#1: Surround Yourself with Incredible Mentors
‘Aldo I don’t know if I can do that’ I tell him.“Well if you can’t do this, forget about the podium at the Tour de France.”I worked until I dropped for Aldo. I didn’t want to let him down, or disappoint him.
He such an integral part of this stage of my career. He’s the man who’s established the good mentality BMC has. When he rides with us is the first guy to go to bed and the first guy to breakfast in the morning; the first guy to say no to having a glass of wine with dinner, and the one who always refuses dessert.”
#2: Preparation Wins
Fabio looks over to me. ‘You want to drive? Sure, you can drive’.It’s probably the first time he’s been asked this by a rider. I’ve arrived on the team with a reputation for meticulous preparation.“Can you take video of all the corners?’I want video of the start of each section so I can watch the videos back on the morning of the race as a reminder of what is ahead. As we drive along I’m getting a feel for where to and how much to brake for the corners…marking parts of the course mentally, like I did for years as a mountain biker. The next day I ride the same course of my bike.
It’s Christmas Eve, and I can see smoke struggling up from the snow covered roods. There is no-one out today. No cyclists, not many cars. The last place most people would want to be today is riding their bike along an ice snow-encrusted country road. When it hurts, when it’s hard, and when not many other people could do it, that’s when I come into my own.”
Why does Cadel commit to this level of preparation?
Preparation is everything. The more of it you do, the more you can control the variables. And there are a lot of variables in cycling.
#3 Leave Everything Out on the Road
I’m seeing black and blue just trying to hold the wheel. I can’t hear for the effort of concentration and the pain I’m in…The monitor reveals I’ve spent 2 hours and eight minutes at or above my theoretical threshold of 175 beats per minute on that climb…No wonder I was hurting.”
Leave everything out on the road.
Put it all on the road. One of my best qualities as a rider is that I have a finite about of ability but I’m able to get nearly all that ability out onto the road. I don’t mind that at the end of a race I’m so exhausted I can barely walk. My commitment to myself from the moment I became a professional cyclist has been to try and get everything out of myself.”
#4: It takes 10 years
After four years, if you’re a talented young rider who works hard you will have built up a good base of training, got a bit of an idea about how your body works and gained some racing house. Maybe you will be good enough to become a professional.You learn to race, and be a good professional; that will take two to four years, so you’re now 23 or 24 now. Then you learn to train well and race well and learn about team dynamics. So now you’re 25 or 26 and you’re doing well, you get more opportunities.And you perform well for two or three years. You know the moves you can make.Now you’re almost 30, but with experience, and hopefully more opportunities you can do two to four great years.”
That’s 4 years to *maybe* become a professional. Up to 8 years to become a good professional. 10 years to have a shot at the big titles.
#5: Self Reflection is the Key to Growth
Today at training I gave myself a 2 out of 5.”
I write the scores into a little notebook next to my bed. It’s a simple book with lined pages and a blue cover. It’s my training notebook. I write in it every day because, at 15, I have become my own psychologist and motivator. “
The training diary formalises by regimen and helps me prioritise everything in my daily life. And it creates my mindset. Over time, I develop discipline and motivation and the ability to make sacrifices because I have practiced how to do it. By writing it down, I formalise what I’m thinking, put a structure to it. The more I get used to writing down the score, the less I’m inclined to veer from my targets.“
What did I learn today? What could I do better tomorrow?” It helps me become a disciplined, determined, efficient and effective athlete.
What did I learn yesterday?
What can I do better today?
#6: Fatigue is Inevitable. Being Tired is NEVER an Excuse
As an endurance athlete the first thing you learn is that fatigue is inevitable. Being tired is never an excuse.”
“As a [INSERT YOUR CAREER] the first thing you learn is that fatigue is inevitable. Being tired is never an excuse.”
As a cyclist the first thing you have to learn is to deal with fatigue. Waking up tried, then going out and making yourself even more tired… My body can work, if my mind can push it. You ask so much of your body and mind and it almost always responds dutifully.”
#7: Find Your Joy
In the end it’s about the love of riding, which, even in my darkest moments never leaves me. The magic of cycling never died. Through all the frustrations and injuries, teams that lost faith in me, and the injustice of being beaten by drug cheats, there was one overriding motivator. I never stopped loving getting on my bike.”
What brings you joy?
Additional Reading & Resources
- Cadel Evans – The Art of Cycling
- Cadel Evans Tour de France 2011 Highlights
- Cadel Evans 2009 World Championship Win Highlights