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What Do Professional Cyclists Do After They Retire? | Ask GCN Anything About Cycling


– It’s Friday, so you
know what that means, here’s another edition
of Ask GCN Anything. Coming up today, what do
professional cyclists do when they finish their racing career? I shall refrain from
mentioning the obvious which is talking utter
gibberish here on YouTube. Also, how do you combat speed wobble? How do you change gears at the front without spinning out? Are you allowed to wear pro
team kit as a non pro rider? And baggies or Lycra for gravel riding? This question came in
from James Cycle/Can, what do pros do after they retire? And it’s a really interesting subject, and one that I’ve thought a lot about, since I retired myself. After all, a lot of pros
retire each and every year, and there are only so many career spots within the sport itself. So what does everyone else do? Well I shall start by giving
some examples of riders who have stayed within the sport, there are many of them of course. Manuel Quinziato retired late last year, he, whilst he was racing, managed to get himself a degree in law and he’s now using that,
amongst other things, as a rider agent. Greg Henderson, a former lead
out man for Andre Greipel, is now the endurance performance
manager at USA cycling. And Magnus Bagstedt went on to commentary but also now is a pro bike fitter. Robbie McEwen is a commentator too, bloody good one at that I have to say. And then Nicolas Portal is now a sports director at Team Sky and arguably he’s been much
more successful as that than he was as a pro rider himself. Couple of more examples
from ex-team mates of mine, Ted King, well he still
rides to a very high level, in fact he won the Dirty
Kanza race just last weekend. He now has a company
called Untapped though, which uses maple syrup basically as an energy product for athletes. And then Dominique
Rollin, a Canadia rider, well he always loved his food, not always a great thing
as a professional cyclist, but he has now used that to create bagels and beers over in Girona. Now, onto some riders who went onto things outside of pro cycling, this is something that I asked on Twitter, I got some incredible responses, I’ll go through a few of them for you now. According to Graham Watson,
legendary photographer, Leon Van Bon has followed in his footsteps and is now a cycling photographer himself. According to Phil Sheehan, Fons De Wolf, who won Milan
San Remo during his career, went on to be a funeral director, at which point William
Fotheringham chimed in to say that Brian Robinson and Lucien Van Impe both worked as coffin makers. Matthew Loney then wrote in
to say that Roberto Visentini went into his family’s
undertaking business. Bit of theme going on here, and apparently when Roberto did that, his former teammate Stephen Roche said, “Nobody really liked
Roberto when he was a rider, “but now they’re all dying to see him.” (makes drum roll sound) I quite like that joke, actually. Next up, we have Sandy Casar who apparently has a donut shop, Aurelien Passeron is now a
grower of vegetables and olives and produces his own olive oil. Marzio Bruseghin owns his own donkey farm and then Beat Brew, winner of two stages of
Tour de France in the 1980s, owns a sex club. Quite a range of careers, post-cycling, between those lot just read out there. I would absolutely love for
you to get involved in this, if you do know of an ex-pro rider who’s gone on to something
rather strange or ridiculous, after his career or her career, let us know in the comments
section down below. I think a few more videos
will be coming along on this particular subject, but in the mean time, here’s
one we did a little while ago, five cycling legends, where are they now? After playing a major
support role to Greg Lemond at the 1986 Tour de France, two years later Andy Hampsten
became the first American to win the Giro d’Italia, punctuated of course, by an
incredibly brave performance, under the snow over the Gavia Pass. Our next question is about changing gears and it came in form Paul Endersby. “What’s a good method for
transitioning from the big ring “to the small ring without spinning out?” This is really a kind
of it depends question, but the thing with changing gears, and particularly front chain rings, is it’s all about foresight and predicting when you’re going to want
an easier or a harder gear. So examples of that are of
course when you begin a climb or indeed when you come to a junction, you want to make sure you’re in a gear that will make it easy for you to start from a standing start. When it comes to climbing, well if you’re going on a straight road and it’s just gradually going up, at the point at which you feel like you should no longer be in the big ring, what you want to do is
change onto the small ring, but simultaneously change down two gears on the rear cassette, two gears smaller, and that should see you
roughly in the next ratio up, so you’re not going from
grinding to suddenly spinning which can be very uncomfortable indeed. Conversely, if you’re on flat road or a downhill going particularly fast, and you’ve got a dead
turn into a steep climb, what you want to do then is go from the big ring
into the small ring, whilst also changing to
bigger rings on the back, one or two, so that you
can get on top of your gear immediately as soon as
you start your climb. Really though, this is
something which will come with practice and experience on the bike. It soon does become second nature, certainly has for me over the years. In fact, some of Shimano’s Di2s latest equipment from Dura
Ace kind of does it for you, so when you change chain
rings on the front, it will move the rear
derailleur in accordance to where it thinks the next ratio is. Which is pretty great for
someone new to cycling, but if you’ve been into it
a long time like I have, quite disconcerting because
I’m not expecting it to happen. Anyway, with more information on when and how to change gears, we have some help on
hand from Si and Matt, check out this next video. – So now you know what lever does what, when should you be using them? Well, for the vast majority of the time, you will be using your right hand to change gears at the back. Rapid fire round now, so I shall be as quick but as concise also as I possibly can be. First question comes
in from Afek Steinberg, “I’m considering changing
to an oval chainring “and I’ve wondered are
they harder to pedal? “Should I get the same size chainring “that I’m currently using?” Well, Afek, why would you
want to get an oval chainring if you think it might be harder to pedal? The whole idea of them is that they should be easier to pedal, because the design
allows you to go through the top and bottom part
of the pedal stroke here, which is called the dead spot, a bit quicker so that
you’re then back onto pushing down using your larger muscles far quicker on each pedal revolution. In terms of chainring size, well I was on oval chainrings from Rotor for a few years when I was racing. I used exactly the same chainring size, so 53 by 39 at the time. I know that Osymetric chainrings, that are slightly more
extreme in their shape, they do recommend going up
one chainring size higher, so if you’re on a 53, for example, you would go onto a 54. They are of course what Chris Froome uses, and has done for all his Grand Tour wins. Arun, on Twitter, “I don’t
ride my race bike that often, “and I’m concerned about
the seat post seizing. “It’s a carbon post in a carbon frame, “what’s the best way to
prevent it from seizing?” I don’t think not riding your bike as much is going to mean that it’s going
to get seized more quickly, I could be wrong on that, let me know in the comments below if I am, however, what the
general rule of thumb is, according to John Cannings, is that if the seat post slips, and it’s carbon on carbon,
use carbon gripper paste, if you are using a carbon
post that does not move when the clamp is properly taut, you don’t need to apply anything, however if you’re using
an alloy seat post, it’s always best to
use some kind of grease to prevent it form seizing up. Steel, especially of course as well, and if you are using steel
on steel just make sure that you take the seat post out every so often, mark the saddle height, re-grease it, and make sure that it’s not
seized inside the frame. Next up from Matt McD, “The reach on my bike is too far for me, “could I turn my saddle post around “to be more comfortable on the bike? “Will it work and will
it not damage the bike? “I also don’t want to get a shorter stem.” Yeah you can absolutely
do that if you want, in fact there are some pros out there who choose this exact method. Adam Hansen is a rider
who springs to mind. He is governed by the UCI rule that dictates that the tip of the saddle has to be five cm behind the
center of the bottom bracket, but he does slam it forward
as much as he can do. You are not governed by that, so you can go as far forward as you want, the only thing I will say
is that it does change your bike position of
course, quite significantly. So, it might be something
that you want to do gradually, so that your muscles etc have got time to get used to that
vastly different position. Next up, from Nathan B, “Has groad cycling attire been discussed? “Is it skin tight lycra for the road, “or baggies for the gravel? “What’s the etiquette here?” I’m absolutely sure that
this has been discussed, possibly even here on GCN,
I’m not entirely sure, but whatever the results
of that discussion, ignore them and listen to me now. Doesn’t matter what you wear. Where whatever you are comfortable with, whatever the discipline is. It might be that you spent
years on the road in Lycra and you’re very comfortable in that tight-fitting Lycra clothing. If you are, wear that
when you’re doing groad. If you’ve come from a
mountain bike background, and you’ve got used to wearing baggies and you’re comfortable
in them, then where them. Really doesn’t matter, and don’t care what other people
say, even if they dis you. I know I’m probably too
old to use that word, but it’s all about being
comfortable in your own skin, and in your own Lycra or
baggies, whatever that might be. Feel quite strongly about that. We’ve got another question
along similar lines, actually, from Peter Stafford, “What is
the etiquette about wearing “pro team jerseys as a fan? “Is it like football, where you wear “your favorite team’s
jersey as a show of fanship? “Or are team jerseys seen “as something that you need to earn?” Again, don’t worry Peter, if you like a particular team’s
ki because it looks great or you want to support them, go for it, or if it’s cheaper because it’s on sale, than something without any
branding on it, then don’t worry, and if people dis you, going
to use that term again, just ignore them and say, “Well I’m comfortable in this,
it’s what I want to wear, “leave me alone to do it.” I get really fed up with people that say that there’s all these different rules that you have to adhere to as a cyclist of different disciplines. Although I am quite vain myself, and I do adhere to quite
a few of these rules. Nevertheless, do what you want. Finally, from Pbassred, “Helmets are important,
so how do you protect them “when you are traveling?” Well I’ve always tended to keep mine either in my hand luggage, or indeed strapped to my backpack if there’s not enough room inside. That way, you can
basically govern yourself how much it gets hit etc. What you don’t know, is if
you put it in your suitcase, whether something else is
going to land on top of it, because baggage handlers
aren’t particularly careful with your luggage. It’s fine if you’ve got
a hard case, of course, if you’ve got a soft case and you need to put your helmet inside, put it somewhere in the middle, so that it’s covered by lots of clothes and therefor lots of padding, and then you should be okay. Already onto our penultimate
question for today. It’s a nutritional one
and it comes in from Reny. “If you can’t follow the “eat three hours before cycling rule, “would a light meal or
snack just before riding “be a good substitute?” Well, the very quick
answer to this, is yes. That three hour rule would generally refer to quite a large meal as
opposed to just a light snack. Of course, not everyone’s
got three hours to spend waiting around to do a ride
after they’ve eaten a meal. The tolerance of a large meal, or indeed the proximity
of it to your exercise is very much individual preference, or basically how much you can tolerate. That will also depend on how intense the exercise is going to be. If it’s really intense you
might get some stomach problems if you eat too close to it. If it’s a fairly relaxed ride, you can probably eat half an hour before and not have too many problems. In terms of a good pre-ride meal or snack, well you want to focus, of course, on carbohydrates for this. Now, you can put some fat
and protein in there as well, but just be careful of this, that does take longer
to process and digest, if you include that in your pre-ride meal, so you have to experiment to find out exactly what works for you
and what you can tolerate. What should you consume
before cycling then? Well, if you are going
to have a small snack fairly close to your ride, we would recommend some
simple carbohydrates, because they are going to be
ingest far quicker and easier and get some sugars going
into your bloodstream a lot quicker too. So, things like white rice or pasta, or indeed a ripened banana
should work pretty well for you. For a longer event you
should also remember that on-bike nutrition
is equally important, so you should be able to get 40 to 60 grams absorbed
of carbohydrates per hour, whilst you’re out on the bike
to avoid the dreaded bonk. Speaking personally, that
three hour rule for me really only applied to racing, which was of course pretty intense. Whilst I was at home training, I’d often get up at
eight and have breakfast and be out on the bike
for nine or nine thirty, and never really had any problems, so again, it’s just
experimenting yourself, finding what works for you. You might find that you
can have a full-blown meal an hour and a half before riding and you’ll be absolutely fine. Anyway, as you know,
I’m no expert on this, but a man who is, is
Professor Asker Jeukendrup, and recently Emma Pooley
went up to see him, to answer some of your
nutritional questions. So I thoroughly recommend
watching the video with him. – “Is there a meal blueprint
plan to reduce fat percentage?” If there is, please tell me. – Yeah. (laughs) I like the way the question is asked, but I think, first of all, it’s always a combination
of exercise and eating, it’s the two that you need. – Our final question this week, comes in from Aldrin Sta Ana. “Why, when I’m in a descent, “I always experience my
front wheel shaking around “at around 50 km per hour? “What’s the cause of the shaking, “even if my wheelsets
are are completely true?” Well, first of all, we
all experience this, and I have a massive degree of sympathy, because it’s so scary
when that happens to you because as you point out, you are generally going at high speed. In terms of what causes this speed wobble, people don’t seem to really know, or at least they’re not in 100% agreement as to what causes it. Some people suggest that something might be
slightly out of alignment, whether that’s your frame and forks, or indeed the wheels on the frame. Some people say that you’ve
distributed your weight wrong. Too far back, not enough
weight on the front end, which allows it to start
snaking about there. Some people say that your top tube might not be stiff enough, and therefore you’ve got almost a pivot around your seat tube. In terms of what you do
once you get speed wobble, the first bit of advice
is to stay relaxed. Much easier said than done, I know, when you’re basically kind of
pooing your pants, basically, when you might hit the
deck at 60 km an hour, not a nice prospect, but if you stiffen up it’s only going to make
the problem even worse. Think about your weight
distribution on the bike, so it’s fairly evenly distributed between the front and the rear end. One thing that you can apparently try is getting out of the saddle slightly and putting the crank in
the downward position, so the six o’clock position, and placing your weight through there. That removes that pivot
point around the seat tube. Don’t be afraid to break, you can pull them on
in a controlled manner to try and slow yourself down, but don’t grab them and try
to do an emergency stop, because that can flip you off the bike. All suggestions for now but
we have got a lot more detail on what might be causing speed wobble and how you can deal with
it id you do experience it, in this next video with
myself and Si Richardson. – Now, related to this, is the possibility that actually the front end of your bike, or more specifically the top tube, just isn’t stiff enough. Now, that’s something
that’s going to be felt more keenly by heavier riders, or those of use that perhaps might sit with too much weight over
the back of the bike, so not enough weight over the front wheel. – Well that’s all for this
weeks’ Ask GCN Anything. We will, of course, be back
at the same time next week, on a Friday evening UK time, or Friday morning or afternoon
over there in the US. If you would like to get
involved with your own questions that we might be able to answer, leave them in the comments
section just down below, or if you think about them
when you’re out and about and away from YouTube, but have access to social media,
use the hashtag #torqueback and we shall find them there as well. If you’ve enjoyed this video, give it a thumbs up down below. Subscribe if you haven’t done so already by clicking on the globe which you should be able
to find on the screen now, and for more content, we’ve actually got part
two of Cycling Legends, Where Are They Now? You can find that just down here.

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