As fans, we often lack an appreciation for all the elements that are a part of any race, regardless of sport. For instance, auto racing involves far more than a bunch of high-performance vehicles going around a track looking to finish first. Often times the importance of the pit crew is overlooked, as well as the auto maintenance, the role sponsorships play, and so on.
Pro cycling races are no different in this regard. Being successful in a race is the result of training, preparation, and having the right equipment.
To compete at a high level in professional cycling, one must possess the right equipment. As you might imagine, this all starts with having a quality racing bike.
A pro cycling bike is far more expensive than your average bicycle. One of the main reasons for this is due to the special materials that are used to make the frame. This is so the bike is strong enough to endure the rigors of racing. Also, these special materials make the bike more lightweight, allowing riders to get more speed. Typically, titanium, steel, aluminum, or carbon is used for professional bikes.
Furthermore, highly durable and lightweight aluminum is used to make the wheels that are placed on these bikes. The spoke system is also unique compared to your average bicycle. The number of spokes is less than normal, as each individual one is much stronger. The result of course is that they are also more expensive.
The gearshift system is another element of the pro bike that is very important in overall performance. It's very sophisticated and allows the cyclist to easily shift gears when encountering the various terrains during a race.
Training For A Pro Cycling Race
A major part of any pro cyclist's success is their extensive training. One really has to make the commitment to be the best that they possible can be. This involves training consistently anywhere from 2-6 hours per day for months at a time before the race.
When not training on their bicycle, pro cyclists are building strength and stamina in the gym. This involves weight lifting and do some cross-training so they are in peak condition.
Eating right is a huge part of training for a cyclist. They will tend to load up on carbohydrates and proteins so their muscles are being repaired and getting the energy they need to be at their best while training and racing.