A Day in the Life of a Professional Cyclist
Ever wondered what it would be like to turn your passion for riding into a profession? With one of the longest seasons of any sport, and such gruelling mental and physical requirements for every race, you can assume it isn’t an easy profession to attain or maintain. This article covers some of the main aspects that go into the daily life of a professional cyclist, and will most likely give you a new found respect for your favourite rider!
Fuel for the body and mind
As with any athlete, it’s important for a cyclist to closely monitor what kind of food and drink they’re putting into their body. The quantity, quality and even timespan of what they eat strongly dictates how much energy they will have, how long their energy will be sustained, and how mentally apt they will be, among other factors.
More than just loading up carbohydrate-rich foods like pasta, rice, fruit and vegetables, it’s important for cyclists to keep their energy levels up and hunger levels down during their actual race. Because they need to focus on endurance and keeping driven, they will often snack on energy bars high in protein and carbohydrates for an immediate boost.
In the same way that cyclist’s keep their bodies operating smoothly, it’s important for them to ensure their bikes get some tender loving care as well. Of course, at a professional level most of the off-track maintenance is handled by someone other than the cyclist, but there is still quite a bit of input from the riders.
For starters, it is essential that the cyclist is comfortable with the bike they are using. Each athlete will have their own preferences, and the race team will do everything possible to ensure the rider is completely comfortable.
There are of course typical standards that need to be met, of course, including type pressure, frame height, handlebar positioning, the type of tyres, and more. All of this goes into creating the optimal bike conditions for the cyclist.
The everyday slog
One of the most fundamental and crucial parts of a professional cyclist’s life comes down to the training. Without a strong commitment to putting in a lot of hard work, they will most likely never achieve their sporting dreams.
Pros can spend up to six hours training each day, sometimes longer, to maintain their fitness and assure they’re prime for getting out on the track. It’s not all cycling practise, either; it’s important for them to hit the gym and do weight training and other strength builders as well.
Even in their off-season, where they take several weeks off the bike, they maintain an exercise regime. This keeps their fitness levels up and makes sure they return to the season without having regressed too far.
All in all, the life of a professional cyclist isn’t an easy one. Very few professions require such focus, discipline, dedication and hard work. It could be argued, though, that very few professions allow the same level of achievement and reward as well.