PACTIMO REWARDS(0)  |  FREE SHIPPING ON $70+ ORDERS  |  FREE EXCHANGES  |  877-291-6238  |  NEED HELP?   US Dollar British Pound

Cool, Calm and Collected

July 09, 2018 1 Comment

Cool, Calm and Collected

I recently read an article about leadership and the role of calm in times of crisis. “Calm is Contagious” was the point of the article and it was focused on how effective being calm is in times of crisis. The author drew an interesting comparison to biathletes – particularly those at the Olympic level – and how they balance the demands of cross country skiing and accuracy in shooting. The skiing is highly aerobic and strenuous. The shooting requires a calm and steady hand. They’re at odds with one another.

Remarkably, the highest caliber biathletes can bring their heart rate from 200+ bpm to sub-50 in about 20 seconds. Just 4 breaths.

What? I know. That’s what I said, too.

I’ve been spending a lot of time on the mountain bike these past few weeks. Many of the trails in Colorado start with a significant climb. And they’re interspersed with some sections that require a fair amount of skill, concentration and finesse.

It occurred to me that the demands required for steep, extended climbing and a technical downhill or rocky section are sometimes at odds with each other. Just as they are with the skiing and shooting of biathlon. Would training my body to ‘calm on demand’ yield benefits? I decided to give it a try.

I don’t know that my max heart rate reaches the 200+ range these days (sure feels like it sometimes!), but I know for certain that the prospect of bringing it to my resting state in anything less than 5 to 10 minutes seems to be pushing it. But reading further about the efforts of biathletes, I found that coming to full rest (in HR) is not necessarily the goal. Calm certainly is, but they learn to shoot between heart beats.

So over the last few weeks, I’ve been focused on bringing calm to the forefront of thought, taking some big, mind-clearing breaths, and concentrating on the outcome. It seems to be making a difference. I don’t go into the technical sections as fast as I might have before. I take any space given and time allowed to focus on calming the mind, breathing deep, and relaxing the hands.

I put it to practice again yesterday on a loop of single-track that I’ve ridden dozens of times. When I got done, I knew that it was the ‘cleanest’ I’ve ever ridden the route. I managed to clear just about every obstacle and (just as important) had a blast doing it! I didn’t believe it was the fastest I’d ridden the loop, but I was happy with the effort.

I’ve shared this with a few friends and we’ve explored the idea of extending this to the concentration in racing a crit; a high-speed descent following a tough climb; and even just the level of awareness needed when you’re putting in a hard effort on the road with vehicles and traffic around you.

I’m doing my best to share the benefits. Because while calm is contagious, it’s effective, too. When I downloaded my ride, I was happy to see that many sections were indeed PRs for the loop. Best ride there in 7 years. I’ll take it.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

About the Author

David, Customer Service ManagerA lifelong commuter and amateur racer in road, CX and MTB, David Newcomer has experience with just about every aspect of our sport. A former race director of the Bob Cook Memorial Mt. Evans Hill Climb, and Executive Director of one of the largest cycling clubs in Colorado, he brings a wide range of experience to share with others. David is the Customer Service Manager at Pactimo and host of our podcast "On the Road with Pactimo." You can reach him directly at dnewcomer@pactimo.com

 



1 Response

Lori
Lori

July 13, 2018

I felt the calmness sweeping right off the page when reading your article. Great job! Keep up the good work!!

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Related Stories You Might Like

  • Winter Riding: 6 Things to Keep in Mind

    Things can sneak up on you if you're not prepared - here's what to consider. by David Newcomer / Customer Service Manager I've been saying for the last few years that you can safely mountain bike in Colorado through T...


Also in Training & Coaching

How to Approach Stage Racing. Study hard, Relax harder.
How to Approach Stage Racing. Study hard, Relax harder.

April 01, 2019

"It's officially the start of "Stage Racing" season and riders are priming their legs and lungs for the first set of performance(s). All the off-season training and preparation will be displayed as athletes anxiously await in the final countdown before "game time." There are two aspects behind preparation for a Stage Race: the physical time and energy and the mental aspects."

Read More

How to Transition Your Indoor Fitness Outside
How to Transition Your Indoor Fitness Outside

March 29, 2019

"Once winter retreats enough to thaw out the bike lanes in your neighborhood, hordes of people will take to the streets again to breath in the fresh air and feel the wind in their face. All of the fitness you gained while anchored to the trainer is more than ready to be showcased and what better way to test yourself than in a group ride? I'm sure I'm not the only one eager to reconnect with their cycling tribe - finally seeing them in person and getting a glimpse of what news jersey colors will fill the peloton. And as excited as you may be, there are a few things to keep in mind once you're back out on the roads that will keep you and the group safe. Below are some tips to ease this transition and keep you upright and rubber side down."

Read More

Tips & Tricks for Race Day
Tips & Tricks for Race Day

March 29, 2019

Everyone is excited to finally pin on a number and make use of all the training during the winter months. But in order to have success, you should be well prepared for race day. Ideally one should have a race day routine and maybe even a checklist that will help get the mind into the game.

Read More

Find us on Google+