How to manage riding disappointments and bounce back

The Wiggle High5 Women’s race team share their tips

Claudia Lichtenberg after finishing the Women's Road Race at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Whether you like to ride for fun or are training for a long ride, or even a race, it can sometimes be difficult to stay motivated when you hit a setback, such as missing your goal or having a mechanical. It can affect your training or even willingness to get back in the saddle.


We spoke with a few professional riders from the Wiggle High5 Women’s race team about how they manage disappointment and what they do to bounce back. Here are seven pieces of advice that they shared.

1. Set realistic goals

“I came off winning two [junior] worlds and then I went into the senior and I was getting dropped already and it is really hard mentally to go from winning a world title in the juniors to going to the seniors and not being able to compete at all against the top riders.

“I think you’ve just got to set your own goals instead of always aiming for the win, you can’t always do that.” 

Lucy Garner, Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling

2. Focus on the positive

“I think in my career I have a lot of ups and downs… missing out on riding London at the Olympics, then to Rio and having a crash just before we competed.

“It was hard, but I guess I tried to focus my energy on lifting the other members up of the team and put my disappointment aside.

“I’ve got a favourite quote that I’ve got a tattoo of and it says it’s finding that one positive out of every hurt that makes us stronger. So as much as we might be disappointed I think it’s always looking at the positives and how we can go about things to improve later on, rather than just getting upset about the things that didn’t go right, and focus more on how we can improve ourselves for next time.” 

Amy Cure, Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling

3. Prepare for disappointment

“When you are preparing for an important event you also think about the fact that you will probably lose and then you are just aware of that. As long as you tried 101 percent, even if you failed, it is what it is.” 

Elisa Longo Borghini, Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling

4. Talk to someone

“I think for me personally my husband is important, I like to talk to him and then figure out what went wrong, why did it go wrong.

“Most of the time you will find reasons and then question yourself is it a real reason or is it a reason that you need to think about or work on. Then look to the future of course, what can you do better, and then you’re already on a good way.” 

Claudia Lichtenberg, Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling

5. Analyse and move on

“What’s good with racing is that no matter how it went there’s always another one coming. Another one around the corner.

Once the race is over and you’ve analysed it it’s time to move on

“I think it’s important to analyse; what did you do well and what can you do different or better at the next race, and just be honest with yourself and with your team and have a discussion about it.

“Once the race is over and you’ve analysed it it’s time to move on, and the new chance will come.” 

Emma Johansson, Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling

6. Sometimes winning isn’t everything

“Sometimes you’ve just got to reflect on the process and whether the entire process was worth it because that’s what we’ve actually just had to go through at the Olympics Games, with the Australian team pursuit.

“We had a major crash just before the Olympics so we came fifth and we’d hoped to win, so when you’ve put four years of your life into training for that event it’s really hard to deal with disappointment.

“So for me the best way that I managed to get through that was to think about the process. Had I wasted four years of my life? No I hadn’t, because I’d really had such a great time in so many different places and met so many different people, and I had a great time.

“Even though we didn’t come back with anything shiny it was an amazing experience.” 

Annette Edmondson, Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling

7. Maybe it just wasn’t your day?

“You might have done everything right on the day but someone else was stronger or you had a puncture or whatever.

“So I think it’s really important to learn from the experience and then maybe also realise that you might have a had a really good day but you didn’t have luck on your side.

“Try and work a bit with it and have a new goal and really just learn from the experience and keep building, and also use the experience to push you even harder towards your next goals.” 


Julie Leth, Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling