Professional cycling for triathlons
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The Cost Of Pro Cycling - World Tour Team Budgets | Tour De France 2014

How much does it cost to run a World Tour team? Simon Richardson explains all. Subscribe to GCN: Running a cycling team isn't cheap. You've probably seen from...
Tessa's insight:

Images, especially moving images partnered with sounds always are more intriguing than just text. Whilst the information given may not be useful for beginners who are interested in professional or competitive cycling, it is useful to know especially if one is interested in furthering their sports career, especially if one wants to be a professional cyclist.

However, one must consider that the cost of running a world tour team is not applicable to an individual professional cyclist or other professional teams. Thus, whilst the information is interesting, it is not extremely useful. 

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The Felt IA FRD of Tim Reed

The Felt IA FRD of Tim Reed | Professional cycling for triathlons |
Aussie Tim Reed won Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs Lake with a great performance and here is our look at the Shimano equipped Felt IA FRD of this budgie smuggler.
Tessa's insight:

Being able to see what professionals use for their races and what has worked for them is a luxury as usually the equipment they use tend to be their own race secrets. The article isn't wordy and has loads of pictures to showcase the bike and captions help readers know what equipment is used.


However, this article feels just like a infomercial as the data given is only the items used and the brands. Why the cyclist uses these brands or models isn't stated. How the items used are useful isn't explained either.


In hindsight, this article is simply good for getting an up close look at what the professionals use to customize their bicycles. 

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Matt Goss Pro Cyclist Talks Bike Maintenance

Matt Goss gives us an up close and personal look at his training bike and talks specific components and maintenance. If cycling is your thing and you're up f...
Tessa's insight:

Coming from a real professional cyclist who knows how it is like to have a bike and bike problems, the emphasis on good bike maintenance cannot be even more emphasized. Learning maintenance skills and what is needed in maintaining a bike is useful in ensuring the lifespan of both the bike and one's competitive cycling career is extended and not shortened.


The visual information is once again valuable as seeing is always easier in learning as visualizing and understanding from these visualizations makes it easier to absorb information that would be then stored in our brains in the long run.


Whilst the needs of a professional cyclist and a professional bike may be different from beginner cyclists, certain things are universal which may still be applicable for any cyclists who may be watching this video.

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How To Change Gear Like A Pro - YouTube

Carry more momentum and go faster on your bike by changing gear like a pro. Follow GCN on YouTube: Selecting the correct gear fo...
Tessa's insight:

Changing gears is a daunting task that is actually pretty technical. Not many beginners would know how to change gears and what the purpose of changing gears is for, but this video not only educates you on how to change gears, the visual information provided by the video helps one visualize how to change gears and how it would sound and look when gears are being changed. That is useful when applying the skills in real life as the changing of gears may not always be done in a successfully smooth manner.

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Triathlete Beginner Kit: The Bike

Triathlete Beginner Kit: The Bike | Professional cycling for triathlons |
This 2013 Triathlete Buyer’s Guide simple gear list includes the bare necessities you’ll need to get through the bike.
Tessa's insight:

Unlike other beginner kit guides, this guide does not try to implicitly sell you items from certain brands which makes it a very objective article. 

The bare necessities are listed, which makes it useful for a beginner as the dive into professional cycling may be rethought which may mean money wasted. Ensuring that the bare necessities are there would help beginner cyclists be prepared for races and not be at a disadvantage.


The article isn't lengthy and is straight to the point with reasons why the listed items are needed. However the article isn't pushy with the items which allows beginners to decide if they really need the items instead of splurging unnecessarily.

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Beginner’s Guide to Bike Commuting in Singapore: Road Bike as a Commuter Bike | Bike Commuting in SG

Beginner’s Guide to Bike Commuting in Singapore: Road Bike as a Commuter Bike | Bike Commuting in SG | Professional cycling for triathlons |
Tessa's insight:

This article comes from a Singaporean standpoint which makes the article more relatable and useful as I can apply it to riding in Singapore. Whilst I may not ride my road bike as a mode of commuting, the information and comparisons of the pros and cons of riding a road bike is extremely useful in contemplating whether or not to consider using my road bike as a mode of commuting.


What makes this article good as well is that the author is a Singaporean cyclist who has ridden on Singapore's roads as well which adds to his credibility.

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Best bike for beginner Ironman triathletes

Best bike for beginner Ironman triathletes | Professional cycling for triathlons |
Tessa's insight:

Not a very detailed guide for getting a bike for triathlons but it does provide some insightful thoughts on whether or not to splurge on a new bike.


The author provides a short guide to biking and what one should do in order to work your way up to competitive biking. However as the guide is incredibly short, it isn't super useful as it just states that you "should do A" or "you should do B" and it doesn't explain why.

But its redeeming factor is that it comes from a professional athlete's standpoint who started from the bottom as well, which makes it more reliable.

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Performance Psychology in Triathlon

Performance Psychology in Triathlon | Professional cycling for triathlons |
Dr. Tamsin Lewis examines performance psychology in triathlon and what you can do to make yourself faster.
Tessa's insight:

Very much like the article on genetics playing a part in sports, this article focuses on the psychological aspect of triathlon. While it does not focus on biking per say, as my ultimate aim is to learn biking to be able to complete a triathlon, acknowledging that the sport is not just pure physical work but a psychological battle as well would help improve my performance and any other aspiring athletes.


What makes this article even more useful is that it is from a doctor's point of view which has scientific evidence backing it up. What makes it even more credible is that this doctor participates in triathlons herself. That makes it easier for her to understand and relate to all the physical and mental torture that this sport brings an individual. 


Although the article is lengthy, it covers almost all aspects of both physical and mental parts of the sport. Biking in triathlon is only 1/3 of the battle won and can affect the entire race.


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Talent V. Work - Genes and Sport

Talent V. Work - Genes and Sport | Professional cycling for triathlons |
Below is an extended transcript of a magazine interview i did on the role
of genes in sport.

My views, opinion and a bit of background. 

In your opinion, how much of triathlon performance could be attributed to
genetics? Do you feel everyone has the same genetic potential to be as fast
or committed as each other? 


First thing that comes to mind is :

“Hard work beats talent, if talent doesn’t work hard”

Brett Sutton - my first coach as a professional athlete used to beat this
into the squad on a daily basis.

There is without doubt a genetic component to being a top triathlon

However it is a complex issue as the very nature of the sport of triathlon
is that it is multifactorial. 

It is a strength endurance sport which requires a certain muscle make-up. 
The mental side of the sport is massive - especially as the distance of the
event increases. Mental toughness and resilience is in part inherited and
also learnt/developed through early life experiences. 


Someone with a super genetic make-up may not know about this and not get
into triathlon or a similar sport until later in their life. They will
still be at an advantage, in that their VO2Max may be genetically higher
and they make tend to higher natural testosterone levels, allowing them to
develop muscle and a lean body mass more easily. However, some genes need a
’stimulus’ in order to be expressed in the individual. Early participation
in sport when the body is developing - especially pre and peri pubertal
times  when hormone levels are high- can have a strong impact of muscle
development, motor patterns (e.g development of skills needed to perform a
certain sport).  If you spent your teenage years eating popcorn and
drinking alcopops and not playing sport - you will be at a disadvantage
when taking up sport later in life - whether you have sport related genes
or not.

The concept of the 10,000 hours of practice is something that is talked
about in sport, and is expanded about in great detail in David Epstein’s
book - the Sports Gene. 

My view is that 10,000 hours of practice can make you damn good at your
chosen sport/hobby - but without the right genetic mix - being ‘Great’ at
something is far less likely.

So no - I do not think everyone has the same genetic potential, but early
life experiences (this is includes personality development) can mould a
person’s likelihood of being faster or more committed than the next


Did you have any physical traits that lent themselves to being a good
triathlete? Do you know what your figures were for physical parameters like
VO2max and power output? 

I was a sporty child from an early age - but only certain types of sport. I
was thrown into the 800 and 1500m at every school sports day as far back as
I can remember because (despite no training commitment) I always did well.
I was useless at the more skill based sports like javelin or shooting in
hockey… but put me in a sport than required any level of endurance and i

I was also a chubby kid because I loved my food a little bit more than I
did running. I also used food throughout my teens as a comfort blanket as
my parents were going through a difficult divorce. 

I was a regional level runner and swimmer until I developed glandular fever
and a related illness at the age of 13 and stopped doing any competitive
sport until later on at medical school. 

I didn’t get in a swimming pool for more than 5 minutes on holidays for
nearly 10 years.

I took up triathlon in 2007  ‘training’ maybe 6 hours a week maximum at the

A friend (and successful AG triathlete Charlie Pennington ) persuaded me to
sign up for Blenheim triathlon. I didn’t even know what an Age-group was -
but I won my age-group 25-29 and placed overall and featured in 220
magazine. After that I thought that I might have some potential in this
sport and that was how it played out - I qualified for the World AG Champs
in my first ever Olympic distance race. 

I had a VO2Max measured in 2008 at that was around 65 - pretty good but not
spectacular - I was still very much ‘untrained’ relatively speaking at this

My power output on the bike was good for my weight and height, and perhaps
more notably my ‘efficiency’ on the bike measured by friend & Prof Asker
Jeukendrup at Gatorade Sports Institute was high… meaning that I was losing
less power than others with each pedal stroke. I believe this has a learned
component, as I used to ride behind my Dad on a bike from a young age and I
would have tried to copy his riding style.

(You can get an idea about your pedal stroke through Wattbike & improve it
(so they say) through using ellipitical chain-rings like Rotor)

(Not the bit where he rode down steep narrow roads no hands on the bars
putting on a rain jacket though!)

There are a number of medics doing particularly well in triathlon,
especially in the Uk at the moment. Lucy Gossage, Catherine Faux to name
but a few. What are your thoughts on why this might be?

I think the mental discipline it takes to be a good triathlete is something
that is developed in medics in particular as we have to commit to long
intensive study.  We are also competitive and fairly obsessive personality
types. Quirky I like to think, but to anyone that isn't the same the
difference is obvious. 

One of the traits that allows me to be successful is my ability to suffer
- some people just can’t/don't do it like others - the Central Governor in
our brain wants us to self-preserve. Some can over-ride the central
governor better than others and we can train ability to suffer to some

It also comes down to motivation/drive to achieve.

Or for some to self-harm. 
Where is the line?

It takes 6 years of study to become a qualified junior doctor and 10 more
to specialise, to become a Consultant.

We are in it for the long haul.  Because with that qualification you have
peoples’ lives in your hands . This is an incredible feeling and one which
must be respected, reflected upon and not abused. 

Perhaps because I have been through a number of traumatic events in my
early life :

Parental Breakdown, Dysfunctional eating, Depression, Severe head injury
with 72 hours in a coma...  and come out the other side:

This has allowed me to push my limits a bit more. The mind says - ‘Hey,
i’ve been here before.. its ok, we’ll get through this and things will be
better again'. 

What goes up has to come down - as my Dad repeated to me when climbing into
a wet headwind on Dartmoor. 


The way many of our lives have become in recent years is one of comfort.
Food availability, warmth, instant access etc.. the concept of delayed
gratification seems to have been denigrated. 


Ironman is becoming increasingly popular - the ‘new’ marathon running. 

As humans we are not designed to be comfortable - we are designed to evolve
and progress, yet the typical american daily life is one of relative ease
and instant access.

Will we actually regress as a race if this continues?

Let us seek out danger - in the relative sense - push out of the comfort
zones… grow, challenge, meet new people, define new limits. I personally
put off doing triathlon for 5 years (after entering the London Triathlon
numerous times and just not showing up)…

Why ? 

Because I was afraid to fail. 

Afraid to be uncomfortable in the cold murky waters of the River Thames
with hundreds of other flailing limbs.

Afraid of not making it.

Afraid of the pain.

Afraid of the embarrassment of a DNF.



Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway?

I used this as a mantra. 


The perception of fear is often far worse than the emotion actually


You may try and fail. But it won’t be as bad as you think, and the first
hurdle is always the highest. 

We get back up and try again. 

The beauty of triathlon is that there are so many things to work on and to
improve from the beginner to the pro.

Perfection is rare.

Although the Brownlees have got pretty close on occasion IMO ;)


Anything else you would like to add about the impact of genetics on
triathlon performance?

Going back to the start - Talent and Genes will only get you so far. 

Because of the multi-faceted nature of triathlon you can be very successful
if you are very dedicated and cross all the Ts and dot the I’s.

Work-horses rather than Race Horses tend to populate the top of Ironman

There are of course genetic exceptions - Brownlees, Gomez, Chrissie W, Mel

(They have the genes AND work hard. )

Obsessive personality types (genetic trait) often succeed at the top level
because being highly organised can allow you to train optimally and adapt
your nutrition to meet your goals. (I am not one of these people, but I
meet many of them in the sport).

Some are highly organised in training and yet live very in messy
environments. I wont name names :)

It works for some. 

Brett Sutton would say that the state of your bedroom reflects the state of
your mindset. I learnt from this.. although keeping a tidy bedroom with all
the ‘stuff’ that a travelling triathlete has still proves difficult!


I have learnt the hard way, than over-training/reaching and injury are a
common outcome for those that simply ‘work-hard’ without  good coaching

Addictive personality types often over-train at the expense of their
performance and ultimately their health. Because meeting training targets
becomes an obsession in itself. The addiction is to the process and not the

The triathlon culture is one of overtraining.

Overhear any conversation on a training camp dinner table and it will no
doubt involve hours of training done.

You don’t get fitter and stronger from the training itself but from
successful adaptation to a given training stimulus.

Not all training stimuli are created equally and different body types
respond differently to a given stimuli. Adaptation to training an be
maximised by optimal nutrition, sleep and rest. But again, personality
types differ. I became quite depressed just training, eating and sleeping,
because my personality and mind were missing stimulation. I forgot to laugh
and enjoy and taking the foot off the gas sometimes can provide a much
needed reboot. 

Consistent training does not necessarily equal year on year improvement.

Training for training sake certainly doesn not hold any guarantees.

It may do initially but the body is highly adaptable and will get used to a
unvaried training routine. This is why an experienced coach - who gets to
actually SEE you - can change performance parameters. Technique too is
important. Economy of movement is everything when it comes to going long.
Preservation of energy as well as maximising use of energy available. Both
are trainable.

Hours in > Performance Out is not a linear equation.

If you neglect nutrition, supplementation - getting regular blood tests
(endurance sport places significant demands/stresses on the body) - and
sleep - those 10,000 hours of practice may be all for nothing on race day.

A Smart approach to your triathlon training and racing - not obsessing
about training hours - but looking at the whole picture - health,
nutrition, injury prevention, sleep, relationships, work/life balance -
will improve your performance. 


post text....

Brett Sutton comments on why he think The Brownlee's aren't triathlon

"All the outraged brits , goin nuts that i dont think alistar brownlee
is perfect , you think sending me a threatening notes gonna change my
thinking , hehe .
ive said time after time none of the pussy itu guys racing him at the
moment will get near him when he is fit ? why 
he trains hard , and then when trouble strikes unlike the other piece
in sporty docs column , he dont run to mummy and say "mummy i must be
over trained " i got the feelin by the way mummy kick him right up the
arse and say grow up , but a side issue , no , he goes out there and
trains like a man with a goal , does that make him perfect? no not in
my eyes any way, it means , he does same as what all people should do ,
they dont , cause they ask a lot of losers who go to uni to find out
why they too didnt make it , and they get the answer your not talented
enuff or you asked for it 
' u been over trained .'
brownlees are men , they get beat , they go back and train harder , and
no gomez cant beat him no matter what he does and he also trains like a
man , but he has the same gene problem , only little bigger
they have no kick , simple as that . they have no kick ! genes dictate
they wont develop one , so any one there with 400 to go with a kick ,
and they toast , that is why he rabbits out the transition at 2m45 pace
, cause he knows it and is saying , who has got the balls to go with me
in a pain fest for 10 klm , he gets his answer in nearly every race ,
NOt US. look elsewhere!
emma snowsill is a great , just the best itu all time , she too had a
gene problem , couldnt beat fat me over 200 ever but like the brownless
dont have a problem about training their ring off when things go bad .
so she too asked the question to the girls in the first 3m10 klm you
got what it takes to beat ?me she too got the same answer NO!

that my take on the article , so stop sending me shit it upsets my day
fact dont lie 
the doc "

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Tessa's insight:

Whilst this article does not solely focus on professional cycling or triathlon alone, it touches on an issue that I feel is important in understanding when doing the sport or any other sport. The issue of whether people are "built" genetically for sports is an iffy issue and I believe that it isn't and shouldn't be considered a dead end for anyone who wants to pursue sports professionally.


Besides talking about genetics in sports, the article covers more areas in sports and triathlons making it a wholesome article that is useful for athletes who are both starting out and athletes who have been competitive for longer.

However as the article is written from one person's point of view, this article may not resound with many people. The article isn't written in a professional stance with results and statistics, the author is answering questions from his perspective that is pretty balanced, not shooting down either side of the argument. But, the article as a whole has useful information that can be used by almost any athlete.

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ADVICE TO BEGINNERS | Professional cycling for triathlons |
Tessa's insight:

Whilst the article is lengthy and can be boring due to the lack of pictures and the incredible length of the text, it actually is a very valuable source of information. The most accurate way to describe this article is "The dummy's guide for beginner cyclists" as it covers a whole range of topics from choosing a bike, to training and racing tips. The jargon used is also listed, making it useful for beginners who don't want to make a fool out of themselves or when they want to be able to communicate with professionals about their bikes.

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Top 10 Common Cycling Mistakes - YouTube

How to avoid ten of the most common cycling mistakes. Subscribe to GCN on YouTube: Ride your bike safely and comfortably while l...
Tessa's insight:

Being an amateur in any sport is intimidating and often, asking for help makes one feel even smaller than he/she already feels. Using this youtube video as a guide not only helps in looking out for these mistakes, it also helps put these mistakes into perspective as we would know how these mistakes would look like in order to better understand how to avoid them.


For a 5 minute video, quite a lot of information is squeezed in and super useful for beginner bikers.Also, the mistakes listed are pretty much universal and can happen to anyone.

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Coaching: Why bike handling is important for riders of all levels & how to improve yours

Coaching: Why bike handling is important for riders of all levels & how to improve yours | Professional cycling for triathlons |
It was apparent in the 2012 Tour of Kildare Sportive event on a rainy August Sunday. The high fitness levels of so many riders weren’t matched by their skills. It could have been almost any Irish sportive event or early season race. Read more...
Tessa's insight:

Not everybody has a coach of their own or is as heavily scrutinized individually by a coach which makes this article useful. The expertise of the author who not only has competed in the sport but is now coaching other athletes to succeed in this sport makes his knowledge very much valuable.


Not only does it highlight the importance of bike handling skills (as stated in the title) but it picks on certain infamous events where the skill of bike handling was absent and resulted in catastrophes that could have been avoided. Information and tips on improving existing bike handling skills is provided. Although there isn't much detail on helping one improve their bike handling skills, the author does acknowledge that each skill has detailed instructions in improvement and that if all were to be fit into the article, it would be too lengthy. 

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7 Skills To Controlling Your Bike With Confidence

7 Skills To Controlling Your Bike With Confidence | Professional cycling for triathlons |
These handling techniques will help you enjoy the transition from bike rider to full-blown cyclist and can help save time on race day.
Tessa's insight:

Coming from a professional standpoint makes the article more credible. The article is short but to the point which makes it an easy read. The length of the article also helps to bring the main message across, which is to educate and equip beginner cyclists with the essential skills needed.


The article not only lists the skills needed but it also explains why these skills are necessary and a short summary of how to practice these skills.

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