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Getting started, learning to train the bike

Updated: Nov 30, 2022

trisutto cycling triathlon bike bicycle Coach Brett Sutton

After switching over from swim coaching, I interviewed 5 people when I went on my learn-how-to-train-the-bike part of triathlon.

1. an old ex pro-rider who rode back before the 2nd world war. He had a little retirement bike shop in Palm Beach in Australia.

2. Greg Lemond - he was starting a failed bike brand, Boomerang and I loved the concept as I did, and still do think, the conventional bike is like 100 years out of date.

3. Bernard Hinault (story below)

and lastly but not leastly

4. Graeme Obree from Scotland 5. Charlie Walsh - the Austalian track coach for cycling.

I did speak to another, a German, employed as the Australian road coach, but after 30 min, I could tell Charlie Walsh was on his own in the bike community at the time.

That's it. Never talked to any triathlon athletes or coaches, as I came straight from swimming, I couldn't believe how out of date all the set ups were.., just thought, this is going to be easier than I thought. Armed with the knowledge gained from the above, and the fluid dynamics I had gained from an underwater window at my training pool, it turned out to be so. Still today, watching some pro setups make me cringe, but well, none of my business.

I'll just say cycling is not triathlon. Time trialling is not in triathlon either now, till the rules are changed a bit, and that's not going to happen. So a lot of knowledge to the contrary of popular bike opinion is now being made obsolete as drafting in WTC races is endemic. It will only take a short while till that is made legal too, but I did enjoy the ride, pardon the pun, while it lasted.

Bernard Hinault

I badgered 5 time Champion 'The Badger' Bernard Hinault in 1993 to sit down with me and tell me the 'real deal' about riding a bike.

We had a 4 hour talk that was more like a lecture on everything, not just the bike, as Mr Hinault had an opinion on everything! He did tell me he would have been the world's greatest triathlete if they were in his time, and if he had not been the world's greatest ever cyclist. Mr Hinault and modesty I'm sure have not been used in the same sentence!

However, in the old days there were no drafting races and so we were talking of the time trial or 'moment of truth' in French cycling circles. As I prepared myself for a searing analysis of what I had to learn he said, and I quote:

the time trial is about 3 things, nothing more. Just 3 things.

He had me in his spell, what are they Bernard? He looked at me with his hawkish black eyes, his face contorted and spit going everywhere -

'You need a big heart', thumping his chest like tarzan.

'You need big balls' clutching his balls with a vice-like grip,


'You need a very big ring' he said as you could feel he was living the time trial itself.

Then he dropped back into his chair, his eyes stopped glazing over, and went on to say, 'it is easy for a real man, that is all'.

True story cheers Sutto

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