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Doge 01-29-19 11:44 PM

Would you be pro?
I should do a poll, but I'll leave to discussion. If you could be a pro, not a Froome, or Sagan but just a middle of the pack World Tour pro vs a decent (USA) career path (job) what would you do?

I'm watching a number (half dozen) of the ex USA juniors. The least hard thing seems to be the bike riding part. The choosing what to do is the hard part.
Just looking at the 2015/2016 juniors now ~20.
-One is a pro - I expect will be a WT GC leader. Time will tell.
-One had a tragic accident and was UCI podium and many junior wins.
-One is in college and still world MTB top 10 or so.
-One is a pilot and just got UCI U23 top 10 in cross - 4 USA pro TT
-One is the pro RR NC
-One is a fire fighter @ 20. Dad is a fire fighter and a USA hall of fame cyclist
-One won USA U23 RR, then USA U23 TT and is doing college same place as below - just not racing.
-One is a Collegiate NC and attending the same college as the kid above who is not racing.
-One wants to be a fighter pilot - maybe track racer.

All nostalgic for me, I just can see that choosing to be pro is a better route for those that did not choose to be pro. Other than #1 , it is all a hobby.

Thing is, I can't really say any of these kids went the wrong way.

-There are several others.

Hmmm 01-30-19 04:00 AM

From my little understanding, I think being an Alex Howes type rider would be a great gig. Long World Tour career, I'm sure he's paid well. He's been on the same team for a long time now. Life in Girona would be awesome. Who can say no to that. Someone like Alex probably has a lot of great opportunities after World Tour as well. I feel like making it to the World Tour fairly early on would make it easier. Fighting around the conti/pro conti scene for years would be hard.

Reading Draft Animals was an interesting perspective on what a rider bouncing around the pro conti/conti scene can be like. It does seem very difficult. I don't think I could handle that. I recommend the book to any cyclist.

GrainBrain 01-30-19 05:16 AM

In my daydreams :lol: I follow a continental (?) rider from my state, doesn't seem to have much time for anything else. It seems like other sports give you more freedom of time. He'll constantly do 100 mile rides in the off season, which seems is maybe a month? Easily 600 miles a week. Currently he's down in Arizona doing races.

It's great to follow him because he's from a small little town in our rural state and still lives here.

Doge 01-30-19 07:37 PM

I think the kids can be fairly certain they can get a pro continental gig, they just need to live in Europe at <20. Feels like age 15 is good - with parents.
Getting the buy-a-house and raise-a-family money is really hard. Doing it without living in Europe is harder.

Soccer players (Christian Pulisic $73M 20 year old) do it with family, then there are millions to support it.

The counter point to my own arguments is MTB and CX may end up as legitimate buy-a-house and raise-a-family jobs. I think USA is better positioned for that as these are not multi-day live with the team stage races. Due to event time - riders can do other things.

Kudos to the Internationals (I know BF is an international site) that come to the USA and make it in basketball. The opportunity to do the reverse and grow pro cyclists in the USA then transfer to Europe seems even harder. Lemond and Armstrong got the USA all excited about something I doubt will be repeated. If it is, it will be random. There is no program that I see that can grow rider(s) into that.

Lemond1985 01-30-19 08:02 PM

Would I become a pro? Kind of irrelevant at my age. I very much wanted to at one time, but I was already in my mid-20's. Late bloomer or not, it was simply not gonna happen at that age, no matter how good I was (not very).

Would I advise a you someone in their mid-teens to do it? Hell no, knowing what I now know about the sport (and long suspected) in the post-Armstrong era. I honestly don't know why anyone would do it in this day and age, but a few always will, despite what I or anyone else tells them.

There will always be the Dave Stollers of the world, thank God, who do it for the sheer thrill and passion for the sport. And it is indeed a great sport, to watch at least. I watch race videos almost every day, and love to live vicariously though the great riders like Hinnault, Lemond, Indurain and Armstrong. And suffer vicariously through the not-so-great riders, on my bad days. But I'm very glad I never did it professionally, that probably would have killed the joy of the sport for me forever. As well as ruining my health, and taking years off my life, most likely.

Doge 02-04-19 07:32 PM

I am seeing multiple kids take your advice. It saddens me quite a bit. Not because it isn't the correct decision, but because it is.

And while I do not disparage, your list of greats, only two were not PED users, and I suspect the others. That I do that, also saddens me.

CliffordK 02-04-19 11:38 PM

Personally, I've enjoyed sports, but never had that drive necessary to be #1 .

So, I can ride all day, but find myself dropping back to a comfortable cruising pace, not just hammering it all day long, every day.

And, if I had that drive to go all-out. Pro racing would drive me crazy... ride a race all-out, with the expectation that I would pull aside and let a teammate win at the very last moment? :eek:

In football, there are say 50 pro teams of 50 or so players in the USA... so about 2500 pro players that one can compete for a slot.

In cycling... maybe 20 top tier teams globally. Each team has a few racers, but really, it is just 1 rider at the top taking in all the glory, and likely most of the bucks.

One could probably earn a living wage and enjoy some world touring as a 2nd or 3rd tier rider, but for how long, then what?

fietsbob 02-11-19 03:05 PM

Maybe a Professional TV presenter of Travel shows, but when I was young , the main "opportunity" was as a War Pawn...

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