Ch-ch-ch-ch Changes

I’m not sure this post will go anywhere meaningful, but I’ll start it anyway and see what happens.

I’ve been reading Joe Friel’s ‘Fast After Fifty’ recently because I’m decidedly not fast anymore and more and more ‘after fifty’. There’s a whole section on how we shouldn’t be eating a high-carb diet anymore for performance. Now the way to go is high fat (he’s a Paleo guy)! This got me thinking of all the changes I’ve seen in my short time as a MAMIL. Remember these, for example?

Compressions socks were de rigueur back when I did my first Haute Route in 2013. After each stage you’d see guys walking around in them in town and even at dinner. They might work, but I haven’t seen this look in many years…thank goodness.

Here’s another oldie but a goodie.

Okay, this one I still use, but not for its intended purpose. Recall that these light base layers were meant to wick sweat away on hot days. They were everywhere in the pro peloton for a few years. Then, they were gone. I am not much of a scientist, but I never understood how adding one more layer to what you were wearing could make you cooler. I wore them, though!

In the last decade or two basic training concepts have been turned on their heads as well, although I think this could be science based and not just fashion. If you haven’t been around a training program in a while, you might not recognize the recommended sessions inside. Gone are long, slow distance workouts (the famous ‘fat-burning’ ones), replaced by HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) or something similarly named. Basically, the idea these days is ‘go hard or go home’. Having done my share of both (my natural inclination is ‘slow’), I can say that interval training works, even if it hurts more.

Here’s another one that people can get very excited about – tire width.

When I started training with purpose in 2011 I was riding 23mm tires. I still run them on the Colnago because my fork clearance doesn’t allow 25s, but I’ve gone over to 25mm for the Bianchi. But that’s nothing these days! Lots of riders are on 28s now and I know a couple of people who ride 30mm and over. The science on this one makes my brain hurt, so I’m not even going to attempt it. Suffice to say, bigger is better (except for weight) is the latest trend in road tires.

What did I miss?

16 thoughts on “Ch-ch-ch-ch Changes

  1. Isn’t it time you became a FOSSIL? (Fine old senior soul in Lycra) I reach my 3/4 century this year so have seen many, many changes. Perhaps we should go back to the wee clicky mileage counter that we attached to the front fork and woollen shorts that sagged when wet?

    • I’m still a few years away from free museum entrance, so I’ll remain MAMIL for now. Saggy shorts is not a good look. Technology has done a good job with bibs.

  2. When I started, after the final race (Oct.), we did a couple of team rides and then put the bikes away for a month. Then we would slowly ride ourselves back into condition with LSDs and eventually intervals and sprints. Now, with the ubiquitousness of smart trainers, Zwift and other training platforms, no-one is ever not race-fit or pretty close to it. In the spirit truth, I too have a smart trainer and use TrainerRoad. A far as base layers go, without one the jersey chafes my nipples….I’ll stick with the meshed base layer.

    • I have my new nickname for you – Chafy Nipple 😉

      I wonder how it works in the pro ranks? I know that some of the guys in the old days did cyclocross in winter, but I also remember reading that Hinault would rock up to training camp in late winter totally out of shape – and very grumpy.

  3. I wish that I had done sharp interval training when I was a relatively young runner. Long slow distace only trains you to run slowly! Ah well, too late now, short slow distance is all I can do.

  4. I like 25s and 26s. I tolerate 28s or 30s on my gravel bike, but wouldn’t bother on a road rig. No sprinting for city limits signs on anything more than a 26, or you have to pump the tires up beyond the point where you get a benefit for riding a wider tire… you “bounce” on the sprint. Let’s keep that one between us, though. I don’t want to start a war!

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