Stopping the negative thought spiral

Hey Lee,

Just wondering if you had any advice for helping me break the vicious cycle I seem to be stuck in at the moment.

At the beginning of this year, I felt like my riding was improving and my confidence was building with most every ride. There was the occasional setback, but I found it easy to shrug it off and not dwell on it.

The past couple months haven’t been so rosy. March started off with a couple crashes that were a little more significant, but still nothing I’d consider major. Some cracked/separated ribs were about the extent of the injuries. However, ever since, I’ve struggled with sections of trails that used to be no problem. I find myself focusing on negative possibilities rather than positive outcomes. Of course, this leads to crashes and close calls, which tend to make me more cautious, which leads to further undesirable situations, and so on.

I know what I’m doing wrong (mentally) but I can’t seem to snap my brain out of it. I keep trying to push through it, but it’s starting to not be fun anymore.

Thanks for any advice you can send my way.


Wow Eric, great question.

I don’t have a PhD in sports psychology, but I do have an honorary doctorate in fighting my demons.


• Your body has healed, but your mind hasn’t. That’s normal. You need to replace bad thoughts with good thoughts. To do that, you need good experiences and feelings.

• Slow down and focus on perfect execution. Low torso, light hands, etc. Delight in the sweet awesomeness of doing basic things very well (BTW: if you do that, the speed will come on its own.)

• Do something fun that puts you in a different mindset. Ride a 20 on a pump track. Heck, try a rigid 29er.

• Don’t push too hard too soon. Dial it back and rip easier terrain for a while. Again: Ride trails that are so easy you can RIP them with all your kung fu. That creates good feelings, which creates good thoughts, which builds confidence, which leads to BRAAAP!

— Lee

Know more. Have more fun!

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