CRCA member, cyclist, and psychoanalyst, Pascal Sauvayre has made available articles from the recent Sports Issue of Psych-e-News, a journal of the Division of Psychoanalysis of the New York State Psychological Association. Pascal contributes an introduction and one of the three articles.
Thank you Pascal.
As competitive cyclists we devote enormous amounts of time and energy to training and physical preparedness, probably more than athletes in most other sports. We are also fully aware of the importance of the mental factor in our sport, particularly in the thick of competition.
The richness of our vocabulary testifies to the interpersonal action at the heart of the race. We break, we chase, we catch, we block, we attack, we counterattack, we drop, we get dropped, or shelled, we lead out, we crack, we sit in, we sit on, we pull through, we refuse to pull through, we drill, we hammer, and so on. These are not simply physical events but actions that are done by us to others, or by others to us.
From a different perspective, these describe the action of a human drama, a drama that involves many states of mind, our own minds and others minds. Whether it be the mental strategy in a race, the psychological dynamics of a team, or the emotional volatility of the sport (where one can go from 1st to 50th in a couple of seconds), the psychological and emotional aspects of cycling are essential, yet we rarely talk about them.
Follow this link to a series of articles written by nyc psychoanalysts, myself included, who try to describe the mental drama of competitive athletes. While not cycling specific, I believe there is much we can identify with and learn from in these short papers.