Championship Psychology/Situational Awareness
27″In a sprint I don’t look for my rivals…just for gaps.” Robbie McEwen, Sprinting Champion & Generous Domestique
Another aspect of winning thought concerns concentration and where focus is directed – situational awareness. Situational awareness is key in every discipline of bike racing. For mass start events, focus must be directed internally and externally, as well as broadly and narrowly. Within this quadrant of focal points, a nearly infinite amount of scenarios can represent each type of awareness.
There is the 28geospatial genius of the sprinters – a narrow external awareness at race end. To win a road race, you may have to move between each type of awareness. For example, broad external to attack at right time; broad internal to work in a break while keeping the competitors’ movements in mind; narrow external to separate from the break; and narrow internal to solo for the win.
One thing winners do better is to perceive information using heightened senses at times when one may feel the dullest – during hard effort – and to switch among the types. They may or may not be suffering as much as everyone else, but even so, they stay focused on what’s happening around them utilizing sight, sound, touch, even unlikely senses, such as smell – to discover the possibility of rain to pre-empt a bunch split – or taste to determine the level of salt in one’s own sweat – as an indicator of exertion. It may not be pretty but it is part of sensual cycling.
The pleasures of situational awareness utilize all the enjoyable realm of physical sensation. It narrows an eye for space in an aggressive sprint. It marshals the sound of a changing gear from behind to prepare to jump on an attacker. It feels the direction of the wind. The vibrant life of the peloton is available to the champion watchman. While some of this can be learned, there does seem to be a propensity for race awareness witnessed in winning riders.
Prayer for Situational Awareness
“…the watchman sees…hears…[acts]” 29Ezekiel 33:6
We are made alive by the infinite variety and variance of the peloton. We pray for situational awareness – the ability to sense and perceive.
Ponder Can I move among these types of awareness? Affirm I am aware of where each situation requires me to focus. Watch what’s necessary to win and don’t worry about the distractions.
27Ad banner. June 2008 Pro Cycling Magazine www.imsnews.com
28Reference “Maillot Vert,” March: Going Green, Prayers for the Peloton by Beth Leasure © Copyright 2008, a Prayer for Sprint Fitness/Skills.
29The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society