Pro cyclists bikepacking

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whitestone
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Pro cyclists bikepacking

Post by whitestone » Wed Apr 22, 2020 9:27 am

There was discussion on the Atlas Mountain Race thread about pro racers in bikepacking races - viewtopic.php?f=7&t=15584&start=125#p205696 where Christian Meier was up at the front for quite a while.

In the HT550 doping thread there was a link to this video interview with Sofiane Sehili https://youtu.be/s55r-cENgsc where he talks about the ht550 (starts about 19:50) and then at about 27:15 he talks about pro riders. Some interesting points comparing physical power/speed with mental toughness.
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Re: Pro cyclists bikepacking

Post by slarge » Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:42 am

I think to be a pro you need to be quite tough physically and mentally anyway - they all started from fairly low down the pecking order.

I imagine that the range of mental toughness of pros is smaller that the range of mental toughness of non pros. So, there will be some pros who won't do the long endurance events (Tour Divide type stuff) and there will be some who would excel at them. Getting the ones who have the mental toughness and actually want to do the long events is going to be a small number of people who we may not yet have seen.....?

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Re: Pro cyclists bikepacking

Post by johnnystorm » Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:51 am

I think there is also the aspect of why would some of them do it. If they're getting loads of support from their team, will the team we happy to have them use up a season of funds and fitness on the tour divide? When 20x* the prestige and publicity can be obtained for one day doing Paris-Roubaix? *wild guesstimate.
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Re: Pro cyclists bikepacking

Post by PaulB2 » Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:01 am

Lachlan Morton won GBDuro though that was a slightly odd format so it'll be interesting to see if he continues that progression into other multi-day races like the Colorado Trail Race or HT550 and maybe the TDR.

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Re: Pro cyclists bikepacking

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:22 am

I love the way we all seem quite surprised that pro cyclists are good at riding bikes :wink:
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Re: Pro cyclists bikepacking

Post by pistonbroke » Wed Apr 22, 2020 2:40 pm

For completeness, 2 Lotto Soudal pro's Tim Wellens and Thomas de Gendt rode a chunk of the Montañasvacias trail at the end of last year. 2 Belgian hard men, Wellens wore the polka dot jersey for most of the Tour de France last year. They seemed to be enjoying themselves but only did 3 days due to ice and snow. Pretty sure their only motives were to have a laugh and it gave Ernesto's cause of highlighting rural depopulation a big boost.
Last edited by pistonbroke on Wed Apr 22, 2020 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Pro cyclists bikepacking

Post by sean_iow » Wed Apr 22, 2020 2:41 pm

It's also easy to forget that pro racing isn't just about riding bikes, it's about advertising. On a day in The Tour when it's guaranteed to be a sprint finish there will still be a few riders we've never heard of who have no chance of wining the stage who go up the road in the breakaway all day only to be caught in the last 5km. Why do they bother? Because all day whilst they fruitlessly attempt to keep the peloton behind there are half a dozen helicopters and 20 motorcycle cameras beaming the sponsors names on their jerseys all over the world.

Why would a pro-team want a rider who is paid to advertise their sponsor head off for a bikepacking race when most have a strict no-media rule? The newer races like the SRMR or GB Duro have their own media but I'm sure the coverage isn't enough to warrant a highly paid athlete taking part. EF have done well with their 'alternative' calendar but (no disrespect to Morton) I'd not heard of him before this and I sort of follow the grand tours and keep up a bit with the classics.

I'm sure more pros will take part and in a way that's a good thing. If you're a local karter you don't get to race against F1 stars on a Saturday morning. Even better, if you're in a race with a pro and you beat them you get bragging rights for a long time. This might be what stops more teams from letting riders compete, it's not great publicity if one of the professional athletes gets beaten by a 50 year old IT professional who's training is the ride to work 3 times a week :lol:
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Re: Pro cyclists bikepacking

Post by Alan63 » Wed Apr 22, 2020 2:43 pm

pistonbroke wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 2:40 pm
For completeness, 2 Lotto Soudal pro's Tim Wellens and Thomas de Gendt rode a chunk of the Montañasvacias trail at the end of last year. 2 Belgian hard men, Wellens wore the polka dot jersey for most of the Tour de France last year. They seemed to be enjoying themselves but only did 3 days due to ice and snow. Pretty sure their only motives were to have a laugh and it gave Ernesto's cause of highlighting rural depopulation a big boost.
They also rode home from the Tour of Lombardy in 2018 albeit on road. As you say, it was a couple of pals enjoying themselves.

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Re: Pro cyclists bikepacking

Post by Taylor » Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:37 pm

A handful of years back I was talking to Oli Beckingsale in his shop about BB200.
He swore at me and told me that was a mental event and there's no way he would attempt such a feat.
Oli has been to the Olympics 4 times, commonwealth games 3 times, world's, Europeans and won the nationals twice.

Some people haven't got that inner desire to be a tramp.

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Re: Pro cyclists bikepacking

Post by faustus » Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:50 pm

sean_iow wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 2:41 pm
It's also easy to forget that pro racing isn't just about riding bikes, it's about advertising. On a day in The Tour when it's guaranteed to be a sprint finish there will still be a few riders we've never heard of who have no chance of wining the stage who go up the road in the breakaway all day only to be caught in the last 5km. Why do they bother? Because all day whilst they fruitlessly attempt to keep the peloton behind there are half a dozen helicopters and 20 motorcycle cameras beaming the sponsors names on their jerseys all over the world.

Why would a pro-team want a rider who is paid to advertise their sponsor head off for a bikepacking race when most have a strict no-media rule? The newer races like the SRMR or GB Duro have their own media but I'm sure the coverage isn't enough to warrant a highly paid athlete taking part. EF have done well with their 'alternative' calendar but (no disrespect to Morton) I'd not heard of him before this and I sort of follow the grand tours and keep up a bit with the classics.

I'm sure more pros will take part and in a way that's a good thing. If you're a local karter you don't get to race against F1 stars on a Saturday morning. Even better, if you're in a race with a pro and you beat them you get bragging rights for a long time. This might be what stops more teams from letting riders compete, it's not great publicity if one of the professional athletes gets beaten by a 50 year old IT professional who's training is the ride to work 3 times a week :lol:
Making this topical: would that be because the 50 year old IT professional could dope as much as he liked, whereas the pro would be 'clean' (whatever that means at the moment, exercise induced asthma included of course) :wink:

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Re: Pro cyclists bikepacking

Post by sean_iow » Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:00 pm

faustus wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:50 pm
Making this topical: would that be because the 50 year old IT professional could dope as much as he liked, whereas the pro would be 'clean' (whatever that means at the moment, exercise induced asthma included of course) :wink:
:lol: maybe, but maybe the 50 year old professional is genetically gifted but grew up in the wrong location, or their parents weren't interested in bike racing.

As they say, there are no bus drivers in Formula 1 but there might be plenty of potential F1 world champions driving busses.

Also, once an event gets really long it's as much mental as physical, so armatures aren't at such a disadvantage, if anything it takes greater mental strength to be out training in all weather's AND have a full time job and a family.
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Re: Pro cyclists bikepacking

Post by jameso » Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:06 pm

I used to think the main thing stopping a Pro from racing something like the TransAm or TDR would be the way it may ruin any top-end form they have and/or the recovery time needed to get back to race form. It's a real change of tack career-wise? Some or all of that may happen on a 6-8 day event, but I expect the longer races just become too much about managed attrition and take too much out of a rider? Yet Lachlan Morton continues to race Pro road so perhaps that level of fitness carries them through multi-day stuff in better shape, or the GBDuro stage format makes a real difference to that aspect.

I have no idea how well those guys recover, can you develop to be better at it? I'm sure they just get better support and have more time for it, plus know how to do it effectively. The physical effects and the sleep deprivation fatigue all adds up though, there's no way anyone pushing hard comes out of the longer races in good shape. Takes a while to get back to normal.

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Re: Pro cyclists bikepacking

Post by Shewie » Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:10 pm

Pro bikepackers just doesn’t sound right, that’s like getting paid to go hiking. :grin:

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Re: Pro cyclists bikepacking

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:21 pm

Surely, a pro-roadie has very little to gain career wise by entering a bikepacking race? Something road based like the TCR might be a little different but as an example, the TD would produce little in the way of career enhancement.

Also, as a pro, what if you get beaten by someone 'normal'? That can't look too good can it? :wink:
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Re: Pro cyclists bikepacking

Post by PaulB2 » Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:22 pm

Shewie wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:10 pm
Pro bikepackers just doesn’t sound right, that’s like getting paid to go hiking. :grin:
People do get sponsored to run ultras which is sort of the hiking equivalent

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Re: Pro cyclists bikepacking

Post by Shewie » Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:32 pm

PaulB2 wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:22 pm
Shewie wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:10 pm
Pro bikepackers just doesn’t sound right, that’s like getting paid to go hiking. :grin:
People do get sponsored to run ultras which is sort of the hiking equivalent
Yeah ‘spose

I get there could be pro riders in a gravel discipline series, but ain’t bikepacking more about loading up a bike with camping gear and buggering off to the hills for a few days.

Unless you’re doing timed stuff of course, then that’s racing, dunno?

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Re: Pro cyclists bikepacking

Post by whitestone » Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:38 pm

Sofiane's point in the video is that he and several others in the ultra world came to these races from bike touring so they were used to long days, day after day and the attrition it brought whereas the pro riders whilst incredibly fit and strong maybe do five or six hours a day, then get looked after - fed, masseuse, etc. That's not to say something like a grand tour isn't taxing but it's really only the GC contenders who have form for the entire race, the domestiques all peak at different times so that there's always someone to protect the team leader.

That being looked after helps with mental fatigue as well, there's no "can I make it to xxxx in time to get resupplies?" worry

I think it would be unusual for someone in contract to attempt something like the TDR but maybe immediately post career while there's still that residual fitness. After he won the TDR a few years ago Josh Kato said that he basically took six months off the bike other than heading to the local river to go fishing.
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Re: Pro cyclists bikepacking

Post by sean_iow » Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:39 pm

jameso wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:06 pm
I have no idea how well those guys recover, can you develop to be better at it? I'm sure they just get better support and have more time for it, plus know how to do it effectively.
Isn't that the main advantage of being a pro? Most of us could probably get up early enough to do a hard 3 hour training ride in the morning but we couldn't then go and lay down for 3 hours with our legs elevated, we'd have to go to our real jobs.

It's recovery I (and I'm sure lots of leisure riders) find hardest to do. It just doesn't seem like you're getting fitter laid down :grin: The current situation is helping, if the way to be fitter is to recover better I'll be off to the Olympics when they lift the restrictions :lol:
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Re: Pro cyclists bikepacking

Post by Lazarus » Wed Apr 22, 2020 8:23 pm

cyling is like athletics it has many different events from very short track sprints to grand tours to the tour divide.
I dont think its safe to assume anyone can do all of them equally well, in either athletics or cycling - though you may get the odd exception like lachlano or say wiggins and Thomas.

Another way of looking at it is how may cycling tramps could become pros in the peloton never mind win a grand tour.

Very few is my guess.

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Re: Pro cyclists bikepacking

Post by htrider » Wed Apr 22, 2020 8:30 pm

Bearbonesnorm wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:22 am
I love the way we all seem quite surprised that pro cyclists are good at riding bikes :wink:
But that ain't enough. Things like the HT550 are about 1/3 fitness, and 2/3 nous. If you look at the history of it, plenty of very fit people have bailed due to being unable to deal with weather conditions and plenty of not so fit people have done it in good times because they have been able to deal with rubbish weather. The really fast times have either been done by people who can do both, or have been lucky with the weather.

It's pointless being able to go like the clappers if you can't get good rest dry and warm, manage to source and eat enough scran and be able to ride your bike over madly technical trails. I was interested to see how Sophiane Sehili would have dealt with the trails on the HT as he doesn't have a pedigree of mountainbiking that I could find

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Re: Pro cyclists bikepacking

Post by Lazarus » Wed Apr 22, 2020 9:00 pm

Another fair point and we have to bring in technical skills associated with the terrain and weather/ outdoors skills


didnt he bale in the tour divide due to weather citing his lack of expertise? think it was snowing and he probably was not equipped for that cold a night.

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Re: Pro cyclists bikepacking

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Wed Apr 22, 2020 9:01 pm

Things like the HT550 are about 1/3 fitness, and 2/3 nous. If you look at the history of it, plenty of very fit people have bailed due to being unable to deal with weather conditions and plenty of not so fit people have done it in good times because they have been able to deal with rubbish weather.
It's pointless being able to go like the clappers if you can't get good rest dry and warm, manage to source and eat enough scran and be able to ride your bike over madly technical trails.
That's absolutely true Phil but the above isn't 'riding bikes'. In fact, it's what seperates riding bikes or racing them from bikepacking ... as you say :wink:
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Re: Pro cyclists bikepacking

Post by jameso » Thu Apr 23, 2020 7:42 am

Surely, a pro-roadie has very little to gain career wise by entering a bikepacking race?
Generally I'd agree. Was thinking of a GT domestique or mid-pack classics rider (at best) more than a top level TDF rider, the kind of rider who's FAF in general terms but not a big name in road racing. They could stand out with a TransAm or TCR win and get good coverage for the team. As events get more polish (SRMR etc) they seem to be more viable as sponsor profile raising races? Not sure how it'd fit with team goals and training plans though.

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Re: Pro cyclists bikepacking

Post by htrider » Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:20 am

Lazarus wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 9:00 pm
didnt he bale in the tour divide due to weather citing his lack of expertise? think it was snowing and he probably was not equipped for that cold a night.
It was pretty bad to be fair but Josh Kato and the guy who won pushed through it. Bit like last years Highland Trail - a few fast folk who'd gone ultra minimalist bailed as they didn't have the gear to deal with weather. People like Karl did! There also seemed to be a bit of racer mentality creeping in to the HT and the TD - i.e if your not going to get the record ( because the weather/ trails are horrible) there is no point in continuing....

Whatever, those who understand what these things are about know the score!

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Re: Pro cyclists bikepacking

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:28 am

There also seemed to be a bit of racer mentality creeping in to the HT and the TD - i.e if your not going to get the record ( because the weather/ trails are horrible) there is no point in continuing....
I thought something similar last year. Obviously there will be those who continue to see things as a personal challange rather than a 'race' and will take whatever's coming but there does appear to be more who's primary goal is to win and if that looks unlikely, then they'll take whatever excuses present themselves.
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