February 16, 2011

Le Métier. French Translation.

A friend, Jean Michel Dupé, has translated the book Le Métier. Below is an excerpt from the first chapter. Hopefully, the complete translation will be published soon.

The photos were taken by Camille McMillan.

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Durant l’intersaison, nous nous renforçons au mental comme au physique, en sortant sous un temps froid pour rouler pendant des heures sous la pluie ou la neige. Dévolus au travail et à la poursuite de nos buts nous roulons sous des conditions qui gardent la plupart des gens chez eux. Dans les extrêmes, j’ai appris sur moi-même, et sur mes limites.

En hiver, je pédale sur un rythme stable tout en me hissant au delà des côtes avec ma surcharge pondérale. Il n’y a aucune urgence ; Je construis des fondations comme je le faisais adolescent dans le garage et sur les routes cernées de congères. «  Les kilomètres c’est comme  l’argent en banque » mon premier entraîneur m’aurait dit, « tu dois commencer la saison avec un gros compte que tu débiteras inévitablement à chaque course. »

Les kilomètres à rouler passent rapidement avec les amis à socialiser sur le vélo comme les travailleurs qui discutent tout en creusant les routes. Les repas d’hiver et les longues soirées avec force vins nous ralentissent sur le vélo, mais en attendant on a besoin de se vicier un peu pour échapper à la structure que nous endurerons bientôt. Un cycliste chérit les instants dont il dispose pour se relaxer, tellement ils sont rares au sein d’une saison chaotique. Nous savons cela, vient Mars où le travail exigera une focalisation sans failles.

Loin de Toronto, je vis et m’entraîne désormais à Gérone en Espagne. Conduit ici il y a presque dix ans par mes co-équipiers Américains, la petite ville Catalane est désormais mon domicile. Gérone s’est peuplée doucement de cyclistes professionnels étrangers qui furent attirés par cette ville pour sa proximité aux montagnes, son climat Méditerranéen, et son noyau grandissant de collègues d’entraînement. Rouler est plus facile avec des compagnons, particulièrement dans les mois déclinants de la saison ou lors de printemps humides : souffrir est plus facile lorsque vous êtes avec un ami.

Continue Reading »

December 23, 2010

Le Métier. 2nd Edition

Le Métier 2nd Edition is essentially unchanged from the 1st edition that sold out in three months, with just a few notable exceptions. The 2nd Edition is paperback and comes in slightly more compact dimensions, making this edition substantially less costly than the 1st ed. David Millar and Christian Vandevelde both pen forewords. There is a new finishing stroke with an afterword about his 2010 Tour de France experience with Team Sky. The book contains four chapters — Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer — which map the slow crescendo of a pro’s season.

Le Métier can be purchased at Competitive Cyclist.

December 1, 2010

On the Bike Again

A professional cyclist is rarely off of his bike in the off-season for more than a month.  Progressively, through the months of November and December I slowly ease back into the routine of training. With time, the distance and intensity of the rides increases. As the morning fog lifts with the chill of the damp night air, we meet at a café to plan a route over cortados and pastries. In the warmth of the café we linger and socialise. The races are months away, we know our fitness will come so for now we can simply enjoy the ride, the camaraderie and the environment.

Catalonia, and specifically Girona, is magnificent in the autumn and winter. The streets, which were once crowded with tourists through the summer are now spotted with locals who chat under the Christmas lights. The sun lies low in the sky creating long shadows and setting before the children arrive home from school.

We’ll ride for half of the day in a small group. There are no intervals pencilled into our programs or specific goals to meet. We rode as we did when we first started this sport ages ago. As David Millar wrote in the foreword to the update edition of the book, Le Métier,  “What was once the worst time of the year for me is now my favourite; Winter is now the time I enjoy most. During the Tour de France, Michael and I discussed how much we were looking forward to our December training rides. It’s then we get to meet in the morning and ride our bikes for fun, with an appreciation of our good fortune.”

Here are a few photos from a recent ride. Dominique Rollin is wearing the Cervelo clothing. Dom will ride for La Francaise des Jeux next season. Jordi Cantal, a local fireman, took many of the pictures and rides with us often. He knows the smallest roads and trails. And, he teaches me a little Catalan and Spanish as we ride.

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October 11, 2010

Flying or Ragged

Throughout the Tour de France photographer Scott Mitchell followed Team Sky as he is working on a book with my teammate Brad Wiggins. Based on the work I have seen the book should be fantastic. Scott sent me some photos recently which I have posted below. I find it odd seeing photos of myself as the mental image I have is often far different from that which is captured in the photos. At times, I feel ragged but in a photo I look healthy while the opposite is also true as I can be flying on the bike but the dark rings under my eyes tell a different story. I find this interesting and it is one of the many reasons I wanted to write a book with photographer Camille McMillan.  In our book Le Métier,  we worked to tell the complete story of the cyclist’s life from both perspectives.

Here are some of Scott’s fine photos:

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April 26, 2010

Beyond the Cover, Le Métier.

Select pages of Le Métier. The Seasons of a Professional Cyclist.

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April 19, 2010

Le Métier. The seasons of a professional cyclist.

On a cold rainy winter day, while I was climbing a mountain in solitude, ideas were floating through my head as my heart rate increased with the effort. I thought about the ride. I was alone on a road in the pouring rain. It was a moment in the life of a cyclist that the public doesn’t see. There are thousands of such moments.

Camille McMillan, a photographer who is also a good friend, and I had just finished working on a project together. His photos are unique and we had worked well together.

At the top of the mountain I pulled over and sent him an SMS. “I think we should work on a book that will tell the story of a pro cyclist’s life. The book will follow him through the year. With your photos and my words I think we can tell a story that hasn’t been told and give people an understanding of what the life of a pro cyclist is all about.” Moments later he wrote back. “I’m in.”

Before he became a professional photographer and I a professional cyclist, we were childhood friends. Camille’s father, Rhett, rode in a local club in London with my father. They were best friends and with cycling as a common passion. Camille and I grew up immersed in bike magazines and books. And, as a result of all of that, we see the sport similarly. Due to that childhood friendship there was a level of trust, which allowed us to work more honestly and intimately.

Camille followed me as often as possible through the cycling season. He spent time in my home, in the hotel room, in the team bus, and followed the training rides. Many of his photos capture the moments in a cyclist’s life that are routine to us but are exceptionally abnormal to most people.

To attain the level of fitness necessary each rider in the professional peloton has committed his life to his bike. The roadside spectators, the media and the television audience, who watch us from a distance, cannot see the professional cyclist’s commitment, suffering and sacrifice. We have told this story in Le Métier. The seasons of a professional cyclist.

The book is on sale now: http://rouleur.cc/le-metier and will be released 29.04.2010. Below are some snaps Camille took late last week of the printing presses in action.

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