8 Tips From An Indian Pro-Cyclist On How To Make It Big Cycling In India
India’s First UCI Continental Pro Cyclist Naveen John recently completed 3 power packed, insightful and enlightening workshops for cyclists in Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai. In an interview conducted by Starkenn Bikes, The Giant Rider focused on the importance of correct, focused training, adapting to the Indian cycling experience and how to mentally and physically perform as both a casual cyclist/athlete and at a professional level.
Here are some key pointers to keep in mind –
1.The earlier, the better
Cycling talent should be recognised, encouraged and honed, especially if spotted at a young age. Don’t simply assume your child is being extra energetic like children tend to be, watch closely for signs of athletic potential.
2. Mix It Up
Another one for the younger crowd – engage in various kinds of sports and physical activities, and don’t just stick to cycling all the time, even if you’re aiming for the big leagues. A good balance keeps the body fit as a whole and makes sure that physically, no stone is left unturned.
3. Plan, Plan, Plan
A common issue with younger athletes is that they don’t plan for a possible career realistically. There is this almost filmy notion that ‘passion’ and ‘perseverance’ will see them through. While those two elements are most definitely a requisite for success, without adequate planning and scheduling it becomes an uphill challenge in the long run. Learn and decide what kind of athlete you want to excel as – endurance, sprint, multi-discipline, etc. Find out about the career curves for these, plan your’s accordingly. A lot of planning has to go into training as well.
4. Don’t Wait For Special Moments
When Naveen John won at the Road Nationals and National Games, he was quite surprised by the lack of mental impact it had on him. On introspection, he understood that the training, the struggles, the obstacles, all those things he overcame to win the race, those were what changed him. It was the journey, not the destination, that mattered in the end. In the same manner, remember that a sport like cycling is one of the hardest sports out there, mainly because of the training and time required to be put in. Enjoy each training session, and the rise in your fitness and strength levels that gradually come, as much as you can. But at the same time….
5. Set Goals
Goes hand in hand with well thought out planning. Have small and large goals. Set targets, from a month down the line to years. It’s important to know how far you’ve come and what you’re falling behind on.
6. Don’t Blame The System, Change The System
It’s common to hear that India lacks in this premium product or that helpful service, but the current truth is that today we have all the quality equipment needed for pro cyclists.While the city traffic is a hindrance, there a plenty of trails or paths just half an hour (or even less than that) outside our major cities. The state of affairs still has a long way to go, in terms of the sport grabbing eyeballs. But if you make a name for yourself through hard work and dedication, you will then be better placed to actually implementing the changes the current system needs.
7. Make the hard choices early on
A pro-cycling career is pretty much a full time one, with some coaching or mentoring possible on the side. While it’s quite easy to start riding frequently while having a full time job, pro-cycling and the training demands it comes with are on another level altogether. So, if you do decide to get into pro-cycling full time, be prepared for the arguments and judgements that will inevitably come. It’s much easier to get these things out into the open at an earlier time rather than later or in the middle of your career which the transition would have to be much more drastic.
8. Be Diligent, Be Positive
Naveen’s favorite quote is ‘Excellence is a habit’. It’s a result of repeating, again and again, a certain action that you get better and better at. Don’t skip out on training, don’t let your body (or sleep) hold you down when it comes to dawn rides and sleep schedules. Be prepared for each ride and most of all, enjoy them.
Read part 1 of the interview here.
For more cycling content, click here.