photo by Veeral Patel

He may not know it, but Rob Crowe, or “Crowie” as we all call him, has been a major influence to my cycling and hence this site.   Every single time I go out on a ride with him I learn something new or discover a different way to look at a problem.  In fact, the first post that I wrote was after going for a long 280km ride with him.

In case you don’t know him, Crowie is a two time Olympic cyclist (Barcelona and Athens Paralympics Gold Medalist (pilot pursuit)).  He has stories to tell that will captivate you and blow your mind once you get him going.   Just listen to him and you’ll pick up a goldmine of information that’s so natural to him that he doesn’t even realize how profound much of it is.  He’s been around the sport of cycling for a long time and he’s one of the few who isn’t jaded and scarred by it.  He’s motivating and more importantly, he’s inspiring.  Every time I ride with him I become a better cyclist.  I have a lot to thank him for.

Here are some random things I’ve picked up from Crowie throughout the time I’ve gotten to know him:

  • The importance of strength endurance.  I neglected a solid base of SE training for 3 years until watching and learning from Crowie.  You need that deep-seated strength work to be able to turn over a big gear and dig deep in road races when things start to get tough.
  • The importance of H2O in your diet.  When you’re trying to control your eating and you’re hungry, try drinking a glass of water first before you start snacking.  Dehydration is often confused by the body with the sensation of hunger.  Try it sometime.  It’s worked for me.
  • Use a hand pump instead of CO2. Many people mess up the fitting of the tyre/tube when fixing it when in a rush. They also don’t check properly for pieces of glass or debris and end up with another puncture moments after they fix it. Using a CO2 cartridge is quick and easy which enables you to be in a rush. Using a hand pump that requires elbow grease will make you damn sure that the tube is fitted properly and all the debris is out of the tyre before you take 5 minutes to pump that thing up to 100psi.
  • Interval training and periodization doesn’t need to be long, excruciating and boring.   You can pick routes and group rides that will get you the same results as if you went out and did 6x4mins at 400watts (for example).  If you want to work on power, then find a route or bunch ride that will be conducive to a power workout (a short sharp hill circuit).  If you want speed, then find a fast bunch ride and roll track turns at the front.   If you want to get better, always have a point to going on a particular ride.
  • Cycling is a thinking man’s game.  Crowie didn’t exactly teach me this, but his race analysis’ have definitely raise the bar on how much tactics and thought goes into winning a race.
  • Cornering. Crowie is a master at handling the bike. He can break it down and explain the intricacies of getting free speed out of a corner. It’s best to drift back a few meters coming into turns so that you roll up behind and into the slipstream of the rider in front during cornering.  Do all your braking before entering the corner and accelerate out of it. Aim for the inside line or head towards the underside because any incident or crash will spill toward the outside lanes and slide outwards.
  • The importance of massage and when to get a massage.  I used to get massage treatments whenever I felt like it without ever putting in any thought to when the time is optimal.  Crowie said to me once “getting a massage is like doing a hard workout. Your legs will be screwed after!”.

There you have it.  These things are obvious to me now but had to take someone like Crowie to point them out.

Who has been an influence in your cycling life and what has he or she taught you?