Psychologists have long acknowledged that when faced with any type of information, individuals need three elements to efficiently process the content reviewed: motivation, interest, and a need for cognition, a desire to think.
While few may initially believe that taking part in a multi-day cycling event over three or seven days in a mountainous area qualify as new content, the reality differs.
Participants in any Haute Route events must in fact process a plethora of details. Setting the training period aside, a phase that often lasts multiple months during which riders will need to process their individual data and progress, the actual event demands a higher level of concentration.
Each rider is presented with meticulous course details (length of each stage and of all timed segments, total elevation, statistics for the main climbs, placement of feed stations, and the understanding of Haute Route signs, colors and meanings) as well as additional logistical challenges (planning their respective pacing and feeding and post-race recovery strategies).
Through repetition and visual cues, Haute Route uses a traditional communication strategy to help participants process such information. First, a detailed roadbook issued for each event, include all details necessary before the same information is shared during each riders’ briefing. Additionally, the content is adequately provided through a set of written remarks and visual cues.
Arriving ready at the registration’s table on the eve of Day 1 remains however the main task that demands the most of any rider’s time, energy, and cognitive ability.
It is precisely when training collides with personal and professional obligations, when fatigue (physical and mental) increases, and when sunny days are as inexistent as flat stages on a Haute Route event, that motivation dissipates. That factor alone, more than interest in the discipline and event, can largely affect anybody’s preparation.
Several strategies can palliate that common challenge. The first one, establishing a strong support group, is familiar to executives and leaders whose respective lives are almost ruled by the preparation for key objectives.
The idea is to have important individuals know about the objective as soon as registration is completed so they can consistently encourage you throughout the process. These people, by asking about a rider’s training and about the event, will fuel motivation as well as interest. Importantly, because the people chosen are within a rider’s close circle, they will detect when motivation levels run low, and thus show their support. Cycling is indeed a team sport.
The second solution is to use resources provided by Haute Route. The organization understands that riders will face low points during their preparation and has consequently selected a team of ambassadors, all assigned to multiple geographical areas and different events, whose role is to help the rider’s community stay focused and motivated. These individuals organize training rides throughout the year - even on Zwift- to keep a global momentum higher.
Motivation must be nurtured more attentively than ability. Haute Route knows that the success of one is the success of all through emulation.