Wednesday, December 12, 2007

5 What are the Pros doing? How do they train? - Part 1

Its funny, you go to all these other cycling blogs and the authors tell you want they want for Christmas.

You know what I want for Christmas?

Not that ultra high modulus carbon fiber bike I saw on Colnago's website.

No, not that 15 g bottle cage, or Magnesium hoops. or 10 pairs of Assos or the Ti-Boron skewers or a library's worth of books and dvd's of all the past year's Classics from Paris-Nice to the race of the falling leaves.

Maybe its slightly shocking. Maybe you've never thought of it.

But here is what I want.

All I want is a carton full of training diaries of some of the best cyclists of all time , Eddy Merckx, Fausto Coppi (he probably just drank the whole time, rather than writing a diary), Lance Armstrong (fingers crossed), Gino Bartali, Tom Boonen, Robbie Mceven, Rasmussen, Contador, George Hincapie, Nicole Cooke etc etc etc etc.

I'm getting a little wild with that, but my point is this : I, as a learner, as a student of cycling as my blog claims, want to know how exactly, word to word, specifically-to-the-point, the riders whose faces we have all memorized train. What have they done since the beginning of their careers, or from the time they took to serious cycling at all. Are their any common threads that unite them?

A side thought is this. An average Joe sitting and watching the Tour on Versus TV or scavenging the archives of PezCycling News will hardly ever come up with any useful material that he can apply. I'm talking about how pro's train.

Instead, most of us are far more prone to be ENTERTAINED with a top cyclists's career, or that unimaginable win. Lance Armstrong, Eddy Merckx, Pantani etc, legends in their own rights, have become just simple personalities for us. We call them gods or angels or whatever, which is totally crap for me because I don't think they are fit in any sense to be called god, and I hate this whole manmade idea of a god, just another form of idol worship. Anyway, so why are they gods? Because their unreachable, you can't touch them, neither can anyone else. Their strength on the Alpine hills or those pancake flat stretches of French country side that perfectly suits a breakaway is simply unimaginable. We can't be like them.

So we simply watch them on TV or read about them in books. We look at them and say, Oh, he was the greatest, he was the strongest, he could win a race on empty stomach with a bed head right after waking up.

"If you give Eddy Merckx a bicycle in this position, he'll still win. Genes!"

Which is not really bad. I get crazy when as a result of this hero worship, people bring another, much LESS understood topic into the picture.


Yes, haven't we all at some point stepped up and said, Oh you know what, he rides like that because of his genes. I don't have it so I can't be like him, or win races like he does. Some coaches also bring this idea up frequently instead of focusing on motivating their riders.

Not really true in its full sense. What really happens is that the average joe's start discussing this among themselves and this idea that genes are needed to win races becomes sing song. These people then tend to believe that even strength vs weight ratio is genetic. As much as I like the idea that certain people are better on the bike than others, I find this whole "genetics is greater than any effort you put" idea totally biased and over simplistic. These people see everything in a black and white paradigm. They say they can't get that elusive victory because they don't have the right genes. They are not meant for it and yada yada yada.

I have a few points to make here. Read on if you're interested and if someone wants to challenge me, go ahead. Read Part 2.


  1. Training diaries of the pros...that has some potential. I imagine they'd sell like the proverbial hotcake. Count me in.

  2. You bet it would! It will over shadow any damn training bible out there :)

  3. Anonymous9:09 AM

    Sure it would be great but what's frustrating. Training diaries would never be released as is. They would most likely be turned into a marketing spread by rider and coach... $24.95 gets you diet... weekly rides and by the time it's over exactly what's on the shelf of B&N right now.

  4. Good point Don.

    No, I want totally unadulterated, un-messed with training diaries! :)

  5. Quite a few older greats have little biographies - even the legends weren't necessarily that rich - so a book helped.

    The catch is you need to be able to speak French or Italian usually.

    Ron, I agree, we could probably learn a lot more watching someone like Armstrong train thatn race.

    My genes? Probably not great - but I ride for fun - so no worries.


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