For those of you who enjoy life in the saddle, we’re bringing you an exclusive interview with Mavic cycling ambassador and top level amateur, Nicolas Roux, who’s answered your questions! If you’re looking for inspiration for your own training and some tips on how to push yourself that little bit further, you’ll find them here. Time to hear from Nicolas himself.
Tell us about yourself and how you first became interested in cycling.
It all started in my village. My mates and I used to go out riding around the area, doing some sprints here and there. They were already members of clubs. One day I went to see them at a race and I caught the bug. The year after that I entered my first bike race, and I won it! I was on my way.
Thomas Cummins asks: How often do you ride in a week, and what average speed do you aim for while training?
On average, I probably do 12 to 16 hours of riding a week. I often ride at an average speed of somewhere between 29 and 32 km/h, but that also depends on the type of training I need to do – whether it’s high-intensity interval training, working on strength and endurance, or recovery.
What’s the toughest route you’ve ever tackled on a bicycle?
It’s hard to say. The most difficult I’ve done in one day would be the Tour du Mont-Blanc, no question: it’s 330 km long with 8,000 metres of climbing.
What is your biggest motivation when you’re out training?
I think my biggest motivation when training is pushing my limits, and improving my performances over the weeks. But I still love going out riding, finding new roads, seeing nature change as the seasons go by…
Atte Sakari would like to know: What’s your favourite off bike training?
When I’m taking some time off the bike, my favourite sport is cross-country skiing. The effort is comparable and it’s a very technical sport – you have to train hard to get to a decent level.
Madis Maripuu would love some tips on hydration while riding. How much water do you take out when cycling and how often do you drink it?
Hydration is very important on the bike: you need to drink regularly, a mouthful about every half an hour. In terms of quantity, it depends on the length of the ride and the heat. If you’re riding for 3 hours in moderate temperatures, then drink two bottles, but if you’re tackling a mountain pass in extreme heat, you need to drink a bit every kilometre.
What do you usually eat pre and post workout?
My diet is very varied. If I go out training just after breakfast, I’ll tend to eat sugar-free cereal with oat milk or rice milk and fresh fruit, almonds or raisins, which are very easy to digest. If I train in the early afternoon, I often eat foods that are carbs or high in fibre like rice, white meat and stewed fruit. If I get back from a training session at a meal time, I eat vegetables, fish, white meat, lentils and dessert. The key thing to remember is to vary your diet and to enjoy what you eat.
Keen cyclist Krzysztof Tkaczyk is wondering how to improve his average speed and power on the flat and uphills. What kind of training could he introduce to see some progress?
To improve your speed on the flat or on climbs, the most important thing is pedalling cadence. If you can spin your legs at about 90 rpm, the improvement will be immediate. To boost your power, you need to build in specific training sessions lasting 10 minutes to begin with (then 15 min, 20 min), changing up a gear or two at 60 rpm. For hills, you need to do big climbs relatively frequently, working on your cadence.
Who is your sporting inspiration?
I’ve got so much admiration for the warriors of the road. The rider who inspired me most is Jacques Anquetil, because of his exploits and his champion’s drive.
How do you recover from a race or a really tough training session?
When I do a really big training session or after a demanding race, I always take one or even two days off the bike. Recovery is an integral part of training. Over-training can sometimes be more damaging than not training enough.
Preparing for a race – how many days before do you stop hard training etc.?
Before a big competition or a major goal, I start reducing my workload two weeks before the race. There are always specific sessions to top up your condition a bit but the hardest work is done.
Do you have any other tips for your fellow cyclists?
For me the best advice is that riding should still be a passion, you have to want to get back in the saddle for training to be useful and high quality. There’s no point going out for a ride half-heartedly! “Man needs passion to exist”.
A big thank you to Nicolas for joining us and giving us an insight into his training tips and routine! We’re already feeling ready to get behind two wheels and take our cycling to the next level.