Author Topic: Mental depletion article for Arrivee  (Read 3528 times)

Re: Mental depletion article for Arrivee
« Reply #25 on: October 07, 2019, 12:56:49 pm »
Still have a project on hand that rides through to the end of the calendar year.

But after getting very sick with vasculitis and sinusitis after PBP, the new med - methotrexate is working brilliantly. Recovery restored, back to doing sleep deprivation.  Still awaiting sever a anaemia to be fixed. If we can stop one troublesome med, prednisone I’looks be as good as new. Big thanks to my brilliant bike riding renal consultant Prof Levy

Re: Mental depletion article for Arrivee
« Reply #26 on: October 07, 2019, 03:04:23 pm »
Thank you to everyone for your posts, please keep sending them in.

All I need to do now is to try and put it all together for an article in Arrivee.

Re: Mental depletion article for Arrivee
« Reply #27 on: October 07, 2019, 05:13:44 pm »
In addition to computing miles / kilometres I dwell a lot on fractions.  At 5km on a 200 that's 1/40th, at 10km 1/20th and so on. As a result 1/2 way is very significant.

We have a saying "Ah've broken i back o't." (I've broken the back of it.) meaning the hard(est) bit is past. I say that to myself when I reach the halfway point and generally feel much more positive from there on. I often find my pace picking up in the last section of an event, at a point when many other people are flagging.

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: Mental depletion article for Arrivee
« Reply #28 on: October 07, 2019, 05:24:38 pm »
^^ i have a very similar strategy/habit. i'd acknowledge myself when completing 1/3, half, 2/3 of the ride by tapping three times on my left shoulder. same when i come across a tough interval when training indoors. it gives a small but much needed boost.

Re: Mental depletion article for Arrivee
« Reply #29 on: October 07, 2019, 06:28:45 pm »
A good topic and interesting to see the replies.

I rode PBP for the first time this year and the first two days went relatively smoothly very close to plan.  However I was coming to the conclusion that in four years time I might like to volunteer rather than ride it again.  Unfortunately I didn't get as much as sleep as I wanted at the end of the second day and not long after leaving Loudeac I was very surprised to receive a phone call at about 1:30am.  My elderly father had pressed his emergency alarm button.  After a few phone calls then and at the next control I eventually established it was a false alarm.  Sorting this out probably only cost about 30 minutes in lost time, but I am sure it cost me a lot more in terms of mental energy as I found it difficult to concentrate on the riding task in hand during the four hours between the first and last phone call.

Although I was still ahead of time towards the end of day 3, I was feeling dozy and half hour stops were just not solving the problem.  The sort of stop needed would mean not making it back in 90 hours.  Resuming the ride after my rest I had to cope with the disappointment of knowing I would fail to finish in time and also the absence of my riding partner (I insisted she went on so she could make the 90 hours).  However it was also an opportunity to just ride with the time pressure absent and I enjoyed more time chatting to others and also taking more advantage of the local roadside hospitality.  Once I reached Dreux however, knowing I was nearly there my mindset suddenly switched back into race mode for the final stage.

At the finish and afterwards I very much had a mixture of 2 feelings about my ride.  I had definitely enjoyed a fantastic week in France and I really loved the international flavour and local support of the event.  On the other hand I didn't quite achieve the aim of finishing under 90 hours.  Over the weeks since PBP the latter mood of disappointment has nearly faded from view and the former positive memory has taken hold.  Having said that it does mean that unlike others who completed in time, I still have a goal.  I don't know why, but this somehow made me very keen to do another audax at the first opportunity (just a local 100km).  I am now even more determined, if at all possible, to have a go at LEL in a couple of years and also to finish in under 90 hours at PBP 2023.  Perhaps sometimes it's better not to actually achieve all your goals?

Re: Mental depletion article for Arrivee
« Reply #30 on: October 07, 2019, 09:34:24 pm »
I have had my best ever year for points and events ridden. I am a hyper randonneur and have enjoyed nearly all of the  events that I have ridden this year. Even when riding solo for 400ks I knew that I had a goal (qualifying for PBP) which kept me going through a very cold and dark  night.
But for now,I am having a rest, partly to let my body recover .

 I have stopped myself from getting involved with RRTY by not riding anything in September.
 I just don't want to be controlled by audax and also  Mrs. M was getting a bit hacked off with me riding my bike  almost all the time.
PBP and LEL take up a chunk of my annual leave allocation (only 22 days) which then means that Mrs. M and I miss out on quality time together.

 When it was just PBP , the four year interval was manageable but add in LEL and it becomes a 2 year cycle of obsession.
I will aim for an SR next year , doing local-ish events.
I admire the points chasers for their determination but I enjoy other things as well and life's too short to devote it purely to audax.

Re: Mental depletion article for Arrivee
« Reply #31 on: October 07, 2019, 10:46:59 pm »
In the past I've done the back-to-back 300s, ridden a solo permanent 600 in appalling weather (including wading thigh-deep through flood-water), managed over 100 points, gone hyper, and completed a couple of RRTYs.  Amongst other things. 

But I packed on PBP this year, after a broken ankle 5 weeks before, and I packed on my second LEL, way back in 2001, with hand and wrist problems.  I have ridden some events with more grim determination than pleasure, while others have seemed effortless.

These days I tend towards social cycling.  I try to combine anything out-of-area with a visit to and/or a ride with friends.  I'll still clock up an SR, but probably nothing too strenuous.

Re: Mental depletion article for Arrivee
« Reply #32 on: October 08, 2019, 09:43:24 am »
I can remember a lot of detail from my first 600. It was 'Bernies Long Flat One' in 1998. I set out a bit late, and picked up Ian H, who was on fixed. We then caught the main group into a headwind that was channeled by the banks of the Trent from Goole to Gainsborough. We turned at Trent Bridge, I remember Dave Yates being in the group. I was working to a heart-rate monitor, and sustained the same output with a following wind, so I rode off the front, and got lost.

I found the group again at Caneby Corner, as they emerged from the Little Chef. I set off with them, but 'bonked'. I revived myself with some Fish and Chips, and made off towards Hatfield Woodhouse. Mick Potts was leading a group which picked me up. I recovered, and started riding off the front. Mick reprimanded me soundly, and insisted I rode Tempo.

I was a bit more disciplined on the second leg to Great Gonerby, where I experienced sleeping in a service station for the first time. A Scot cased Jamie broke his seat pin to saddle bolt on the only hill of note on the way back, he died young. There was a rider with one of those early LED position front lights with no beam overnight, and he was held captive behind us on the return to Hatfield.

The third leg was up to York, and I rode that in company with a bloke who had kidney problems. The whole ride seems like a dream now. But aspects of it have been filed away and given a distinct value. The ride into the wind from Goole to Gainsborough rated about 8 for headwind misery, and made me decide never to ride fixed. Doing that would be a waste of my locomotive ability.

Riding off the front and getting lost was about 6, and was an important lesson. Not stopping to eat because a group was leaving when I was arriving, also rated 6 in terms of learning when to eat.

Being torn off a strip by Mick Potts was annoying at the time, but was of long-term value. I saw him at the car park at the end of that leg, and he was searching for Ibuprofen. His achilles was playing up, as he'd probably been leading the group I was disrupting for a long time. I now know the value of trying to keep hold of someone big, strong and willing, into the wind.

I learned more on that apparently tedious, flat 600 than on any other ride, and it set me up for PBP and LEL.
Mental depletion comes from banging your head against a brick wall when you don't have to. PBP and LEL suited me, as I could be useful to others, and deploy group-riding skills. I can see that if you're a natural climber, you might spend a lot of time staring at some big bloke's back wheel, and that might get wearing. But I'd suggest that they look for rides that aren't aimed at rouleurs. That way we might not get continuous climbing inflation, and ever-rising DNF figures.

vorsprung

  • Opposites Attract
    • Audaxing
Re: Mental depletion article for Arrivee
« Reply #33 on: October 08, 2019, 11:17:13 am »
So there are a number of points here

1) What is the point of doing a ride?  Why do we do it?  U.N.Dulates once said to me "It's like fun only different".  I know what he means here.   It's enjoyable but difficult I guess.  I did a blog about explaining my motives here https://audaxing.wordpress.com/2010/11/10/how-to-find-yourself-on-a-bike/

2) Is there some kind of method for preparing yourself mentally?   Maybe visualizing arriving at the half way point feeling good?

3) Alternatively, is this a condition or addiction that can be cured?  I know that my anticipations for a long ride are somewhat like the twitching anticipations of an addict.  And afterwards, for a short time, I feel sated.  I "like" riding the bike and the combination of mild exercise and a sense of travel reduces my feelings of stress.  This is true for short rides.  On longer rides the same thing is true

4) Do repeated rides have some kind of cumulating mental cost?  Or do repeated rides lead to greater mental resilience?  Or is there a sort of peaking graph?  One ride tough, two rides easy, four rides tough?

5) How do the physical and emotional/mental/motivational side match up?  Obviously, if you have a saddle sore, it's 3 am and you have run out of gummy bears  - these physical factors will cloud your decision making

6) Are some rides or routes or events mentally tougher than others?  This does seem to be the case but it's difficult to relate the reasons for the difficulty back to motivational/mental/emotional factors.  For example, (names of the events changed to protect the guilty) the Mamble 200 has the worst routesheet the world has ever seen and the final 20km is an ultra-complex maze of slow, muddy lanes.  Example 2, the Bard Oiled 300 makes bizarre choices on its route that no sane person would pick.   The second event there is a "favourite" with other people but for me it's terrible

7) the company on rides must be a factor.  I can remember meeting some - well basically - cunts on a few rides.  After this, I skipped a couple of ones I'd already entered because when I imagined the worse that could happen it involved other riders.  As John Paul Sartre said, "Hell is other people".  Other times I've met lovely people, made friends, it's been beautiful

Audaxing Blog follow @vorsprungbike on

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Mental depletion article for Arrivee
« Reply #34 on: October 08, 2019, 11:34:24 am »
On shorter brevets like a flattish 200 I find that I can grind out distance just by thinking that 'the fun is in the having done' and reflecting that I have less than 100 km to go (usually the case if I'm starting to feel a bit maudlin). But this doesn't really work once the distance and hillage gets bigger than that. There was a good long read about the guy who broke the round the world record, or something else very silly, that it's important to learn to enjoy the moment as much as to just fantasise about end of ride bevvies.

For me I've tried reflecting that 'at least I'm not at work' and counting out what is going well (usually 'I've got enough food, got enough water, I'm not cold' etc); trying to recall times where I've really wanted to go on a bike ride and thinking 'well I'm doing it now' has also helped. Maybe I need to work harder on this for the eventualities when it gets a bit grim. I also try to reflect that the bike I'm riding is a chunk more comfortable and better geared than what the poor old buggers were riding decades ago.

Fortunately I've never had to do an audax with someone I didn't like. I've met some odd customers (pretty much exclusively as a supporter/volunteer) but no one who actually made me annoyed or uncomfortable.
YACF touring/audax bargain basement:
https://bit.ly/2Xg8pRD


Re: Mental depletion article for Arrivee
« Reply #35 on: October 08, 2019, 02:29:49 pm »
Since this seems to have moved on from cumulative long distance events over a short period – which I never did - I’ll join in with some words on my mental battles, such as they’ve been, in my (currently moribund) Audax life. So feel free to ignore Rupert.

In almost every event, from 200s upwards, I experience spells when I wonder what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. I don’t think these are ever caused by physical problems, just a general cycling ennui, which might last a couple of minutes but might last longer sometimes. The period tends to last as long as it takes for my mind to wander onto something, anything, else, or for a conversation to start, or a control to be reached. If it lasts longer I’ll try and talk myself out of it with a stern word – what I’m doing isn’t hard by comparison to what other people have to endure* and for a long while I had a personal non-DNF record to protect and extend.  *A slight digression – I was the first to be born in a pair of what was know, by some, at the time, as ‘undiagnosed’ twins. My mum once told me that after I was born and she realized she was still in labour, she had to urge herself as long as was needed, even if there were ‘another 20 up there’. By comparison, what I do is a ride in the park.

The reasons for not DNF'ing are probably for another thread, but mostly for me include
- deliberately not finding out how to travel by train with a bike,
- knowing that to get home or to my car would be easiest on a bike
- being lucky in not getting mechanicals (until I got unlucky).

stefan

  • aka martin
Re: Mental depletion article for Arrivee
« Reply #36 on: October 08, 2019, 04:24:11 pm »
So there are a number of points here

1) What is the point of doing a ride?  Why do we do it?  U.N.Dulates once said to me "It's like fun only different".  I know what he means here.   It's enjoyable but difficult I guess.  I did a blog about explaining my motives here https://audaxing.wordpress.com/2010/11/10/how-to-find-yourself-on-a-bike/


That's a very good article - puts into words quite a lot of stuff that resonates with me. Thanks.

I think there is also something about the relationships formed in the context of shared, sometimes quite difficult, experiences, which brings people back for more.
Member no. 152 of La Société Adrian Hands

Re: Mental depletion article for Arrivee
« Reply #37 on: October 10, 2019, 02:15:44 pm »
Interesting article. My longest successful ride is 400km so my insight into true log distance cycling is limited by my observations are below for what they are worth.

The "No option but to carry on" scenario mentioned by Bludger is one I can relate to - if there had been a hotel I could hide in after 300km of Brevet Cymru I would have been in there like a shot. On some other rides not knowing how to cut short a ride has kept me going.

The rides that have been most mentally draining have been those where I have had mechanical worries - the constant thought of "What do I do if ???? happens at this time of night in this area" is can stress me out. I (hopefully) have had less of these recently as I try to be diligent about making sure brakes, gears etc. are working properly.

I did give up on a 600 earlier this season after bout 170km. My preparation had been rubbish - little sleep due to other life things, not cleaning my bidons properly and discovering black mould in them at the first control. I then made a daft decision to have a fry up which I know I struggle to digest. After struggling along feeling crap I convinced myself I would not reach the night control in enough time to get any rest. That, combined with the poor forecast for the following day, convinced me to quit. Making my way back to the start was draining - I had a rough idea of the best route but found myself on some busy roads and when I got to a pub where I hoped to stop for a meal it was packed to the rafters and meant that I carried on with no water which was daft. It was far harder riding knowing I'd quit than it would have been to carry on on the route for the equivalent distance.

At the time I was very disappointed but looking back was right to quit. The mental and physical leap from 400 to 600 was just too big.

Completing a 600 is my main goal for next season but (hopefully) I will be fitter and lighter than when I failed this year.

Re: Mental depletion article for Arrivee
« Reply #38 on: October 10, 2019, 03:08:32 pm »
The sleep/rest thing is really interesting.   The truth is that you can manage on very little sleep but you really need to put yourself through it to prove the theory.

In the run up to this year's 24hr TT champs I didn't sleep properly for 2 weeks running up to the event.   Partly this was due to the fact that it had been pretty muggy but I was a complete ball of stress.   Despite being in my best physical shape ever I convinced myself that if I wasn't well rested at the start I would balls it up and it all then became self fulfilling.   I was convinced that I couldn't start but was persuaded to get changed and go to the start line.   Once I got rolling all was fine and I hit my goals.

Would I have done better being a bit more rested ?  possibly but I didn't feel sleepy once during the event even around dawn when there's usually a lull.   

It's not the first time that this has happened to me but it's one of the reasons that I have decided to take a step back from racing for a while.

Jem

  • ACME HR and Diversity officer
Re: Mental depletion article for Arrivee
« Reply #39 on: October 10, 2019, 04:10:00 pm »


In the run up to this year's 24hr TT champs I didn't sleep properly for 2 weeks running up to the event.  I was a complete ball of stress. 

It's not the first time that this has happened to me but it's one of the reasons that I have decided to take a step back from racing for a while.

This is true for me too.
It was never the sleep deprivation during an event that bothered me. I could ride or run for for a good 40+ hours without needing any.

What really affected me horribly was the sleep deprivation as a result of sickening stress for days and even weeks before a big race/ride. Before the End to End and especially before the women's tandem trike 24hr I was almost paralysed by fear and was in a dreadful state emotionally,  purely through stress and resulting lack of sleep. Once I started pedalling, that vanished.

The fact that that awful period almost always meant a good ride eventually stopped being enough compensation and I also stopped racing and even stopped distance cycling for a while as the same thing would happen prior to an audax.

A knackered knee has put paid to any long stuff and has taken the decision from my hands and in some ways, that is a huge relief and cycling is starting to be fun again.


Re: Mental depletion article for Arrivee
« Reply #40 on: October 10, 2019, 08:17:57 pm »
Thanks, Jem.  Should have spent longer chatting last Saturday.

I find it quite interesting that there are lots of articles about how cycling and sport in general help your mental health but far less on how to deal with sport effecting your mental health.  I feel like I have given in a little but a change of direction may be what is needed.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Mental depletion article for Arrivee
« Reply #41 on: October 11, 2019, 11:34:32 am »
The rides that have been most mentally draining have been those where I have had mechanical worries - the constant thought of "What do I do if ???? happens at this time of night in this area" is can stress me out. I (hopefully) have had less of these recently as I try to be diligent about making sure brakes, gears etc. are working properly.

My long-distance experience is insignificant, but this applies to me to.  There's always the niggling worry about what happens if the bike breaks (my ability to walk if it does is often limited).  I manage that by carrying a decent selection of tools and having become sufficiently familiar with maintenance that I have a reasonable expectation that it will keep working, and confidence in my ability to fix most of the usual problems at the roadside if it doesn't.

No idea if it's made me a better cyclist, but it's certainly made me a better mechanic.

Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Mental depletion article for Arrivee
« Reply #42 on: October 15, 2019, 04:43:53 pm »
I tend to look at it along the lines of: If you enter it, finish it, unless doing so is going to do lasting harm or impact a more important event.

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: Mental depletion article for Arrivee
« Reply #43 on: October 15, 2019, 07:59:35 pm »

7) the company on rides must be a factor.  I can remember meeting some - well basically - cunts on a few rides.  After this, I skipped a couple of ones I'd already entered because when I imagined the worse that could happen it involved other riders.  As John Paul Sartre said, "Hell is other people".  Other times I've met lovely people, made friends, it's been beautiful
You have a wonderful turn of phrase Jamie  ;D (possibly as good as that Sartre fellow)

I'm surprised company hasn't been mentioned more. I have also met a few c***s - but they have been very very few amongst hundreds of people that I have ridden more than a few miles with. Also a few who were harmless, but basically massive morale sinks. The sort who are happy to ride with you but have NOTHING positive to say, and usually ride just a few feet behind you. Or possibly worse; just behind level with you, so that you can't easily chat but have to listen to their whingeing and throat-clearing, and don't get any benefit from their front light.

Contrast with some of the positive souls I have met during dark hard sections, who have transformed the experience into something joyful.
(You know who you are, I won't embarrass anyone  :-* )
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

redfalo

  • known as Olaf in the real world
    • Cycling Intelligence
Re: Mental depletion article for Arrivee
« Reply #44 on: October 27, 2019, 04:12:34 pm »
My biggest mental breakdown happened half a year after my first PBP, halfway through my 2nd RRtY. In March 2016, I rode the Dean 300 not having fully recovered from a cold.

I found the ride super hard, was really slow, and missed the last train back to London. I stayed in the Travelodge, having ruined half of Sunday, and really asked myself "What am I doing here?" With a heavy heart, and a lot of deliberation,  decided to ditch my RRtY and decided to DNS on a couple of other rides I had signed on for in the coming months. As it happened, on the last weekend of the subsequent month, I happened to do a DIY, and almost accidentally kept the RRtY alive - but mentally, it was an important step to do the ride because I ***wanted*** to do it, rather than because I ***had*** do it.

The only time I DNF'ed on an Audax - apart from my very first one, where I had lost the brevet card before the first control  :facepalm: - was last December, when I was riding in sub-zero temperatures and had not having fully recovered from a cold. I very much prefer DNS to DNF.

These days, I try to do a 200 per month but not doing any formal RRtY anymore.  if it doesn't work out like in September (2 weeks of cycle touring, planned by a long-scheduled routine surgery and the subsequent recovery) it's not the end of the world.
If you can't convince, confuse.

https://cycling-intelligence.com/ - my blog on cycling, long distances and short ones

Re: Mental depletion article for Arrivee
« Reply #45 on: October 27, 2019, 04:44:22 pm »
You have a wonderful turn of phrase Jamie  ;D (possibly as good as that Sartre fellow)

Anybody who bestows titles such as 'Nausea' & 'Being and Nothingness', knew a thing or two about what it can feel like to ride Audax. Sometimes.  :)

Garry Broad

Salvatore

  • Джон Спунър
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Re: Mental depletion article for Arrivee
« Reply #46 on: October 27, 2019, 04:50:59 pm »
You have a wonderful turn of phrase Jamie  ;D (possibly as good as that Sartre fellow)

Anybody who bestows titles such as 'Nausea' & 'Being and Nothingness', knew a thing or two about what it can feel like to ride Audax. Sometimes.

FACT: He wrote 'Les Mains Sales' after his chain came off on a 200.
Quote
et avec John, excellent lecteur de road-book, on s'en est sortis sans erreur

Re: Mental depletion article for Arrivee
« Reply #47 on: October 27, 2019, 05:38:47 pm »
You have a wonderful turn of phrase Jamie  ;D (possibly as good as that Sartre fellow)

Anybody who bestows titles such as 'Nausea' & 'Being and Nothingness', knew a thing or two about what it can feel like to ride Audax. Sometimes.

FACT: He wrote 'Les Mains Sales' after his chain came off on a 200.

Is that so? It's a pleasure to be following the very learned and right honorable gentleman for Fleet. He exhibits his depth of knowledge on these matters with great aplomb  :)

I tried to read some Sartre in my early twenties [goodness knows why]. I read Nausea, then a mate of mine suggested Being and Nothingness. Well.....complete brick wall....didn't understand a bleeding word of it! And still don't. Many more brain cells needed. This may account for the fact that I spent the rest of my life working with my hands, building recumbents and spent most of my life drinking in pubs!

But the OP, Rupert, if he were to write a piece for Arrive, could easily quote a bit of 'Being in Nothingness' as existential reflection and pause for thought in an article relating to cycling and the mind. About time Arrive had a bit of philosophy.

"To possess a bicycle is to be able first to look at it, then to touch it. But touching is revealing as insufficient; what is necessary is to be able to get on the bicycle and take a ride."
Jean-Paul Sartre, On Being and Nothingness (1943)

That bit I can comprehend, but he soon loses me out of sight with the rest of it  :facepalm:  :D !!

https://www.cityprojectca.org/blog/archives/14497

Somehow the whole notion of mental depletion, long rides and Sartre and rather compatible bed fellows one feels :-)
Garry Broad

Re: Mental depletion article for Arrivee
« Reply #48 on: October 27, 2019, 05:49:55 pm »


Anybody who bestows titles such as 'Nausea' & 'Being and Nothingness', knew a thing or two about what it can feel like to ride Audax. Sometimes.

FACT: He wrote 'Les Mains Sales' after his chain came off on a 200.