The life of a professional cyclist

The life of a professional cyclist

“It’s just like riding a bike.” How many times have you heard this said? But, in general, there is nothing easy about riding a bike. Racing professionally is a tough lifestyle that actually requires dedication and sacrifice 365 Days a year, 24 Dave Zabriskie
24 hours a day. With salaries far removed from those of the “big four” athletes – baseball, football, basketball, and hockey – the most popular sports in the United States – the reality is far from the glamorous life that we imagine all athletes live. the cyclist literally eats cycling, sleeps and sees cycling, travels by bike and lives by cycling every single day.

Athletes taking part in the Amgen Tour of California typically cycle twice as many miles per year as the average person in their car. Professional cyclists have from 20 to 25 thousand training and racing miles in their legs per year. It’s a huge amount of time in the saddle, and like any other sport, it all starts with training.


to provide energy for training and racing 100 miles or more a day, you need a full, healthy diet and a disciplined diet. pros typically consume a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, a lot of carbohydrates from pasta, rice and potatoes, and protein for muscle growth, regeneration and recovery. “when i’m out for a long time or in the middle of a hard workout block, i eat a lot of carbs. When I train easy, eat less, explains the current US national champion George Hincapie. – i do not eat unnecessary and harmful fats. luckily, my wife (melanie) is a great cook and she cooks my meals when i’m home. I don’t really drink strong alcoholic beverages, but I do drink a glass of wine almost every day at lunch.”david zabriskie

multiple u.s. split-start champion david zabriskie agrees: “my wife cooks organic and healthy food when i’m at home. i wouldn’t eat a piece of chocolate cake if she offered it to me, but being constantly on the road, i admit that it’s hard to resist this beast known as fast food.”

Riders should eat and drink on the bike to maintain normal fluid levels in the body, as well as to conserve energy resources. during training, riders consume energy bars that are rich in carbohydrates and contain protein. They also feed on energy gels, which provide fast delivery of carbohydrates and calories. Some indulge in slices of carrot or banana pie. “I have a rule that I always follow: never go hungry on the bike,” says Hincapie. Athletes who compete in multi-day races know that what they eat today will fuel their race tomorrow.

There’s more to it than just bottled water. Pros drink electrolyte-rich beverages and sometimes even caffeinated soft drinks. During races, a soft drink gives you strength in the last hour on the track. In the musette bags that are passed to the riders during the race, you can see energy bars, gels, small cakes and sandwiches that are easy to eat.

Professionals typically burn up to 5,000 calories in a single stage of a multi-day race (the average diet is 2 to 3 thousand calories a day), so you can imagine that they can eat whatever they want, not just to replenish their vital resources, without ever having to worry about it. But, nevertheless, racers are known to be obsessed with their weight – which leads to the development of some eating disorders. Many weigh their food to keep portions under control. A pro can weigh himself after a stage to find out how much food and fluids he needs to consume to regain his racing weight. During the off-season, riders can weigh 3-10 pounds (1.5-5 kg) more than their race weight, and most of them do not think about it, because they know that they will lose excess weight when the intensity of their training increases.

A professional can consult with a doctor or nutritionist to carefully compile a list of vitamins and dietary supplements, while making sure that these products fall within the strict limits of the list of permitted drugs.


hinkepizz heavy training sessions or days of racing are followed by recovery trips: short, light ones that allow the body to recover from the strain of the previous days, to allow the legs to disperse and improve blood circulation. Zabriskie and Hincapie both expressed the need to sleep at least eight hours. Hinkepi also tries to find time to take a little nap after long training sessions when his schedule allows.

after training and racing, racers usually drink a recovery drink with carbohydrates and protein, followed by a full meal to stimulate recovery. during races, teams provide massage therapists to help riders get rid of lactic acid from the leg muscles and relieve the pain and suffering received as badges of honor for the race day’s efforts. when at home, professionals usually do their own massage, or use a foam roller or other device for massage. Riders can also lift their legs to get rid of toxins and lactic acid. There is an old cycling proverb that many professionals follow: “Don’t walk if you can stand. Don’t stand if you can sit. Don’t sit down if you can lie down.”


With races running from mid-January to mid-October, cycling has arguably the longest and possibly most grueling season of any professional sport. With such a long season, professional athletes must carefully keep up the pace and give their bodies and minds the rest they need to stay at the peak of psychological and physical fitness, focus and motivation. One of the factors that collects tribute throughout the year is travel. Both Zabriskie and Hinkepi spend the lion’s share of their racing season in Europe, so they have homes in Girona, Spain, which allows them to minimize the distances they travel when going to and coming from races. They spend the off-season at home in the United States.

“Most of all, I hate moving. It’s excruciating and difficult to recover afterwards, especially after long trips, ” says Zabriskie, who wears compression stockings on his feet during flights to boost recovery.Hincapi, Navy

“We usually arrive the day before the race; before – if this is one of the classic explains, Hincapi. – Flights in Europe are shorter, usually about an hour and a half. the races are long. Usually nothing happens in the first hours, so you have time to work out your legs after a flight made the day before.”

Although professionals travel to race through beautiful, exotic and historic places around the world, they rarely see anything. “we are traveling in a bubble. usually we are so tired that we only see hotels, airports and race routes, ” says zabriskie, who also admits that he has never been on a “real” vacation.

Hincapi enthusiastically travels on vacation in the offseason with his wife Melanie and children, for such “ordinary” places like new York. The wives of both Hinkepi and Zabriskie join their husbands on the road whenever possible, especially when they spend a long time at anchor in Girona. But sometimes it is simply impossible for them to go on a trip. “Leave the girls (wife and daughter approx. TRANS.) is hard and getting harder every year,” says Hincapie.

At the same time, on the way with the team, athletes participate in promotional events and meetings with sponsors. Sometimes they give media interviews and attend daily team meetings and strategy training sessions in the evening or morning before the start. These necessary functions and responsibilities obviously reduce the time allotted for rest, recovery, preparation, but this is part of their job.

Zabriskie and his son Profiki take a responsible approach to their work and adapt their lifestyle to their sports career. When Hincapi during a workout, the phone rings, he tells people that he is in office. When Hincapie and Zabriskie is not at the races, they mainly eat at home, although Hincapi sometimes dines out with friends at home. Zabriskie says, ” Randy (his wife) and I are staying at home. I don’t go out too often and I don’t think I miss anything special.” Zabriskie goes to bed at 11: 30. Hinkepee is sometimes not averse to staying with friends until one in the morning, although “if nothing happens, I can go to bed at 10 pm, but usually I’m awake until midnight.”

While at home in Greenville, South Carolina, Hincapie often sets aside afternoons to visit Hincapie Sportswear headquarters to check out how his and his brother Rich’s cycling and triathlon sportswear business, organized in conjunction with Pla d’adet, the training community that got its name after George’s 2005 Tour de France victory, is thriving. “It is very important to keep an eye on the business regularly, but this is what makes staying in Girona easier. I am less distracted, everything is focused around training, recovery and rest after racing, ” says the proud father, who is usually woken up by his daughter at 7.30 am. “Morning is Julia’s and my time. i check my email, help her get dressed and eat breakfast, drop her off at school, and go to practice at 9: 15.melanie spends the rest of the day doing chores and cooking for us. I really owe her a lot when all this (sports career) is over, ” George laughs.

The daily life of the Zabriskie family in Salt Lake City, Utah, revolves around the house. While on vacation, Zabriskie spends time with Randy and his Xbox 360. Zabriskie recently the couple had a baby. David tries to keep up to date with political events and reads the newspapers daily. His passion is the organization Yield To Life, which promotes road safety for cyclists. Zabriskie seriously injured his leg when he was hit by a car during a training session in 2004. Unassembled, with a subtle sense of humor, he makes jokes with a serious look, and it is clear that he loves most in the life of a professional cyclist: “We are on bicycles all day. Nothing could be cooler.”


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