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Old 04-28-09, 10:48 PM   #1
cedricbosch
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What does it take to "make it"?

Many pros will tell you that all it takes to succeed in cycling is "hard work and dedication". Although I'm sure this accounts for most of it, I can't believe that any old schmuck could put in 600-mile weeks and go pro, even with a really well programmed training schedule. How much of the equation is work, and how much is pure genetics? Do you believe that almost anybody can be a professional cycling if they start training seriously at an early age?
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Old 04-28-09, 10:48 PM   #2
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This issue has been beaten to death over the last few months...
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Old 04-28-09, 10:49 PM   #3
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hard work...dedication... and a VO2 max of atleast 70
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Old 04-29-09, 12:05 AM   #4
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in other words, genetics...
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Old 04-29-09, 01:46 AM   #5
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in other words, genetics...
and/or dope.
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Old 04-29-09, 02:00 AM   #6
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Genetics number 1, but there is a bigger picture. If you don't do the hard work or have the dedication, desire, ability to suffer, ruthlessness when required, ability to cope with homesickness, ability to cope with 1000km+ training weeks and a tough constitution health wise forget about it.
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Old 04-29-09, 02:43 AM   #7
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Genetics number 1, but there is a bigger picture. If you don't do the hard work or have the dedication, desire, ability to suffer, ruthlessness when required, ability to cope with homesickness, ability to cope with 1000km+ training weeks and a tough constitution health wise forget about it.
this.
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Old 04-29-09, 04:32 AM   #8
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Biggest limiter in my books; LOCATION

If you are trying to "make it", get to one of the hotbeds on this globe and get on it for a few years.

Belgium is the obvious choice for any aspring pro. Too many reasons to list. If you need them, let me know.
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Old 04-29-09, 04:43 AM   #9
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All you need is a Cervelo and fast guys to race for you.
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Old 04-29-09, 04:47 AM   #10
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Since I've never 'made it' I don't know.
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Old 04-29-09, 06:09 AM   #11
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luck.
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Old 04-29-09, 06:37 AM   #12
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Depending on the broad, you may require one of these.

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Old 04-29-09, 06:43 AM   #13
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Background.

Here in Canada you play hockey unless you have a parent or someone that get you into cycling.

+ all of the above.
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Old 04-29-09, 07:38 AM   #14
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Skinny arms, huge guads, 190mm crank arms, carbon wheels, and a caad 9 frameset.
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Old 04-29-09, 07:58 AM   #15
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you need start riding at 10, racing at 12(see junior racing), and doping at 16. Then with some luck you can be a domestic pro at 21, once some cash comes in you can start buying the real drugs like EPO and CERA to go big...
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Old 04-29-09, 08:44 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by cedricbosch View Post
Many pros will tell you that all it takes to succeed in cycling is "hard work and dedication". Although I'm sure this accounts for most of it, I can't believe that any old schmuck could put in 600-mile weeks and go pro, even with a really well programmed training schedule. How much of the equation is work, and how much is pure genetics? Do you believe that almost anybody can be a professional cycling if they start training seriously at an early age?
A number of people have had sucessful pro careers even though they started in their late teens or early 20s. I.e. Tyler Hamilton only started racing collegiate. I think Tom Danielson did the same.

Lots of riders have done well even though they didn't grow up in a cycling hotbed.. Andy Hampsten in South Dakota, Greg LeMond in Reno. Arguably anywhere in America isn't much of a cycling hotbed compared to most places in Europe.

Since early junior racing and living in a cycling hotbed doesn't seem to be required, I'd say that genetics would be the most important. Lots of early competitive racing probably helps those who have slightly lesser genetics. One of the important genetic traits would have to be the ability to handle a large training and racing volume and not get sick or run down.
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Old 04-29-09, 12:41 PM   #17
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Genetics allows a rider to excel in any location. A good rider can come out of nowhere, do well in a few big races, even just one, and bam, contract.

Mike Engleman started out after a long running career. I believe he was in his 30s. He was accused of cheating in his first Mt Evans because he beat everyone else and he was a Cat 4, but then he did it again. Coors Light signed him.

Tom Broznowski came to the Senior Road Race (as the amateur national RR was called), led out a fancy CA sprinter, did a triple jump, and beat the sprinter in a sprint. He was a totally unknown, wore a goofy helmet crooked, and went on to become a good domestic pro.

Roy Knickman got started in a local 10 mi TT. He went 20 mph in sneakers. In a few weeks, when he got shoes, toe clips, straps, he was going over 25 mph. I've never gone that fast in a TT that long, and that's with aero bars, disk wheel, etc.

A few guys got noticed for doing Mt Washington quickly. I'm sure the same goes for Mt Evans etc.

I have no idea exactly what genetics you need. I mean, yeah, VO2 max, etc. Ultimately it's all about power. If your body can support 400-500w for an hour at a time, you'll be a pro. Or you could be. Your weight needs to be controllable but that's about it. Whatever heart, lungs, blood, etc it takes, that's what it takes.

Training, dedication, that's reasonably important too, but I think that almost any good rider can be properly looked after by a team or even by a friend or two.

Motivation is critical. The most gifted racer I know personally was totally unmotivated to race. Although he raced as a pro for many years, he really didn't care very much about the actual racing. He'd sit up in the middle of a race and just pull off the course. You need something to push you when you're groveling in a single file field. Even good riders comment on how they were hanging on for dear life for days at a time (Bob Roll, in his book, mentions this about the Tour).

Luck is a second thing, and part of luck is how you approach racing and life. A reckless approach increases the chance of problems with non-cycling things. For example, getting a $400 speeding ticket on the way to a race because you couldn't find the keys is a bad way to start the day (one racer showed up at a MA race steamed because the state cop marshaling the last turn gave him said ticket! I think the guy was going 60 in a 40 zone). Another very good racer (he could regularly beat domestic pros, and rode with them regularly) crashed heavily twice in situations that I think were avoidable. I strongly believe he would have upgraded to Cat 2 by the end of that year, but his injuries convinced him to quit racing instead. A less reckless, slightly more tactical approach to races could have avoided those crashes and perhaps placed him on the podium.

a guy who doesn't have it,
cdr
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Old 04-29-09, 08:18 PM   #18
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if your asking youself that question then you dont have it....move on and enjoy the sport for what it is
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Old 04-30-09, 09:22 AM   #19
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if your asking youself that question then you dont have it....move on and enjoy the sport for what it is
Incorrect
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Old 04-30-09, 05:35 PM   #20
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Every Pro is born with the perfect physique. High VO2 max, huge quads, 400 watts at threshold, perfect descending skills and pedal stroke. There is absolutely no way someone can train to that level; it's impossible.
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Old 04-30-09, 06:07 PM   #21
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Every Pro is born with the perfect physique. High VO2 max, huge quads, 400 watts at threshold, perfect descending skills and pedal stroke. There is absolutely no way someone can train to that level; it's impossible.
Sarcasm tend to be more effective if it's funny.
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Old 04-30-09, 06:21 PM   #22
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hard work...dedication... and a VO2 max of atleast 70
You mean I'm almost there?

I've got the hard work... the dedication... and a VO2 max of 61. God, I'm so close.
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