I’ve learned over the years that there is nothing easy about riding a bicycle competitively. And riding professionally is clearly the sport of the masochists. It’s a demanding lifestyle that requires a 365-day, 24-hour a day commitment and sacrifice. With salaries nowhere near what athletes command in the big four – baseball, football, basketball & hockey – the life of a pro cyclists is far from glamorous.
The 180 riders competing in this year’s Tour de France typically ride their bikes twice as many miles as the average person drives their car each year, between 20,000-25,000 training and racing miles a year. With pro-racing schedules starting in late January to February and ending in October or later they also don’t get much time to rest.
So what does a typical training day look like for a pro cyclist?
“Ride lots.” — Eddy Merckx
There’s most definitely a lot or riding. Check out this screenshot from Taylor Phinney’s Strava account.
Taylor’s preparing for the 2012 London Olympic Road Race. To simulate the race for training he completed the hellish ride pictured above. Nearly 9,000 feat of climbing, 142 miles of riding all done in 5 hours and 42 minutes for an absolutely insane average speed of nearly 25 miles per hour. Sometimes I wish I was a pro cyclist, all it takes to change my mind is a quick look at something like this.