Sunday, October 2, 2011
Eddy Merckx..the Cannibal
To Eddy..I say (respectfully) BULLSHIT! I honestly believe if everything is equal (physiologically speaking) then yes, the man that says "ouch" last will be the winner at the end of the race/day. But, you can not tell me that physiologically Eddy was just your average Joe with normal VO2max, Efficiency, Lactate Threshold, Endurance, Strength, etc. It's obvious that Eddy was blessed with God-given talent/ability (to accomplish what he did in the day) and not once did he mention this to the author. I guess Eddy wants everyone to believe he's a rough, tough manly-man (and maybe he is/was) and that the reason he won so many races in the day was because he endured more pain than anyone else.
(By the way, everyone has a different "pain threshold/level". I know my wife has a higher "pain threshold" than I do. But, I can't see her ever beating me in a race regardless of how much pain she can endure or how much she suffers.)
I've coached and seen many a cyclist that pushed past their pain threshold during races..enduring more pain and suffering than anyone else in the race. The pain was so bad the racer almost passed-out. Did that cyclist win the race? Nope, not even close. Why? Because suffering (from pain) doesn't win races alone. What wins races is talent..talent that is normally God-given. And, that God-given talent is in the form of your genetic makeup. If you don't believe in God, then it's parent-given...it's good genes. As I said before, if the talent is equal..then the winner will most likely be the one that suffers the most.
I ride with pain (it's slight), I've been riding with pain ever since I herniated two discs in my back in 2003. That pain will never go away (so say the docs) unless I have spine surgery to correct it (if that's even possible). Does riding in pain make (or allow) me win races? Hardly. And, I do ride in/with pain every time I ride/race. For me, I've just learned to accept it. The pain is not excruciating..but it's there. And, just because I can ignore the pain in my back when I ride/race doesn't mean that I can ignore the pain in my legs when I race. The pain in my legs is a result of lactic acid build-up, micro-tears in the muscle, increased hydrogen ions, calcium deficit, or whatever "really" causes it- the jury is still out on this. It's a different kind of pain. But this different pain (in the legs) is a "physiological" pain barrier..not a "mental" pain barrier. Pushing past this barrier whether your brain allows it or not will NOT make you go any faster..it's a limiter. It's your body's way of protecting itself. It's saying, "dude, if you keep going any more at this pace/level..I'm going to pass out and make you stop, so you don't damage these muscles".
So, sorry Eddy..I don't buy the pain/suffering thing. But, you're still the greatest cyclist of all time and "manly-man" (in my eyes)..but next time an editor from a major mag asks you what your secret is/was..tell them the truth (it's ok)..and thank God..or your parents..or better both for your brilliant talented career. That's not so painful.
Power ON! Coach Rob
Posted by Rob Muller at 9:31 PM