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Just How Good Are Professional Bike Riders? | Ask GCN Anything


(swishing) – Welcome back to Ask GCN Anything. Coming up on this week’s edition, we’re going to be telling you how to improve your
performance in criteriums. – What to wear on an indoor tummy trainer. – Yep, whether or not
to do recovery rides. – And can you wee off
the side of your bike? – Yes, as ever, answering the most
important cycling questions right here on GCN. As a reminder of how you can
get your questions into us, Chris? – It’s #torqueback for all
your cycling questions. And then #AskGCNTraining, if you want to be in with
the chance of winning the free three month
subscription to Zwift. – Hmm, and using that
hashtag torqueback last week was Anders Hafstad, who has our first
question this time around. He asks, if you’d like, If you take an average
pro cyclist, should I say, let’s say Lantern Rouge
at the Tour de France, Lawson Craddock, and made him race an
average amateur cyclist, how far back in time would he need to go regarding equipment and gear to lose a duel of, let’s
say, 10 kilometers in a race? – I just noticed he put Lantern Rogue, which I think’s even funnier. (chuckling) Anyway, have you forgotten Lawson Craddock actually broke his shoulder blade? And he’s probably anything but average for finishing the Tour
de France last year. But the answer is, you’d actually have to go a long way back, wouldn’t you? Because even your average world tour rider would make most amateurs
look distinctly amateur. – Yeah they would. It depends what you call amateur cyclist and weekend warrior really, isn’t it?
– Yeah. – I mean you get some very good ones that have got a lot of times riding a bike and they wouldn’t be quite as better off but in general the increase is right, you go back decades in terms of equipment and a world tour pro of the
level of Lawson Craddock who let’s not forget was top
ten Amstel Gold last year would still kick butt with me. – Yeah, I wouldn’t wanna try and race him. – No, me neither, especially Lee, he says oh I will be getting up to 300 watts so we might get a fit,
quick campaign, Chris. Question number two, this tweet comes in from Ricardo Monzolano, I’m a lightweight rider
with a good watts per kilo but I have an awful
time just to get around the criteria. How can I improve my
ability in sprints and crits without putting on too
much muscle that could worsen my climbing? Since Chris is the crits specialist out of the two of us here, I’ll actually let him answer the majority of this I think. – Well Ricardo, it’s
not a lot cause because you get loads of crit
riders that are actually really lightweight and I
mean like some 60 kilos so, – But Tom Pidcock’s a good
example here in the U.K. – Yeah exactly, and a lot of
the cross riders actually, they’re quite light and they’re also really good at crits as well so on that note, don’t worry too much I think what you need to address though is perhaps your positioning if you are in like 15 to 25th position in the bunch, you’re gonna have a really hard time because the front riders will be getting through the corners and you’ll
still be on the brakes meanwhile they’re already accelerating which means on the next straight, you’ve got a massive catch-up to play and that’s gonna take its toll throughout the course
of the race isn’t it? – Yeah, yeah, they’re very hard criteria not if you’re out of position that’s for sure, and also the demands of the criteria are completely different to the time shoulder or a climb it might feel like you’re on your max the whole area, which you are but the power demands are unrecognizable basically,
a good time trial or long can be a fairly
steady power the entire time for an hour or so
otherwise in the criteria I mean it’s just an enormous number of spikes and then rests and
then freewheeling etcetera so you need to kind of
take that into account when you’re training for it I mean you need to be good at sprinting and then recovering very quickly and then sprinting again, if you don’t do that in training, you’re probably not gonna get much better than I am. – No, unless you can get
to the front in the first five to ten minutes or sooner and then stay there, the ride is in the first, what, from like third to six wheel, they have a much easier time of the race than anyone else because, they’re not on the front,
they’re not on the wind but at the same time,
they’re not responding to all these accelerations that everyone is farther back.
– Yeah, very true. Alright good luck with your
criteriums this year Ricardo and if you’re out there wondering what the hell a criterium is well actually the video many years ago with John Chocolate Voice Beavan explaining exactly that and
you can find it just here. – [John] What is a criterium? A criterium or crit is a
short race lasting between one and two hours on a circuit of a couple of kilometers or so, they’re most popular in the U.S.A with races taking place nationwide on a professional and amateur level almost every weekend however the appeal of the criterium is stretched worldwide and of course one of the most star-studded crits, the people’s choice classic kicks off the year in
downtown Adelaide every year. – It’s time to announce who has won three amongst
free subscriptions to Zwift this week and that winner is Rich O’Donoghue. – So get in touch with us on Facebook Rich is training for a
100 miles ride due in May. He’s using GCN’s indoor training videos as part of his routine
for some focused training, going out for a long ride
at the end of the week which he aims to up the mileage of each and every week, he’s using Mondays and Wednesdays as a rest and Saturdays for
optional, gentle training. How many days a week could I use the indoor trainer before my long ride at the weekend? Do I need to have days off in between? He mixes the videos up to include high intensity indoor training, sweet spot, power and strength and wants to know if he’s right to do so many different sessions in one week. – Wow, you’ve made the
best possible start, I will begin by saying, in that you have set out, out loud now until you’re saying what your goal is that 100 mile event
that’s coming up in May, that’s really important when you start to make a training program so that you can keep your focus. You’ve already got some
very good structure to your training week by the sounds of it, we have Monday and Wednesday
being your easier days using decent indoor work, that’s what you found on YouTube, is going to add an extra element of preciseness to your training. – Yep, so as you mentioned, Mondays and Wednesdays as of rest, alright then you use Thursdays and Fridays for really good, targeted, high-intense interval training indoors
and doing it back to back will give you an extra
boost to your fitness as it’ll provide an extra
stress to your body. – Yeah it’s like a form of
block period though, isn’t it? When you do a specific thing in one week and that is exactly what I would suggest so you target a specific aspect
of your fitness each week so on that Thursday and Friday back to back session in one week, you might want to focus on
high-intensity interval training and next week you might want to focus on sweet spot for example. – And by doing It back to back, you’re really overloading
that energy system and when you start to recover from it, that’s when you’ll notice the benefits. – It is indeed, what I’d also suggest is that you structure it as three
weeks of focused training on a specific aspect of your fitness but then in the fourth
week, you do something that’s far more unstructured so that it gives you a
bit of a mental break and there’s a great way of doing it, it’s called Zwift racing. – Yeah, well it’s quite
painful, actually, Dan. – Yeah. – So what you could do is you could have a really
nice, easy ride on a Thursday on the road if you’ve got the time and then on the Friday, log in to Zwift and find yourself an
event that appeals to you. You can either choose
something that’s short or long, you can do that differently
every fourth week, can’t you? And the reason for doing this is, is it will provide you
with a different stimulus to what you’ve been
doing throughout the week but it will also kind of
wake up every part of you. – That’s right, every
aspect in one go basically, – It does.
And that’s important. – In recovery, perhaps. – Except recovery. – Yeah, as I said, they
are kind of a mental break but that said, looking at the faces of some of the presenters here
when they’ve been racing, it doesn’t look like
quite such a mental break as perhaps it should be but it means you don’t
have to think too much about focusing on specific target powers or heart rates or kenzies
or whatever it might be, you jump on the bike, you
go as high as you can, you can’t keep up with the group and that gives you a great workout. – Yeah and the best thing is, you don’t even need to
worry about the result, you’re just there for the training. – Yeah, exactly. It’s time now for our quick-fire round but since I’m back doing
an edition of Ask GCN, I think it’s going to be far
slow, I’m afraid, this week, no racing against the
Australian team Pursuit Squad. The first question though
comes in from George Finley. Why do you wear your race
kit while on the trainer? Doesn’t it make you hotter? There’s no air resistance
against you so what’s the point? – Well, as a cyclist, you’ve
got loads of cycling gear funny enough and it’ll
make no sense to go out and buy a normal shirt
like you suggested there and to be really honest,
it gets pretty hot so you end up taking it off and just riding in bib
shorts most of the time. – Yeah basically, the reason you see us wearing our kit is to make the videos look a little bit better rather than exposing our chests wearing these undervests underneath. But in general, we’re not home and I’ve been doing some self
vestitions recently I do wear just either just an undervest or I’ll go without an undervest a and just the bibs. It’s a great look I have to say, people been loving it
on wiki gs and vlogs. Right, this one came in
from Michael Roberts. I’m a keen cyclist that hasn’t been able to get out a lot over winter. I spend a lot of time at the gym in which there are some bike machines. They are different to the Wahoo trainers so would I use a different
workout or the same? – Well I don’t see why you
should use a different one because you’re still pedaling a bike and it will still provide
you with resistance, it may not feel quite the same so work on setting that gym bike up to replicate the position
that you’ve got at home and you should be alright. – If it needs a greater power meter, you might find disparencies between the different power on your Wahoo versus your trainer at the gym so you might not want to target exactly the same power outputs but you can do exactly the same sections. Next up, we’ve got this
from Jonathan Zappala. If I can only do one mountain within four hours of Geneva
Switzerland in August it has to be Alp d’Huez right? Is that the top bucket list experience or should I consider another, I like to call it Colle delle Finistre? – I think this is one for you,
Dan I would avoid them all. – Why is it, I mean it’s one
of those things isn’t it? Bucket lists are about
ticking off your goals in life and Alp d’Huez is always gonna be right at the top of most cyclist’s lists because it’s the most famous one and so you want to get an experience just to see what all the fuss is about but I think once you’ve ticked that off, something like Colle delle
Finistre is also a must-do if you can access it which
it sounds like you can so I would thoroughly recommend that even though I’ve not
actually been there myself. So I feel like I have
no matter how many times I’ve watched slide and Matt’s
video on it but anyway. – MRN Bricks. On a ride a while ago, I saw a guy riding at
full speed whip it out and pee off into the ditch
by the side of the road without stopping and without crashing. Can you guys do this and is it common? – No, I didn’t use to do
that actually, did you? – I can do it but I don’t do it. – We should obviously say
that we’ve never done it or at least I’ve never done
it in training, have you? – No, definitely not, not in training. – There’s no reason on a training route to go down a road with,
how can I express this? But peeing off the side basically and bringing your bib shorts down, you can find a nice place out of the way and do it there. In races, sometimes, people will find that it can be necessary if they need to go when the
race is really on though. – Yeah and you’ve miscalculated that if that’s the case as well. (laughing) You can guarantee one of three
things will happen though, you go back to school, the camera will all of a sudden appear or someone else will go for a wee and will go all over you. – Yeah, camera with one
of those massive lenses. – Yeah it has to be big innit. – Right this came in form Jim Tilbrook. Can you guys and girls at GCN
recommend a free training app, to get me started to
maximize my potential? – Well I thought
TrainingPeaks was a good start because it’s free, at a basic level, and it will enable you to
keep a good training diary, where you can keep all your comments and notes about how everything’s going and with a little bit of foresight, you can actually plan everything ahead. – Yeah it’s harder to
find a program tailor-made for you if it’s going to be free, because obviously that sort of
expertise should be paid for. But as Chris mentioned that’s
a great way to keep track of what you’ve been doing. And you’ll find plenty of assets online, to try and write your
own training programs, so if you don’t want to spend any money, I would suggest doing that. – Carl Mullender, are there
any training programs available specifically for older riders (over 60) as much of your brilliant ideas are well beyond us older folk. With a question mark so
maybe he’s not convinced. – Well I wouldn’t know
Carl, I’m getting older but I’m still not even 40 yet. But I haven’t actually looked for online specific training programs for people that are in their
sixties or even seventies, there must be some advice out there and it is something that
we need to do more of here on GCN to cater
for our older viewers. That’s it, I would imagine it’s just more about
focusing your recovery between sections and make sure that you’re not over
loading yourself too much. – Yeah my father-in-law
is in his late sixties, it was his birthday yesterday actually. And he rides around 12 to 15,000km a year and recovery is the big difference, he still races, he still does lots of intensity.
– Ah a lot. – Yeah it’s quite impressive. So just make sure you stay
on top of your health, that’s the big thing, energy
levels, health, recovery. – Okay. Our last question in this
extended quick fire round is from Ivan Patino. I’m new to Zwift and I
have been obsessively comparing my heart rates to other riders, I’m often in Zone 5 in order
to keep up with the group, which is usually in Zone 3. Is there any special training I can do to keep my heart rate lower
in the middle of the ride? – I would say don’t stress,
keep yourself hydrated, get on indoor trainer
and keep yourself cool, so big fan not, the bigger
the better, outside. And then just keep going with
the process of your training, and you’ll find that as you get fitter, for the same intensity, your heart rate does drop a little bit. But it’s quite personal to you, so maybe you are just someone
with a really high heart rate. – It is very personal. I’ve always found that compared to others, my heart rate goes up quicker
at the start of a ride, I’ll immediately get to 130 or 140, or at least I used to be, but heat as Chris mentioned
is a huge factor indoors. And to give you a current example, riders have been saying
it’s all and under that their heart rates have been
sky high from the start, because the temperatures have been going up to 40 degrees C. So anyway of keeping
yourself cooler indoors whether it’s a big fan or
multiple fans or air conditioning or whatever it might be, should help you to keep
your heart rate down. We’ve got another crit
related question now. Chris chose those because
he’s the expert on crit and it makes me look
a look a little stupid from that point of view. But anyway it came in from Olivia Ray. I’m a Kiwi living and studying
in the southeast of America. Talking a 60 minute crit, what is the best mental preparation you guys can give in regards
to not letting an attack or a crash or anything negative etcetera affect you in the race? – So personally, I was a sprinter, and crashes are kind of part of that. You always spend your time avoiding them, you avoid hundreds in one race. And the key to focus on, is what you want to achieve
at the end of the race. So if you want to win the
race, then you focus on that, and nothing else really
gets in the way of it. Coupled to that I was
also really confident with handling my bikes, so I recommend doing that and doing some really good
low speed skill sessions, which help you become one with your bike, so you always feel confident
in any situation and scenario, and that way, you feel like
you are quick to avoid crashes and that they’re no
longer part of something that you’re concerned about, because you’re just so
confident on the bike. That’s the key to me. – I crashed a lot, and
I always got back up and went back and crashed again. So I think being stupid sometimes, can help you from that point of view, you still remain focused on your end goal, but perhaps I should have worked on my bike handling a bit Chris. – And relaxing, relaxing on the bike, that the most important thing I think, alright our final question this week, comes in from Steve Bowden. #ASKGCNTraining. Rest days/Recovery Spins. I spin my leg for 45 minutes on rest days, between 85 and95 RPM. I understand the need, anything up to an hour
seem to be the guide. When I hear you guy talk about rest days, you use words like feet up. Is a recovery day, inclusive
of a recovery spin up, also any tips on recovery drills. Or is anything in power
zone 1 good enough? It’s an interesting one this, we got a link to a video shortly which we made all
entirely on this subject, about how to do a recovery right. And in writing that video, I
did quite a lot of research and I think the jury
pretty much is still out on whether there’s any benefit or not to doing a proper recovery right. If you do do one, you should
definitely keep it in zone one, and you can just do 20
minutes or half an hour, anything beyond that, there’s
definitely no extra advantage. And I would also say, that it’s really only
for full time riders. If you’re working full-time, and you’re training four
or five days a week, on those other days I would say
just have it completely off, give yourself a mental break,
don’t get yourself kitted up, and just focus on the days
that you are training. Go for a walk and have a light stretch, if you really do need to do something. I don’t think there’s any kind
of specific recovery drills that you can do, just go
out and do an easy ride, if you have to when the weather’s great, and you want to go to
the café for example. But if you’d like to, see that video, all about recovery rides, it’s
coming up for you right now. – Now before we start to explain exactly how to do a recover ride, what actually is one supposed to do then? Well, it is a way to
gently boosting blood flow around the body through gentle exercise, and then the theory is, that it’ll help deliver nutrients
to your damaged muscles, and also start to flush out
some of the waste products from them that will have
accumulated, through hard training. I don’t know about you
Chris, but recovery rides, we’re always my favorite
rides of the week. – I hated them, I’d put
them off, and in fact. – Recovery rides?
– I genuinely hated it, because I’d hate.
– I’d done my actual training. – I’d always be really tired,
I’d always be really tired, get kitted up, and then just think, it’s just a lot of hassle, 20 minutes in the tub was enough. – I’ll tell you what I
did as real youngster, like 18, when I was
really, really, obsessed with getting the most out of myself, I used to start going on the trainer for 10 or 15 minutes in the
evenings, really really easy. And I actually found, at least from a heart rate perspective, that’s quite beneficial, and
my heart rate would be lower when I’d rested for a
couple of minutes afterwards and it wasn’t my first go on then. I’ve stopped doing that, took
up too much time and energy. – And yeah that’s pretty much
it for this week’s Ask GCN. And, I think a reminder of
how you ask your question, you can leave it in the comment
section just down below. You can use #TORQEUBACK on social media, or if you’d like to get on the chance of winning three months
free subscription to Zwift, the hashtag for that is ASKGCNTRAINING. – If you love to check out the epic climb of the Cul de Finisterre,
click over there. – Finisterre.
– I’m not French. – Leave your comments
about his pronunciation in the comments below. Or if you prefer to do our, do this, or if you’d like to
choose between the two, that video is just up here. – And if like me you
need a size large hoody, that’s the shop. – He’s gone form M to L in
the space of a few months, doesn’t bode well Chris does it?

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