What does strength mean to you? Perhaps it refers to the numbers you see on your SRM or other power meter? Maybe it is all about spinning a 53 x 11 like Fabian? Or maybe it is all about doing a super long hard ride and winning every town sign sprint?
Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about strength these days. We all know that what makes bike racing so fascinating is that the strongest rider doesn’t necessarily win. Numbers on the SRM don’t necessarily translate to race success. Strength is in my mind these days now that I’m back on a regular training program and I’m once again training with purpose and focus. I look at the numbers on my SRM and at times I’m overjoyed and other times I’m crushed.
And this is where I start to wonder if strength really does just come from the legs? I like to think not. A strong mind can take you a long way in a bike race. Heck, just watch the Tour and watch the feats of survival that a rider like Hogerland has made lately. Surviving a race and requiring 44 stitches and earning the polka dot jersey as well – yep this is strength -but it goes beyond the legs.
It hits to the very heart and soul of a being. So as I pedal away and focus on my SRM, I’m also really working on my inner strength. The strength that has allowed me to get through some rough patches that for some would have seen the bike put away for another day. But, don’t get me wrong – I struggle with this strength as well. I’ve been known to think and even say “it is just too hard” “I can’t do it” “you don’t understand what it is like”. Now I like to believe that I’m beyond these thoughts and statements – my inner strength is improving just as the strength in my legs is improving.
There really is not much point in having one without the other.