The Warrior

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The Warrior

Back around 2005, I felt like I had gotten myself into the groove of being a road biker and I started to venture out on longer and longer rides.  This was around the time I was living in Austin, Texas and with great cycling roads and the aura of cycling glory oozing all around me it was the perfect time to take it to the next level.

c/o Lori Greig

I started out by making Friday’s my “Big Ride” day.  Thursday night I would gather my gear, load my bike in the van (yeah, we actually drove a mini van for a period of time and I just gotta start erasing that memory) and on Friday morning I would be ready to start riding right after dropping my wife off at work.  I would liken it to a ritual, and even now I can still feel the warrior type atmosphere I created when I think about it.

Just before taking off on the ride, my next warrior move would be to wrap a bandanna around my head….not to catch sweat, but to show myself that this would not be just an ordinary ride.  I would only use the bandanna on Friday’s.  It was my day to be a cycling warrior.  Each and every Friday that I went out there, I would have one incredible ride.  Coincidence?

We watch these football players and fighters with their tribal marking and pre-event rituals and I absolutely see the purpose for all of this.  Sure the black lines below their eyes may help with the glare of the lights….but I know that they put it there more so to bring out the warrior within.  It’s the same thing for pro riders. The outfits, the glasses, and all the accessories may assist their riding performance, but it does so much more.  It brings them to a better place in their mind….and we all know that is a big chunk of the battle.

When I switched to a new helmet in 2007, the bandanna didn’t quite fit as well as it did before so I gave it up.  In my riding today, I may not have the same pre-ride rituals and tribal markings as I did in the past….but the warrior still remains.

Do you bring out the warrior for certain rides?  What is your ritual?

  • Tim

    Left over habit from my flying days. I kept the pre-event ritual in my bag o’ tricks. Just as in flying, I prepare for each ride exactly the same way every time, whether I’m loading the car or starting the ride from home. If there is an interruption in the routine, I start over so I don’t miss anything.

    I also kept the “chair flying” routine – where take a few minutes to review the route in my mind, mentally going through turns, climbs and descents.

    Still working on the motivation part – haven’t established a “warrior” move yet.

    • Darryl

      This is very interesting, TIm. It’s neat to see how years of training and preparation have crossed over into other parts of your life.

      The visualization part is awesome and it is something I have wanted to apply in certain parts of my life. They say that the best athletes in the world use visualization to achieve success… I know it must help you in your riding.


  • Pedalman

    Night before ride ritual- Full inspection of bike. Layout saddlebag contents and repack it. Pull water bottles out of cupboard and put on table beside gels. Line up clothing I’ll wear including socks put in shoes. Day of ride ritual- Listen to music while putting on cycling gear and filling water bottles. Regardless of what I ate beforehand, I always eat a banana just before leaving the house. Say a prayer to protect me and fellow riders. Once outside, lean against the wall and trace route in my mind that I’m going to take. Clip in and say ‘Time to Keep the Rubber Side Down’

    • Darryl

      You and Tim both go over the ride in your mind and that’s very cool…..I’ve never actually done that on purpose. I know that I’ll often start going through it in my mind while I’m doing other things, but I have never consciously thought about it.

      Do you feel that the ritual helps motivate you?

      • Pedalman

        The ritual really helps me focus and do a mental checklist. Afterwards thoughts of ‘what if’ nature don’t arise because I know I’ve prepared for the ride. I’ve gotten to the point in which the phrase ‘Time to Keep the Rubber Side Down’ gives me a sense of calm and power that washes over me from the top of my head to my toes.
        I don’t think the ritual helps motivate me. My motivation comes from so many different sources depending on the day. I think the ritual gives me a nice flat road for my motivation to ride along until I unleash it with the last seven words I say aloud as I leave.
        Does that make sense?

  • Darryl

    Interesting comments Clive and Bryan. I think rituals work better for some people than others. I know I’m one that is works for and writing this post has got me thinking that I need to tap into my inner warrior with the rituals once again.


  • Clive Chapman

    I had a set routine before big rugby matches, various little rituals, I haven’t now I pedal, interesting point that, why haven’t I? It worked for rugby why not cycling?

    I had to find my old warrior self a few weeks ago for my first 50 miler in years.

    That seriously hurt…

  • Bryan

    I’ve never established a ritual. I wonder if I should.