I was once told to “get better at doing f*#k all”. To be honest that scared me a little. I was never one to do nothing. After training I was always loved going out with friends, play football etc. I never let cycling stop me from doing other things I wanted to do.
However, the mentality in pro cycling is that a cyclist must: train, rest, recover and repeat. After training cyclists are expected/believed to simply return to the couch and let the body recover from the stress it has just been put under in order to prepare for the upcoming training sessions or races. Any other activity would just hinder your performance.
Here lies the difference between a good and a bad cyclist.
‘Good’ cyclists/pros are kings of doing ‘f*#k all’. They can sleep ten hours a night and then go for a nap during the day too. They get their training done and live like a sloth for the rest of the day. They never make any swift movements in an effort to save as much energy as possible.
Sounds like the dream doesn’t it? Trust me, it doesn’t take long before that starts to get boring!
‘Bad’ cyclists/pros can never sit still. They never give themselves a chance to recover and are forever on the go.
Never recovering fully is obviously the main downfall of a ‘bad’ cyclist/pro that can’t do ‘f*#k all’. However, there are a number of advantages:
They tend not to be as strict on their diet as they tend to burn more calories as they carry out their additional activities throughout the day. They can avoid the salad and crab stick diet (as adopted by Buggle in his pro days) and swap it for the pastry diet (as adopted by Walsh in his pro days). As a result they can keep the weight down just as easily.
One of the main points is that staying active allows a ‘bad’ cyclist/pro to have peace of mind. People that can’t live a sloth life, shouldn’t! If you’re an active person, be active.
Obviously the majority of cyclists aren’t pros or have the time to sit around and do nothing like these ‘good’ cyclists/pros. The majority of cyclist have the real world to contend with; strenuous job, family, social life etc.
All of these things cause stress in the body whether that is physical or mental. Training hard on the bike or stressing about work or studying for exams, all play the same effect in fatiguing the body.
All of these extra ‘activities’ prevent the everyday person from doing ‘f*#k all’, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
If a person can manage this stress, it won’t prevent them from become great bike riders. If they can deal with all of these stresses in a controlled way, come race day if they have had an opportunity to get some rest they will be very capable of getting great results. The pain/stress experienced during the race, won’t be half as bad as a tough day in work topped with an interval session.
A good example of this is the Ras. This is one of the only races in the world in which pros and amateurs compete together. The amateurs in this race balance work, training, family, college etc. and still manage to compete against professionals. They obviously don’t do the same hours as the pros do but their bodies can deal with the stress of racing and allow them to compete.
All of this is what A1 Coaching has always preached. Any everyday person can compete at a very high level in this sport. With some very carefully planned out training it is more than doable and this is where a coach is invaluable. Having a scientific approach and often just a second opinion on your training can allow any cyclist to go a long way in this sport.
Some might not meet the critera of ‘all cyclists have to be good at doing f*#k all’ but that won’t prevent them from becoming great bike riders.