30 things learned in 30 years of cycling – No. 8

The amount of talent needed to be a cyclist

Cycling, as a sport is often referred to as being addictive, or as one former Ras stage winner put it whilst under the influence of Arthur’s finest Guinness  ‘you’ll never love your wife as much as you love cycling !’. This statement was replied to with a chorus of nodding heads, nodding that is after all had checked left and right to see if any wives were within earshot.

Cycling has a mass appeal that many other sports lack. You can head out on your bike alone and your training session begins and ends at your front door, no car journey required. When the fresh air fills your lungs on a crisp spring morning as you look in over a ditch at a few horses grazing in front of an old ruined castle it feels good to be alive. Then when you get fit and train regularly the endorphins or ‘Happy chappies’ as Bill Cullen used to call them begin to appear when you put yourself under pressure and you get a natural high.

This along with most peoples natural competitive instinct often leads to a temptation to enter a race. Maybe a league race or possibly an A4 race some Sunday. However there’s always a tinge of doubt, just how good do you need to be to ride a race ? Well the answer is actually pretty simple.

Cycling is not like some sports where a talented player can drink and smoke and still get away with it. There are no shortcuts in cycling. But conversely there are also very few limits to cycling. Natural talent can be compensated for. The main thing with cycling is that those without any natural talent just have to train harder than those who have it !

And that is it in a nutshell. So, how much talent do you need ? – the answer is none whatsoever, but you do have to train harder and to want it more than the next guy .



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