Turn your fears into a fearsome cycling performance

Facing up to her pre-race nerves, Michelle Arthurs-Brennan discovers that confronting fears head-on can help you ride faster

Nerves are not the enemy. Most of us who’ve competed in challenging events are familiar with the following: butterflies, lost appetite, sweaty palms and even uncontrollable trembles. Fear is natural — it’s what we do with it that matters, because whatever scares us also has the capacity to make us faster.

There was a time when my mind would invent phantom injuries in the lead-up to races, which would miraculously disappear as soon as the start line came into view. I’d spend all week struggling with incessant knee pain, only to realise there was nothing wrong with my body that adrenaline couldn’t magic away as soon as the starter horn went.

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Michelle Arthurs-Brennan

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan the Editor of Cycling Weekly website. An NCTJ qualified traditional journalist by trade, Michelle began her career working for local newspapers. She's worked within the cycling industry since 2012, and joined the Cycling Weekly team in 2017, having previously been Editor at Total Women's Cycling. Prior to welcoming her daughter in 2022, Michelle raced on the road, track, and in time trials, and still rides as much as she can - albeit a fair proportion indoors, for now.