Championship Presence/Intensity

The Zone

 40“‘How’s it goin’, mate?’ White asks him. ‘Hard one, huh?’ ‘No, not at all,’ says Pate, munching an energy bar.”
Matt White and Danny Pate, DS and Rider exchange pleasantries during Tour

Matt looking after Danny

Matt looking after Danny

Team staff 41describe Danny Pate’s demeanor as both jokester and pessimist. Which is it? Both. Champions make intensity look intriguing. One of the first steps in gaining self-control comes in understanding one’s unique optimal intensity. The Zone isn’t the same for every champion: it may be a place too intense for some and too drifty for others. As our prayer for situational awareness requested, intensity needs to move among various types of flow and focus.

Championship presence snaps into focus to create or react to winning moments. Championship presence also acts as vigilant flow for restorative pauses in the peloton. Champions perform with purpose and single-mindedness that transcends focus. It encompasses flow- a broad even a bird’s eye view of competitive situations. Champions utilize a range of intensity. 42Over-intensity involves too much – feeling, failure-worry, and physicality. Under-intensity is equated with over-confidence or too relaxed if a race or competitor is underestimated.

Some competitive zone abilities of a champion include: laughing and joking to relax; remaining on task to endure; staying present and realistic to anticipate; redirecting thoughts back to possibility thinking to refocus between hard efforts; and remembering the mindset, emotions, and actions in the past that lead to strong performance to revitalize and inspire – accomplished while modulating effort of mind and body.

If an athlete is competing out of level, the focus can switch to personal bests, skills or some aspect of process that requires sharpness and reaching. Sports psychology recommends tools, such as pre-race rituals and directed imagery to practice intensity. Like weight training, it still has to be specifically applied for winning bike races.

Prayer for Intensity
“…And now I want each of you to extend that same intensity toward a full-bodied hope, and keep at it till the finish. Don’t drag your feet. Be like those who stay the course with committed faith and then get everything promised to them.” 43Hebrews 6:9

We are grateful that we each have a zone and ask to find our optimal intensity.

Ponder Where is my head during my best rides? Affirm I am intense AND in tune with how to direct my focus. Watch a consistent performance in the zone reduce error and increase chances for championships.

41“Danny is pleasantly full of jocularity,” was Allen Lim’s response when I asked if Danny was serious during Tour of Missouri where he dead-panned that he was “suffering” while barely pedaling and being fed from the team car. He won the next stage solo. “Never says he feels good,” was Jonathan Vaughters comment on a televised interview during 2008 Tour de France on Versus network. Pate podiumed in his first Tour de France after an extensive breakaway.

42“Gaining The Mental Edge Part II: Intensity,” by Joseph Lenac Jr., MA
Licensed Psychologist © Copyright 2007 Winning Edge Psychological Services, LLC

43The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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