What is professional cycling?

“It is as simple as riding a bike”. How many times have you heard it said? But, in general, there is nothing easy about cycling. Racing professionally is a tough lifestyle that actually requires dedication and sacrifice 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.
With salaries far removed from those of the Big Four athletes of baseball, football, basketball, and hockey, the reality is far from the glamorous life we ​​imagine everyone is living.

A cyclist literally feeds on cycling and racing, sleeps and sees cycling, travels by bike and lives cycling every single day and adds to that the misconception that surrounds cycling that professional bike riders face every day.

The one who arrives first wins

Ex-world cycling champion sprinter Ivan Kovalev had a difficult mountain stage on the roads of the North Caucasus. In order to lose less time, Ivan went into the gap and started the mountain first. Quickly moving away from his pursuers, he flew into the hill, on which the fans ended up. Seeing “Russia” proudly printed on Kovalev’s chest in large letters from afar, the loud-mouthed fan shouted with all his might: “Come on, blue, for Russia! You go first, you win!

Often everything that seems at first glance understandable in motorsport, ski racing, horse racing, cycling is a well-planned (often deceptive) maneuver to pursue various goals. In cycling, there is such a thing as a sponsorship gap, when bike riders deliberately lead in order to promote the team and the name of its main sponsor from the TV screen.

True, you can not think about winning in this case. Teams also send messengers into the gap as cannon fodder, hoping to wear down catching up opponents. Or the separation can be initiated independently, as in the case of Kovalev. Quite often, plain racers, having no chance in the mountains, like Ivan, rush to the embrasure – they leave for a gap in front of the mountain.

The more speeds, the better bike

“How many speeds do you have?” is the most common question cyclists have to hear, during racing. In fact, the speed of movement does not depend on the number of gears, but on their layout – the diameter of the sprockets or the number of teeth. For example, on the highway, 20-22 possible chain positions have recently become traditional (based on the multiplication of two front sprockets by 10-11 rear ones).

Mountain cycling is now smoothly transitioning to using only one chainring, although amateur models usually still have three. And on the cycling track there is no possibility to switch at all: on the track bikes there is one deaf gear, and the athlete chooses from the set of gears provided by the team the one that is most suitable for a particular race of the track program, and tells the mechanics.
The cycling mechanic puts the selected combination, carefully tightening the bonnets (the bolts are empty from the inside for attaching the front sprockets). For sprints – it’s easier to have time to spin, for group racing – harder and more so as not to fall behind at higher speeds and legs do not hang behind the ears from a high frequency of rotation.

A bike cannot cost as much as a car

Laboratories worked on this bike, which has one goal – to save a split second over a distance of 200 km. The high cost of cycling is well known: it is one of the most expensive sports after tennis and golf.
The high technology used in the manufacture of top models of racing bicycles requires large financial investments, as well as the modern materials used in them. On a bike for 10,000 rubles, even Armstrong would not have gone far. A good example of a professional racing bike is Team Sky’s recent gift to soccer player Messi.

Ordinary running shoes are the most suitable shoes for cycling

If you ride clipless pedals while wearing spiked shoes, the rotational efficiency is increased by 15%. Simply put, now you can not only push down, but also pull up. The pinnacle of perfection is circular rotation – the same application of force in all phases of pedaling.
These specialty pedals come in a wide variety of shapes, and every year they get smaller and lighter. For example, bike Cranks for road SpeedPlays are smaller than a matchbox. And you just need to get used to the technique of fastening / unfastening the pedals – during falls, we usually have time to unfasten ourselves. To learn how to do it quickly, usually two or three falls are enough.

Cycling helmet does not provide adequate protection while racing

Cyclists, oddly enough, do not feel secure behind the wheel of a car. Each of us has seen or been in the rubble at completely different speeds, and we understand what can happen when you manage a ton. When I was little, long before I started to seriously engage in cycling, I heard Olympic champion Anatoly Yarkin say before training: “You need a helmet once, but this time you need it.”
In Spain and Italy, riders are not even allowed to start racing on bikes without helmets. The initiator of a similar bill in the UK was Bradley Wiggins. The tragedy of Fabio Casartelli and the death of the brilliant Kazakh cyclist Andrei Kivilev, during racing, served as the first in the history of the Tour de France. It was after this that we were forbidden to perform with an unprotected head while racing.

Do not use the front brakes when braking

Only partly true. If you lock up the front wheel completely at a good speed, it will still happen. However, if you do not touch the front brake, but completely block the rear wheel, you will fly into an uncontrolled skid and lose time. How to brake correctly if you need to brake urgently? According to the ABS principle – do not squeeze the brakes to failure, use both brakes at the same time, and do not forget that the trajectory depends only on you.

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