The Cost Of Bike Racing? (Podcast #56)

So you're thinking about racing a bike, but you're concerned about the cost.

You're not the only one, apparently.

Recently, an article in the UK based Telegraph caused a little bit of a stir in the cycling world, claiming that the cost of racing was approximately £25,000.  £25,000!!  Adjusted to USD, that's around $39,000!  That's a salary for a lot of people!

And that's completely insane.

There's no earthly reason racing a bike needs to cost that much.  In fact, if you read other articles by the same author, you get a different impression: the author is racing at an elite level, attempting to recapture a lost opportunity of his youth.  He's not starting off racing a Cat 5 criterium, or a weekend stage race where you're competing against other guys who are coming out to have a little fun and maybe sprint for a pair of tires.  We're talking two different worlds here.

But the article did get me thinking about what IS the cost of racing a bike?  And if you wanted to start racing a bike today, what would you need to lay out in terms of dollars and cents.  That's what I'll explore in today's podcast, along with some helpful tips to get you ready to race for the first time.

Click through for a breakdown of what it takes to race on the elite level, and what you need to race on the local level:


Crashing Out

Crashing out is a terrifying thing to experience, but it's something that every racer, at some point in their career will experience.  I'd heard the stories, read about the pros' trials and tribulations in returning from crashes and comforted friends and teammates who suffered ill fortune and broken bones.  I've even tasted the bitter pill of defeat before: A couple  years ago I released a podcast in which I described the ignominy of DNFing a race.  Almost 2 years to the day I last DNFed a race, I did it again, but this time it was something a little bit different.

This time I crashed out, or more specifically, I WAS crashed out.

And this time, my season crashed out with it.  You can see in the video below the sequence of events that put me on the sidelines for 3 months:


Predictions for 2015 (Pro Cycling and Beyond)

[dc]E[/dc]ach new year is another chance to start anew.  A chance for reform.  A chance to get done that which fell by the wayside last year.  This year is no different, and in no place is this more apparent than the sport which we all love and regularly attempt to conquer.  From the professional peloton to the local gran fondo, things are set up to change and adapt again this year.  To that end, I'll make a few prognostications as to the direction of the sport of cycling in 2015: I'll cover the men, the women, the pros and the joes.  And in a year, I'll revisit this and see where cycling has actually gone.  Hopefully, some of the things I'll address will come true, and some won't….happy 2015, eh?

Without further ado, in 2015 I believe…


How to Start Road Racing – Podcast #40

Every year, the Tour de France comes around, being brought to the masses through Eurosport, NBC or various Twitter or internet tickers.  Concurrently, there's always a spike in cycling interest around the tour, and I get plenty of questions about racing and starting to race.  I guess watching people turn themselves inside out on TV is inspiring for those among us who are inclined to pin on a number.

Regardless of your motivation, it's always awesome to see riders thinking about jumping into the deep end of the racing pool.  Many times, your average cyclist doesn't really know how to “go about getting involved in racing.”  Well, I'm going to put some of those fears to rest with today's podcast.

I'll cover the following:


Podcast #39 Addendum: High Fat Diets and Performance

High Fat Diet RatiosI've got to say, there are some really smart listeners out there.  Boy did you guys respond to my last podcast (Q&A number 2), especially regarding the last segment on fueling for a century.  Specifically, I referenced a study that found a 2% improvement in cycling performance/power output following glycogen depleted training.  A couple of you rightly questioned my analysis of that study.  Rather than write a lengthy post on the topic, I've decided to create an addendum podcast (originally designed to be the first segment of my next podcast, but after realizing the length, I decided to make it a stand along podcast) in order to address the issue.

Below I've included the study I reference in the podcast:

Fat adaptation followed by carbohydrate restoration increases AMPK activity in skeletal muscle from trained humans

Our results demonstrate that AMPK-α1 and AMPK-α2 activity and fuel selection in skeletal muscle in response to exercise can be manipulated by diet and/or the interactive effects of diet and exercise training.

This essentially relates that we can sort of “eat ourself into fitness.”  Cool, huh?

SHORT-TERM (<1 WK) MANIPULATION of dietary macronutrient intake is associated with marked changes in skeletal muscle gene expression (1524), substrate stores (36), metabolic flux, and fuel oxidation (102223). Exercise training also results in striking modifications in muscle gene expression (14), energy reserves, and the relative contribution of fuels to the energetic demands of muscle (9). Accordingly, the extent to which acutely altering substrate availability might modify the training impulse has been a key research area among exercise physiologists and sport nutritionists for several decades (for review, see Ref. 19). Indeed, evidence is accumulating that nutrient manipulation can serve as a potent modulator of many of the acute responses to both endurance (15) and resistance exercise (711).

So basically, if you eat well and train intelligently, you can turn yourself into a monster.  However, it also shows that if you eat poorly (I.E. a carbohydrate laden diet that promotes free radical production and inflammation) you can probably do more to hinder your performance than help it.

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With the summer here, it's time to get serious about your summer fitness!  Check out my modular training plans in my online store and get started on the path towards killer criterium fitness today.  And don't forget to save 10% with the coupon code in this week's podcast.