If you follow the Tour de France and the other pro races, it’s obvious that the pros are light years better than us recreational roadies. But why?
For starters, the pros are almost all in their 20s and 30s. Moreover, they picked better parents than us. And because of their genetics they have a high VO2 max and a higher percentage of fast-twitch muscles. Fast-twitch muscles are the ones that provide high power.
The pros may also have small (body) frames and have deliberately gotten as lean as possible. (Did you see Chris Froome’s arms on the Tour? Lean might be an understatement. But you can be sure that his closely supervised nutrition and training were allowing him to generate enormous power during the race.)
The pros also have the advantage of decades of experience and tutelage. Almost all of them started racing when they were in their teens. They race with older teammates who share the accumulated wisdom of the road and decades of racing experience. The team directors and coaches are all former racers, too.
The pros train and recover full-time, putting in thousands more miles than you and I. They have full support teams: team director, personal coach, nutritionist, physician, masseuse, etc. Some travel in specially equipped mobile homes. They get their equipment for free and have team mechanics to set it up and maintain it. For the most part, all they have to do is ride.
You and I can’t possibly match these attributes and benefits.
However, you CAN learn and improve as a cyclist by cribbing from the pros to become a smarter rider! In short, every recreational roadie can benefit from their cumulative expertise, because much of what they do is, in fact, replicable by the rest of us.
Coach John Hughes is working on his next eArticle right now that will feature tips from the pros to help you become a smarter rider!
You can’t change your age, genetics or greatly alter your amount of training — but you can change how you use your riding and training time! Coach Hughes’ new article will feature over 20 useful tips from the pros to help you do it. Look for it within the next few weeks.
John Marsh is the former editor and publisher of RBR Newsletter and RoadBikeRider.com. A rider of "less than podium" talent, he brought our readers consistently useful, informative, entertaining info that helps make them better road cyclists. That's what we're all about here—always have been, always will be. Click to read John's full bio.