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Overcoming FONKU (Fear Of Not Keeping Up)

Every group cycle has one, most cyclists desperately don’t want to be one, and it can be tough going if you find yourself as the one… the lagger, the holder back, the slow one… an unwanted necessity to every team cycle.

Regularly cycling in last position can very quickly become demotivating and make you question your ability, stamina, endurance and overall fitness.

Does it mean you’re unfit? Certainly not. No cycle is complete without a front runner and a back runner, if not you it will be someone else. Still doesn’t help with the motivation though does it?

Rather than endure thoughts of inferiority , we suggest implementing the following strategy to add positivity to your rides.

  1. Are you cycling similar miles and rides to your fellow cyclists? It may be that a few extra miles on the indoor bike or independently on the road could make all the difference to your fitness as well as give you the freedom to push your limits without the disheartening view of your teammates ahead. If you really feel your levels aren’t currently up to scratch then we suggest finding another group ride. It may not need to be indefinitely, but may just give you the opportunity to ride alongside those with similar levels of fitness and aspirations to yourself. You never know, you may even be the front rider!
  1. Be kind to yourself. Your inner voice counts for a lot when cycling…. In fact without it we’re not sure how a challenging cycle would be possible! Use your inner voice to reiterate messages of positivity – “I can do this”, “I’ve trained for this”, “You got this”, “John at the front drinks six pints a day” – whatever the message needs to be, let it be uplifting.
  1. Get a bike fit. A common mistake is to jump on and ride without ensuring your positioning is correct. This can lead to fatigue and back pain and will most certainly affect performance. Most bike shops offer professional fittings to ensure optimum positioning whilst in the saddle. A few tweaks here and there could hugely impact your ability and endurance in the saddle. Alternatively, as professional fitting can be costly, Cycling Weekly have provided a great article on setting up your bike.
  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You may know someone within your group who is a proficient rider. It may be worth asking them to accompany you to gauge your levels, riding technique and style and in turn be able to offer you advice on how to get more out of your ride. Alternatively there are many cycling coaches who will dedicate time to help you improve.
  1. Don’t quit. Cycling can be liberating and thoroughly enjoyable when presented with the freedom of the road. If you’ve found a love for cycling then let nothing hold you back. It can be an elitist sport and quite a critical one for some, however our recommendation is to avoid the elitists and focus on your own journey – the simple pleasure of being in the saddle.

Suffering from FONKU? Join the Bythlon Cycling Community for support on your journey.