Tips for getting into racing, training and loving what you do from professional road cyclist.
When I started racing I was very young and still in school so my training was usually on the trainer later in the afternoon doing 1hr DVD or VCR intervals while watching replays of the Tour. Eventually, my family invested in a Computrainer and I did workouts on that. I wasn’t old enough to understand the rules of the road, so riding indoors on weekdays and with groups on weekends was how I spent most of my training hours. It doesn’t have to be complicated, as long as it is bike time. When I was about 15 and had my drivers permit and I was finally able to train on the road by myself. But most weekends still involved my family and friends riding and doing group rides.
Obviously, now my training is much more intense and demanding: longer hours and more and harder efforts. But there is still a balance with having fun and riding with friends and family and doing group rides. I’m also traveling a lot more, so I get to train on new and different roads around the world.
Give it a try! Give anything a try. Try sprinting, attacking, and climbing. Don’t be shy to rub some elbows. Sign up for a road race, or a crit, or a mountain bike race, or cyclocross race! You never know how you will like something until you try it… and who knows, you might fall in love with it like I did! Bottom line is to have fun doing whatever it is you are doing.
As you start to move up in the categories, start really enjoying racing, and gain experience, you might consider investing in a coach to help you get better. In hiring a coach, make sure to set good attainable goals and have a good understanding of each other. If you understand each other well in terms of personality and training concepts, it builds a lot of trust and usually with that comes results.
My favorite training drill is city limit sprints! I’ve been sprinting to city limit and sometimes even speed limit signs since I was on a junior team. We would challenge each other – safely of course – to see who could get there first. I still do it to this day and it’s good for learning how you are as a sprinter and learning the others around you. And it keeps the ride fun and competitive!
I have dabbled in surfing and snowboarding since I was a kid. It is an activity that helps engage other parts in your body that you usually don’t use with cycling, but the best part is – it doesn’t feel like direct training.
I don’t have a crazy diet or anything. My mom is a nutritionist and she is really big on moderation. Not too much fast food during the season obviously, but an In-N-Out burger every now and then will never hurt! I also love a couple slices of bacon for breakfast before a long training ride. While traveling in a foreign country I try to eat as similar as I can to the food I usually eat. I do like trying new food, but not before race day!