Friday, April 3, 2015

The Yips Have Come Roaring Back, Baby!

I don't know about you, but I get the yips. It's been documented. describes the yips as "nervous twitching or tension that destroys concentration and spoils performance."

Thankfully, I don't get the yips while literally riding a bicycle. My yips happen several hours afterwards, when I'm asleep and dreaming about riding. The nervous twitching and tension destroys the performance of my sleep. I kick, fidget and toss about until I'm inevitably wide awake. Often, Katherine is too.

My night yips only happen after an intense race, or challenging group ride. 

Take this past Wednesday night. 

Gnarly S/SE winds, and a cutting 35 mph cross wind before we turned north and began motor pacing in the tailwind for the next 20 minutes. I'm at my heart rate threshold when Jordan Ross launches a massive attack. The voice in my brain asks,"how does he do that? Where does he get that extra gear? I have no time to ponder, for Chris Spence and Mark Savery have matched his acceleration, shredding the small peloton in the process. Grant Rotunda, Shim and I jump to bridge across. I don't know about those two, but I am spooling my big ring out to pull the trio back. It takes 800 meters to do so, and from there, it's lights out until the town sign sprint at Ft Calhoun, where I finished third.

You see? I rode well there. No yips.

The problem is that the above dialog was played out in my brain several hours after the ride while I stared at the ceiling and a cheap wall clock slowly marked the time, "TICK TOCK TICK TOCK"

Try as I did, I could not get that ride out of my brain.

In Boyer's Chute, that nasty crosswind has returned, creating havoc on my weary legs. I am struggling to maintain contact with the group's sloppy echelon. 


Do I hang slightly off the back of the group to take a steady, but somewhat turbulent draft, or do I get inside the group and stay tight and smooth until it's my turn to take a beating up front, hoping that I have enough juice in my legs to not get kicked out the back while rotating through?


Oh golly. Stop this insanity. You dummy. Don't you see what's going on here? You've let the 800 pound yips gorilla back into the room and its killing your sleep. Now think of something else -- anything else -- but that damned ride. How about counting sheep? TICK-- one, TOCK-- two, TICK-- Ah, screw the sheep. No! don't screw the sheep -- that sick and wrong!  Ok, ok, just blank your mind. Tabula rasa. There, that's it. Yes, concentrate on the inky blackness of your eyelids. Good, it's working. Black-black, blackity-black blackness. Black like outer space. Now I'm floating in a tin can, far above the moon, planet Earth is blue and there's -- a hill. A hill that looks familiar. Oh I recognize that hill alright. It's Ponca hill, and Jordan is opening another attack with Spence and Mark following. Oh crap! I'm getting popped off the back as we crest it. The gap is too great to overcome..


You see? I get the yips.

Am I the only one of us who has this condition? Please tell me I'm not suffering alone. Maybe we can start a self-help group? Who's up for 12 steps?

-- I finally got out of bed and yanked the battery out of that cheap clock. Good riddance. Sleep came about an hour later and at least five more laps around the Wednesday Night Worlds circuit.

Happy Friday and Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

  1. Well done. I rarely get this affliction, but it does happen. Granted I am rarely involved in a race or challenging group ride, but when I was it happened only once in a great while. It seemed related to the fact that the workout was hard enough that my heart rate would not slow down below something like 90 even several hours after the effort.

    However - when I was a golfer - it happened all the time. I would worry about my swing. I would think about it as I drifted off. Then in the transition to sleep, my dream that I was taking a massive swipe at the ball would jostle me and the sheep, uh, er, Jill awake. About 7 or 8 times a night.