Fast Talk, ep. 64: Inside the Canadian team’s world championship success, with Mike Woods and Rob Britton
The VeloNews Fast Talk podcast is your source for the best training advice and most compelling insight on what it takes to become a better cyclist. Listen in as VeloNews managing editor Chris Case and our resident physiologist and coach, Trevor Connor, discuss a range of topics, including sport science, training, physiology, technology, nutrition, and more.
In episode 64, we ask the question: What does it take to stand on the podium at the world championships? It’s a simple question without a simple answer. Strength buys you a seat at the table, but playing a winning hand takes effective training, teamwork, near-perfect strategy, and an incredible mindset.
In today’s episode we take a deep dive into all of the elements that are needed for a podium placing at worlds with two of the members of the Canadian team — Mike Woods and Rob Britton. The two of them, along with their team of coaches, asked that simple question over a year before the 2018 world championships. Canada doesn’t have the biggest reputation, nor the best-funded team, but they found the answers and earned Mike the bronze medal.
So, how did they do it? Today we’ll cover:
- How the race played out to put Mike in a position to fight for the podium
- Rob Britton’s all-day breakaway that helped put Mike in that position
- The final “hell climb” as Rob calls it, how it was central to Mike’s strategy, the sort of numbers he put out on the climb, and why those numbers don’t tell the full story
- The finale, and why in a split second the excitement of a podium momentarily turned into a disappointment
- A comparison of Mike’s and Rob’s very different preparations for worlds. Mike used the Tour of Utah and the Vuelta to get his legs ready. Rob, on the other hand, loaded his bike up with fifty pounds of gear and did a very low-tech ride across half of Canada. Yet, both riders arrived with great legs… and, perhaps more importantly, great mindsets.
- How Rob and Mike balanced their training — including the balance of long slow volume rides, threshold work, and VO2max training, and how training for a seven hour event like worlds may differ from the local two-hour race
Our primary guests for this podcast were the Canadian superstars themselves: Mike Woods of the EF Education First team and Rob Britton of Rally Cycling. Mike, who comes from a running background, exploded onto the scene five years ago and since then has raced multiple grand tours, which has included a recent stage win at the Vuelta. Rob has dominated the domestic scene with multiple wins, including the GC victory at races like Tour of the Gila.
In addition to Rob and Mike, we’ll talk with:
Mike’s coach Paulo Saldahna. Despite his remarkable coaching success, Paulo points out that coaching is only one of the many hats he wears. He’s the owner of the successful indoor training company PowerWatts and is an endurance sport physiologist by trade where he builds support structures for athletes worldwide and runs a high performance facility in Montreal.
Finally, we’ll talk briefly with Dr. Ciaran O’Grady, a coach and sports scientist at Team Dimension Data. As a WorldTour coach, we’ll ask him what’s different about training for a seven hour race.
Now, if you’ll please stand for the national anthem of Canada. Oh Canada, my home and native land… Let’s make you fast!
Fast Talk is available on all your favorite podcast services, including iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and Soundcloud. If you enjoy the podcast, please take a moment to rate and comment on iTunes after listening.