Overcoming lack of motivation

I had intense mental focus and desire in 2017-2018. Had a hip labral tear and surgery in 2019. 2019 my husband also had a cycling accident where kidney cancer was found and given clean bill of health. 2020… well you know.

2021 I am 10 lbs heavier and getting dropped with the usual people I ride with. My diet is crap.

How do I dig out of this rut??? I want to do it again and ride fast and race but can’t seem to even WANT to ride my bike. Please tell me this is normal!


Why don’t you want to ride? Motivation comes from within. So what’s missing inside?

Those life events sure do come up, similar circumstances with a family member who passed from cancer and a crash and injury.

I generally find something to focus on, an event(goal related) or training(process related). Signing up for an event is usually a good way to kick off some motivation for myself.

With COVID interrupting events, I’ve picked a couple local hills(~700-900 m climbs) as something to focus on.

Strava PR’s are also still good enough to get me going. :slightly_smiling_face:


I was having the same issue as you (minus the Cancer for my spouse-so glad he’s doing well hope he stays Cancer free!) a month and a half ago. I’ve gained 13 pounds in 5 weeks and lost all motivation for riding. I was lethargic, depressed, and feeling like I weighed 2 tons (close). I was wore out and sleeping a lot right after work and still feeling down.

I have Hypothyroidism and it felt like my medication wasn’t working. Anyway (while waiting to get into the VA*) I decided to take 6 days completely off the bike. I didn’t read about cycling, didn’t fiddle with my bike or even look at it. Then I started back riding to work and that still wasn’t doing it. My wife was getting concerned so I just told myself I’d ride till I was happy. So I went out and did a long ride for me (95 miles) along the river, no “efforts” just solo and hit a couple of climbs I like and did tempo up them. It started to feel better. Then the next weekend I did the same thing, 93 miles 7,200 feet of climbing and I felt amazing. Stopped at the top of a climb and look around (early morning, no clouds, brilliant blue sky) and that has done the trick. I also turned off power, HR, and speed for those two weeks. Just kept the Roam on the map screen so I was looking too much at the computer.

The only bad thing was that I’ve developed a bad creak in my BB (checked stem and bar bolts, water bottle bolts, re-applied carbon paste to seat post, grease my QR’s too, lol) from being a fatass and my bike has been in the shop for a week to get it fixed.

tl:dr Try a “soul” ride. Just you and the bike with no expectations. Ride your favorite route, get some gas station food, take some pictures, smell the weather, wave to EVERYBODY (even if just to annoy people) and see if that might do the trick.

Good luck to you, hope you get your mojo back.

*Got a blood test and my numbers were off, I was at 7.2 where I’m supposed to be between 0.5-5.0 iirc, so I’m back up to 200mcg daily on my Synthroid and hopefully that will also help.


I can’t help you. I’m kind of in the same area. I don’t want to get out much any more. I’ve reverted to old habits but different. I used to always like going to the gym, so I treat my cycling workouts as that. I might actually go back to lifting weights, as I need some load bearing work, but my body is a bit worn from decades of neglect with partially torn ligaments and other niggles.

I still don’t get out much, as I hate all the prep work and having to be on a schedule to meet people.

Unfortunately, I’m 15-20lbs heavier than I was 2 years ago. That, I think was pandemic driven and staying home instead of going to work and away from junk food.

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Phil, I don’t know what is missing. Something is. There’s this feeling of not wanting to be slow and the only people I ride with are really fast so rides are never encouraging anymore. It’s all about beating myself up after every ride. Perfectionists and really need to find the love again.

I started out on mountain biking and riding then racing. Ended up switching to road so I’d have time to be with my husband bc that’s all he does. But most of the time he and the group leave me. I’m the one they are waiting on now due to the injury I had and taking a long time to build back (some work life balance where work had to take precedence some) and now I’m so far behind it’s painful to even ride with them. I try zwift a lot bc I fear cars so inside gets old.

Thinking about going back to mountain biking where it all began and start again. I just don’t know what to do.

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I like this idea….

i lost quite some motivation for TR Plans. I seem to be intimidated by all this overthinking here… So I cancelled all my workouts and plans, went away from structured workouts to purely riding for joy and leisure kind of outside riding.
and I started rowing on my indoor rower. that is fun (for now), takes much less time, gives me whole body workouts and if wanted auite some higher intensity as well… and for the moment I like it a lot.

try to find something you really like, maybe try something new (like me rowing) and leave structured training and cycling behind for some weeks.

Sounds like you should go on the MTB. Just on your own, somewhere you like, just riding. Do that for a few weeks and the fitness will come back.

As above , it’s not motivating with faster riders, if the gap is a large one. Some solo time whilst you rediscover your love. How long is it since you’ve ridden without monitoring or collecting any data? Just go ride solo, mtb biking if that’s your first love. Get the rides in, get into the habit and forget about speed for the rest of this year. Speed will return anyway if you put the time in whilst enjoying yourself. Go enjoy yourself, discover the joy. You’ll know when you’re ready to rejoin group road rides.

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I can’t remember the last time I rode and didn’t have my watts, speed, and HR staring at me. Good points. I need to let all that go and just ride again before I give it up for good. Maybe tomorrow this century I signed up for - I’ll just display the map and that’s it letting the rest go. Focus on the scenery and saying hello and try to enjoy it. The dread I have isn’t normal but it’s the pressure of wishing I was 10 lbs lighter and a little faster. I envy those that don’t care and just ride.

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Does it help to set goals and challenges for yourself?

A few years ago I jump started getting back into shape by declaring that I was going to ride a trail (15 miles) every single day for two weeks straight. It was an easily achievable goal but 100 miles was still more than I had ridden in a week in a long time.

Getting on the bike day after day for two weeks really helped turn cycling back into a habit. Maybe you could try a similar strategy with your mountain bike. Set a goal and just go ride the mountain bike alone every day. A lot of little rides can add up and boost your fitness.


Maybe you could also find another group to ride with - one where you don’t go into every ride dreading being the slowest rider. Meet new people, rediscover your strength.

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Here’s an important question, in my opinion: have you lost motivation to “ride” or have you lost motivation to “train” - they can be very different things.

Personally, I’ve never really lost my motivation to ride my bike for a long period of time. I have, however, lost my motivation to train.

What helped me is looking at riding on the trainer as just a 30-45 min session to keep up my overall health… not unlike how you might use Peloton machine, or a spin class. And then, as far as riding outside … go do what makes you happy. Sounds like you might be on to something with the MTB.

Approaching the bike this way relieved a lot of intrinsic pressure I put on myself to always be “getting faster” if that makes sense.

If you don’t like riding your bike any more, overall, you should find another activity that makes you happy. Jogging, rowing, the gym, tennis, etc., etc.

I truly couldn’t imagine doing all the training I/we do if, at the most basic level, I didn’t like riding bikes.

Good luck :metal:


Sign up for an event you’ve always wanted to try sometime well into the future. For me it was Tulsa Tough this June…a couple years ago it was Tour of Americas Dairyland. Nationals is always a good carrot. Then develop a training plan. Then it’s doing your best day to day.

I decided to get a coach to take my training further. So far so good.

I still use trainerroad - import workouts from my coach. But having someone to interact with, account to, discuss with has certainly helped my motivation.

Sounds to me like you need to be kind to yourself and ride just for enjoyment. That could be MTB, indoor, road (solo) or the first few km of a group ride then be happy to be dropped and roll home, looking at the scenery and not looking at the numbers. On your head unit just display time, or distance or some other simple metric.

If you have the fire in the belly to improve then I suggest starting simply and creating good habits. Last September I was starting again but life is also busy and alll stress goes into the same bucket. I wanted to:

lose 5kg, raise my Watts, have more stamina, start to strength train, etc. etc.

I ignored everything on the list except to raise Watts and in doing so ride consistently and enjoy it. I did that for six months and last week started to do some strength training. If life allows in the future I may try to apply the discipline to lose weight but it’s not that important. As the TR podcast crew might say, be curious and focus on the process not the goal, see where it takes you.

Good luck!

I’m in a similar boat @lofgrenb I had bowel cancer in 2018/19 then chemotherapy at the same time I lost a relative to cancer. Then after bouncing back I had a cycling accident and this wee c thing and shielding started. Then I had job worries. Through it all I’ve used the bike as my motivation to get me through. Get back out there its good for your mental health and will help you get out of this rut. If you are like me getting started is a hurdle but push yourself through it and when you’ve started you’ll wonder what all the fuss was. Good luck :+1:


Go back to your roots and enjoy the roots. I’m a mountain biker that loves the road but I ride it less and less these days for safety concerns. Trails are just inherently more calm, the downside is the extra time to and from the trail head but I’ve learned to bring the bike with me to work during the week and I can swing through the trails on the way home or to work.

That change may help find the missing motivation. I understand, I was chomping at the bit to race last year, lots of solid focused training and the only thing to I’ve done this year is some traditional base training that I didn’t even complete. Racing is back but my motivation and fitness are not. I’m just riding when I feel like it and if the urge to race returns, I’ll target some summer and fall events.

Lots of life stress for in the last two years with a relationship ending and no shortage of family dramas. Sometimes amateur bike racing just doesn’t seem as important. Hope you find the mojo again…:+1:

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Not getting too philosophical or anything but;

Motivation =/= Discipline

You can ‘act’ without feeling ‘motivated’ and this will help you reach your goals and become a happier person once you gain control of your actions outside of impulse.

:man_facepalming: sorry for that, I haven’t had my morning coffee.

Is it normal? YES (for me at least) - you just need to remember how nice it is to feel good, fit and fast, especially as summer is on its way!

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