Training with the Pros

Ryan Kelly on the 200 on 100 photo: Chandler Delinks

Training with the Pros, it sounds like fun but it can’t be. Pros are genetic freaks; they put more kilometers on their bikes than any of us civilians do on our cars each year, they ride around whole countries at an average speed greater than 40km/hour and they can dish out such Rule V style day-after-day-after-day. We all dream about it but we don’t have it.

In an earlier life I came close to landing my dream job in Monaco with the IAEA. Serious people counseled me not to take the job, they said it was a bad career move. How could I explain to them I didn’t give a shiet if it was a bad career move, the chance to live, and more importantly to be a cyclist near San Remo and La Madone was all I cared about?  Yet I knew if I even saw Tom Boonen or one of the many Aussies who call Monaco their home out on a training ride, I would only be seeing their lycra-clad asses disappearing up the road. Could I at least catch up to Stuart O’Grady to chat him up for a minute before my inability to talk and breathe would force me to lie and say I was turning right HERE?  Maybe I could drink beers with the Aussies, I could keep that professional pace, actually no, I would get dropped there too.

Oh that job fell through and my dreams of  commuting into work on Merlin on the Cote d’Azure disappeared like those watery mirages on a hot highway, but I digress. I have some good and funny direct video evidence why training with the Pros would be a cruel lesson in our mortal failings. One such Pro is Ted King, an American racer living the dream; he is based in Lucca, riding for Liquigas, riding in support of Ivan Basso and Peter Sagan. He is tough, he has finished every Giro d’Italia he has started. He broke his collarbone this summer racing in Philadelphia when his front wheel dropped into an inexcusably lame drain grate (thank you very much, oh third-world infrastructure that defines the USA).

To bring his training back up to speed he did the 200 on 100 with fellow Pro Tim Johnson and amateur racer Ryan Kelly. The 200 on 100 means 200 miles on Route 100, riding North to South from the top to the bottom of the state of Vermont, the Green Mountain State. Unless you are Marcus, 333 km seems like an impossibly long ride to do at once, I would be in broom wagon long before the end of such madness.

And by madness I refer to the 338 km at 34.1 km/hr average speed with 3,197 meters of climbing thrown in for good measure.

[vimeo width=”620″]http://vimeo.com/27367910[/vimeo]

Video credit to Chandler Delinks

 

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270 Replies to “Training with the Pros”

  1. @itburns
    Yeah, I had a Retul fit with my new bike. Never spent more time in the V-Locus than after that fit. Of course after 2 years I haven’t been able to resist tinkering around when I should have left well enough alone, and now my position is all fucked up because of a series of minute adjustments I made based on my own ignorance. Planning to go back in sometime in November to get everything straight again.

  2. @itburns
    Nice post. Reminded of an article I was going to write last summer after getting a pro fit. Now I don’t have to. What a difference though, eh?

  3. @Marko

    Somehow I have to figure out how to put Huevos Rancheros in my jersey pockets and not get messy. I could do RAAM on that dish.

    Google “Tex-Mex migas”. Mmmmmmm. Migas.

  4. @Jeff in PetroMetro
    Went to Tad Hughes Custom Fit Studio. Located in Spring Valley Bicycles around I-10 and Blalock.

    @Marko
    The difference is way more than I expected and will only become more pronounced over the next couple months while I fully adjust to the new positioning.

    @Dr C
    Cost – there is the rub. This was $250 US. Not cheap at all. That said, if I would have known the difference it ended up making for me I would have done it sooner.

    @All
    The fit guy had an interesting take on the trainer or roller question. He finds that rollers help you maintain and improve positioning and stroke and that trainers tend to damage them since your bike is anchored. He said that a current triathlon rage is to do two thirds of your bike training on a trainer instead of out on the road and that this is causing some of his clients to have to come in to temporarily adjust things while they unlearn bad habits.

  5. @itburns

    @Dr C
    Cost – there is the rub. This was $250 US. Not cheap at all. That said, if I would have known the difference it ended up making for me I would have done it sooner.

    @All
    The fit guy had an interesting take on the trainer or roller question. He finds that rollers help you maintain and improve positioning and stroke and that trainers tend to damage them since your bike is anchored. He said that a current triathlon rage is to do two thirds of your bike training on a trainer instead of out on the road and that this is causing some of his clients to have to come in to temporarily adjust things while they unlearn bad habits.

    Whoah – but then if you are going to spend all your money on a £2-3K bike then probably makes sense – might look into that

    Rollers argument is like using free weights or Swiss ball instead of those feckin machines in the gym – instability is king for overall fitness and core strength – makes muchos sense

    Like your jersy by the way – well earned

  6. @Chris
    He’s still alive!!

    Well done chap – do tell all – 7 hours sounds pretty good going given the shitty forecast!

    Off to Strava now to admire your efforts…..

  7. Another vote for bike fit, despite the cost. Though I think it can be very dependent on the person running the fit, so I would advise seeking recommendations.

    As Itburns says, it is the minute adjustments that you are paying for. In my case a very small change in the angle of the cleat on my right foot (my right leg is shorter than the left by 1.5cm) has made a world of difference to my knee.

    Not something I would ever have done or realised by trial and error.

    @Itburns Nice piece BTW … ‘sky so blue it will probably be banned’. Strong work.

  8. @Dr C

    Until I’ve gained procurement approval for a Garmin 500, I’m not bothering with Strava. It doesn’t do anything meaningful without GPS input. I’ll write a bit about the ride and post it up later when the photographers get their act together and get their photos up.

  9. @ChrisO @itburns
    I got a bit of Woodpecker Knee yesterday – haven’t had it for ages – pretty miserable, but went away for some reason mid ride – does constant fiddling with stuff not achieve the same ends? – I’m forever adjusting my seat, but am pretty settled on current position, height and angle, and tend to slide back and forth on my seat, and adjust the flexion angle of my foot to spread the load on different muscle groups anyway….

    but then I’m a shit cyclist, so waddo I know!!

    @Chris
    I’d maybe look at the 200 which is due out imminently (£125??) – I might stick my 500 on Ebay at a silly pre-Christmas price and get a 200 if they give the same info, as now I pretty much know my HR before I confirm it on the unit (165 kaboom!!!)

  10. @Dr C

    Very chipper, just trying to catch up with things after a week out of the office. It was half term last week so spent the week going to the cinema, cooking with the kids, down at the BMX track. Had a great time but it piles up while you’re away.

    Had an awesomely hellish time on Saturday.

  11. @Dr C

    @Chris
    I’d maybe look at the 200 which is due out imminently (£125??) – I might stick my 500 on Ebay at a silly pre-Christmas price and get a 200 if they give the same info, as now I pretty much know my HR before I confirm it on the unit (165 kaboom!!!)

    Nah, I want the the cadence thingy as much as anything else and I don’t want to carry an extra heart rate monitor around so it’s the full monty for me. Mostly, I’ll use it in review mode, I’m not sure that I ever want to know that I’ve still got 75 hilly miles to go when my legs are telling me that it’s time to get off the bike and eat pie!

  12. @Dr C

    @ChrisO @itburns
    I got a bit of Woodpecker Knee yesterday – haven’t had it for ages – pretty miserable, but went away for some reason mid ride – does constant fiddling with stuff not achieve the same ends?

    I’m an OCD fiddler too. I was close to where I needed to be – the end adjustments were slight side angle and position of cleats, seat up and forward about 1 cm, stem extended 1 cm, bar and hoods positioned for new stem and setup. Things I have done in the past but having it all done together and with precision made a huge difference for me.

  13. Vaguely related to pros… in general I have respect for them even if I’m not so keen on their ‘persona’ (yes Robbie McEwen I’m looking at you) but I am rapidly developing an intense dislike for Andre Greipel.

    When he was with HTC it was all moan, moan, moan about how he should have been the team’s top sprinter. Yeah right, Andre, what’s the score now 20-1 in Cav’s favour ?

    Now with Omega-Pharma Lotto he’s saying he would have won so much more if Gilbert hadn’t been with the team.

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/greipel-believes-he-could-have-won-more-without-gilbert

    The only flaw in that argument is that Gilbert would still have won, whether Greipel was on his team or not.

    Maybe Herr Greipel, the various DSs of the teams you ride for don’t think you’re good enough to be the single basket who carries all their eggs.

    Maybe they know something that is shared by everyone in cycling except you. You’re good, but you’re not that good.

    We should run a competition to see what next year’s excuse will be. I’m guessing that now the rest of the team won’t be good enough.

    Is Greipel the German word for Moaning C*nt ?

  14. @brian
    From his blog.
    “Also, this ride made me truly consider a term that lately is tossed around the cycling world””pro and amateur””too often and too easily. Four hours on a bike peppered with a hint of turbulent weather over a hefty climb or two, and suddenly riders are said to have achieved something epic. After doing the Two-Hundred, I know that to be truly called an epic, a ride requires something legendary, something you’ll remember not just the next month but the next decade. It demands intangibles and elements you don’t see on a weather map. It demands everything.”

  15. @Blah

    @xyxax
    Pretty sure I read that in Belgium they’ve already done this, ish. If I recall correctly, two DS’s, past Belgian pros, think PvP, etc, coached a couple of amateur teams in regional races. Can’t find any trace of it on the web tonight, so maybe I dreamt it.

    Catching up after a weekend away (my goodness my guiness you miss things quickly round here) but the show was on De Planckaerts. Never saw it, but not sure it was about cycling. Might have just been about their crazy Belgian farm.

  16. @Routier
    If those are oats on top, I’m game! Mind you, I think they’re a UK thing, right? I’ll have to try them when I visit in December.

  17. @wiscot

    @Routier
    If those are oats on top, I’m game! Mind you, I think they’re a UK thing, right? I’ll have to try them when I visit in December.

    Yes they’re oats, and yes it’s a UK thang. Make sure you stock up!

  18. @ChrisO @frank

    @ChrisO
    Maybe he should be dubbed Andre Gripel. As in all he does is gripe. He’s a toolbag.

    +1 on the nickname. So obvious, yet so clever. In actual fact, I was starting to come around on him as the year wore on. He put in some pretty spectacular performances and he certainly animated a good number of races. The suggested reconciliation after he beat Cav was also a good sign. To that end, I’m hoping””really hoping””that we can chalk this up to cyclingnews reporting (which borders on the piss poor more often than it should), which made a mess of the story. On a second read of the article, I think he’s responding to the question: how will the team do without Gilbert? His answer is probably accurate. He did work for Gilbert on a number of occasions, thereby sacrificing himself for the team. And I think we made a meal out of his HTC complaints, too. English media was quick to pick up on that. I’d love for him to turn into a Spring Classics specialist, where he could put his speed and power to good use (soon, I suspect).

    Having said all that, the man still looks like a gorilla and looks like he has no business being a pro cyclist.

  19. @frank

    Nobody’s asking, but I’m going to try to make it, for what it’s worth. It’s a long way and will be tough, though. I’ll also work on Gianni. I have some degree of confidence I can shame him into showing up.

    If you make it Frank we are guaranteed entertainment for 300+ km! And if you get Gianni there then I suggest everyone show up because this would not only be EPIC but the most memorable ride of our lives!

  20. Just want to say that rollers are like fixed once you get over the initial head trip that everyone seems to have about them and you spend a very little time on them they both become the go to thing for training/winter fun!

    Yes that means fixed on rollers, preferably Kreitler’s. The bonus is you can use the fixie for winter/early spring outdoor training too.

    Results are two fold a smooth round pedal stroke and spotless form that translates to the much envied “pro” look with attendant fitness in the early season.

  21. @Steampunk

    Having said all that, the man still looks like a gorilla and looks like he has no business being a pro cyclist.

    harsh but true, he does seems to lack something in the grace and panache departemente

    that said, small fault in an otherwise sprinting German, I’m sure

    that said, how could he possibly become a Classics specialist?

  22. @xyxax

    The MAMIL sitcom: Antiques Roadshow

    Ha, ‘Antiques Roadshow’ – love it !

    So, we’ve got the title – who’s going to write the synopsis ?

    As Executive Producer I don’t actually do any work, just to get that established from the beginning for all those who are new to the glamorous world of television. If you need me I’ll be at lunch.

  23. @Steampunk

    Well as a former journalist I’m always suspicious of the “He was misreported” theory. It usually means he said it and regretted it so he’s trying to deny it.

    But Frank can tell us – the article quotes a link to Wielerrevue.nl so I assume any edam-eating-hard-porn-clog-wearers lurking here can set our minds at rest.

  24. @brian @RedRanger

    Having just looked at his Strava file for the ride, I’m stunned at two things; firstly, that Strava rate the effort as only being “Extreme” as opposed to “Epic”, what do you have to do? Secondly, 34 fucking kilometres and hour average!

  25. @Dr C

    Jeez, do I have to do everything around here? What were you saying about people not using what they’re given?

    Here you go but you could have got there by following a link on this page!

  26. @Chris
    fine fellow you are – it’s called delegation, as I am too busy adminstering Rule V to my patients!

    3150 metres of ascent, no wonder poor Ryan was in Lululand at the end – shame there is no calorie burn figure, must have been a 5000 cal day

  27. actually, in my morning clinic of 12 people, I just told 4 of them to get a bike – pretty good strike rate

    – I bet none of them do….

  28. @Dr C

    actually, in my morning clinic of 12 people, I just told 4 of them to get a bike – pretty good strike rate
    – I bet none of them do….

    I can picture it…

    “Doctor, I’m fat, ugly an lazy can you gie me a script an sign me off”

    “on your bike, now feck off”

  29. @Chris

    @Dr C
    Here you go but you could have got there by following a link on this page!

    actually, that’s pretty embarrassingly lazy and hypocrytical of me! Apols, Doh!!

  30. @Chris

    @Dr C
    I can picture it…
    “Doctor, I’m fat, ugly an lazy can you gie me a script an sign me off”
    “on your bike, now feck off”

    I must confess, I do sometimes wonder why I had to go to Med school to do my job!

    Indeed, you seem to have pretty much sussed the game, so if you want my job, it’s all yours, I’ve a bike to ride!!

  31. Thanks but no. It’d be like an eternal session of the X Factor auditions but for petty ailments and excuses and without any hope of talent. Acting as full time medic to my kids and first aider to the Under 9s rugby team is more than enough for me!

  32. @huffalotpuffalot

    @All @UK Anyone interested in riding with Cavendish take a gander at this
    Hi everyone, join me for a 20km #HolidayInncycle in London on Monday 31 October at 8.30am. Register at http://tinyurl.com/3rnjbm6 for more details

    Did you sign up and manage to get a place? I did but didn’t see the email telling me I’d got in until too late. Gutted!

  33. Sorry I’m a bit late to the party. Have lurked for a while, but decided to register once I started reading through the comments to this post.

    I live in BTV, and depending on how well my training plans go over the winter, I might very well join y’all for the ride. If not, I may still be available to drive in support of the group. As a former bike mechanic and current physical therapist, I think my skill set is uniquely suited to the SAG role.

    The only hitch is, the proposted dates fall very close to a milestone for me: the big Four-Oh. So I’m not sure yet what my plans are going to be around then. Time will tell…

    And, on a bike fitting note, the route rolls right past my old wrenching grounds, and one of the best places to get a fit anywhere – Fit Werx, in Waitsfield.

  34. @slow eddie
    Welcome! It would be great to have you in either capacity. As for your birthday plans, easy: just tell your family you’d like to celebrate your birthday by being on a fucking epic ride! Can’t think of a better way to sail into the forties…

  35. @slow eddie
    Perfect! I am turning the Big Four-Ohhhhhh this January. At least someone will be near my age on the ride!

    We are still looking at mid week 12-14th of June sometime. Which of those days would work best for you? We have not nailed the date down yet but would love to soon so we can all plan accordingly and I do not see any reason why we cannot accommodate you if one of those days is better than another.

  36. @Mikael Liddy

    Shall come to review this video in a couple of weeks time when I take on what will be my first “proper” century. 100k organised ride that starts at least 10k’s away (there’s my warm up) and finished about 55k’s (and one solid set of hills) away from home.
    Will easily be my longest ride so far & a little research has shown that over the past 4 years the lowest temp has been 34c. If I survive I shall provide a report.

    Some reflections after completing the ride yesterday.

    Beautiful day riding on a very well organised event for the main 100k ride including a crack at a climb that gets used a couple of times in the TDU queen stage, then a nice 50k push back through the hills with a mate to get home with both in agreeance that speed was well and truly secondary to getting home…

    Feeling pretty good today with the legs suprisingly fresh & only a little stiffness in the neck & shoulders really reminding me of the 163k’s covered yesterday.

    1st ever century important stats: 162.9km covered, 5:57:29 riding time, 1,752m vertical & a fuck-ton of fun.

  37. @Mikael Liddy
    well done indeed Michael – I assumed you were a seasoned veteran at this malarky with your tastic Stava contributions – nice one – looked tough, so the time is very respectable indeedy

  38. @Dr C
    Nope, became a “cyclist” as opposed to a guy who rode for fitness & commuting occasionally about a year ago, haven’t looked back (metaphorically, tis always best to look out for the metal death machines) since.

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