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Look Pro: The Whale Shark

Look Pro: The Whale Shark

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The Whale Shark is the biggest nonmammalian vertebrate* on the planet, rivaling the dinosaurs for size. How do you feed yourself when you’re that huge without loading up on carbs all the time? Easy, you swim around with your mouth wide open for 22 hours a day and hope enough food swims in there to take the edge off the hunger pangs. Cyclists face a metaphorically similar challenge when it comes to loading up the lungs with enough air to support our ravenous hunger for more V.

While the civilized person doesn’t normally wander about with their jaw agape as though missing a chromosome, the Velominatus – the most civilized of Cyclists – always rides with a slack jaw. Better for gulping down air while helping yourself to heaping portions of The V.

The sad reality is that when riding uphill, one can either suffer or one can climb off. There is nothing in the middle, no Option C. There may be some (perceived) degree of control over how intense the suffering is, but one of the most important discoveries a Cyclist will ever make is that riding uphill at a moderate pace is almost as hard as riding uphill à bloc. The question becomes one of sustainment of the effort; how much oxygen can be supplied to the blood so the muscles can keep firing. The answer is that you can be as strong as Hercules but if you don’t concentrate on your breathing to get as much air into the lungs as possible, it won’t be very long before Scotty is calling up from the engine room with some bleak news.

Enter the Whale Shark breathing technique: open you mouth wide, and hoover up as much air as possible as you make your way uphill. Ullrich was a champion of this approach, dropping the jaw like the loader on a tractor, cramming air down the hatch and into the furnace. His fellow countryman Tony Martin has taken over the mantle with possibly the most realistic Whaleshark impersonation I’ve ever seen. But this is a technique as old as the sport itself; even the most casual browsing of a photo archive will show riders from all eras riding with their mouths hanging wide open.

The idea here is improve your breathing while avoiding looking like a yawning chimp. Here are a few pointers.

  1. While you should never ride with your mouth closed, the Whale Shark should be reserved for times when you’re actually riding hard. Unless your name starts with Thomas and ends in Voekler.
  2. Jut the bottom of your jaw forward like you have an underbite. The underbite helps scoop up more air.
  3. The muscles in your face and neck are not helping you ride faster; keep them relaxed partly to conserve energy but also to maximize airflow into the lungs.
  4. Like eating before you’re hungry and drinking before you’re thirsty, start the Whale Shark before you get short on breath in order to keep those oxygen levels topped off from the start.
  5. Resist the temptation to start breathing more quickly as you start to redline the motor. Quick breaths are shallow breaths, so keep the breathing deep and rhythmic.
Slideshow:
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*Nonmammalian vertebrate? Do we need that distinction? Are there any competing nonmammalian invertebrates? I’d hate to run into a 21 metric ton bug.

// Look Pro // Riding Ugly // Technique

  1. @VeloJello

    Spring. Ha ha. Come on, it could’ve been in July given how up and down the weather has been this year! For the record, those arm warmers look dope, as my kids like to say.

    July has been great down here in the Deep South!  It’s what prevents the VMW and I from moving back to civilization up North.  It was darned cold that day and the minor roads where still full gravel and mud from the winter at times a cx bike would have been more appropriate.

  2. How would you say “whale shark” in French?  Italian?  If it is going to be a cycling term, we should really have the translation into cycling specific languages. Plus, it will sound cooler.  (e.g., “Sur la plaque” versus “on the dinner plate.”)

  3. @The Oracle

    How would you say “whale shark” in French? Italian? If it is going to be a cycling term, we should really have the translation into cycling specific languages. Plus, it will sound cooler. (e.g., “Sur la plaque” versus “on the dinner plate.”)

    Google translate give me “requin baleine” for the French, and “squalo balena” for Italian.  I think the French version sounds better.

  4. @The Oracle

    @The Oracle

    How would you say “whale shark” in French? Italian? If it is going to be a cycling term, we should really have the translation into cycling specific languages. Plus, it will sound cooler. (e.g., “Sur la plaque” versus “on the dinner plate.”)

    Google translate give me “requin baleine” for the French, and “squalo balena” for Italian. I think the French version sounds better.

    Requin Baleine, pronounced “Rakan Balen

    Although I imagine the French would go for more of a phrase like  “Le Vide de Plein Aire”

  5. Oh yeah, @Rom – shave your fucking legs.

  6. @DeKerr

    Oh yeah, @Rom – shave your fucking legs.

    I’ve got a more immediate problem, how do I put a cleat on this?

  7. @Rom just switch your right pedal to one of those “track-style” pedals that are all the rage with the hipster fixie-riding crowd. You’ll be fine…

    And may I suggest this from your countrymen (you are an Aussie, right?) to address your wallet issue.

    But seriously, here’s hoping you heal fast, your season is just a few months away.

  8. @DeKerr

    @Rom just switch your right pedal to one of those “track-style” pedals that are all the rage with the hipster fixie-riding crowd. You’ll be fine…

    And may I suggest this from your countrymen (you are an Aussie, right?) to address your wallet issue.

    But seriously, here’s hoping you heal fast, your season is just a few months away.

    Thanks mate, I’ve got two options then, campy track pedal that came with my 30 yo steely, or reversible platform pedal on the MTB. The clog is about an inch high so a bit of imbalance is expected.

    the positive is that I plan to buy new cycling shoes once I’m healed.

    I am in Aus but have an EPMW in the drawer as the next in line that I bought in Rome, so it will be style over substance.

  9. @DeKerr

    @The Oracle

    @The Oracle

    How would you say “whale shark” in French? Italian? If it is going to be a cycling term, we should really have the translation into cycling specific languages. Plus, it will sound cooler. (e.g., “Sur la plaque” versus “on the dinner plate.”)

    Google translate give me “requin baleine” for the French, and “squalo balena” for Italian. I think the French version sounds better.

    Requin Baleine, pronounced “Rakan Balen

    Although I imagine the French would go for more of a phrase like “Le Vide de Plein Aire”

    The French do have a way of saying things well for the most part. I gave a copy of The Rules to a friend in Quebec and he didn’t fully understand Rule #5 all that much. The French equivalent (via a hasty enter web search) was something along the lines of “don’t be a fucking pussy and grow yourself a fucking pair of balls.” (in French of course) I was laughing too hard to write it down.

  10. @The Oracle

    How would you say “whale shark” in French? Italian? If it is going to be a cycling term, we should really have the translation into cycling specific languages. Plus, it will sound cooler. (e.g., “Sur la plaque” versus “on the dinner plate.”)

    That’s what you call planning ahead mate. Plus one badge to you, if nothing else for your optimism!

  11. @Rom

    @DeKerr

    Oh yeah, @Rom – shave your fucking legs.

    I’ve got a more immediate problem, how do I put a cleat on this?

    Ouch, I hope that didn’t happen while gesticulating to the VMH about why she should just deal with the leg shaving.

    Oh, and excellent choice in literature; I see you are a scholar.

  12. Apropos of Martin, T.  : he rode another great TT yesterday.

  13. @PT

    Apropos of Martin, T. : he rode another great TT yesterday.

    Watching the TT last night, my theory is that Martin creates a localised low pressure cell and effectively inhales all the other riders on course.

  14. @frank

    @Rom

    @DeKerr

    Oh yeah, @Rom – shave your fucking legs.

    I’ve got a more immediate problem, how do I put a cleat on this?

    Ouch, I hope that didn’t happen while gesticulating to the VMH about why she should just deal with the leg shaving.

    Oh, and excellent choice in literature; I see you are a scholar.

    @frank

    @Rom

    @DeKerr

    Oh yeah, @Rom – shave your fucking legs.

    I’ve got a more immediate problem, how do I put a cleat on this?

    Ouch, I hope that didn’t happen while gesticulating to the VMH about why she should just deal with the leg shaving.

    Oh, and excellent choice in literature; I see you are a scholar.

    shaving incident with a Bowie knife.

  15. Just did a TT today and tried it. It works so much better than my usual gritted teeth, dead Elvis look.

  16. Tony Panzerwagen rode 58-11 today. As a former TT man, that is just beyond awesome. For the next few years in TTs, everyone else is fighting for 2nd and lower. I know he Germans still have a nasty taste in their mouths from the Jan days, but hell’s bells, they need to get behind Tony M, Big Marcel and Degenkolb – bona fide stars.

    Oh and a shout out to Horner – top 20 after his injuries earlier this year? Amazing.

    In the coulda, woulda, shoulda dept for Sky? Make Geraint #1 instead of Porte. Stronger, steadier and smarter. Let the Taff off the leash FFS.

    Great ides by French riders collectively. Such a showing (and resurgence) can only be good for the game.

    Malmerde off the podium? Just fine by me.

  17. @wiscot Beyond awesome indeed… Martin crushing the big gear today, Boom blistering’ a looney tunes stage 5 in 3 hours and some minutes, Nibali passing at will in mtns. It was all beyond awesome. Plus, HD coverage from beginning to end at home on the big screen. It all was a flat out blast.

  18. @Rom

    Two reasons why that isn’t the case:

    that’s a TT bike not a dirty tri bike

    if I had attempted a swim first I wouldn’t have made it onto the bike

    One and the same.

    But if you’re making that claim, man up and look like a time-triallist: Shaved legs and ditch the drink system (it’s UCI-illegal, so a dead giveaway…)

    P.S: Thumbs up on the poor-man’s-skinsuit! Until I got my proper one, I used to team up a bib with a tight undershirt as well. This is an older one but it’s got the whole Whale-Shark thing going. I’ve since discovered Adidas’ long-sleeve compression top, absolutely top notch: Super-tight and sleeves with a thumb-hole to cover the palm.

  19. @tessar

    @Rom

    Two reasons why that isn’t the case:

    that’s a TT bike not a dirty tri bike

    if I had attempted a swim first I wouldn’t have made it onto the bike

    One and the same.

    But if you’re making that claim, man up and look like a time-triallist: Shaved legs and ditch the drink system (it’s UCI-illegal, so a dead giveaway…)

    P.S: Thumbs up on the poor-man’s-skinsuit! Until I got my proper one, I used to team up a bib with a tight undershirt as well. This is an older one but it’s got the whole Whale-Shark thing going. I’ve since discovered Adidas’ long-sleeve compression top, absolutely top notch: Super-tight and sleeves with a thumb-hole to cover the palm.

    Fine form there sir, fine form indeed. Aero brake, no bottle? Excellent.

  20. @wiscot

    @tessar

    @Rom

    Two reasons why that isn’t the case:

    that’s a TT bike not a dirty tri bike

    if I had attempted a swim first I wouldn’t have made it onto the bike

    One and the same.

    But if you’re making that claim, man up and look like a time-triallist: Shaved legs and ditch the drink system (it’s UCI-illegal, so a dead giveaway…)

    P.S: Thumbs up on the poor-man’s-skinsuit! Until I got my proper one, I used to team up a bib with a tight undershirt as well. This is an older one but it’s got the whole Whale-Shark thing going. I’ve since discovered Adidas’ long-sleeve compression top, absolutely top notch: Super-tight and sleeves with a thumb-hole to cover the palm.

    Fine form there sir, fine form indeed. Aero brake, no bottle? Excellent.

    Ha, what’s that thing attached to the top tube? Looks tri like to me.

    I’m not that happy with the bar bottle as it leaks and covers you with sticky stuff. I have seat rail cages I use for training and toolkit on longer races. I’d like a seat tube aero bottle but they’re a bit expensive.

  21. @Rom

    FFS man get a regular old cage and bidon and slap it on the downtube.

    Then shave your damn legs.

  22. @tessar

    Is that a Delta?  Awesome

  23. @Rom

    @PT

    Apropos of Martin, T. : he rode another great TT yesterday.

    Watching the TT last night, my theory is that Martin creates a localised low pressure cell and effectively inhales all the other riders on course.

    Panzerwagen in full low pressure hover mode

  24. @Rom

    @PT

    Apropos of Martin, T. : he rode another great TT yesterday.

    Watching the TT last night, my theory is that Martin creates a localised low pressure cell and effectively inhales all the other riders on course.

    Is it possible he is just using the planet as his own personal set of rollers….?  When you can take the ring gear out of a Dana 60, and slap it on your crank, I would think rotating the earth beneath you is no problem.

  25. @VeloSix

    @Rom

    @PT

    Apropos of Martin, T. : he rode another great TT yesterday.

    Watching the TT last night, my theory is that Martin creates a localised low pressure cell and effectively inhales all the other riders on course.

    Is it possible he is just using the planet as his own personal set of rollers….? When you can take the ring gear out of a Dana 60, and slap it on your crank, I would think rotating the earth beneath you is no problem.

    Indeed, the cycling version of the Alcubierre Drive.

  26. @Chris

    @Rom

    @PT

    Apropos of Martin, T. : he rode another great TT yesterday.

    Watching the TT last night, my theory is that Martin creates a localised low pressure cell and effectively inhales all the other riders on course.

    Panzerwagen in full low pressure hover mode

    If the open mouth is the whale shark, is this the narwhal?

  27. Loving the subtle bands on the seat tube (can that thing even be called a seat tube?) and I realize he’s going FSA but that just looks wrong.

    Kinda like Peter Sagan’s escape velocity tuck….

    no…

    …exactly like Peter Sagan’s tuck.

  28. @DerHoggz

    @tessar

    Is that a Delta? Awesome

    An Omega, a modern take on the classic Delta: A tunnel-tested centrepull brake. Smaller and sleeker than the Hooker and Delta aero-brakes, and this one actually brakes! Cable pulls a wedge that pushes the arms onto the rim. If I had a cable-hanger (or rather, a less-integrated bike that accepted one) I could run a bare cable from the stem for extra sleekness.

  29. @tessar

    @DerHoggz

    @tessar

    Is that a Delta? Awesome

    An Omega, a modern take on the classic Delta: A tunnel-tested centrepull brake. Smaller and sleeker than the Hooker and Delta aero-brakes, and this one actually brakes! Cable pulls a wedge that pushes the arms onto the rim. If I had a cable-hanger (or rather, a less-integrated bike that accepted one) I could run a bare cable from the stem for extra sleekness.

    Sounds like a Delta, which does actually brake as well…its just that they were a massive pain in the ass to adjust right. But if they were, they worked fantastically well.

    Even for people who couldn’t get them adjusted right, they worked fine so long as they didn’t like stopping.

    Think of Deltas as binary; they worked or they didn’t, not really anything material in between.

  30. @DeKerr

    Less subtle but still rad as shit. Aside from the horrible bibs.

  31. @frank

    @tessar

    @DerHoggz

    @tessar

    Is that a Delta? Awesome

    An Omega, a modern take on the classic Delta: A tunnel-tested centrepull brake. Smaller and sleeker than the Hooker and Delta aero-brakes, and this one actually brakes! Cable pulls a wedge that pushes the arms onto the rim. If I had a cable-hanger (or rather, a less-integrated bike that accepted one) I could run a bare cable from the stem for extra sleekness.

    Sounds like a Delta, which does actually brake as well…its just that they were a massive pain in the ass to adjust right. But if they were, they worked fantastically well.

    Even for people who couldn’t get them adjusted right, they worked fine so long as they didn’t like stopping.

    Think of Deltas as binary; they worked or they didn’t, not really anything material in between.

    The Deltas were the inspiration, according to the engineer behind them. These, though, are stupid-easy to adjust: There’s a 2.5mm allen bolt on each arm that allows independent adjustment, so brake adjustment is even easier than with a conventional brake.

    Confidis are using them front and rear on their Look TT rigs at the TdF, and Orbea specced these on their new Ordu.

  32. I have Deltas on my Tommasini. I’ve been building up the courage to recable them for a few years now. Mine work well in the drops, but are a tough pull from the top. Maybe I just should have requested bigger hands? Can’t decide if I want to give it a go, or leave it to the LBS. Have talked to the owner/mechanic and he’s excited to work on them, as he hasn’t seen many.

    I swapped out some FSA cantilevers on my CX bike for some TRP cx-specific brakes and WOW, I’m a v-brake convert. With the silky smooth pull of Red shifters, damn, the breaking is nice.

    Oh, and I’d also say I’m a SRAM convert. Been riding my CX bike on the road a bit this summer and the shifting is great. I just think the constant shifting of cross was making me dislike Red shifters. But, as I’ve only ever ridden SRAM for cross, maybe I’m just seeing that off road shifting, in muddy conditions, etc. takes more skill/thinking than a casual rode shift on a predictable surface on a riding loop I know well.

  33. @frank Yes, waaaaaaaaay less subtle. Fortunately I don’t think there’s any chance of Her Panzerwagen turning into the Rainbow Turd.

    And how the fuck does he do that with his neck?!? The wattage coming out of that photo is making my eyes water.

  34. @VeloVita

    @Chris

    @Rom

    @PT

    Apropos of Martin, T. : he rode another great TT yesterday.

    Watching the TT last night, my theory is that Martin creates a localised low pressure cell and effectively inhales all the other riders on course.

    Panzerwagen in full low pressure hover mode

    If the open mouth is the whale shark, is this the narwhal?

    This picture is a classic example of what separates we mere motrals from the pros. I think if 99% of us even tried this, we’d be calling 911 after we picked up our shattered teeth from the roadside.

    Did Tony Panzerwagen change bikes or just rear wheels during the TT? If he punctured, his winning margin would have been ever greater than if he hadn’t.

  35. The whale shark a la Jens.

  36. @wiscot It’s certainly a different bike to the one in Franks photo above. Whether the two photos are from the same race is questionable. If yes, he also ditched his shades.

  37. On the subject of aero tucks on the TT, it just seems wrong to me. I wan’t courses on which the pros get in their TT position and stay there for the duration whilst pushing dinner plates at least 2 teeth larger than their road set up.

  38. @Chris

    @wiscot It’s certainly a different bike to the one in Franks photo above. Whether the two photos are from the same race is questionable. If yes, he also ditched his shades.

    I think, on second glance, it’s a different race: everything looks the same except the wheels – front and back.

  39. @Chris

    On the subject of aero tucks on the TT, it just seems wrong to me. I wan’t courses on which the pros get in their TT position and stay there for the duration whilst pushing dinner plates at least 2 teeth larger than their road set up.

    At least two teeth larger? Panzerboy has you covered. He was pushing 58-11. Assuming most pros ride a 52 or 54 up front on a good day, that 4-6 teeth bigger. That’s just mind (and leg and lung) blowing.

  40. @wiscot

    @Chris

    @wiscot It’s certainly a different bike to the one in Franks photo above. Whether the two photos are from the same race is questionable. If yes, he also ditched his shades.

    I think, on second glance, it’s a different race: everything looks the same except the wheels – front and back.

    The only bits that are the same are the cockpit (fucking daft name for handlebars, shifters and brake levers) and his kit.

  41. @wiscot

    @Chris

    On the subject of aero tucks on the TT, it just seems wrong to me. I wan’t courses on which the pros get in their TT position and stay there for the duration whilst pushing dinner plates at least 2 teeth larger than their road set up.

    At least two teeth larger? Panzerboy has you covered. He was pushing 58-11. Assuming most pros ride a 52 or 54 up front on a good day, that 4-6 teeth bigger. That’s just mind (and leg and lung) blowing.

    True, but it doesn’t matter how big your ring is if you’re just going to bend over and shag your bars (oh now I understand!).

    The 2 tooth increase was aimed at the more mortal pros.

  42. Ha, fucked that up. Need sleep.

  43. @Mike_P

    And so ends the myth of the hard arsed Aussie male! Have you actually read what you’ve written here? The hairs are nice and soft, I have to lock the door, the hairs have a nice rounded tip. Whinge, whinge, whinge. This is the Velominati not Vogue. Get thee to the bathroom, get thee a Gillette, get yourself some time back (30-40 minutes, fuck that) and get back to one of the best traditions of cycling.

    Haha! I’m a road cyclist. Till, skinny, long limbs, weigh 69kg, 185cms, shave my legs, have arms akin to a 12yr old girl and wear skin tight lycra on a daily basis. Where did you get the idea that I, (or any cyclist) was a model for the traditional “Hard Arsed Male”? If what I wrote bothers you I won’t bother to point you to the Baxter article. You’ll have a coronary.

  44. @Puffy

    @Mike_P

    And so ends the myth of the hard arsed Aussie male! Have you actually read what you’ve written here? The hairs are nice and soft, I have to lock the door, the hairs have a nice rounded tip. Whinge, whinge, whinge. This is the Velominati not Vogue. Get thee to the bathroom, get thee a Gillette, get yourself some time back (30-40 minutes, fuck that) and get back to one of the best traditions of cycling.

    Haha! I’m a road cyclist. Till, skinny, long limbs, weigh 69kg, 185cms, shave my legs, have arms akin to a 12yr old girl and wear skin tight lycra on a daily basis. Where did you get the idea that I, (or any cyclist) was a model for the traditional “Hard Arsed Male”? If what I wrote bothers you I won’t bother to point you to the Baxter article. You’ll have a coronary.

    You sound like a taller version of the gymnast girls I’ve seen on the Commonwealth games coverage. Is your hair in a bun? As my son says “you need to lift”.

  45. @Rom

    @Puffy

    @Mike_P

    And so ends the myth of the hard arsed Aussie male! Have you actually read what you’ve written here? The hairs are nice and soft, I have to lock the door, the hairs have a nice rounded tip. Whinge, whinge, whinge. This is the Velominati not Vogue. Get thee to the bathroom, get thee a Gillette, get yourself some time back (30-40 minutes, fuck that) and get back to one of the best traditions of cycling.

    Haha! I’m a road cyclist. Till, skinny, long limbs, weigh 69kg, 185cms, shave my legs, have arms akin to a 12yr old girl and wear skin tight lycra on a daily basis. Where did you get the idea that I, (or any cyclist) was a model for the traditional “Hard Arsed Male”? If what I wrote bothers you I won’t bother to point you to the Baxter article. You’ll have a coronary.

    You sound like a taller version of the gymnast girls I’ve seen on the Commonwealth games coverage. Is your hair in a bun? As my son says “you need to lift”.

    Not in a bun, but I do have long enough hair that it’s tied back for racing! No, “bro, I don’t even lift” I could do with some bulk but really, it just adds weight and does very little to improve ones cycling ability.

  46. @wiscot

    @Chris

    @wiscot It’s certainly a different bike to the one in Franks photo above. Whether the two photos are from the same race is questionable. If yes, he also ditched his shades.

    I think, on second glance, it’s a different race: everything looks the same except the wheels – front and back.

    Different race. Tony races with very detailed course-notes – including precise gear selection into corners, length of sections and notes on where to apply the Vacuum Tuck.

  47. @Puffy

    @Rom

    @Puffy

    @Mike_P

    And so ends the myth of the hard arsed Aussie male! Have you actually read what you’ve written here? The hairs are nice and soft, I have to lock the door, the hairs have a nice rounded tip. Whinge, whinge, whinge. This is the Velominati not Vogue. Get thee to the bathroom, get thee a Gillette, get yourself some time back (30-40 minutes, fuck that) and get back to one of the best traditions of cycling.

    Haha! I’m a road cyclist. Till, skinny, long limbs, weigh 69kg, 185cms, shave my legs, have arms akin to a 12yr old girl and wear skin tight lycra on a daily basis. Where did you get the idea that I, (or any cyclist) was a model for the traditional “Hard Arsed Male”? If what I wrote bothers you I won’t bother to point you to the Baxter article. You’ll have a coronary.

    You sound like a taller version of the gymnast girls I’ve seen on the Commonwealth games coverage. Is your hair in a bun? As my son says “you need to lift”.

    Not in a bun, but I do have long enough hair that it’s tied back for racing! No, “bro, I don’t even lift” I could do with some bulk but really, it just adds weight and does very little to improve ones cycling ability.

    You’d be surprised. I’ve got you beat in the skinny department (188cm, 67kg), but regular, cycling-specific gym work has done wonders for hard efforts. Pushed 6x6min at 300W for the first time last week…

  48. @tessar

    You’d be surprised. I’ve got you beat in the skinny department (188cm, 67kg), but regular, cycling-specific gym work has done wonders for hard efforts. Pushed 6x6min at 300W for the first time last week…

    Depends on what you’re training program looks like. Of course there are a thousand opinions but mine is simply that time in the Gym replaces time on the bike so I get my strength work done on the bike. Specificity…

    If I was a track, bmx or short course rider I might be looking at gym work differently.

  49. @Puffy

    @tessar

    You’d be surprised. I’ve got you beat in the skinny department (188cm, 67kg), but regular, cycling-specific gym work has done wonders for hard efforts. Pushed 6x6min at 300W for the first time last week…

    Depends on what you’re training program looks like. Of course there are a thousand opinions but mine is simply that time in the Gym replaces time on the bike so I get my strength work done on the bike. Specificity

    If I was a track, bmx or short course rider I might be looking at gym work differently.

    Specificity doesn’t mean “to become a faster cyclist I must only cycle” – that will only lead to stagnation and a fitness plateau. Specificity means that each workout should be targeted towards the goal of becoming a better cyclist.

    And “strength work on the bike” is not strength work. It’s cycling.

    Look at any modern pro. Any. From the stage-racing skeletons through domestiques, Classics hardmen and TT and Sprint specialists, they all pay their dues and spend time during winter at the gym, doing bike specific exercises. Many continue deep into the season. Why? Because cycling alone can’t stimulate the muscles the way weight work does, and they need that: Whether the goal is to sprint faster, fatigue less, or produce more power out of their lean, 55kg body. For us average joes, it’s all the more important for our daily lives and health.

  50. Today was my First Ride Back since this article was posted.  I tried the Whale Shark technique, and while I think it helped, it seems today I was more akin to the Remora – the suckerfish which latches on to the shark for a free ride and protection. 

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