What does it take to be a professional cyclist?


TDF2012_13e_étape_peloton_04_(cropped)I think its assumed that you need a lot of talent to become a professional cyclist but personally I think you can get a long way with hard work, motivation and a positive attitude.  Which definitely counted me out when I was in my teens.  When I wasn’t at school I don’t think I got out of bed until dinnertime!

Thinking back though I don’t know what I did with all the spare time I had.  Now I’m 31 years old, married and have a young family with 2 young children.  But somehow I manage to find the motivation to ride 6000 miles a year, even if it means getting up at 5am to ride my bike in the middle of winter.

I think we’d all love a quick fix that would enable us to reach all our cycling goals but the reality is that basically you need to get the miles in.  Turning pro is definitely not a goal of mine, as I’m well past it now.

What about me?

If you are still in your teens or even your early 20s and you don’t come from a cycling family it can be hard to know where to start.  Of course the first thing you should do is join a club.

Basically though its hard work that’s needed.  You should aim to ride your bike at least 3 times a week to start with.  Build up your mileage gradually.  Through the winter November, December and January you should be aiming to do 1000 steady miles a month.  Once you start racing in spring you can back off the mileage.  But the old adage is that “races are won in the winter”.  There are no easy ways to build up the endurance needed for road racing, but if your committed with your training over a few years you will reap the rewards.

There is a good reason why cyclists don’t reach their best years until their late twenties, it’s because it takes a decade of regular training to build the endurance.

There’s no need to be obsessed with having the latest equipment or the latest training gizmo.  At the end of the day you can’t replace having the miles in your legs, just get out and ride.

Like most things in life, if you work hard and you want something enough you will go far…