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.


5 thoughts on “Strength

  1. This post is right on the mark. Fitness and power are the fundamentals required to race bikes, but without mental strength they are useless.

  2. I agree with Jeff. If your body says go and your mind says stop your mind often wins no matter how strong your legs are. Maybe Jens should be telling his brain to shut up.
    You have that inner strength and a lot of it. In some ways you win every time you ride your bike. We all do.

  3. Wow – thanks for the great comments. It has taken me a long time to really recognize and accept the different kinds of strength. I suppose the key is then understanding how and when to tap into this deep strength. I really believe that everyone has it in them – it just is up to the individual to recognize it.
    Keep pushing the pedals Jeff and Mike! Thanks for commenting.

    • Hi Keir
      I definitely think you’re right there. Lots of people get freaked out by the numbers they see on their SRM during a race. It has been a long time since I’ve road raced but my experience is that if I’m looking at my SRM then either we’re not going that hard or I’m about to crack! Keep up the great racing in Europe.

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