The thing that most new cyclists don’t know, is that they won’t die. They can push harder than they can imagine, and when I started racing I remember it was my biggest hurtle, learning how to suffer more, because that is where all the big gains are. The more I pushed myself, the more I was able to push myself, the stronger I got, the more I enjoyed riding. It helps if you get a little angry or remember when someone was mean to you, fuel for the effort. Your not going to fall off the bike even if you are near exhaustion, your already sitting down!
The focus and willingness to work hard…
to lock yourself into pain the way a singer hits a high note and holds it, is partially God-given and partially learned. In our Indoor ICE classes, Hill climbing boot camps and Cyclocross Classes we teach suffering, focus and positive motivation. It is a beautiful thing to ROCK a hill, recover on a fast flowing descent, and then do it again. You learn that as soon as you stop the pain goes away and you say “I could have done more”.
The key starting point is to accept what your body will give you, then look for ways to bring even more energy to it, the suprising thing to me is that the mental side of climbing is more important than anything else. Can it be taught? Yes, but only if the student is willing to think differently and update the “software” of how they think of the efforts required for great riding. We teach the mental side in our Boot camps, because your mind is your greatest tool.