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Fast Talk podcast, ep. 77: Avoiding mistakes even pros make, with Dr. Andy Pruitt and Frankie Andreu

In episode 77, we hear from coaches, athletes, and cycling experts with decades of experience, from fitting to training, nutrition to race craft, about the biggest mistakes even pros make — and how to avoid them.

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.


We all make mistakes. No one trains and races perfectly, which can be frustrating when so often those mistakes are made out of honest effort and a desire to perform at our best.

But we have a choice in how we treat our mistakes. One way is to get frustrated and beat up on ourselves. The other is to realize that admitting when we make a mistakes is an opportunity to improve and be a better athlete.

With that second perspective in mind, today we’re going to talk about some of the most common mistakes that we see in athletes — even pros. And we’re going to hear from a variety of athletes, coaches, and experts who have been around the block a few times. They know all the mistakes, but more importantly they know what to do about them.

A few of the things we will talk about:

  • The one thing that almost all of our guests said was the biggest mistake – hint, don’t try too hard to figure it out.
  • Being coachable, or more generally being willing to listen, know yourself, and identify your mistakes
  • Warm-ups and cool-downs — they can have a big impact if done right, and also if done wrong
  • Nutrition — though you may be surprised by what our guests say is the biggest mistake
  • Too much intensity — do you really think Coach Connor and I were going to have an episode about mistakes and not bring that one up.
  • Bike fit and biomechanical mistakes — one of our guests today is Dr. Andy Pruitt who has made a very successful career of helping athletes find success by fixing these often-overlooked mistakes.
  • Racing mistakes and why one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to never risk making mistakes.
  • And finally, we’ll talk about a more philosophical mistake — not knowing when to move on.

Our primary guests today are Dr. Andy Pruitt and Frankie Andreu. By now, you should know who Dr. Pruitt is, one of the foremost experts on cycling ergonomics and medical issues in athletes. Frankie Andreu was a longtime professional, a mentor to many, a team manager and director, a race commentator, and a legend in the sport.

Along with our two primary guests, we checked in with several other respected experts including Joe Friel, author of the “The Cyclist’s Training Bible” which was recently updated. Joe has coached over a thousand athletes in his career and has seen it all. So we had to ask him what he thinks are the biggest mistakes athletes make.

We also speak with Jared Berg, who’s the head physiologist at the University of Colorado Sports Medicine and Performance Center. One of the issues with making mistakes is we can often convince ourselves that it doesn’t actually affect us. But you can’t fool the physiology and Jared sees that inescapable truth every day.

Next we pulled in an old interview with Grant Holicky, formerly of Apex Coaching with Neal Henderson and now with Forever Endurance, who talks about a mistake that we love to harp on — training in moderato.

Finally, Trevor touches base with Houshang Amiri, a former Canadian National and Olympic team coach who’s worked with many of the best cyclists in Canada. Like Joe Friel, Houshang has seen it all and had some interesting insights on the importance of being prepared.

Now, remember that practice makes perfect. I swear we never mess up in this episode. So let’s make you fast!

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