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Cycling does not require skills?

Old 03-26-24, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by surak
IHe's the one, out of more than a thousand, and only runner with a sub-4 mile whose made it to the TdF. According to https://www.sportsnet.ca/cycling/lon...-career-paths/ many more such runners have become pro NFLers.
Are there many middle distance runners who have transitioned to football? Have you seen what middle distance runners looks like? They don't look like football players.

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Old 03-26-24, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Are there many middle distance runners who have transitioned to football? Have you seen what middle distance runners looks like? They don't look like football players.
By such runners I meant track runners who cross over to another pro sport. Sprinters and hurdlers, apparently. According to the article, no other middle distance runners besides Woods have made a note in any other major sport.
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Old 03-26-24, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by BillyD
We might remember back a few years when Lance Armstrong was voted athlete of the year, pros from the other major sports had a **** fit in protest.
.
I remember someone at the time claiming that Bo Jackson could enter and win the TdF easily.

Bo Jackson weighed 230 lbs. I explained to them power-to-weight ratio, and with even granting Jackson best-in-world Watts (which he couldn't produce, of course), he still wouldn't make the time cut on the first mountain stage.
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Old 03-26-24, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by surak

You wrote that you would separate skill from physical prowess and talent.

.
I didn’t say anything about separating skill from talent. Talent is about combining favourable physical attributes with the ability to perform whatever skills are required for the sport. For example there are many people with a favourable physique for soccer but very few who can master the skills required to play at the highest level, however hard they try. They just don’t have the talent and no amount of coaching will compensate. I also remember John McEnroe talking about how much time and effort Ivan Lendl put into trying to improve his serve volley game on grass, but he just didn’t have the right touch. For McEnroe it was effortless because he had that rare talent. He didn’t even have great physical attributes.

Cycling is almost the opposite. There are very few people with the necessary physical attributes ie a truly massive aerobic engine and light build, but the skill set is more likely to be attainable with the right coaching. I give you Mike Woods again and Primoz Roglic. Without the right engine, no amount of bike handling skills are going to get you anywhere in endurance road cycling.
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Old 03-26-24, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by surak
By such runners I meant track runners who cross over to another pro sport. Sprinters and hurdlers, apparently. According to the article, no other middle distance runners besides Woods have made a note in any other major sport.
I mentioned Usain Bolt earlier as an example of a track sprinter attempting to transition into pro soccer. It didn’t go too well and I remember someone describing him as having a first touch like a trampoline! Maybe in NFL the transition is easier because of the more specialist roles they play. If you can run incredibly fast and learn to catch a ball, maybe that’s good enough?
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Old 03-26-24, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
I didn’t say anything about separating skill from talent. Talent is about combining favourable physical attributes with the ability to perform whatever skills are required for the sport. For example there are many people with a favourable physique for soccer but very few who can master the skills required to play at the highest level, however hard they try. They just don’t have the talent and no amount of coaching will compensate. I also remember John McEnroe talking about how much time and effort Ivan Lendl put into trying to improve his serve volley game on grass, but he just didn’t have the right touch. For McEnroe it was effortless because he had that rare talent. He didn’t even have great physical attributes.

Cycling is almost the opposite. There are very few people with the necessary physical attributes ie a truly massive aerobic engine and light build, but the skill set is more likely to be attainable with the right coaching. I give you Mike Woods again and Primoz Roglic. Without the right engine, no amount of bike handling skills are going to get you anywhere in endurance road cycling.
Originally Posted by PeteHski
Sure, it’s a fun debate. We are defining “skill” in different ways. I prefer to separate genetics from sport specific skill sets. Obviously you need to have the right genetic potential, but I don’t view genetics as a skill.
You can't say that talent isn't genetics but isn't part of skills either. That makes no sense, it's inherent and not developable, which under your separation means it's not skills.

And again, plenty of evidence that Woods and Roglic are outliers otherwise there'd be plenty of other crossovers with similar aerobic engines, which are not that rare. Them making it could just be inherent cycling talent being given a chance to shine through a series of favorable life events.
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Old 03-26-24, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by surak
You can't say that talent isn't genetics but isn't part of skills either. That makes no sense, it's inherent and not developable, which under your separation means it's not skills.

And again, plenty of evidence that Woods and Roglic are outliers otherwise there'd be plenty of other crossovers with similar aerobic engines, which are not that rare. Them making it could just be inherent cycling talent being given a chance to shine through a series of favorable life events.
By genetics in that context I meant physical attributes. Woods and Roglic had the inherent cycling “talent” of massive aerobic engines and the propensity to suffer. I don’t see that either of them have any special bike handling talents, like we see with the likes of Pidcock, MVDP and WVA.

I suspect there are quite a few elite endurance runners who could crossover into road cycling, but there probably isn’t much incentive for them to do so.
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Old 03-26-24, 10:50 PM
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Old 03-27-24, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
By genetics in that context I meant physical attributes. Woods and Roglic had the inherent cycling “talent” of massive aerobic engines and the propensity to suffer. I don’t see that either of them have any special bike handling talents, like we see with the likes of Pidcock, MVDP and WVA.

I suspect there are quite a few elite endurance runners who could crossover into road cycling, but there probably isn’t much incentive for them to do so.
At this point it's clear to me that you have a narrow definition of what constitutes skill and only think notable displays at the head of a race that get televised constitutes it. Nothing will convince you that the rest of the goings on within pro road racing might actually be a significant step up from your club riding; anyone with an engine can easily learn to hang in the peloton. This despite no evidence other than your beliefs, while arbitrarily dismissing anything that could contradict that.

Skills to be able to ride in the pro peleton can be learned, that is not a controversial stance. That the necessary fitness level is all it takes to be sufficient for acquiring those skills, that's where the rarity of people like Woods indicates to me that nope, definitely not. To reach the skill level to race at the highest level requires willingness and perseverance to embrace the risk and reality of road rash, bruises, and fractures (or even death) at high speed with only thin layers of tires and lycra separating one from asphalt or worse, elbow-to-elbow with over a hundred while dodging cars and motos, far beyond what the vast majority of people could endure, over years of repeated practice. The resulting skill level is one that only a tiny fraction of physiologically adequate people could ever achieve.
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Old 03-27-24, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by surak
At this point it's clear to me that you have a narrow definition of what constitutes skill and only think notable displays at the head of a race that get televised constitutes it. Nothing will convince you that the rest of the goings on within pro road racing might actually be a significant step up from your club riding; anyone with an engine can easily learn to hang in the peloton. This despite no evidence other than your beliefs, while arbitrarily dismissing anything that could contradict that.

Skills to be able to ride in the pro peleton can be learned, that is not a controversial stance. That the necessary fitness level is all it takes to be sufficient for acquiring those skills, that's where the rarity of people like Woods indicates to me that nope, definitely not. To reach the skill level to race at the highest level requires willingness and perseverance to embrace the risk and reality of road rash, bruises, and fractures (or even death) at high speed with only thin layers of tires and lycra separating one from asphalt or worse, elbow-to-elbow with over a hundred while dodging cars and motos, far beyond what the vast majority of people could endure, over years of repeated practice. The resulting skill level is one that only a tiny fraction of physiologically adequate people could ever achieve.
It’s okay, there’s no need to preach to me how freaking hard pro cycling is! I happen to think it’s one of the toughest sports in the world for all the reasons you give.

Of course I am defining “skill” in a narrow way. If you go for a much wider definition of “skill” including factors like bravery, mental resilience and endurance as you are alluding to above then there is no argument. But when you start comparing technical skills like bike handling, you will not convince me that they are anything special RELATIVE to many other sports, including most other cycling disciplines. I would say that the bike handling skills required for Enduro mtb racing are well beyond those required for GC road racing.
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Old 03-27-24, 12:04 PM
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Having done both endurance sports (running, cycling) and skill sports (fencing, archery), I have to say the difference is night and day. Training for endurance sports is almost entirely about improving/maintaining the engine, with some work on skills. Training for skill sports is almost entirely about enhancing the skills involved - shooting arrow after arrow, or blind bale shooting to focus on the draw and release; repetitive drilling on simple things like parry/riposte or the 1-2 attack. Yes, there's an endurance component to each - try standing for hours, drawing and releasing a 50# bow 150 times in a day without fatigue ruining the later shots, or fencing many bouts in a day without losing the spring in your legs, so of course there's a significant amount training devoted to that. But all the endurance training was in service of the skills, so you wouldn't lose them from fatigue.
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Old 03-27-24, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
It’s okay, there’s no need to preach to me how freaking hard pro cycling is! I happen to think it’s one of the toughest sports in the world for all the reasons you give.

Of course I am defining “skill” in a narrow way. If you go for a much wider definition of “skill” including factors like bravery, mental resilience and endurance as you are alluding to above then there is no argument. But when you start comparing technical skills like bike handling, you will not convince me that they are anything special RELATIVE to many other sports, including most other cycling disciplines. I would say that the bike handling skills required for Enduro mtb racing are well beyond those required for GC road racing.
Still missing my point. It's not just that road cycling is hard, it's that the skills one needs to utilize are necessarily learned while performing in such hard conditions that only a tiny sliver of the population ever master them. Pro MTBers are wearing full body armor and ride nowhere near as compactly in large groups with one another, and have nothing but closed trails to deal with. Lots of skills required, sure, but not harder conditions to acquire those skills than elite road cycling. So while their handling skills are high, they are different enough from elite road cycling that I reject any notion that it's obviously harder.

I also don't know why you get to limit the requirement of skills to GC contenders with the highest FTP. Even if you do, not one of them rides a whole race at the front. The times when skill matters are the ones you rarely see televised except when they go wrong. And less skilled riders will get it wrong far more often, even when fitness isn't necessary, such as in a large fast-moving peloton where minimal watts are required, as evidenced by the carnage caused by lower tier riders at the TdF Femme avec Zwift.
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Old 03-27-24, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by surak
Still missing my point. It's not just that road cycling is hard, it's that the skills one needs to utilize are necessarily learned while performing in such hard conditions that only a tiny sliver of the population ever master them. Pro MTBers are wearing full body armor and ride nowhere near as compactly in large groups with one another, and have nothing but closed trails to deal with. Lots of skills required, sure, but not harder conditions to acquire those skills than elite road cycling. So while their handling skills are high, they are different enough from elite road cycling that I reject any notion that it's obviously harder.

I also don't know why you get to limit the requirement of skills to GC contenders with the highest FTP. Even if you do, not one of them rides a whole race at the front. The times when skill matters are the ones you rarely see televised except when they go wrong. And less skilled riders will get it wrong far more often, even when fitness isn't necessary, such as in a large fast-moving peloton where minimal watts are required, as evidenced by the carnage caused by lower tier riders at the TdF Femme avec Zwift.
I only mentioned GC to differentiate endurance riding from say sprinters, who do require more advanced bike handling skills. It’s pretty well known that Mark Cavendish isn’t the strongest of sprinters but has the bike handling skills and tactical genius to more than compensate.

I’m not sure how wearing body armour reduces the actual skill required for mtb. Again you appear to be looking at the bigger picture rather than just the technical skill elements and how they vary across disciplines. I think most people would agree that XC mtb requires less advanced bike handling skills than Enduro or DH. But that doesn’t make XC easier overall as it requires many other attributes. Of course you could label all the other attributes as “skills” too and then there is no argument. But most observers tend to differentiate between technical skills and other physical and mental attributes. Nobody watches marathon running in awe of their technical ability to “run”. It is all about their endurance and mental strength. Many sports involve far more complex technical skills and I think endurance road cycling is much more about physical and mental ability rather than technical bike skills, even though it is way above marathon running for technical skills. Our friend Mike Woofs had to learn a whole bunch of riding skills that simply don’t exist in endurance running.
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Old 03-27-24, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by surak
. Pro MTBers are wearing full body armor and ride nowhere near as compactly in large groups with one another, and have nothing but closed trails to deal with. Lots of skills required, sure, but not harder conditions to acquire those skills than elite road cycling. So while their handling skills are high, they are different enough from elite road cycling that I reject any notion that it's obviously harder
The only mtb racing which has racers on the track at the same time is XC racing. XC racers wear lycra and roadie kits, no body armor.

Very few DH racers wear any armor.
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Old 03-27-24, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
It’s okay, there’s no need to preach to me how freaking hard pro cycling is! I happen to think it’s one of the toughest sports in the world for all the reasons you give.

Of course I am defining “skill” in a narrow way. If you go for a much wider definition of “skill” including factors like bravery, mental resilience and endurance as you are alluding to above then there is no argument. But when you start comparing technical skills like bike handling, you will not convince me that they are anything special RELATIVE to many other sports, including most other cycling disciplines. I would say that the bike handling skills required for Enduro mtb racing are well beyond those required for GC road racing.
Enduro doesn't get the respect it deserves in the cycling world. Not only do those guys have incredible fitness, pro-level Enduro courses are extremely technical. I think world tour road cycling is an incredible support and I am a fan of it, but I agree that the required technical skills don't compare favorably to MTB racing. Not just DH or Enduro, but even XC.
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Old 03-27-24, 11:20 PM
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I used to race CHUMP level xc(cat4 or cat3) and we were all up in the business of other riders if it was single track. Vividly remember dodging someone who fell/OTB and a bunch of us re clipping in. Lots of instances of riders having to slow down on descents due to a less "skilled" descender being in front. Same could happen on technical ascents, it was a domino effect where one guy messed up and the next had to deal or mess up as well.
A couple times racing at prairie city it was wet and we got the "gorilla snot"/"peanut butter" mud. Lots of slipping and sliding and not going down to frequently was a big deal.
I always got beat via people who either had great engines, or decent engines and great skill. I had the mass to be the fastest descender but I tended to run out of skill before my friend who rode motocross+dirt jumps throughout his childhood.
No one I saw wore armor since knee and elbow armor rubs bad and heats you up quicker. I know on normal rides I used knee armor when it was cool, on the hot days I valued my mental clarity more then the protection.

Yeah, I would say some other sports require MORE skill then road or mountain biking. To me that's okay. It's literally part of the game.
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Old 03-28-24, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Sierra_rider
Enduro doesn't get the respect it deserves in the cycling world. Not only do those guys have incredible fitness, pro-level Enduro courses are extremely technical. I think world tour road cycling is an incredible support and I am a fan of it, but I agree that the required technical skills don't compare favorably to MTB racing. Not just DH or Enduro, but even XC.
Enduro racing is relatively new. Some DH racers end up doing enduro after they're done with DH. Didn't Sam Hill kick ass in enduro for a while?
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Old 03-28-24, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by big john
Very few DH racers wear any armor.
Typo?
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Old 03-28-24, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Typo?
Armour?
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Old 03-28-24, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by big john
Armour?
I thought that most DH racers wore armor. The ones I watched competing at Deer Valley all wore armor, but that was in the 2000s.

Maybe things have changed.
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Old 03-28-24, 12:57 PM
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I like to go to Big Bear CA during the summers to cycle. Some road, but mostly trail riding on my MTB. One year it was some sort of Fox Downhill Pro event. Man - those guys had serious skill (and balls!). It was a lot of fun being in the crowd and bushwacking up some of the trails for the real techy sections so we could have a couple beers and watch the qualifying runs.
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Old 03-28-24, 01:00 PM
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Old 03-28-24, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
I thought that most DH racers wore armor. The ones I watched competing at Deer Valley all wore armor, but that was in the 2000s.

Maybe things have changed.
I thought so, too, but recently I read that many of them are using minimal padding, or none at all. In this video it's hard to tell but it appears they have no padding. Maybe they do and it's just hard to see because of being designed thinner than the old days.

After watching a little more I can see chest coverage on at least 2 of them.

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Old 04-01-24, 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by big john
I thought so, too, but recently I read that many of them are using minimal padding, or none at all. In this video it's hard to tell but it appears they have no padding. Maybe they do and it's just hard to see because of being designed thinner than the old days.
They use padding, you can see them wearing it on videos where they prepare (and are without jerseys).
not plasticky ones anymore, a bit thinner, with elastic D3O material (and similars), sometimes without elbow pads, sometimes without gloves, but knee pads are mandatory I think.
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Old 04-08-24, 11:49 AM
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your friend is right, and that is the reason I decided to get more serious with cycling. I am so out of shape and uncoordinated, I cannot join any local basketball or tennis club because I can’t play any “real” sports like those, but I also don’t want to stay “unhealthy” without any regular exercise.
“Most” popular sports that brings in tons of revenue are much harder and takes much more time to practice to be remotely competitive.
take baseball or football for example, sure, you can round up enough guys together to play a game, but if you want to join any club for “real” games that counts, it takes years of practice to get qualified for a “real team”.
for cycling, you can practice on your own and sign up a local event, and it is within the realm of possibility to do well in the event if the person is very determined.
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