If it’s been a while since you’ve ridden on circuit you’ll start to wonder if you can still do it. ‘Maybe I’ve lost the skills?’ or, ‘I haven’t done it for years, I’ll be rubbish’.
This is common so thought I’d share how I deal with it.
Firstly, you are not the only one that experiences this feeling. It’s normal to have self doubt when you’ve been off the bike for a period of time. I didn’t zip up a leather suit for 5 years from when I retired from racing until I started instructing. I used to have this feeling before the first test of every season after the long European winter break and also when coming back from injury. Even now the self doubt comes when a new client (who has hired me to help them ride faster) tells me their smoking fast lap times, times I haven’t had to do in years! I wonder to myself if I can still do them and even worry that I’ll let these people down & waste their time/money etc. Because I’ve been through this so often I know that it’s just an inbuilt human trait that I need to ignore and push on through it. I remind myself that riding on track is ‘like riding a bicycle’ as the saying goes, you don’t forget the skills you’ve learned. Instead I use this feeling as a friendly reminder to prepare well.
Whenever you feel this self doubt creep in, rather than let it put you off doing something simply acknowledge it as your helpful, built-in reminder to make sure that your bike and equipment are prepared well. This way you have a head start on a successful return. If you haven’t ridden in a while it will be easy not to recognise something that is wrong with your bike or setup and you will put your lack of success down to your lack of recent practice and in doing so reaffirming your self doubt, when in reality if the setup of your bike was correct you’d have felt good and ridden well.
Also, it’s easy to forget how hard you tried when you set your best lap time’s. Don’t make the mistake of believing you’ll surely beat your personal best, forgetting that you tried your ass off to set those times. You will have to try your ass off just to equal those times, then make your next move.
So, instead of letting self doubt stop you, remember it’s just a reminder to give yourself the best chance of success by preparing well.