Work out like a World Cup winner.
GORE® athlete Simon Gegenheimer focused on the emerging discipline of XC Eliminator in 2017. The series, once part of the MTB World Cup, was given its own calendar this year. Gegenheimer dominated the calendar, wrapping up the overall World Cup series already. The German will head to the World Championships, part of the UCI Urban Cycling World Championships, as one of the hot favourites for the win.
GORE® catches up with Gegenheimer to talk preparation and racing:
Simon Gegenheimer, 28 years Location: Aalen / GER.
Hard training is an everyday reality, but you can only demand what you’ve got in your body on that particular day. From my point of view, too much emphasis is placed on training ever harder, rather than focusing on the fundamentals: you can only ever give 100% of what you’ve got.
So that you can benefit from my experience, I have listed some of my training secrets. Whether it is about the topic of nutrition, training content, equipment, or recovery, full commitment is the real secret. If I get on my bike, I’m fully there with all my senses. Instagram, Facebook and all the fun stuff are nice and great but I restrict myself during core training. During training, it is only about the training. My bike, my clothes, my drinks bottle; everything is prepared like in a World Cup race.
I listen to motivating music for 20 minutes before I start training to get in the mood. Once I slip on my bike gloves, it’s go time. The powermeter or my teammates are the opponents, and they are tough opponents. With this approach, I can train and compete almost daily under competitive conditions.
Enough words: here are the foundations of my everyday life.
1.) Sleep: At night you recover and your hormones are reset. Uninterrupted sleep is key. While 9 hours of sleep is perfect, 8 is the minimum. As a professional, taking even a 45-minute nap at noon is great. If you’re at full throttle, you also have to take a break and it works best in sleep mode. So close your eyes so that you can open them properly again. For a professional is nothing worse than when you constantly wandering in half-mode, because in half-mode you win no World Cups.
2.) Clothing: when you see me riding through the forest, apart from a starting number, my setup is no different to a world cup. My bike set-up and my clothing are exactly the same, so I do not have any restrictions that day. There are no basic rules, whether wearing armwarmers or legwarmers, or if I have knobby tires or slicks mounted. Everything depends on the conditions of the day, just like in a competition. I am very happy to be a professional and can train daily under perfect conditions and with optimal equipment.
My favorite item is clear though: Power Trail – Baggy shorts and ¾ jersey
3.) Intervals: You’ll only get faster by riding fast. I go to my absolute limit during my interval training. For practiced athletes, I don’t think it’s a problem for experienced athletes to find their absolute limit. As a professional, it’s not uncommon for me to take a little sit down on a park bench during a session! Therefore, put your foot on the gas!
Here’s a quick example of what one session might look like:
– 20 minutes easy ride on the road.
– 15 minutes increasing intensity. Up your watts by 50 every three minutes until you’re full gas at the end of this block.
– Now the interval part: 10 x 4 minutes load phase with 3 minutes break in between. The load should be as high as you can sustain without faltering.
– At the end follow 20 minutes quite easy. Now is the time for the social medias and squirrel pictures!
4.) Nutrition: Only those who fill up their car can also trust that it’s going to start again tomorrow. In the case of the body the same rule applies. Nutrition is an almost infinite topic; you can read a lot about it on ultra-sports.de. Basically, the rule for me is that I eat a lot of protein. 50% of my diet is based on meat, fish beans and eggs, plus dietary fibre. The long-established pasta party has now been overtaken, at least in practice. Carbohydrate is for me as an easily digestible food that I save for just before the competition. I also more often eat rice and sweet potatoes, rather than the old-school variant from Italy. During training I always have a gel in my pocket. Since I train at the limit, the emergency gel often brings you back home, as does your rain rescue jacket. I never want to do without one of these two things in my training day.
5.) Recovery: Training is important; training usually also hurts. But if you train described above, you must also recover. If you recover better, you can train more and prevent injuries. For this reason, I trust in stretching programs under “easier conditions”, ie in the warm water of my whirlpool. If you do not have such luxury at home, you can get on aida-whirlpools.de or alternatively go to the nearest thermal bath, or just use your bathtub. After ten minutes on the warm jets, the muscles are loosened and can be stretched much deeper and more targeted. In the following you can see some stretching exercises from my routine. 3 × 20 seconds per exercise would be my recommendation. This time also helps to think again about your day’s training. Only those who analyse can discover mistakes and optimize them in the future.