Differences between pros and amateurs

The internet is all about posting and then reposting what has being already posted. Sharing of information if you will. I saw this just then and i feel obliged to share it. Honestly a great great blog. Maybe my new fave cycling related blog? This was a piece that was written outlining some of the more intricate differences between a pro and an amateur. This is a little bit deeper than the “pros get paid and amateurs dont” kinda insight so it is a good read!

1. They spin. Oh, do they spin. They tap out 100 rpm and don’t ever, ever stop. It’s not that they’re necessarily going fast, but they’re always spinning their legs over and a nice tempo. They don’t wasted meter of their ride coasting along. When you ask experienced coaches what the most important aspect of cycling is, they’ll tell you it’s pedaling. It sounds so basic, but there’s nothing that holds more truth.

2. They don’t hammer. They ride casually out to their training grounds nice and easy.  There’s often a coffee stop in there somewhere. I know this isn’t true all season long, but you’d be surprised at how moderate many of their rides are.

3. They do intervals. Once they get to Kinglake, the Dandenongs, or wherever they’re heading, they always have intervals to do. Each of them different. This time of the year will usually entail some strength endurance work up in the hills and a lot of ~150km rides down the beach and back.

4. They ride tightly two abreast and respect the traffic. When traffic is building up behind them, they single up and let is pass. They ride like they have a right to be on the roads, but use common sense and don’t abuse that right. These guys deal with traffic on a daily basis and know how to keep out of trouble. The people who I see most get into pissing matches with the traffic are the punters who don’t know any better. I could go on about this one, but I won’t…

5. The can descend, fast. They’re very comfortable descending and they make it look so easy. The lines they take are picture perfect and they’re in full control. They’ll sometimes even get something to eat or drink at 75km/hr and make it look like there’s nothing to it. Click here for tips on descending.

6. They’ll dress with long sleeve jerseys, leg warmers, vest, and booties even if it’s 20 degrees outside. So PRO.

7. They know how to suffer. You ask most guys what separates an amateur from a PRO, or even a PRO from a top level PRO, they’ll always tell you that the best of them know how to suffer. They can hold on just that little bit longer and can put themselves into the red for a split second longer than the others until they crack. After a crash, they’ll pick themselves up and climb back on. It’s not in the legs, it’s in the head. This often takes years of experience to develop this mindset. It funny that these guys are among the toughest athletes in the world, yet they save their legs and wear lycra.

8. They shine. Everything glistens. Their clothing is in perfect knick, their drivetrain is clean and their bikes sparkle. You can see a PRO from a mile away because of this fact alone. I haven’t confirmed this, but I’m pretty certain they lather up in Mr Sheen every morning.

9 (update). The speed at which they climb is obviously very fast, but when I compete in races such as the National Championships, the one thing that is very apparent is that they are able to keep going at that same speed after 120km into it. That’s when the race really begins. Meanwhile guys like me are on digging fairly deep during every climb and we tend to start tiring out after 100km. The PROs keep going and are able to lift after this point. This is of course something that’s an element of their superior fitness. If you look at some power data you probably won’t see anything outstanding. However, the fact that they’re often so damn light brings their power to weight ratios through the roof.

10 (update). To the point above, most of the time it is quite striking how small many (not all) of the PROs are. Even guys who look fairly large in photos or on television are still quite small compared to most of us. When on the bike everything is in proportion so it’s tough to get a feel for their size, but when you see many professional cyclists in regular clothing you’ll notice how small you need to be to compete at the highest level.


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