So... you want to be a Pro Cyclist?

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

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Tapeworm
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by Tapeworm

http://www.ridehappy.com.au/2011/11/ais ... a-box.html

The Australian Institue of Sport selection process for the women.


How's your training going?
"Physiology is all just propaganda and lies... all waiting to be disproven by the next study."
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HillRPete
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by HillRPete

Ok it's a hard camp, but the psychological pressure and apparent "tv casting show setting" of candidates not knowing what's next -- sorry, I just can't see how that's a useful selection criterion. People are different, some perform best the hard way, others need a calm and reflective environment to live up to their potential.

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Tapeworm
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by Tapeworm

Specificity. If they can't hack this then they can't hack the pro level.

Those that want the softly-softly approach would have to prove themselves in other ways.

There are plenty out there with "pro power" but lack the will and tenacity.

How would you design a selection criteria? Keeping in mind that this is a a government funded scholarship - a chance to literally be trained by the best in the world and be paid as well!
"Physiology is all just propaganda and lies... all waiting to be disproven by the next study."
"I'm not a real doctor; But I am a real worm; I am an actual worm." - TMBG

chase196126
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by chase196126

wassertreter wrote:Ok it's a hard camp, but the psychological pressure and apparent "tv casting show setting" of candidates not knowing what's next -- sorry, I just can't see how that's a useful selection criterion. People are different, some perform best the hard way, others need a calm and reflective environment to live up to their potential.


I agree. The fact that the author was extremely sick by the end of the ten day period is a great marker of why a camp like that is a terrible idea. Pushing your athletes to that extreme, not only with exertion but food and sleep deprivation as well, is horrible and in some cases can permanently damage a riders body or mental state. Especially young riders.

As wassertreter said, pros are people too and they have many different ways of coping with stress and routines in order to be able to race well. Some are super mellow and go with the flow of everything, others are more controlling of their situations and try to keep to their basic routine as closely as possible. Both types of personalities can crack, but more often than not they are equally effective.

chase196126
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by chase196126

Tapeworm wrote:Specificity. If they can't hack this then they can't hack the pro level.

Those that want the softly-softly approach would have to prove themselves in other ways.


I agree that riders have to be able to handle difficult situations, but at the same time I dont believe this test is a great determinant of how well a rider can cope with stress in the real world. Some people can handle a "canned" set of difficulties (challenges that are set up as part of a camp that has a defined end in sight as well as a predetermined outcome for success) but fall apart when real world problems that have no time frame/limit come up.

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Tapeworm
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by Tapeworm

Many aspects of the camp are "real world" (like the dinner with "sponsors" after training, being "interviewed" after a hard race). The AIS training for road endurance is in Italy - away from friends family etc. The racing in the real world is brutal. They are pushed, they do break, but some will excel. And they all volunteer.

I, of course, think its an excellent system.

What happens when your sheltered rider who wins races at home and has excellent stats finds themselves away from home for three months and faces the fourth race of the week in the miserable European spring rain and cracks and want to go home? Literally a waste of thousands of dollars. There is a reason why Australia produces so many champions.

Just curious, has anyone ever done a selection course of some description?
"Physiology is all just propaganda and lies... all waiting to be disproven by the next study."
"I'm not a real doctor; But I am a real worm; I am an actual worm." - TMBG

HillRPete
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by HillRPete

Tapeworm wrote:Specificity. If they can't hack this then they can't hack the pro level.


I agree to many points you make in your more detailed follow-up explanation, but not this one. A pro can prepare mentally for a long period of time to give everything in a race. The stress of not knowing what's up next is different, and would pretty much be the opposite of specificity in my book.

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Tapeworm
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by Tapeworm

IF they know they are going in a particular race. There are plenty of occasional of race cancellations, other races entered, course alterations, last minute call ups (for the team or individual riders) etc. Not to mention crappy budget airlines and bus transfers to even crappier hotel/motels.

I think those that have done it would testify that the Continential level racing is brutal at the best of times.

The AIS is far from being the only path to excellence in terms of pro cycling in Australia but it has a well deserved reputation, those that apply know this. It's not the "good old days" of the Soviet states where kids had no real choice if they wanted to be champions or not.
"Physiology is all just propaganda and lies... all waiting to be disproven by the next study."
"I'm not a real doctor; But I am a real worm; I am an actual worm." - TMBG

OJ
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by OJ

I tried this course called 6 months in France and didn't do quite as good as I hoped. The racing was really good, but it is kinda swim or sink and no matter what you do, don't get sick. Win some races and get decent placings in others and you might be able to get a pro contract.
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HillRPete
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by HillRPete

Tapeworm -- the reason I'm so insistent in this is from comparing the Austrian and Norwegian skiing organisations. The Austrian one is probably the biggest in the world, the competition all the way to entering the Euro- and Worldcup is fierce. Yes, many talents come out of it, and it's the best team in the world (most points per season for over a decade), but at which price.

Contrast the Norwegians, they have a much smaller team, the "pyramid" is much steeper, but with their more individual-focused approach they always have top racers up there.

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Tapeworm
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by Tapeworm

I understand perhaps the concern but these women are not 16yr olds, the author of the article is in her mid twenties or thereabouts. They make the choice. I noted with interest the input by the SAS, and hence my question about selection courses.
"Physiology is all just propaganda and lies... all waiting to be disproven by the next study."
"I'm not a real doctor; But I am a real worm; I am an actual worm." - TMBG

Geoff
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by Geoff

Agree. Those courses are designed to be very demanding, but if properly supervised they are safe as they can be. For those who have endured training with a similar purpose (to weed-out those who might crack in a real-world situation), it is certainly better to have it happen in training. That is for the safety of the individual, as well as the squad.

dustbin
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by dustbin

That's really cool. I agree with Tapeworm 100%. Thanks for sharing this!

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Rick
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by Rick

sorry, I just can't see how that's a useful selection criterion.

It probably has "some value", but I agree that many of the descriptions seem just plain silly.

But then again, they have a right to operate any way they want.
Other athletes can train differently, and we see which one is more successful in competition.

mrfish
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by mrfish

I think the coaches probably thought long and hard about this and it sounds brutal but at least attempts to be somewheat real-world. At the end of the day the coach's job is on the line too - no success from the riders that year = no job, and probably no future government coaching job either.

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