While quiet, I have been busy both on two wheels and in life. In April 2015, I moved to France for reasons personal and professional, I joined a local team – Team Peltrax-CSD and got a 2nd category license, raced a LOT, crashed once – badly, most importantly I DNFed – a good number of times. In my only 4th season of cycling, as a newcomer to the sport, now in the land of the Tour de France, where kids start racing bikes shortly after they learn to walk, I was convinced that I was a square peg trying to fit into a round hole so I had lots of rough edges to smooth.
Not a newcomer to endurance sports, I was figuring things out as I went and I was doing it all ‘by the books’ quite literally and the good ones at it…supposedly (more on that later). I kept a ridiculously detailed diary, I slept enough, I kept my feet up, I took recovery days and weeks, I ate my pasta and my powermeter was my god. I did my base training, I built up to a peak. I sucked at climbing, I practiced hill climbing. I was still not better so I dropped further 4-5kg (8-10lbs)down to 83kg (185lbs) for my 2m (6’7″) frame. I sucked at fast accelerations, I practiced sprinting and riding ‘on the rivet.’ In the last 2 years though one trend became obvious, I was not even close to that day where I laid it all on the road and while I kept contributing that to the whole ‘square peg, round hole’ phenomenon aka lack of experience, even my ability to make the clock tick slower for me and not for others (TTing) started to slow down. So quite honestly I asked myself
…Is it that I am doing it all as I am supposed to and not just getting nowhere, but regressing?? Again I kept going back to me being ‘not your average cyclist,’ however, I looked further and discovered that most of the stuff out there is literally a combination of repetition of old-wives tales (cycling is particularly quite ripe with bullcrap/old unproven wisdom) that have ‘always been done that way,” marketing speak and quite frankly just pure quackery. The same questions kept being asked by different people day after day, with answers more or less always revolving around the aforementioned antiquated information dressed in more modern gadgets and ‘newly discovered training methods.’ In particular my most popular post of which I did a lot of research and really dug down to the fundamentals before posting, was focused exactly on one of the many ‘myths in cycling,’ – weight lifting. Therefore I am certainly not alone in wanting to know the why? rather than just regurgitating the what?.
At first the realisation that I had been doing it all wrong made me angry, no I was quite furious that in the 23 years of sports I have practiced I have been a victim to the ‘no pain, no gain’ syndrome and if I am not progressing it is MY fault that I am not training hard enough (or buying the latest sugar water/gadget/etc.). I realised that my fault lay in the fact that I was not questioning what I was being told even with the good intentions masqueraded behind simply not knowing, however, my responsibility was and always will be in my own hands. As I dug deeper I discovered that quite frankly 90% of the information out there focuses entirely on WHAT needs to be done without knowing WHY? Without knowing the fundamentals and constantly challenging what we already know, there can’t be progress. This needs to change.
When I started TheTallCyclist almost 3 years ago my intention was to share my travels in the world of cycling while at the same time using my experience to help you become a better athlete.
As soon as I realised I have to be hungry and always keep asking why, a whole realm of new information opened in front of me. As they say three is the charm and just as this website is about to turn three years old I feel like my journey is still beginning and while on the way I will always remember one thing.
First principles, Clarice. Simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius. Of each particular thing ask: what is it in itself? What is its nature?
-Hannibal Lecter, Silence of the Lambs
Cover Image copyright to Orion Pictures.