Journals Riders

James Jobber journal: how to stay motivated with moving goalposts

Rider journals 2020: James Jobber #03

James Jobber and five other cyclists are keeping rider journals for The British Continental this season. The 26-year-old will continue his odyssey on the UCI Asia Tour this season, riding for yet-to-be-announced Malaysian Continental team. This is James’ third journal entry…

A pandemic might rid you of your opportunity to win the first round of the National Road Series but it can’t stop you enjoying riding your bike

How to stay motivated with moving goalposts?

We’re in a unique time. A barrier has come down that stands in the way of every single rider and team’s goals. Although it’s a freak occurrence, for many riders it’s not an unfamiliar situation to be in. In the cycling world, your goals are frequently dependent on factors out of your control: selection for races, form, injuries, to name a few. The question is how to stay motivated and resilient when things get in your way. 

Photo: Chris Auld / Band of Climbers

First of all, it’s probably best to evaluate what sort of goals you’re setting. The majority of the riders that have come to me for coaching have ‘outcome’ goals. An outcome being the end result of what you’re trying to achieve, such as winning a certain race or reaching a certain category. It’s important to have these as for most/all riders, winning races is what it’s all about. However, what happens when you get ill or injured before your target race or when the next three months of your calendar is written off altogether? You end up on your sofa blitzing through all the food you’ve been resisting in the lead up to your event and your morale goes out the door. That’s where process goals come in.

A process goal is what you will have to do to help you reach your outcome goal. In the now data-driven world of cycling, that might mean hitting certain power numbers for a given duration in a particular session. It might mean aiming to improve a certain process in the body such as fat oxidation. But it can also be as simple as reconnecting with why you fell in love with the sport and aiming to enjoy bike riding for what it is. The beauty of all these goals is that, for the most part, they are controlled by you. A pandemic might rid you of your opportunity to win the first round of the National Road Series but it can’t stop you enjoying riding your bike.

Photo: Chris Auld / Band of Climbers

Another way to maintain motivation is to put your goals into perspective. It’s very easy for a goal to become all-consuming. This can help your progression when things are going well but with a changing landscape, it can cause a lot of damage. That’s when it’s best to step back and realise that bike racing is not the be-all and end-all and that sometimes there are more important things to give your energy to. That’s a difficult concept for many cyclists who are ‘all or nothing’. I’ve seen countless riders give up on the sport they love because of factors that are out of their control. It’s about realising where you are on your way to achieving your ambitions, having patience, having faith in the processes you (and your coaches, etc.) have put in place and enjoying the journey. 

In a situation like we have currently it’s a huge challenge for everyone. Although it’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel, bike racing will return at some point in the future. It’ll be those who have adapted to this strange environment that will thrive. 

Featured photo: Chris Auld / Band of Climbers

Find out more

James Jobber journal: a guide to winter training camp locations

James Jobber journal #01: what motivates me

Rider journals 2020: introducing James Jobber

James on Twitter

James on Instagram

James’ coaching business, Upshift Vélo

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