Failure is your Friend

In our most recent post on the blog DDA coach Sam Bassetti does a great job breaking down how he has used failure to improve his own performance on the bike.

You can head directly to Sam’s post by clicking here but if you’re short on time here are some of his key takeaways.

  • It’s OK to be emotional after a race/important ride but put a time limit on your reaction.
  • Objectify your performance.  Be critical of yourself and be honest about your own mistakes.  Focus on what you could have done better.
  • Forget about the other riders in your race/ride.  Focus on the decisions that you made and ask yourself why you made them.
  • Don’t dwell on your mistakes.  Put whatever you have learned into you mental toolbox and move on.

Failure on the Group Ride

Sam’s post goes on to explain how we was able to learn from past failure at the Redlands Classic to ultimately achieve a great result in the crit and circuit race this year, but learning and applying lessons of failure aren’t exclusive to big races.

For the rest of us who will never find ourselves in a national level race, the humble group ride offers a regular opportunity to learn from failure.  Here’s a simple system to ensure your group rides are contributing toward progress rather than stagnation on the bike.

  1. Establish a purpose before your ride.  If all you want to do is show up and be social then fine, but if you’re looking to improve, you need to develop a clear objective before the start of each ride.  A few examples might be to hang in with the lead group, get in a break, or win the field sprint.
  2. If you’re like most cyclists, you’ll fail more than succeed at your group ride objectives.  Side note: If all you’re doing is succeeding, then you need to ride with a stronger group or raise the bar of your objective.
  3. What did you learn from your failure?  How could you have made different decisions in positioning, pacing, nutritional preparation?  Be honest and own your mistakes.  Cycling is full of 100’s of variables, focus on those you can control.
  4. After you’ve owned your mistakes, move on and recalibrate your approach for the next group ride.
  5. Failure is a gift.  Allow it to expose your weaknesses and highlight your deficiencies so you can come back stronger and smarter in the future.

Nate Dunn
Founder/Head Coach
Data Driven Athlete