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Old 07-07-08, 03:53 PM   #1
malpag3
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How do they do it?

I'm sure we all have these dreams while watching the TDF.

You know the one..."I'll bet I could do that in a few years!" I mean in all seriousness, I'm not very serious, but hey if I won the lottery and didn't have to work? I think I might pursue it! Haha!

How feasible is this? What exactly does it take to get to that level and get picked up by a team?

I'm sure we all get that feeling watching that "young" rider..."say I'm age X, how is that he's doing that and I'm not!?"
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Old 07-07-08, 05:34 PM   #2
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I'm sure we all have these dreams while watching the TDF.

You know the one..."I'll bet I could do that in a few years!" I mean in all seriousness, I'm not very serious, but hey if I won the lottery and didn't have to work? I think I might pursue it! Haha!

How feasible is this? What exactly does it take to get to that level and get picked up by a team?

I'm sure we all get that feeling watching that "young" rider..."say I'm age X, how is that he's doing that and I'm not!?"
Hard to say... in 105 years, nobody's yet done it without some serious medication.
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Old 07-07-08, 05:40 PM   #3
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Hard to say... in 105 years, nobody's yet done it without some serious medication.
Bull
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Old 07-07-08, 05:54 PM   #4
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odds are very against, however what is life without dreams.

after 125 miles you have to dial it up from 25 miles per hour to 35 for the last 5 miles to finish with the pack much less place, and thats every stage for 21 straight days.
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Old 07-07-08, 05:59 PM   #5
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If it's possible, I think pro-racing is ever harder than it looks. Imagine dragging your butt across Flanders for 200 K in the rain and cold with a 15 mph headwind. Even for those physically gifted enough, it's not for everyone.
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Old 07-07-08, 06:11 PM   #6
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It was a joke... with a couple ounces of truth in it.

But definitely off the topic of this thread. To answer malpag3, who asks how feasible it is for him to think he could ride the Tour. Probably like playing pick-up basketball and thinking you could play Kobe.
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Old 07-07-08, 06:26 PM   #7
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It was a joke... with a couple ounces of truth in it.

But definitely off the topic of this thread. To answer malpag3, who asks how feasible it is for him to think he could ride the Tour. Probably like playing pick-up basketball and thinking you could play Kobe.
There was a thing the other day where one of the riders (in the break maybe? I don't remember) did one of those ride a stage of the tour things a few years ago and thought maybe he could do some more of that...
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Old 07-07-08, 07:29 PM   #8
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Hmm yeah for sure.

Life is pretty lame without dreams.

But in another sense, what is the story with most of these guys leading up to their tours? I know some of them are pro track racers and such, but track racing feels like it wouldn't have a whole lot in common with Tour riding.

Wouldn't that be amazing though? I can't imagine the level of excitement these guys feel behind their grim looking faces.
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Old 07-07-08, 08:24 PM   #9
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How feasible is this? What exactly does it take to get to that level and get picked up by a team?
If you're young and willing to train and ride 6-8 hours per day, 6 days per week, then you've got a start.

Past that, you need to start competing and winning against other people who are also training 6-8 hours per day, 6 days per week.

Once you do that, you may be able to lug water bottles up and down the peleton.
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Old 07-07-08, 09:53 PM   #10
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Different sport, but dreams do happen....

http://www.usatf.org/athletes/bios/Lomong_Lopez.asp
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Old 07-08-08, 01:36 AM   #11
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For all of the above reasons, I think and always have thought that the major Tours - Tour de France, the Giro of Italy and the Tour of Spain are the king of sports. Nothing in sports, the stuff you see on TV every day, even come close to these tests of endurance, stamina and strength. For me basketball, football, soccer, golf, baseball and all these sports that we are spoon feed by the networks are really nothing but children playing compared to something like the Tour de France.
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Old 07-08-08, 01:55 AM   #12
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what does it take....Not much the formula is simple. Push yourself, Don't miss a single scheduled training ride, and and dont cheat on your diet for 8 years. If you make it you might be very successful.
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Old 07-08-08, 05:56 AM   #13
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beat everyone you know

beat everyone in your town/city

beat everyone in your province/state

be outstanding on your national team

take call from pro team

one day races

more one day races

carry some other guys water bottles/food,etc. around an entire country

carry some other guys water bottles/food,etc. around an entire other country

if your lucky and they keep you,you get to do it again

beg to take a chance at winning a stage/race,that isn't as important to the stars

team decides you've done your best and thats it, they hire some other eager/younger (by two years) rider to carry some other guys water bottles/food,etc. around an entire country

go home

beat everyone you know



(If your the best anyone has ever seen,just add a few stage wins and a couple of tours to the list)

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Old 07-08-08, 06:13 AM   #14
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Will Frischkorn started out on the same team I rode for. Obviously he's gotten a bit farther.

The odds that any local cat 5 racer becomes a European pro are pretty friggin long. Probably about the same that any given High school basketball player will play in the NBA. But the pros have to come from somewhere, and every American racer started as Cat 5 (disegarding the days when there where only 4 categories).

So if you're willing to train an insane amount, train smartly, live a brutal, impovrished lifestyle, get the right coaching, have some luck, avoid debilitating injury and illness, and have a huge genetic gift to start with, you could be one of the extremely few.

And then have the right to suffer in Europe, through snow and rain in the Spring, and heat in the summer for 33,000 Euro a year.
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Old 07-08-08, 06:54 AM   #15
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We have had one Tour Winner come from my region. Well, he WAS a Tour winner....

But the point is that there are STILL stories floating around about how Floyd would show up in long warmup pants on a cheap bike and just clobber everybody at the local races. There's a fella I ride with sometimes who was a CAT 2 rider when he was in his 20s and raced against Floyd. He told me how in a crit one time on a course with a 1 mile, 4 corner circuit, the field was comming out of turn 3 when Landis was crossing the line...and that was on the first lap!

So life isn't fair. Regardless of how much you train, there are people who are born with the natural gifts to go far in bike racing. Those guys that are champions have the natural gifts, then they work like a dog to develop themselves.

So the first step is to go get a competitors license, take your 10 starts to be a CAT 4, and then win your way into the pros.
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Old 07-08-08, 10:44 AM   #16
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Hmm, great posts guys! Thanks for the info. It really does put it into perspective.

On the impoverished lifestyle comment...I'm not sure I get it. Is it like a starving artist thing? I meant the bikes and the equipment are damn expensive!
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Old 07-08-08, 10:48 AM   #17
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On the impoverished lifestyle comment...I'm not sure I get it. Is it like a starving artist thing? I meant the bikes and the equipment are damn expensive!
Guys like Lance are the exception. Most hardly make any money. They are traveling to races and living out of hotels for much of the year. Yes the equipment is expensive, but they don't have to pay for it at least.
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Old 07-08-08, 11:01 AM   #18
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what does it take....Not much the formula is simple. Push yourself, Don't miss a single scheduled training ride, and and dont cheat on your diet for 8 years. If you make it you might be very successful.
You forgot the most important part, which is, as others have said, pick your parents carefully. The higher you go in cycling, the more it is about genes. For 99+% of us, "the dream" is impossible.

Think of it like other sports. You don't watch the World Series and think, gee, if I quit my job, started swinging a bat, could I maybe ...? In cycling, the genetic gifts aren't as obvious, things like VO2max and recovery capability, but they're just as critical.

For me, the more amateur racing I do, the less I'm interested in the Tour. I'd rather do (at my puny local level) than watch.
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Old 07-08-08, 11:27 AM   #19
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Hmm interesting point. How much does it have to be about being competitive though? I'm really not an overtly competitive person. I mean are the pro riders saying in their heads "i'm going to kill John Smith's time, etc. etc."?

Cycling sometimes brings it out in me but the physical activities I do (climbing and cyclilng) I didn't start doing because I was competitive.
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Old 07-08-08, 11:33 AM   #20
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Hmm interesting point. How much does it have to be about being competitive though? I'm really not an overtly competitive person. I mean are the pro riders saying in their heads "i'm going to kill John Smith's time, etc. etc."?

Cycling sometimes brings it out in me but the physical activities I do (climbing and cyclilng) I didn't start doing because I was competitive.
If you're not competitive, you're going to be off the back in the first turn of the first crit. Bike racing is hard. Professional bike racing is friggin hard. If you don't have a competitve drive to be the best, you can forget about making it past Cat4, much less earning a living at it.

Watch a sprint finish in the Tour, and I think you'll have your answer as to whether those guys are competitive.
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Old 07-08-08, 12:15 PM   #21
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For me, the more amateur racing I do, the less I'm interested in the Tour. I'd rather do (at my puny local level) than watch.
And that's why you're hanging in the TDF forum?
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Old 07-08-08, 12:25 PM   #22
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Hmm yeah for sure.

Life is pretty lame without dreams.

But in another sense, what is the story with most of these guys leading up to their tours? I know some of them are pro track racers and such, but track racing feels like it wouldn't have a whole lot in common with Tour riding.

Wouldn't that be amazing though? I can't imagine the level of excitement these guys feel behind their grim looking faces.
I'm pretty sure that there are not many pro tour riders that did not start riding and amateur racing in their late teens or early twenties. And it takes four to five years of intense training at a high level for your physiology to adapt. Only young athletes can recover well enough to do a grand tour at the competitive level. Few TDF riders can ride in it past 35 years of age.
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Old 07-08-08, 12:30 PM   #23
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Tyler Hamilton did not race till his twenties. Some have claimed his late start gave him the success he got. Well, that and drugs and little twin brothers hiding inside his belly.
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