The Process

THE PRESS

Sit down. At the end of the bench. Back facing the bar.
Lay back slowly, careful, don’t hit head on bar.
Look up. Is the bar directly above my eyes?
Square up body.
Look down the left side of the bar. Find the smooth marker. Index finger.
Look down right. Index finger.
Wrap the rest of fingers; don’t choke the bar. Meat of palm feels square.
Readjust the body.
Squeeze glutes.
Get feet under the knees, flat on the ground. Get them ready to drive.
Think: form, tempo.
2 calming breaths. Drive the feet, squeeze glutes, Palm pressure on bar.
Lift.
Lower bar… 1 one thousand, 2 one thousand, 3. Touch. Drive! Squeeze! Push fast. Elbows in!
ONE.

“Success and failure are generally slow processes… That’s why you have to watch every single second. Because those seconds, they turn into minutes, and minutes turn into hours, and hours turn into days, and days turn into years.” ~Jocko Willink

Repeat. Only 7 more…
Check distance over left J hook, then right. Drop bar.
How did it feel?
How was pace?
How was form?
Hit stopwatch. Ok, at least 2 minutes, Dan.
Write down in the notebook. How did I feel? How was weight? How was tempo?
Change weight.
Check reps.
7 more sets.
Walk.
What to focus on?
What was good?
It’s time…

THE BIKE

Check wheels. Skewers tight?
Check brakes. Anything rubbing?
Rotate tire so presta valve is on the top of wheel arc.
Unscrew presta valve on rear tire. Left palm pushes on the top of the tire, right hand places the pump valve on the presta valve.
Pull lever down with middle finger.
Gauge facing the wheel.
Is the red arrow facing 115 psi?
Pump up tire. Full strokes to get it done efficiently.
Needle at the red.
Flip the lever. Pump valve blows off.
Repeat on front.
Attach phone to aerobars.
With makeshift rubber bands, lift the lower bands, push bottom of phone in.
Lift upper bands, slide in the top of phone.
Center the phone.
Hit app icon.
Click “Start Workout”
Click green “Start” button.
Grab left handlebar with left hand.
Step right leg over top tube.
Grab right handlebar with right hand.
Roll pedals back until left one is at 6 o’clock
Push front of the left cleat into the pedal. Press the back down forcefully, quickly.
Push of the pavement with right foot. Coast.
Roll right pedal down until front of right cleat catches.
Push back of the cleat down forcefully, quickly.
Check app metrics for connection.
Coast down my street towards Center Street.
Check traffic to my left as I slow, traffic to my right.
Push down with my right foot. Pull up with my left.
Cross the street and head out.
Once I am able to get moving consistently…
Gently place the origin of right ulnar bone in aero pad.
Grip the end of aerobar.
Index finger in the indentation? Thumb touching bolt end?
Now the left. Gently. Balanced.
Shift weight onto my arms, adjust my seat in the saddle.
Seat bones on the split noses comfortably?
Slow lift on my left shifter with the side of top knuckle facing the sky of my left index finger.
Lighten my pedal stroke for a split second. Not too much load on the chain as I shift to the large chainring.
Slow rhythmic shifts with the right hand. Lever between the flesh of the thumb and the side of my index finger’s top knuckle.
Cadence feel right?
Does my acceleration of pace seem smooth? Strong?
Pull the bottom foot up over the top of the barrel.
Push the top foot down, scrap the mud off the sole of my shoe.
Again.
Again.
Coordinated. Good.
Heels level? Maybe even slightly up?
Pressure on the down stroke towards my large toe?
Check watts.
Check breathing.
Coincide?
Don’t choke the bar ends.
Knees in.
Where’s the white shoulder line on the pavement?
Car back? Car up?
Debris? Cracks? Pothole?
Rhythm. Smooth. Quiet.

 

The process. All too often we need to be distracted. Music. Podcasts. Partners. Have you ever broken down what you do when you do? No matter what it is? Right now, as I type, I ask if I am sitting up until I’m comfortable. Are the tips of my index fingers pulling against the horizontal knobs on the J and F so I’m typing the correct letters? Am I punching the keys? Pushing the keys? Wrists? My wrists are leaning too much on the end of the laptop keyboard and the edges are digging into the base of my wrists. My palms sometimes interrupt the mouse pad, where did the cursor go? Lift my thumbs more. Anyway… You get the point. This is something that can be never ending. Sometimes to the point of detriment. But most of the time, we don’t pay enough attention to it.

When I coach my runners, I teach them form drills to practice every day before workouts. I want them to understand what their body is doing as it moves. The form drills allow them to focus on one movement at a time. Sometimes in slow motion so that they can put it all together in the form of accelerations. All of this, about 10 minutes worth, before they get to work. This process forces every neurological pulse going down their spinal cords to direct each muscle fiber to fire in the correct sequence. The drills allow them to process the movements, individually, to give their brain time and repetition to practice the drill correctly. This creates balance, power, efficiency, and speed through coordination. But it does more than just improve their performance. It improves the way they think. It organizes their thoughts to become more streamlined.

In this sense, your speed of thought coordination is now balanced, powerful, efficient, and faster. With everything. Not just the physical. You begin to look at things differently. You dissect things. You analyze. You work through the best possible practices for the best possible outcome.

Slow down. Get a routine. Build new roads on the road map of your mind. There’s no terrain you can’t negotiate. There are no speed limits. There are no laws governing your trek. You are boundless in your learning and your productivity. But you must embrace the process. The more automatic it becomes, the more you can redirect your thoughts to be channeled towards new roads. New endeavors. In all things. Focus on the task at hand in real time. Make it a habit. Unplug for a while and find out how you can simply be distracted with the process you’re engaged in right now. Try it with your next task. No matter how trivial, ask yourself how it was different. How did it feel? Remember, slow is smooth, and smooth is fast. Pretty soon it becomes automatic, therefore freeing your mind.

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