After the opening talk, we hit the road to dial in our mindsets with a Team Time Trial and Hillclimb planned.
The focus of the ride was to simulate two competitive scenarios where the athletes were to lead their physical efforts with the correct mindset. The goal was to practice being in control of the effort and the situation using the mind.
Often people are controlled by their environment. We find our selves in a firey mindset when burning matches; in reality, it's actually a calm part of the race. Or vice-versa when it's a moment of urgency, and you aren't fully checked-in and ready for the effort necessary.
The chain starts with a trigger. A trigger could be an attack or a climb that rears up in front of you with 5 kilometers to go to the finish. When you are presented with a trigger, the Performance Chain allows you to match it with a cue that you have ready to go, something familiar that you've practiced.
When you match the cue to the trigger, your mind drives your body to arrive at the right state for a situation. That could be an intense state, like a threshold effort in the Fire Mindset. Or, it could be a flowing, smooth state that helps you reset and stay relaxed riding in the peloton in the Water Mindset.
Keeping these Pefromance Chains in mind, we grouped athletes with similar different strengths to work together during an 8-mile time trial up Lefthand Canyon. When pulling on the front, the athletes practiced the Fire Mindset and transitioning into the Water Mindset to reset and conserve energy.
The second activity was a hill climb up the Super James, a notoriously steep 4-mile climb in Boulder. We challenged our athletes to go 30 seconds in the Fire Mindset, which was a standing surge above the threshold and 1 minuted in the Water Mindset, which was a seated low threshold effort. This proved to be a big challenge because often, athletes remain in the Fire Mindset for as long as they can until they are so flooded with lactate that they are forced to back it way down. This is not only slower but creates a mental cycle of pain and drowning sensations, so people think this must be how climbing feels. When the athletes led with their minds first rather than their legs, they were able to take control of their climbing and their effort.
This is an advanced skill, and it takes practice to nail it, but once they did, these two Performance Chains empowered them to look at what is happening in a race or ride and recognize that they have the right mindset strategy for it.
After two all-out efforts, it was time to head back. On the way back, we practiced our descending and paceline skills. Once we arrived, we capped off the day with a Taco Bar 3-Sigma style, of course.