HAVE to be selfish. The goal comes first above all else.
- They understand Kaizen. Kaizen means ‘continuous improvement’. Everyday, every week and every ride, they aim to get better. Even just a tiny improvement adds up over time. If they can get a tiny bit faster at turns. If they can get just a little fitter on the climbs. Bunnyhop a tiny bit higher. It will all add up. Roadies call it ‘marginal gains’. Constant small improvements.
- Self belief and hunger. They have a hunger for success at mountain biking that quite simply, is bigger than ours. We want it. A pro mountain biker would die for it. They literally give everything they have to it and it is THE most important thing. They also believe they can. They learn to banish self doubt. They have complete and utter belief that they can do it.
That’s a just a small look into what separates pro’s from us mortals. Dedication. Complete and utter dedication that bleeds into every aspect of life. That’s what separates the pro’s from us. Success in riding is life.