Why be a cyclist?

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Jul 8, 2009
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Well, a few people have touched on this, but it seems to me that the biggest reason professional athletes do their sports is because of where they have the most talent. 99.99% (or more) of the population does not have the physical ability to be an elite at any sport. If we take the universe of professional cyclists, how many have even the theoretical physical talent to be professional golfers? It's a question that can't be answered exactly, but it is not likely more than a handful. So essentially professional cyclists have no option to be professional golfers (although Nick Faldo was a pretty good cyclist I believe). Probably a number of professional cyclists could have been professional distance runners or X/C skiers if they started at a reasonably young age, but even there I bet most of them wouldn't have the exact physiology required.

Now, I guess the original question was about psychological makeup and what makes people choose different sports from a mental standpoint, and that implies something beyond pure physical talent. I bet most cyclists never tried very hard to be professional golfers and it wasn't because they'd tried it and found they were bad at it. But it just seems to me that phrasing the question to ask what psychological attributes cause people to choose cycling is ignoring that elephant in the room of natural physical tendencies.

A discussion specifically of differences in psychological makeup between say cyclists and golfers - leaving out the "why did they choose it" aspect - makes a lot more sense. And some others here have pointed out some very good thoughts on that. I know for me, even though I love playing golf and shooting hoops, my natural physical talent for endurance sports makes them feel special. not because I'm winning per se - in my prime I was a level or two below professional at running and racewalking and way below that at cycling - but I know that my natural ability make running and cycling, especially running and cycling hard, feel very different than they do for most people. So I believe that you can't separate the physical from the mental as much as one might think.
 
beroepsrenner said:
What kind of person becomes a cyclist as opposed to other sports that are much easier and often with more money? If you could anylise the psychology of an elite cyclist maybe there are some clues to be found there in order to change the attitude to doping from within the peleton itself.
flying down the road on a small layer of air. it's about as close to being a bird as you can get, and under your own power. and if you can get paid for it even better. i think you just love riding a bike first, the other stuff
comes after.:cool:
 
Jul 25, 2009
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beroepsrenner said:
What kind of person becomes a cyclist as opposed to other sports that are much easier and often with more money? If you could anylise the psychology of an elite cyclist maybe there are some clues to be found there in order to change the attitude to doping from within the peleton itself.
Totally agree that changing attitudes within the peleton is the way to reduce doping. If we can get clearer on the 'typical cyclists psyche', it should become clearer how to change attitudes.

Here goes with my armchair observations .....(no wait - gotta go get some socks to stuff down my trousers before daring to venture a newbie opinion) :)

The guys who are riding GT's are under competition intensity physical and mental pressure for really sustained periods. I think the only way to handle that sustained pressure effectively is to be unusually good at shutting it out external pressures.....e.g. with attitudes like 'F you, I'll do it my way, it's gonna hurt like crap but hell, I don't even care how I feel, i'm just gonna do it.'

So pressure from the outside to reduce doping, could be expected to lead to some pretty impressive and sustained resistance from the peleton (is this what we are seeing with omerta?).

When cyclists no longer want to be lab rats, which means other cyclist (who may be their close friends) must become lab rats to level the playing field, I think they will stop. I think that many of them have the sheer belligerence to stop, even if it comes at substantial detriment to their career. (IMHO readers........take a deep breath!)

The question then is how can cyclist attitudes be changed from
'doping hysteria is part of the crap that I need to shut out'
to
'you and whose army is gonna treat me and my team-mates like lab rats'?
 
Jul 2, 2009
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usedtobefast said:
flying down the road on a small layer of air. it's about as close to being a bird as you can get, and under your own power. and if you can get paid for it even better. i think you just love riding a bike first, the other stuff
come after.:cool:

----------
-----------
 
Mar 19, 2009
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People cant choose between being a baseball player or a basketball player or a swimmer. They start doing an activity from a young age because they like it.
IF the bodies legalized doping then we could officially assume all top riders amateur and pro to be doped and the "ego" that comes with doping would be stopped.

Top cat 1, 2 amateur guys and masters 30+, 50+ riders that are doped have an "ego complex". They can use epo, HGH, testosterone and become great riders that way. The develop self pride in others worshiping them to some extent. If I could legally and publically point out that their doped the respect they receive from many of their fellow riders & friends would vaporize.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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miteycasey said:
You can not take an athlete that excels in one and get them to excel in another.
Think of it this way, could you get a pro basketball player to become a pro cyclist? I don't think so. Their body type and build would deny them the ability to succeed.
What makes them successful at one sport would be a hindrance in another.
I agree with you in general but this is probably not the best example. Think of the standing leap test figures of a pro basketballer! In the 80'd and early 90's some countries based almost their entire talent selection for the track development group on this value.

Imagine what they could do with their agility and speed if they trained themselves up (admittedly for quite a while to get good pedalling action) to be track sprinters.... :D
 
Jun 26, 2009
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the big ring said:
Please bring something more than a papier mache gun to this gun fight.

http://sports.espn.go.com/golf/news/story?id=2957355
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/columnist/brennan/2007-07-18-brennan-player_N.htm

http://sports.espn.go.com/golf/news/story?id=2239115


Bottom line is - many sports are tested, not everyone who dopes gets caught.

And since when was golf easier than cycling. I can ride and race a bike at the A grade club level, but would struggle to complete 1 hole in golf let alone 3 days of 18 holes in anything less than 1000 strokes.
Well youve never been a pro cyclist! To make this comment you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Club racing no matter what grade you are and international pro racing are almost not even the same sport. Other than triathlon and similar hybrid multi disipline endurance sports, to my knowledge there is nothing harder in terms of physical intensity over such a long time period. What other athletic sport requires its participents to compete more than 100 days a year for up to 6 or 7 hours a day. Not to mention the other 260 which are mostly spent training for similar durations. A golfer walks around and hits a ball a few times with 20% body fat hanging over his belt for twice the money. You cannot convince me that a game based on skill is as hard as a sport based on power and endurance. Even a marathon runner only runs a handfull of actual marathons per year.
 
Jun 26, 2009
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the big ring said:
It sounded to me like the point was - cyclists dope due to their psychological make up, and if they took up another, easier, more lucrative sport they would not be doping.

Bottom line answer is - it's far easier to find out you're a good cyclist vs a good rock climber or golfer or sky diver. Simon Gerrans was loaned a bike, many, many kids have bikes as a means of getting around. Not many kids have parachutes, or climbing shoes, or a golf course nearby.

It's disingenuous to think there's something specifically in the psyche of the cyclist that sets them apart from other professional athletes in an attempt to understand why they dope.
I do not assume that cyclists are psychologically any different to elite athletes in other endurance sports or that doping doesnt exist elswhere. Its just that as I well know cycling is an extreme sport on many levels with a long history of extreme doping even though historically it hasnt always been as lucrative as many other sports that require less physical effort and for shorter durations.
 
Jun 26, 2009
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the big ring said:
If anything, I think it's the relative easiness of cycling that makes the sport so appealing and the doping so prevalent. Particularly road racing / TTs / tours, where recovery and capacity is more important than fine motor control or advanced technique / skills.
Your level of ignorance astounds me. Youve obviously never raced up a Cat 1 climb thats over 20km long with your HR at over 180bpm at the very limit of your endurance after already having raced over 180kms and 3 other similar climbs only to have to do it again tomorrow and maybe the day after that as well. Even in a 1 week national tour or similar stage race you often forget what day of the week it is or even where you are geographically. When that ones over you maybe lucky if you get 3 or 4 days off but even if you do you are still going to ride at least 100km a day anyway. After 7 or 8 months of this it can become a real grind even if you love cycling. Unless you are a star rider and you get a lot of input into your own programme you dont have much choice. You are being paid to do a job. You cant just decide you dont feel like racing and give yourself a break. All this can take a mental toll as well as the obvious physical fatigue.
 
May 11, 2009
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beroepsrenner said:
Your level of ignorance astounds me. Youve obviously never raced up a Cat 1 climb thats over 20km long with your HR at over 180bpm at the very limit of your endurance after already having raced over 180kms and 3 other similar climbs only to have to do it again tomorrow and maybe the day after that as well. Even in a 1 week national tour or similar stage race you often forget what day of the week it is or even where you are geographically. When that ones over you maybe lucky if you get 3 or 4 days off but even if you do you are still going to ride at least 100km a day anyway. After 7 or 8 months of this it can become a real grind even if you love cycling. Unless you are a star rider and you get a lot of input into your own programme you dont have much choice. You are being paid to do a job. You cant just decide you dont feel like racing and give yourself a break. All this can take a mental toll as well as the obvious physical fatigue.
Obviously it's absolutely insanely difficult actually being a pro cyclist. But to become one is undoubtedly easier than some other sports (assuming you have the right phenotypes to start with!). A recent magazine report rated tennis as the most difficult sport, which makes a lot of sense: unless you start in your very early childhood you won't make it, the career is very short, the degree of competition is intense, and you have to be very good to have any success. Alex Zülle didn't race a bike until he was 21; Lance Armstrong mucked around with triathlon until his late teens - how would Roger Federer have got on if he'd played say badminton until his late teens? (actually he was a decent footballer but had to pack it in aged 12 to concentrate on tennis) You could have the potential to be the greatest tennis player in history, but if you didn't start playing aged 6 or 7 then you'll never make it. If you have the potential to be a great cyclist then it seems you can start at 21 and still make it to the very top.

And even at the very top: there are fewer players in each Grand Slam first round draw than start the Tour de France and most will have no chance of any success. A dom in the Tour will play a role for his team and maybe get some breakaway chances. Anyone other than the best 64 in a Grand Slam will go straight home after the first 2 days.
 
Jun 26, 2009
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My original motivation to start this thread was without any preconceived theory of my own. It seemed to me that the whole doping discussion on this forum was going around in circles, continually rehashing the same arguments.
I was trying to think outside the box a bit. I never intended to compare one sport with another as every sport is unique in its own right. I simply wanted to hear others opinions on what motivates someone to dedicate themselves to such an extreme task, maybe to compare with my own motivations.
When I was around 18 I thought I had gone as far as I was going to go as a cyclist and began looking toward some form of motor sport as my next phase of life. My father convinced me to stick at it and the following year I finished on the podium in my national junior road championship. The following year I was invited to race in the USA where I had the oportunity to compete against international level pros. I found that they werent as far above my ability as I had always imagined. From there I moved on to Europe.
Although my time as a pro is very similar to that of Joe Parkin ( read his book; "A Dog in a Hat" ) without any major victories to speak of but a few top 10s. I thrived on the challenge of pushing myself to extreme limits and continually extending those limits. To me it was about competing with ones self as much as your competitors and while this probably applies to any endurance sport the arena of road cycling was the ultimate platform. It was the most focused and fullfilling period of my life.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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I guess I was off topic before. Since this is in the "clinic" section and all.

I agree with Big Ring... Cycling is often very "simple". The higher you can push your FTP the better you'll do at Road racing especially stage racing. Its a hardish sport but fairly simple apart from mountain bike racing and CX, BMX, etc.
 

the big ring

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Jul 28, 2009
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beroepsrenner said:
Your level of ignorance astounds me. Youve obviously never raced up a Cat 1 climb thats over 20km long with your HR at over 180bpm at the very limit of your endurance after already having raced over 180kms and 3 other similar climbs only to have to do it again tomorrow and maybe the day after that as well.
...
You are mostly correct.

The climb was Mt Buffalo - it is only 20km @ 5% - I think that qualifies as a category 1. It was only a 2 day tour. We only had a 30 minute crit to do in the afternoon after racing to the top of Mt Buffalo, and yes, the stage was only 60km or so - not 180km.

My max HR is 184, and my FTP HR is around 170bpm. So I average 165-171 for extensive efforts, not 180.

As for being ignorant, we will have to agree to disagree.

I have tried many sports, and to be as good at them as I am at cycling would require proprioception and hand-eye coordination far beyond what I am naturally capable of. They are difficult.

Cycling, for me, is easy by comparison. Yes, it hurts, yes it's a challenge, but alls I can do is so much more than alls I can do in those skill-based sports.

I am pretty darn good at thinking out of the box. Perhaps if you had have opened the thread with your own experiences, and then asked "What is different for the dopers", it would make more sense. It definitely sounded like you were comparing sports, and golf was your example.

The reason you did not dope is because you did not want it bad enough.

I do not have a link, and sure, it may simply be an Interwebby myth, but the story goes an Olympic athlete was asked, "If you could take a drug that would give you a gold medal but means you would be dead in 10 years, would you do it."

His response was, "Yes".

Reading the Cervelo Test team interview on CN is telling - Vroomen is interested in product development, a clean sport, and engaging characters on his team. Well worth the read. Ride your best, for what it's worth, is what will continue the decline in doping within cycling, imo.
 
Jun 26, 2009
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the big ring said:
You are mostly correct.

The climb was Mt Buffalo - it is only 20km @ 5% - I think that qualifies as a category 1. It was only a 2 day tour. We only had a 30 minute crit to do in the afternoon after racing to the top of Mt Buffalo, and yes, the stage was only 60km or so - not 180km.

My max HR is 184, and my FTP HR is around 170bpm. So I average 165-171 for extensive efforts, not 180.

As for being ignorant, we will have to agree to disagree.

I have tried many sports, and to be as good at them as I am at cycling would require proprioception and hand-eye coordination far beyond what I am naturally capable of. They are difficult.

Cycling, for me, is easy by comparison. Yes, it hurts, yes it's a challenge, but alls I can do is so much more than alls I can do in those skill-based sports.

I am pretty darn good at thinking out of the box. Perhaps if you had have opened the thread with your own experiences, and then asked "What is different for the dopers", it would make more sense. It definitely sounded like you were comparing sports, and golf was your example.

The reason you did not dope is because you did not want it bad enough.

I do not have a link, and sure, it may simply be an Interwebby myth, but the story goes an Olympic athlete was asked, "If you could take a drug that would give you a gold medal but means you would be dead in 10 years, would you do it."

His response was, "Yes".

Reading the Cervelo Test team interview on CN is telling - Vroomen is interested in product development, a clean sport, and engaging characters on his team. Well worth the read. Ride your best, for what it's worth, is what will continue the decline in doping within cycling, imo.
Big Ring, it would appear that you have never read any of my other posts on this forum. Yes I did dope as a professional cyclist but not proud of it which is what brought me to this forum in the first place. As I am Australian myself, I have climbed Mt Buffaloe a few times , however with at least 150km and a few more climbs before hand. While you are right, Mt Buffaloe would rate as a Cat 1 climb, there is no way that Australian domestic racing is in any way comparable to Euro protour stuff. Maybe you have completely missed the point of this thread. It is impossible to compare one sport with another. The question I put was what makes a person subject themselves to such a relentlessly painful pursuit when there are easier ways to make money doing sports that are less physically intense. Im not talking about the career path or the skill level required. Yes, the same question could apply to just about any other endurance sport. Cycling itself is easy to do but the life of a protour cyclist is far from easy. My original intention was to possibly get some ideas from people far more knowledgable than me in the area of psychology to come up with a theory to tap into the mind of the type of person who would submit to doping in order to achieve their goal. Maybe you should shift down to the small ring for a while and read some of my thoughts and experiences that I have dumped on the readers of this forum and come back with your comments. Please do not feel that I am being hostile to your views its just that IMO you are looking at the question from the wrong perspective.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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beroepsrenner said:
You are not going to tell me that golfers are doping are you?
Golf is not a sport it is a game :D
Even though tennis plays games i believe it is a sport, in that you have a proportionally better chance of doing well if you are fit and that it taxes the cardiovascular system. John Daly smokes & at times drank during play = not a sport.

As to your original question probably people who love a challenge.
For me i loved the strategy involved. Alot of times the smartest cyclist wins not the strongest. In running the greater the distance the less affect strategy has on the result. Lots of strategy involved in the mile & 800 meters, In the marathon run your own pace if you are the strongest usually you win.zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz:D
 

Dr. Maserati

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Obviously Big Ring hadnt read your other posts, Beroepsrenner. Although he jumped the gun a little he has made some interesting observations.

BTW Bero- you don't 'dump' your thoughts and experiences on to us. Reading the comments that come back to your posts it is obvious that every cycling fan appreciates your thoughts as a former pro -and respects your opinion just as much as your cycling achievements.

Your inside knowledge of the pro peloton - the workings and the psychic -compliments other posters who have different perspectives coming from coaching, medical, administration etc.

It is what I really like about 'The Clinic" we have a diverse band of people and everyone contributes to be able to get a better depth and perspective.

Also - on a personal note- I would respectfully advise not to divulge too much personal info here though - as we would hate to lose your extensive experiences, insight and knowledge of the sport - it is an unfortunate truth that many within the cycling community would not appreciate your candor and honesty.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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miteycasey said:
What kind of person becomes a cyclist as opposed to other sports that are much easier and often with more money?
Sports can be lumped into three categories.
1) strength
2) skill
3) endurance.

You can not take an athlete that excels in one and get them to excel in another.
Think of it this way, could you get a pro basketball player to become a pro cyclist? I don't think so. Their body type and build would deny them the ability to succeed.
What makes them successful at one sport would be a hindrance in another.


QUOTE]

I disagree. what about someone who excels in the decathlon & also plays pro football & baseball?

From my standpoint my best sport growing up was baseball, My coach chose to play an inferior player at my position because the inferior players father was a coach at a major college and could get the coaches son a scholarship.
fine. i was also good at track, so i dumped baseball & started winning championships immediately. My first race in high school i beat the defending city champion. I ran a 4:12 mile and a 1:50 800 meters within a half hour to win against good college runners(UCLA & Oregon) while still just a junior in high school. I lost my college scholarship to a much older runner who competed for Kenya at the Olympics. I understood why the school took a 25 year old pro vs an 18 yo kid but it sucked and the practice of scholarships for older runners is no longer allowed.

I ended up at a smaller college with a better coach, set a national record in my freshman year in a relay and swithced sports again.
I won't mention the sport but i moved to europe, and represented the USA for several years.and did quite well(7th in the world)
When i came home i started cycling, qualified for the US National Championships in Triathlon in my first and only race and had a faster bike split than Paul Huddle & Paula Newby Fraser.
On my road bike with regular handlebars.
I've been licensed as a Pro cyclist, and won a few races as an amateur.
I medaled at my district track championship in the sprint.
In addition I have been a comptetive trap shooter since the age of 12
and was nationally ranked in the top ten as recently as 1987,
the same weekend i placed in my Triathlon I placed in a major trapshoot.
After all these different sports there was a tryout for former major & minor leaguers for a movie. They needed guys who could really play. I lied and told them i played for a small college in the midwest. I made the final cut, was one of 5 outfielders, the other 4 were out of the dodger & angel organizations.Part of the reason i made the cut i had a better arm than the pros. When i threw to second i was the only one who could make the guys mitt "Pop".

while i am sure i am an exception there is no reason people cannot do different sports well. I did a duathlon where the moto cross champion Johnny Omara smoked most of the pro triathletes.

A good friend of mine was national champion on the high bar & also a moto cross champion.

Lots of guys can do lots of sports at a high level
 

Dr. Maserati

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Jun 19, 2009
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BigBoat said:
I guess I was off topic before. Since this is in the "clinic" section and all.

I agree with Big Ring... Cycling is often very "simple". The higher you can push your FTP the better you'll do at Road racing especially stage racing. Its a hardish sport but fairly simple apart from mountain bike racing and CX, BMX, etc.
This is an interesting point- I remember a fat soccer player who made the first team every time - he could spray the ball around and could score from way out so his athletic ability was overlooked.

Cycling technically is easier but physically it is much harder- however one area that we haven't looked in to is the psychology of a racer to go deep into the hurt box.
Cycling is as much about psychology as physiology - good head and bad legs you can go a long way, but good legs and a bad head, well........

I think it is in this area that there is a vulnerability within the mind of a rider. A loss of form, an injury, pressure to fulfill a role etc can arouse doubt and anxiety.
Add in to that the availability and acceptance of doping within the sport.

Some riders - like Kohl - have no problem doping from when they first joined the sport. However i think most riders try to avoid doping - however a vulnerable mind can finally justify 'going on the programme'.

For many it appears they start out playing in the gray area - taking sleeping pills to ensure a good nights sleep of taking vitamins through an injection - often this breaks down the invisble wall between doper and non doper and makes it more difficult not to join the programme and become one of the boys.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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Dr. Maserati said:
Cycling technically is easier - however one area that we haven't looked in to is the psychology of a racer to go deep into the hurt box.
Cycling is as much about psychology as physiology - good head and bad legs you can go a long way, but good legs and a bad head, well........

QUOTE]

You hit the nail on the head with this post. My running specialty was considered one of the most painful, you had to go right to the edge of blowing up and hold it for the whole race.
My first race, a guy at the LBS challenged me to come on out to a little thing called a "time trial". Ride as hard as you could for 25 miles.
On a borrowed bike & tennis shoes I got spanked by Thurlow Rogers who held the course record. I didn't understand why people wanted to talk to me i wasn't even the first loser i was like 6th or 7th it was embarrasing.
Everyone & theri dog seemed to be giving me advice, get a real bike, no get toe clips, no get some cycling shorts,
Looking back i realize i did great but it was just because i knew how to suffer, everytime someone would pass me i would pedal like a maniac and pass them back. Thurlow thought it was pretty funny, but some guys i beat thought i cut the course. Kind of hard when Thurlow passes you at the turn around.

Anyway i would say once you learn how to deal with pain, you can be succesful. Most people when they hurt they slow down, so they never get better.
 
Jun 26, 2009
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Dr. Maserati said:
This is an interesting point- I remember a fat soccer player who made the first team every time - he could spray the ball around and could score from way out so his athletic ability was overlooked.

Cycling technically is easier but physically it is much harder- however one area that we haven't looked in to is the psychology of a racer to go deep into the hurt box.
Cycling is as much about psychology as physiology - good head and bad legs you can go a long way, but good legs and a bad head, well........

I think it is in this area that there is a vulnerability within the mind of a rider. A loss of form, an injury, pressure to fulfill a role etc can arouse doubt and anxiety.
Add in to that the availability and acceptance of doping within the sport.

Some riders - like Kohl - have no problem doping from when they first joined the sport. However i think most riders try to avoid doping - however a vulnerable mind can finally justify 'going on the programme'.

For many it appears they start out playing in the gray area - taking sleeping pills to ensure a good nights sleep of taking vitamins through an injection - often this breaks down the invisble wall between doper and non doper and makes it more difficult not to join the programme and become one of the boys.
Dr Mas, you are right again. Big Ring is not wrong in what he says he just doesnt understand where I am coming from.
 
Jun 26, 2009
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runninboy said:
Sports can be lumped into three categories.
1) strength
2) skill
3) endurance.

You can not take an athlete that excels in one and get them to excel in another.
Think of it this way, could you get a pro basketball player to become a pro cyclist? I don't think so. Their body type and build would deny them the ability to succeed.
What makes them successful at one sport would be a hindrance in another.


QUOTE]

I disagree. what about someone who excels in the decathlon & also plays pro football & baseball?

From my standpoint my best sport growing up was baseball, My coach chose to play an inferior player at my position because the inferior players father was a coach at a major college and could get the coaches son a scholarship.
fine. i was also good at track, so i dumped baseball & started winning championships immediately. My first race in high school i beat the defending city champion. I ran a 4:12 mile and a 1:50 800 meters within a half hour to win against good college runners(UCLA & Oregon) while still just a junior in high school. I lost my college scholarship to a much older runner who competed for Kenya at the Olympics. I understood why the school took a 25 year old pro vs an 18 yo kid but it sucked and the practice of scholarships for older runners is no longer allowed.

I ended up at a smaller college with a better coach, set a national record in my freshman year in a relay and swithced sports again.
I won't mention the sport but i moved to europe, and represented the USA for several years.and did quite well(7th in the world)
When i came home i started cycling, qualified for the US National Championships in Triathlon in my first and only race and had a faster bike split than Paul Huddle & Paula Newby Fraser.
On my road bike with regular handlebars.
I've been licensed as a Pro cyclist, and won a few races as an amateur.
I medaled at my district track championship in the sprint.
In addition I have been a comptetive trap shooter since the age of 12
and was nationally ranked in the top ten as recently as 1987,
the same weekend i placed in my Triathlon I placed in a major trapshoot.
After all these different sports there was a tryout for former major & minor leaguers for a movie. They needed guys who could really play. I lied and told them i played for a small college in the midwest. I made the final cut, was one of 5 outfielders, the other 4 were out of the dodger & angel organizations.Part of the reason i made the cut i had a better arm than the pros. When i threw to second i was the only one who could make the guys mitt "Pop".

while i am sure i am an exception there is no reason people cannot do different sports well. I did a duathlon where the moto cross champion Johnny Omara smoked most of the pro triathletes.

A good friend of mine was national champion on the high bar & also a moto cross champion.

Lots of guys can do lots of sports at a high level
Very interesting story runninboy. Although I began cycling at age 10, in high school i did a bit of middle distance running and was ok at cross country. I focussed on cycling as it was the "family sport" and success came at an early age for me relatively easily. after retiring from pro racing I did a bit with my local club which i found i could do with almost no training. I also tried a bit of triathlon bit found the transition between the other disiplines too much.
I still ride as often as I can on both road and MTB but due to suffering a cardiac arrest a couple of years ago can no longer push myself to the limits.
I now also do some motorcycling on my Triumph Daytona. Not actual racing but track days against the clock. I found some of my cycling skills have carried over to this and it gives me the adrenalin rush that I missed from no longer competing. everyone thinks I'm nuts but its better than growing old with boredom.
 

the big ring

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Random behavioural reinforcement is the most effective reinforcement from a psychological perspective.

Bike racing is random, if anything. Noone can pick who is going to win a race reliably, regardless of who rides.

The behaviour (hurting yourself in a race) will every now and then be reinforced with a win or a place or some other reinforcer.
 

Dr. Maserati

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the big ring said:
Random behavioural reinforcement is the most effective reinforcement from a psychological perspective.

Bike racing is random, if anything. Noone can pick who is going to win a race reliably, regardless of who rides.

The behaviour (hurting yourself in a race) will every now and then be reinforced with a win or a place or some other reinforcer.
Another way to look at this. If you are a cyclist that is clean - and winning quite often and being successful, you will never be tempted to dope.
 
Jun 26, 2009
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Not sure if its a relevant point or not but I've known a few talented riders over the years who didnt dope but were still moderately successful that have gone on to become successful business owners. In contrast some more sucessful cyclists who doped have had their lives go down the toilet post cycling. Maybe its just that bad decision making carries over to all aspects of life regardless of having outstanding athletic talent?
 

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