Overcoming Fear after Crashing

Follow the Leader

13“I followed Roberto to learn how to descend fast without fear.” Lynn Gaggioli, Pro Cyclist

Get back on that horse and ride!

Fear factor in cycling can be an impediment to riding enjoyment and race performance if one lacks confidence and skill. This is more poignant after a crash. Just as a gradual ramp-up in training must occur when sidelined by injury, a return to aggressive riding must begin with  mental self-compassion. Fear-based vigilance about crashing makes for tense and unsuccessful racing. You can’t watch the race and respond with winning instincts while distracted by potential dangers. You must be uninhibited and untroubled.

After being bucked off, a cowboy proverb advises to get back on the horse and ride. There are two steps to put your mind back where it needs to be. First, believe that fear is not an end-point but an opportunity to firm up willpower by overcoming a new obstacle. Secondly, devise a plan to train determination by going after the skill-set or sketchy area that alarms you.

For instance, I was having trouble being surrounded by others in the sweet spot where one most efficiently follows the action at the front. Aggressive surges come in on you because everyone wants that spot, and I was fearful of the squeeze. So I started with an easy wise-open course in an event where the fitness level was manageable and practiced being in that place. Sometimes it took my breath away to be there – not from fitness but fear – and I had to edge to the sides, but eventually I found comfort. Progressively I practiced in tougher situations until the big test. This happened in a crowded race in the rain on narrow roads where I had to fight at high speed for position. For this, I chose to follow a friend asking him to hold back and protect me in that spot for the first part of the race. By the final sprint, fear was conquered and my buddy benefited by late race freshness.

Following a skillful wheel who cares about you replaces fear with courage. Discipline leads to success. Work out a back-to-courage plan and enlist help.

Prayer for Overcoming Fear after Crashing

“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” 142 Timothy 1:7

We are glad for sports psychologists who help set our minds straight. Help our lack of belief when we feel timid and show us how to restore mental power and focus. 

Ponder Any nagging doubts or trepidations to conquer? Affirm I ask for help to overcome fears. Watch to see if love or fear is motivating you and note the more powerful instigator.

13Conversations with Lynn Gaggioli, whose ex-husband Roberto Gaggioli knows how to win in tricky, fast, fearsome situations.

14New American Standard Bible, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

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