I could not be more happy for 2012 U.S. National Downhill Champion and BetterRide athlete Jackie Harmony! Jackie has conquered downhill mountain biking on the National level and is not stopping there. Read on to hear what has given her such an edge this season.
The Mental State
By Jackie Harmony
My downhill mountain bike racing career started with the idea of riding my bike all over the place and meeting all the cool people along the way. However, throughout the past 10 years of racing, I’ve begun to understand in great detail the entirety of what I have chosen to do and what it takes to compete at the highest level of the game. From what I gather, there are three major roles in becoming the ultimate athlete and they are your physical state, emotional state and mental state. I first learned of these major roles through Gene Hamilton and his BetterRide Camps. His many years of racing and research are passed on through his coaching and I took it all in. I have read the books he has recommended and continuously take part in all that he has to offer.
The mental state is what I have been working on for the last couple of years now and have become a pro at controlling my mental state. This past weekend during National Champs is the best example of how I have complete control of my mental state. Some things that I have found to help me be mentally prepared and fully present are:
- My diet – I pay full attention to how I feel with what I put into my body. I know what type of fuel my brain and body needs to feel strong and powerful.
- Meditation – I have found that breathing correctly allows my brain to calm down, close off all thoughts and clear my mind.
- Imagery – Seeing myself ride the entire course, including knowing my shift points, brake points and body movements.
- Let it be – Some things are out of my control and I need to accept them for what they are. If the track conditions are changing then I will have to adapt and not be upset with rain, mud, dust, wind, etc.
By controlling my mental state, I have found my true self and in doing so I was able to be completely present at all times. I can now shut the door on the little voice who likes to give me so many options and negative thoughts that really tears me down. I know for a fact that I am an excellent rider and I know now that I am an excellent racer, because I have created the best run every time, every practice run and every time I ride my bike.