I’ve said before that the real difference between a lot of elite athletes–especially cyclists–is not in the muscles but in the mind. On a killer mountain, or a fast stretch, it’s your mind that often wants to back down first. You have to train yourself to keep pushing in those situations. (I like to think about this in terms that Jens Voigt famously said: “Shut up, legs!”
Many seasoned cyclists say the best way to become a better cyclist is to ride with riders better than you. I can attest that riding with better riders makes you realize just how much you can do. Now it seems that research substantiates this idea.
What I wonder is how much this principle applies in endeavors beyond physical performance? How many exercises in life do we self-limit? How can we coach ourselves to eek out an extra percentage point of performance when it comes to goals beyond just pedaling to victory?