Given the growing global interest and participation in cycling, we sat down with Australian National Road Race Champion and former professional cyclist Nick Gates to get some advice on how to ride like a pro.
Nick turned pro in 1996 winning the Australian Road Championships and the Commonwealth Bank Cycle Classic. He has ridden the Giro d’Italia six times, Tour de France twice, Vuelta a España twice and represented Australia in six World Championships.
Nick retired in 2008 and was appointed Director Sportif of Team Saxobank, the number one cycling team in the world. A directeur sportif is a French title for the person directing a cycling team during a road racing event. At the professional level, a directeur sportif follows the team in a car and communicates with riders, personnel and race officials by radio. Nick was responsible for race tactics and communication, as well as the training and racing programme.
During this time Nick worked with Alberto Contador for three years, one of the most successful riders of his era, winning the Tour de France twice, the Giro d’Italia twice, and the Vuelta a España three times. He is one of only seven riders to have won all three Grand Tours of cycling.
After Saxobank, Nick managed a cycling studio in one of Asia’s leading sports resorts in Phuket, Thailand. Now, between coaching with Come See Do, Nick takes groups on cycling holidays to the Tour de France.
“People always ask the same question when it comes to preparation for a upcoming event – ‘what should I do to prepare?’ – and my response is always the same – consistency is key!”
Put simply, if you are riding 200km per week, it is better to ride 4 x 50km than 2 x 100km.
I tend to train athletes in three day blocks. Everyone has different abilities but the basics of building a solid foundation are the same. A three day block for a mid-to-high-range cyclist would look something like this:
- Day 1: 100km
- Day 2: 120km
- Day 3: 140km
- Day 4: rest day or a very light 1 hour spin
If you are relatively new to cycling and plan on attending one of our camps, we recommend a few weeks of consistent training to get the most out of the experience.
Practice all aspects of Cycling
According to Nick there are five different aspects of cycling and we need to practice all of these.
“I would try and touch on each one of these over a weekly training cycle.”
A big misconception in cycling is recovery. People are prepared to do the work but not prepared to recover appropriately. “Without recovery we do not get benefit from the work.”
If you are a professional athlete you need to train regularly with intensity. But for the amateur cyclists and weekend warriors, the ideal approach is well balanced training, rest and diet.
Consistent shorter rides that include a mix of speed, strength, power and endurance, and sufficient time to recover in between is the key to effective training and enjoyable cycling.
Great advice from a master of his craft. To learn more or check out one of our cycling experiences, visit www.comeseedo.com.au and hopefully we’ll see you soon!