The ‘Make it Happen’ Mindset

A common phrase used in the UD Cycling Team is “make it happen,” coined by VQ contributor Eran. It’s a simple philosophy that has allowed him to be so successful, and certainly the deciding factor in my good finishes this summer. So what is it? Making it happen means throwing out your fears and doing what it takes to get a great result.

From my experience in bike racing, there are only two things you can do in a race:

  1. Makes excuses; or
  2. Make it happen

If you pay attention to those around you, it become pretty clear who falls into which camp. The people making it happen are the ones shaping the bike race; forcing people to chase them down, putting their teammate in prime position for the sprint, making a solo late move.

Don’t get me wrong, people making it happen don’t always do well – no one does. A late solo flyer, while probably the epitome of making it happen, is usually going to end up in disappointment. This is because, for the non-sprinter, it’s a hell of a smarter move than sitting in for the field sprint.

Making it happen isn’t about getting results, it’s about eliminating your fear of failure. If you did pretty much everything you could have done to do well in a race, can you really be too mad?

Christophe Riblon would never win up Alpe d’Huez by sitting in all day with the group of main favorites and conserving his energy. His only option is to go out in the breakaway and get a large enough advantage at the base to hold them off until the end. And that’s what he did.

Riblon of France celebrates as he wins the 172.5km eighteenth stage of the centenary Tour de France cycling race from Gap to l'Alpe d'Huez, in the French Alps

How can you adopt this mindset? Like any psychological change, it takes time. Some things to try to speed this along:

  • Attack when no one else is
  • Ride aggressively in group rides
  • In the last 5 miles of a race, think of nothing except where you need to be and how you will get there
  • Never make excuses
  • Attack
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3 thoughts on “The ‘Make it Happen’ Mindset

  1. This does go right with Eran’s post (I saw that you linked to it). I needed these two posts in a bad way. I’d simply come to the conclusion that I just won’t be fast enough… These two posts changed how I look at how I ride. So what if I try to hard and drop, I’m going to drop anyway, but if I work my butt off, pull harder and longer at the front, I will get faster… If I just try to hang on all of the time, not so much. I tried this tonight at our club ride and even beat out a bunch of guys on a sprint – TWICE. I haven’t had so much fun riding in quite some time. Thanks man.

    • Good job outsprinting them! I usually get dropped from this group ride I do on Wednesdays and I try to do what you’re describing – just pull harder and get dropped when I get dropped because I’ll eventually get good enough where I’ll be dropping them!

      • Thanks! I’ve been working on that quite a bit lately. Odd thing is, I can outsprint a lot of folks… I blow up pretty easy though – once I’ve hit the sprint button I have to take a minute to recover, though I’m getting better. The last few times I’ve messed around with it I was able to latch back on as the group swallowed me up.

        As far as you getting dropped on a group ride, man, I can only imagine how tough that group is… Keep writing about the tactics though, please. I’m finally getting to a place where I understand it.

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