“The only competition that matters is the one that takes place within yourself. It isn’t about external factors.” – Pete Carroll. Win Forever
In creating a philosophy for Attack Cycling, “Always Complete” is a key principle. Some may recognize this as the core theme of Pete Carroll’s coaching philosophy at the Seattle Seahawks. When I dug deeper into this idea, I realized that this is something that I have always embraced, but never really thought of as one of my core beliefs.
“Always Compete” may seem obvious for a professional athletic program, but it goes much deeper than showing up to compete on the weekends. This principle speaks more about the competition within ourselves to improve whether it is professionally, athletically, or even family life. It is actually less about trying to out-do someone else and more about out improving upon your former self.
There are obviously a lot of opportunities to compete on a bike. Across the multitude of official cycling disciplines, to informal group rides, to chasing KOMs on Strava… it is a sport for lifetime competitors. But even more than the head to head competition, cycling is first and foremost a completion within yourself.
What is the competition within yourself look like? It’s waking up at 5:30 AM to jump on the trainer in the winter. It’s getting in the long ride when the weather is miserable. It’s looking forward to your periodic FTP test as an opportunity to beat your former best.
Competing with yourself to show constant and consistent improvement is key. It is great (and necessary) to have a goal to be working towards… but it is easier (and more fulfilling) to get there by stringing together a series of personal victories rather than a singular focus on your goal event. The closer we get to your goal event, the more and more your training victories are going to mimic its demands. This not only prepares you physically, but mentally as well… You are training yourself to win.