Faster: The Obsession, Science and Luck Behind the World's Fastest Cyclists
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
For professional cyclists, going faster and winning are, of course, closely related. Yet surprisingly, for many, a desire to go faster is much more important than a desire to win. Someone who wants to go faster will work at the details and take small steps rather than focusing on winning. Winning just happens when you do everything right—it’s the doing everything right that’s hard. And that’s what fascinates and obsesses Michael Hutchinson.
With his usual deadpan delivery and an awareness that it’s all mildly preposterous, Hutchinson looks at the things that make you faster—training, nutrition, the right psychology—and explains how they work, and how what we know about them changes all the time. He looks at the things that make you slower, and why, and how attempts to avoid them can result in serious athletes gradually painting themselves into the most peculiar life-style corners.
Faster is a book about why cyclists do what they do, about what the riders, their coaches and the boffins get up to behind the scenes, and about why the whole idea of going faster is such an appealing, universal instinct for all of us.
cause of more arguments, preaching, soul-searching and even occasionally scientific research than the rest of nutrition put together. I’m not sure there’s an official definition, but roughly, the word ‘supplement’ covers anything you eat that would raise eyebrows if you served it at a dinner party, and which is taken with the intention of making you ride a bike faster but which isn’t a banned drug. They’re almost invariably a food extract of some sort, in a concentrated form. Vitamin tablets
the results to snare a serious sponsor. Without exception they went slower. Too much work, not enough recovery, and, in that era, a lack of willingness to look for the right coaching support. The bottom line is that a rider can only do a certain amount, and that amount is determined by the demands of recovery. A coach hopefully has the detachment to help you work out what the priorities are in training – what do you need the most – work out what training sessions best address those requirements,
whole package. Everything from there on is just details. The only sport whose basic action is simpler is running. When I took up cycling, I was good at it immediately. My second-ever ten-mile time trial, and the first one I did riding a time-trial specific bike, yielded a time of 19'44". That was one of the fastest times recorded in the UK that season. I won the race by over a minute, from riders who’d been training and competing for many seasons. My third ten-miler was good for about seventh in
getting on a bike I was a better bike rider than I’d ever been a rower. That still applied even if you stripped out the technical aspects of rowing and just measured it on a rowing machine. You could still argue that I couldn’t say anything definitive till I’d done my 10,000 hours and seen what happened. Certainly I did keep improving over the next few seasons, but by the time my 10,000 hours arrived, I’d long since stopped making any significant progress. The point, though, isn’t really
sports: specificity in training from swimming, rowing and athletics, the idea of faster clothing from sports like swimming, and better aerodynamics and bike-technology from motorsport. As the next few seasons pass, it’s going to take more and more originality and imagination to keep finding an edge. Even things that will make a difference, like the better use of genetics in training – are going to tune in gradually. There is a good chance that most of them are going to be based on published