Can’t Do That
Pity our cyclist, it’s Saturday and he won’t shave his face, it might sap his strength but he has to shave his legs or he won’t look serious. He certainly can’t have sex, more strength stealing there, and kissing his wife, whoa, slow down, that could spread some germs. He doesn’t want to get sick so going to that birthday party tonight, that could be dangerous, crap fattening food on platters, touched by possibly sick people, and standing around, no way, think of the guns. Who can drink alcohol before racing anyway? I need some steak and pasta. Darling, I’ll go to your office Christmas party, I promise, if I can sit with my legs up a bit, and take the elevator up to the office on the second floor.
A little browse around the town center Saturday evening instead, can’t do that. That would require walking and standing. I’m an athlete, damn it. And this talk of going to the pool, basta! Every cyclist knows swimming is bad for the legs.
Pre-race Sunday morning breakfast- this oatmeal could stand some butter and maple syrup. In the name of Merckx, non-fat milk please and what part of high glycemic index don’t you understand? Oatmeal, does that contain gluten?
Our cyclist rolls with two teammates to the race. In the car all the talk is pre-race excuses: I’m too heavy, I might be getting sick, my legs are unbalanced (?!), I drank too much coffee, I stopped drinking coffee, I have too much inflammation in my body.
Cycling mythology never dies. In a world were we still can’t predict the day when we will have great legs, there are still a thousand things out there that will give us not-great legs, and I’m pretty sure it’s all crap. Having just read this amazing interview with Freddy Maertens (thanks @pistard), it’s plain what gives you great legs, train like a bastard. And by bastard I mean back to back to back to back 300 km training days. Only professionals need do this, or can do this (who has the time or will?). That, get a lot of sleep and eat well, that is what a professional from Freddy’s day might tell you. No one was losing sleep over their power to weight ratio, no Pros then looked like Chris Froome now. These passistas looked like guys you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley.
Now cyclists train smarter, watt meters and training coaches, weight rooms and soy milk, skinnier and colder. Is there a professional now who just scoffs at such data and just trains long and hard? Look at the legs of riders in the 1970s, almost no one looks like that now and it’s not drugs that did that. It’s unholy training in big gears, some V in the bidon, repeat tomorrow.
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