Ben Price offers a unique take on getting the psychological edge over competitors:
1. Being tanned
Feeling fast rating: 4/5 (2/5 if legs unshaved)
When you’re cycling along and you look down to see tanned legs, especially in full sunshine, you always get a boost. Tanned legs = decent training miles. Especially when you’re of ginger lineage like myself. If I look down and see tanned legs it means it’s summer and it means I’ve put some serious miles in. I will always remember the friendly abuse I got for my sheet white legs – mainly from Alan Murchison who’s never afraid to tell it how it is – at the 2016 British Elite Duathlon Champs. I was definitely at a psychological disadvantage standing in the holding pen that April surrounded by a significant proportion of athletes with warm-weather-training-tanned-
2. Shaved legs
Feeling fast rating: 3/5
It feels weird under the sheets in bed the first time you do it but becomes normal alarmingly quickly. I shave my legs the day we switch to British Summer Time so associate the feeling of smooth legs sliding beneath work trousers with the start of summer and hopefully warm weather ahead. Anyway, although people claim there IS an aero advantage, shaved legs simply feels faster, even if it’s just the reduced friction when walking into work.
3. Disc wheel
Feeling fast rating: 5/5
The whoosh of a deep section front wheel and rhythmical whoomp of a rear disc makes you feel crazy fast. It’s potentially THE sound of triathlon/duathlon. We’ve all heard them coming, those seriously fast uber bikers that whoomp past you at morale crushing speed. There’s plenty of evidence that a skin suit would save you more time but a disc just sounds FAST, and that gives you a serious psychosomatic boost. Plus they look cool.
Feeling fast rating: 5/5
Whether it’s psychosomatic or does actually affect you (as most studies suggest it does) – nailing a tonne of coffee before a race works wonders for one’s mental state. It turns me from lethargic nervous wreck to bouncy, fast talking, ‘let’s have it’, athlete. Whether there’s any in-race benefit to my performance, I’m not too sure, but it’s definitely good for keeping me awake on the drive home after an early race start.
Feeling fast rating 4/5
When I don’t wear my visor on my aero helmet my anguished red face is exposed to the world. I’m more gurning red gurnard in a funny hat than macho time trial smasher. However, when the visor is down I feel serious, aggressive and ready to rumble. The reflective visor has the added bonus of revealing my onlooking rivals’ reflection in all their slow looking visor-less-ness.
6. Eating chicken livers
Feeling fast rating 3/5
Legal EPO. We’ve all heard about exercise induced anaemia and if not, are aware of the benefits of increased red blood cell counts and iron levels. Well, liver has a huge amount or iron in it and let’s be honest, anything that looks that bloody rank (literally) and tastes so irony has to have a positive effect, doesn’t it? If you really want to up your game you’d get serious and eat the stuff raw. Or as my wife has just suggested, why not add some to your next nutriblast?
She was joking. I’m not. It’s time to up your commitment…