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Old 01-05-2013, 10:19 PM   #1
BCKRider OP
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Mental focus

I think it was my third year of riding (I started in my late 40's) that I became a riding buddy of a guy, similar age, who had ridden dirt bikes but had a year less experience than I on road bikes. Our friendship was confined to riding together - but the two of us did that a lot. The cool thing is that we seemed to have the same "risk tolerance," meaning that on lightly travelled backroads we typically were 5-10 mph above the posted limit. We would take turns leading, the following rider always maybe 5-6 seconds back, and when a straight section opened up there was the other rider. Neither of us felt pushed or slowed up by the other, a common problem on even 2-person group rides.

So we are down on Hwy 21 in eastern Washington. Beautiful day. Almost no traffic. Very little fear of speed enforcement. And my friend, who is leading, is riding under the speed limit. I follow along until he pulls over. "Got something I have to think about. You go ahead." I do. Ride the ride I wanted to, then pull over to the shoulder for maybe 10 minutes until he appears. Our ride resumes at our usual speeds.

Later I learned that it was marital problems which preyed on my friend's mind. I am still impressed that he had the good sense to slow down and then pull over until, for a time, he could dispell these thoughts and again ride competently.

Frankly, I think my friend is ALL of us, though we have different thought distractions. (I'm not thinking about playing with the GPS, cell phone in your ear, or radio, though these are other distractions.) I'm talking about the conversations we have in our heads. Maybe we all need to pull over to the side of the road when these conversations over ride the ones we have with ourselves about real riding concerns.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:25 PM   #2
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yes

that is why imho ridding/running is good for the mind
time to think things through without interruptions
zen etc.
there have been times when i have stopped
and have had the great leap foreward in my thinking.

Don't loose that ridding buddy

cheers

qqq
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:44 PM   #3
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Good post, OP. Thanks.

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Old 01-06-2013, 01:41 AM   #4
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To me riding is an important way to get rid of such distractions. Sometimes it's best to go faster if your thoughts tend to wander away.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:01 AM   #5
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Some of the folks I ride with will be "off the pace" sometimes, 'n when I ask 'em why they tell me they ain't "feel'in it." I recon it's the same thing?
I'm always feel'in it myself. Fer me the ride is the meditation to get rid of all the distraction in mah twisted mind.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:11 AM   #6
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If the only time you get to really think is when you're on the road, I'd suggest altering your daily routine.
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:00 AM   #7
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Never ride when your head is not in it.

For me this is very infrequent but it does happen. Back when I was a smoker I would pull over... get of the bike, remove helmet and have a smoke. Now instead of the smoke I do a bike inspection.

I am a daily rider. Even if it is just a short 7 mile ride to work if my head is not in the ride I stop and get off the bike.
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:19 AM   #8
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I can ride and think and work through things, no problem. Heck, on long trips, my philosophical mental ramblings are epic. Now if I could just remember how I solved all the world's problems....

But I learned very quickly that I couldn't (or shouldn't) ride when I was angry. After a fight with the girlfriend, I found that going for a ride was the absolutely wrong thing to do. I went too fast, rode to aggressively, took stupid chances... and I wasn't really solving the problem.

That's just me, though. YMMV.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:25 PM   #9
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Good words of wisdom on this thread. Off-road riding has long been my favorite way shut down the "inner conversation" for a while. But it's easy to get complacent. Case in point, in August of 2010, me and two other guys had ridden an awesome 65 mile loop of single track & four wheeler trail. Nothing too difficult, just kind of tight, rocky and flowing. Really fun stuff. I was scheduled for rotator cuff surgery the next week.

On the way back, about five miles from the truck, I was in the lead, riding up a FS road at a pretty good clip. The other guys were quite a ways back. The terrain was easy, so I wasn't really paying attention...I caught the edge of a rain rut and was down before I knew it. My right ankle hit the ground first, with case of the bike on top of it. Broke my fibula at the ankle. My surgeon was pissed, but he did put in eight screws and a plate to put me back together. Had to hold off on the rotator cuff surgery till October. I guess it was a rebuilding year.

It only takes a split second...
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:41 PM   #10
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That's something I agree with. If I'm not very, very focused on what I'm doing, (riding), I either slow down considerably or park it and go back home. I believe focus is what's kept me alive riding like the idiot I am all these years (35+).
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_Gone View Post
I can ride and think and work through things, no problem. Heck, on long trips, my philosophical mental ramblings are epic. Now if I could just remember how I solved all the world's problems....

But I learned very quickly that I couldn't (or shouldn't) ride when I was angry. After a fight with the girlfriend, I found that going for a ride was the absolutely wrong thing to do. I went too fast, rode to aggressively, took stupid chances... and I wasn't really solving the problem.

That's just me, though. YMMV.
I very quickly realized the therapeutic effects of riding - i.e. the effect riding has on my mental state.

Developing the ability to recognize when my mental state is affecting my riding took a lot longer.

The two are totally different concepts but interconnected. When you have something on your mind, going for a ride can be a great thing to do or it can be a stupid thing to do - perhaps sometimes both

I have a sort of mental checklist I run through whenever I'm thinking of going out on the bike. If anything comes up "No!" I usually stay home or take the car.
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slartidbartfast View Post
i very quickly realized the therapeutic effects of riding - i.e. The effect riding has on my mental state.

Developing the ability to recognize when my mental state is affecting my riding took a lot longer.

The two are totally different concepts but interconnected. When you have something on your mind, going for a ride can be a great thing to do or it can be a stupid thing to do - perhaps sometimes both

i have a sort of mental checklist i run through whenever i'm thinking of going out on the bike. If anything comes up "no!" i usually stay home or take the car.
+1
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:12 PM   #13
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When I ride I think about the marital problems caused by my riding so much.
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:38 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by SkiFastBadly View Post
When I ride I think about the marital problems caused by my riding so much.
Isn't that the definition of a Catch-22? Or a feedback loop?
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:49 PM   #15
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