A long way
One thing we noticed during the training camp: the interplay between the young and older riders, the quieter and the less quiet characters. And how the experienced cycling pros deal with the youngsters. After all, there are a lot of questions floating around in your head at the beginning. When you know you want to cycle – but you don’t really know how to race or how to live your life on a bike. Corbinian, for example, is racing for the first time this year with Pushbikers. You can find his questions to Pippo and Liam here.
P: Ich versuche, so organisiert zu sein, dass ich die gleiche Verfügbarkeit wie zu Hause habe, sowohl für das Training als auch für das Privatleben.
L: Ich denke, man muss sich darauf konzentrieren, weil es ein Job ist, und das Beste aus jeder einzelnen Chance zu machen.
P: I make the most of every moment I can spend with my family and enjoy that time. Then, fortunately, there are social networks that make me feel less distant.
L: For me it’s less difficult because I don’t have children. But I still find it exhausting because I am separated from my family. When I’m back home, I consciously take time, also for my parents.
P: It means that my wife has to try to do everything at home without me. Luckily our parents live not too far away and help her. As I said, we still try to keep in touch by video call so we don’t feel the distance. If I worked eight hours a day plus one or two hours commuting to work, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy our child as much. So I prefer my kind of life as a cyclist because when I am at home I am always available.
L: My girlfriend accepts my lifestyle and you have to make sacrifices to get results. With a squad like this year’s at Pushbikers, it’s easier for me to be away from home. What do you think about that?
C: Hm, if you look at it that way, maybe again it’s a big advantage for everyone involved.
P/L: If you are not a champion, it is difficult to finance a whole life with cycling. You don’t earn the money like in football. That means that as long as you are active, you can make a living from cycling, but then you have to find a job opportunity. Because a career as a sportsman is not very long. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try in the first years, even if you have to tighten your belt for that.
P: Cycling has changed and you need more intensity than long distances. That doesn’t mean you don’t need to do both, but I focus more on high intensity intervals. I prefer sprints.
L: Also for me: short but intense like a good track rider.
P: Results and performances motivate me. One piece of advice I can give: Surround yourself with people who support you and don’t be ashamed to ask for help when they do.
L: There are not many tips: You have to race a lot and listen and ‘steal the trick’ from older riders like us. Modesty and a basic willingness to learn are very helpful.
C: Was the beginning of your cycling career often marked by failures? And how do you best deal with that – because you don’t have so much self-confidence or support yet.
P: We both had the same experience: after a disappointment or failure, we thought to ourselves, why are we doing this? And then you realise: we love cycling and that outweighs all the disappointments and bad moments. Of course, we also have a lot of people who support us and believe in us, and that always helps. Do you think moral support can help you?
C: Sure, moral support is incredibly important for me. It’s how I compensate for frustration and anger when something didn’t go according to plan.
P: Again, I have to say that cycling is changing and there are a lot of young people at the top now. But I am still of the opinion that everyone has to take their time in order not to burn out. Also mentally. So stay focused, but don’t rush: set yourself a goal.
L: Yes, that’s exactly what I think too. You have to find the right time for it. Do you have a clear goal at the moment?
C: From a sporting point of view, it’s difficult for me to set a clear goal this season – in terms of winning. But my personal goal is to learn as much as I can from the year and to strengthen the team in all my ways.
P: With a stay with my family, a few massages, a few days of coffee and then I start to prepare the upcoming challenges.
P/L: We rely on competent people. We have the experience to work on our bike ourselves, but cycling is also changing a lot in this respect and it is very useful to have a specialised person by your side. With such a person you should have a good dialogue, give your own feedback honestly. Find a good bike fitter if you need one, we can also give you recommendations.
P: My career is coming to an end. But as long as I’m still having fun and suffering, I’ll keep going! But then I would like to put my experience on the line and teach young people like you the art of cycling. Would you like to have a sporting director like me?
C: For me, a sporting director is a person of respect versus a boss! But at the same time a friend who can build me up in difficult moments, like defeats. Yes, I think that would be a good role for you.
And what about the duration of your career, Liam?
L: I want to cycle until I reach my goals – which are the Paris 2024 Olympics as a priority!
Photos | Urs Golling I