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Old 01-28-09, 09:38 AM   #1
MDcatV
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Racer Size - have they gotten leaner?

i'm watching "a sunday in hell" the 1976 P-R video during my own private training in hell sessions on the indoor trainer in my basement.

very generally speaking, based on appearance of the 1976 guys vs. the more recent P-R/other videos I've been watching, the 1976 guys appear thicker to me, in the arms as well as midsections.

true or an illusion?

goddam I need to get outdoors again ...
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Old 01-28-09, 09:41 AM   #2
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chances are it's not just you.

speculation: better diet; better training schemes; better pay, so they can actually ride through the winter instead of finding a job; not to mention milder winters in europe and better clothing to fight the cold, etc, etc, etc.

Last edited by botto; 01-28-09 at 10:07 AM.
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Old 01-28-09, 09:44 AM   #3
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I'm looking at the video, and they look like a typical mix - some really small, lean guys, some big bruisers. One difference that might account for what you're seeing is the gear. The cycling clothing of the 70's wasn't quite as snug as the modern stuff, so there might be a bit of an illusion of bigger size. And of course, this is P-R, so the team selections are probably a bit biased toward the big guys with the big engines.

EDIT: And I bet botto is right too, and that cyclists these days are a bit leaner for the reasons given. They definitely do look skinnier in modern photos from P-R. See Boonen winning in '05.
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Old 01-28-09, 10:04 AM   #4
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To follow Bottos post, I know I wasn't motivated to lose weight until I started training with a power meter. I do think that more data and advances in training will lead some to go the extra distance.
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Old 01-28-09, 10:09 AM   #5
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also remember that back then, apparently pros would show up for their first race with +/-1,000km in their legs.

try and picture that these days. hell, try and picture a euro pro showing up at a team training camp with only that kind of base.
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Old 01-28-09, 06:49 PM   #6
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also remember that back then, apparently pros would show up for their first race with +/-1,000km in their legs.

try and picture that these days. hell, try and picture a euro pro showing up at a team training camp with only that kind of base.
If true, that's amazing. Cat 4/5s ride that much before the first race of the season. IIRC Merckx looks like a small forward or a safety in the that film.
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Old 01-28-09, 07:30 PM   #7
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I forgot about the 1000 km base thing. In a 42x18 no less. No big gears, they were forbidden. I remember getting yelled at by such a guy for breathing too hard on an early spring ride (he raced for Coppi apparently, and he was smoother on the bike than anyone I've ever seen). His rule was 1500 miles in a 42x18 before shifting into a higher gear. And that was 10 years after the flick mentioned.

Everything in general was less extreme. Think of the Mr Universes back then. Doping wasn't the same lol. Think of gymnasts, ice skaters, skiiers. Runners (like sprinters). Less muscle, more fat.

There was a lot of misinformation and superstition in cycling. Drilling out equipment was the way to lighten things up. Training, jeez, training was crazy. What's his name, Sean Kelly's coach, he'd hide food from riders so they wouldn't eat too much. Of course they'd bonk at some point but, hey, they were light while they bonked. Cyrill Guimard, respected by pretty much everyone, said in 1983 I think that no one on the team could drink Coke. Well, except for Greg Lemond - he could drink Coke because he grew up in the US and they drank it all the time "there".

Now the Tour got sponsored by Coke. You have to have scheduled training rides. People think of "cycles" of training (peaking and such).

To put it in perspective, in Europe in the 70s you rarely drank soda/pop except when you went out, and you tried not to go to McDonalds because that was where lazy moms took their kids. To date myself, I grew up in Europe in that time period, and yes, McDonalds was a treat because we got soda. And you ate toast with a knife and fork. Every morning. With tea. And you got dressed for breakfast, none of this PJ stuff.

cdr
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Old 01-28-09, 08:36 PM   #8
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It could be modern riders straying from cycling's weight lifting roots.
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Old 01-29-09, 06:40 AM   #9
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true or an illusion?
true
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Old 01-29-09, 08:45 AM   #10
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I have gotten leaner.


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Old 01-30-09, 06:03 AM   #11
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True in part. Those guys would have come into the season with less miles in the legs than current pros and probably a few percent extra body fat but by Tour time/late season were as lean as the current crop of riders.

Knowledge about diet, training etc has improved but don't think the gun riders from the 70's are in any way weaker than riders today. Maertens and De Vlaeminck trained a phenomenal amount of kilometres. My father saw Maertens at a kermis just before he won his second world championship in 1981. Freddy rode 100kms to the race, raced 150km, then rode home. He look pretty farkin lean in the photos dad took.
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Old 01-30-09, 06:16 AM   #12
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In the same movie you see the riders eating steak and eggs for breakfast before P-R! Can't imagine that is done very often nowadays...
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Old 01-30-09, 06:32 AM   #13
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It's nothing to do with any of that.

The 1976 riders are filmed in 4:3 ratio, when shown on a widescreen telly, they stretch outwards to fill the screen thus simply appearing thicker.
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Old 02-03-09, 05:58 PM   #14
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I bet I would look pretty fit on a 1976 televison screen with that kind of science! Lol.
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Old 02-03-09, 06:47 PM   #15
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The skinny tubes on their bikes make them look fat. Even Waterrockets looks much thinner since he got his Trek.
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