My Email to a 16 Year-Old S African Rider

Thanks for your email. I’m glad to hear that you have high goals for the sport and dreams of becoming a pro. Dreams at your age are always the starting place for anyone who eventually becomes a pro. Otherwise, there are many differences in the backgrounds of the pros. But not when it comes to their dreams. There are a few other things they mostly had in common as juniors. Most had coaches. That is the best way, without a doubt, to pursue your dream. Someone who knows the sport and can meet with you occasionally and even ride with you. You didn’t say if you had a team to train and race with. That’s another thing that was common for most of the pros when they were younger. A team can provide much of the support you need in achieving your dream.

You mentioned occasionally missing workouts. It’s ok to have times when you don’t train. In fact, it’s probably healthy for you. But ultimately the key to success is consistent training. Missing workouts frequently is counterproductive and will lead to lackluster performance. But well-timed breaks from training are to be expected and good.

The bottom line for achieving your dream is a good coach and a supportive team. I hope you are seeking both of these. And, in fact, they may be overlapping. If you have a team you are also likely to have a coach.

I’d also suggest reading the biographies of pros from the last 40 years or so to see how they progressed as juniors and what worked for them in becoming pros. There are several such books out there on Merckx, Fignon, Lemond, Froome, Wiggins, and more. These will help with motivation while also offering suggestions on paths to take.

All the best for your success. Please let me know how I can be of help.

Joe Friel

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