Effort = Goals?
When I speak to groups of young cyclists, I always ask how many have big goals, like making the national team or going to the Olympics. About 95 percent raise their hands. I then ask how many are doing everything they can to achieve their goals. Only one or two tentative hands go up. What this tells me is that there is often a big gap between the goals cyclists have and the effort they are putting into those goals.
It's easy to say that you want to be a successful cyclist. It is much more difficult to actually do the work to make it happen. If you have this kind of disconnect, you have two choices. You can either lower your goals to match your effort or you can raise your effort to match your goals. There is no right answer. But if you're truly motivated to be successful, you better make sure you're doing the work necessary to achieve your goals.
Prime motivation means putting 100% of your time, effort, energy, and focus into all aspects of your cycling. It involves doing everything possible to become the best cyclist you can be.
Prime motivation begins with what I call the three D's. The first D stands for direction. Before you can attain prime motivation, you must first consider the different directions you can go in your cycling. You have three choices: stop participating completely, continue at your current level, or strive to be the best cyclist you are capable of.
The second D represents decision. With these three choices of direction, you must decide one direction in which to go. None of these directions are necessarily right or wrong, better or worse, they're simply your options. Your choice will dictate the amount of time and effort you will put into your cycling and how good a cyclist you will ultimately become.
The third D stands for dedication. Once you've made your decision, you must dedicate yourself to it. If your decision is to become the best cyclist you can be, then this last step, dedication, will determine whether you have prime motivation. Your decision to be your best and your dedication to your cycling must be a top priority. Only by being completely dedicated to your direction and decision will you ensure that you have prime motivation.
In training and races, you arrive at a point at which it is no longer fun. I call this the Grind, which starts when it gets tiring, painful, and tedious. The Grind is also the point at which it really counts. The Grind is what separates successful cyclists from those who don't achieve their goals. Many cyclists when they reach this point either ease up or give up because it's just too darned hard. But truly motivated cyclists reach the Grind and keep on going.
Many people say that you have to love the Grind. I say that, except for a very few hyper-motivated cyclists, love isn't in the cards because there's not much to love. But how you respond to the Grind lies along a continuum. As I just mentioned, loving the Grind is rare. At the other end of the continuum is "I hate the Grind." If you feel this way, you are not likely to stay motivated. I suggest that you neither love nor hate the Grind; you just accept it as part of the deal in striving toward your cycling goals.
The Grind may not be very enjoyable, but do you know what is less enjoyable? Not achieving your goals because you weren't motivated enough to overcome the Grind and do the hard work. What really feels good is seeing your hard work pay off with success.