10 Things You Didn't Know About Pro Bike Racing

10 Things You Didn't Know About Pro Bike Racing



– Pro cycling and bike racing in general, have a few hidden unknowns. Here are some of the bare truths of bike racing. (upbeat music) The races are easy. Of course not the entire race, but there are many
kilometers raced each year at the bike racing
equivalent of walking pace. This does not apply to
all races fortunately, but many races throughout a pro calendar, will have hours and hours, of just turning the pedals, at exertion that really is not dissimilar to going for a walk. How you then feel, when the racing kicks of properly, after this period is crucial. You should never let yourself
go to sleep completely. The odd thought was, "Why would you race before
the live cameras came out?" This is a tradition that
is slowly transforming, as the years go on. Races are now raced, from much further out from the finish, then they were before, and the base tempo throughout the race, is nowadays much higher, than it ever has been as well. (upbeat music) The hotels are not at all glamorous. Sure, the UAE tour really isn't bad, in fact, most would say it's amazing, but this simply is not the case for the majority of bike races. Bike races in France, traditionally
reserve the worst hotels you can imagine, and often, they will
even put an entire race, into an agriculture college, just to keep costs down. Once upon a time, we stayed in a police
academy in South Korea. It was far from glamorous, but we did have electric toilet seats. Don't get those everywhere. You can hardly blame an organization for doing this, but coming to a freezing cold or actually even worse, is a boiling hot, shared accommodation. This just adds to the
fatigue of a bike race, and you can completely
forget the wifi ever working. Some of the world's greatest bike races, finish in the dullest of locations. The reason for this is often, the gradient of the road, or the availability of
good parking nearby. Hundreds and hundreds of vehicles, crammed into a tiny
space around a bike race. So being romantic about
the finish line location, just isn't always possible. In fact, I bet if you ask most pros to describe their favorite
finishing location, they would describe something from a much smaller event, than that they are now
accustomed to riding. Organizers do do a fantastic job of dressing up the finishing area, wiTH billboards, barriers,
gantries and the like, but strip all of that back, and the finishing line, to some of the world's biggest bike races, is nothing more than a white line, across some gray asphalt, next to an industrial estate. (upbeat music) Cycling is an unequivocally a team sport. To many outsiders, this
is simply baffling, but picture a football field, where all of the players, just try to score goals, and didn't support each other in doing so. Every rider has their own strengths. Some don't like the
pressure of performing, and they would prefer to play a back up roll to their team mates, and some riders, such as the sprinters, they simply couldn't win, without the support of a team around them. Teamwork in cycling, is
all about saving energy, protecting others from
the wind resistance, supporting the sustenance, and aiding positioning within the bunch. They also really motivate each other, and can really help one another progress, and push their limit within the sport. (upbeat music) Winning is the best feeling that you can imagine. It is unrivaled. Nothing on Earth can compete with it. You spend months and months, if not years training, and dreaming of the moment, that you can cross the finish line first. Hundreds and hundreds
of hours of suffering, are behind every single win you see, in the world of professional cycling, and that is part of what
makes the emotion of winning, just so great. No matter how successful a rider is, across the duration of an entire career, they will win far fewer
races than they don't. This is a simple fact, and it certainly adds to the occasion, when it does happen. That moment of pure celebration, hasn't dawned on you, that you've won. There is nothing like it. (upbeat music) If you think that the bunch
of a bike race looks big, consider the car park at the finish. Keep in mind, that there could be two to three times the amount of staff behind the scenes, and it is not uncommon for support teams, to completely outnumber the riders. Riders need mechanics, drivers, fornears, coaches, doctors, the rolling caravan behind a professional cycling team is huge. (upbeat music) Crowds, and in particular, children screaming on
the side of the road, can genuinely be louder than a nightclub. The atmosphere around the
world's biggest races, is truly spectacular, but nothing quite prepares you, for the first time you
experience the roar, of a crowd, alongside the road. It can leave you with your ears ringing long past the end of the stage, and it truly gives you a buzz, that you've never experienced before. This is one of the greatest
things about cycling. The fans are within
touching distance of you most of the time. All you need to do, is turn up to your favorite race, choose a spot to cheer
your favorite riders on. Probably not best to actually touch them. (upbeat music) Crashing doesn't hurt, for about 15 seconds, and then it is pure agony. Depending on how much skin you may or may not have lost. If you are suffering severe gravel rash, then a good scrubbing with a brush is going to be needed, and then come the bandages. These are cumbersome, they're limiting to movement, but they will help your wounds heal. Some riders do sometimes try to get out of that dressing, but this rarely ends well. The pain of having the sheet
pulled of the next day, can be truly excruciating. Instead, flexible moist bandages, are applied to help the wounds heal, from the inside out. After a couple of weeks, you tear them off, and all is good. Fans can have unrivaled access, to their favorite riders. We touched on this before, but unlike most sports. The world outside the sport, is a traveling circus, that will crash land
and explode into life, at any start or finish
town across the world. Not all races start and finish in the same locations each season, meaning that there is an unrivaled chance, for different communities, to interact with the world of procycling, and better yet, fans, spectators and
the public in general, can get up close enough, to talk to the riders pre and post race. It's access to some of the world's greatest sporting stars, that you simply don't get, in most other sports. If you are new to cycling, and you've learnt a few unexpected truths recently, let us know what they were
in the comments below. Why don't you check out some of our how to videos over here, but make sure you subscribe over there before you do.

49 Comments on "10 Things You Didn't Know About Pro Bike Racing"


  1. I never thought cyclists would get those bad hotels. They deserve better.

    I thought the teams would choose the lodgings, not the event organizers, like in motorsports.

    Reply

  2. As a gravel rash expert, pretty much all my life, and now a doctor for 30 yr, I can easily say that the single best dressing is Hypafix, applied directly to the wound, and don't bother scrubbing gravel out. It will fall off when you remove the Hypafix. FMT, if I had access to Hypafix as a callow youth, I would not have suffered all the pain I did from cracking scabs on my knees as a reckless youngster.

    Reply

  3. Awesome AGAIN Chris! Have you seen Magnus Cort Nielsen's informal "Hotel Review" on his Instagram wall? Maybe the hotel question will slowly improve. By the way all the riders stay in great hotels when they come to Andorra for Le Tour or La Vuelta.

    Reply

  4. Something I’ve always wondered… it’s well-known in other professional sports that rookies are often hazed or made to do things like fetching something for the more seasoned racers. Outside of basic demostique duties does this hold true in the pro ranks or is cycling above this?

    Reply

  5. Whilst driving last year near CHAMBERY, I saw Froome and Team Sky coming back to their hotel after a casual ride on their day off. We came to the car park where Froome kindly signed my son an autograph and gave him a bottle. How cool is this ? You don’t get in football !!!

    Reply

  6. As someone who has been a solo cyclist my whole life, the team concept really bothered me for a while, but I have grown to understand it better and accept it for how it works. It is definitely counterintuitive to my American mindset.

    Reply

  7. I'm new to cycling. I'm a u12 youthrider and LOVE RACING!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's the best thing I've ever discovered! And this channel really helps me learn! you are by far the most helpful and entertaining channel I've ever come across. Keep up the good work! <3

    Reply

  8. What I've learned in the last year, is that a small bike fit improvement (one even as small as rotating the handbars 1mm) can add 20 miles of comfort to your day.

    Reply

  9. That's so true about getting up and close to the pro riders. You would never play golf with a pro, ( unless you pay heaps in a corporate event) you would never have a hit with a pro tennis player, the same goes with footballers. One day in Melbourne starting my return ride home a rider was passing me and I herd "Morning" It was Simon Gerrans, who I asked if it was OK to sit on his wheel, such a nice bloke and gave me a draft all the way home. He was having an easy ride to I might add.

    Reply

  10. Thank you Opie! Spectacular video, interesting to hear that it's not as glamorous as it looks… although to us outsiders, it looks mighty impressive all the same.

    Reply

  11. old ride but new to racing – here's what I learned: Power is important but race tactics might be more important – unless you can time trial faster than the entire group better figure out the tactics

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  12. Our teacher was also pro cyclist and we cheered hard and final meters was really intense and he won many times. ♥ I just loved to see it, atmosphere of accomplishment and happiness.♥ We also were part-timers that helped with organisation and in the finish getting GPSs off. Everyone was muddy, bloody and so tired. I congratulated everyone no matter when they finished because they made it, they finished that hard race. So good job everyone no matter if you won. ♥

    Reply

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