Summer has finally arrived on the Continent, and with the racing season in full swing, I thought in this month’s column I would share with my Eagle readership some “insider training secrets” to which I have been made privy, by some of the sport’s greatest luminaries.

Every cyclist knows that your position on the bike is CRUCIAL. Over the years there have been many formulas kicked around - from plumb lines off your kneecaps, to imaginary lines off your nose and knuckles - yet nothing I’ve ever come across prepared me for the GO Method. Introduced to me several years back by Scottish tinkerer, and 2 time world hour record holder, Graeme Obree, the GO Method requires a sturdy bicycle repair stand and a large wall mirror. One begins their self transformation by clamping their bike in the stand and mounting up while viewing oneself in the mirror. Through deep body imaging, and critical self-assessment, keep repositioning yourself until you know you’ve found a cutting edge look. As Graeme explains, “It’s foolproof... As any successful cutting edge look will automatically trigger a UCI lawyer phone call confirmation!”

Another misunderstood cycling tool is the Training Diary. Tony Rominger, the Swiss multi-stage master, is well know for his intelligence and methodicalness. His training diary, not surprisingly, reflects these personal traits. Rather than logging copious dietary regimes and sleeping schedules, Tony focuses on motivational details in his daily entries. These entries are almost entirely about women. There is his infatuation with a particular commercial artist at MAVIC named Mimi, and ongoing fantasies with a pair of business women from SRAM/Sachs named Heidi & Elli, and there’s Rosi from Cinelli, a Cheri from TI/Raleigh, Nikki from Assos... WAIT A MINUTE!!!

Finally, there is the bizarre world of racer superstition and ritual garment wearing. Did you know that Swiss time trial star, Alex Zulle, has perfect eyesight? That’s right, Alex’s extra-thick, “lucky spectacles” belonged to his great grandfather, and without them, Alex says he couldn’t even ride a bike with training wheels. Did you know that Bjarne Riis has a full head of hair? It turns out that the Danish Tour winner ritually shaves his head every morning and eats it over wheat-germ to enhance his virility. And did you know that Italian Gianni Bunno’s career-long fear of descending stems from an undergarment fetish? Apparently, Gianni vowed to quit racing at the end of his junior career until a sports psychologist “uncovered” some surprising motivational information. It seems that Gianni could sustain an elevated heart rate of more than 30% while wearing a brassiere, and almost 45%, if it was an underwire. The one negative side-effect of the Italian’s secret passion for racing in such a garment, however, was that in the lower, drop position, Gianni’s chest would be so constricted that he could barely breath. Downhills thus became a suffocating matter!

A WORD OF CAUTION: Before you Eagle readers try any of these tricks from the trade, understand that these riders are all highly trained, consummate professionals, and thusly, have the paychecks to justify these eccentric behaviors.  Follow a strong wheel -Euro Freddie.

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Criterium Corner with Euro Freddie