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Interview: Chris Froome talks Training, Injuries, Cycling Technology and Tips

4x Tour de France winner Chris Froome unveils his journey over the past two years consisting of his travels, 2019 injury, training schedule, cycling technology and tips, and how he incorporates Quad Lock to prepare for a big year ahead in 2022.

Chris Froome who currently rides for UCI WorldTeam Israel Premier-Tech talks us through his recent break where he travelled to Israel and the United States. He rode his Mountain bike in different cities around Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and also participated in a couple of charity events in the US with Best Buddies International.

Chris was determined to get back to cycling and racing in the new year to return to the Tour de France, so he resumed his training regime to prepare for his ultimate race. After Chris’ injury two years ago, his main priority is to get back to the Tour de France “with high ambitions again.”

With 30 to 35-hour weeks of training on the bike, Chris lets us know the use of technological advances in cycling that has helped him optimise his training. For example, he uses our Quad Lock Stem Mount to track his glucose levels during rides to keep his performance on track, including his energy levels. It also allows him to use his favourite apps such as B COOL and Veloviewer.

Watch the interview below for a deeper dive into these topics. Enjoy!

TRANSCRIPT:
Quad Lock

Recently, I was lucky enough to catch up with legendary cyclist and Quad Lock ambassador Chris Froome. We had a good chat about current training schedules, recovering from injuries, the advancements in modern technology in cycling and so much more. So, here it is. Enjoy.

Chris, welcome. Great to chat with you again.

Chris Froome

Fantastic. Thanks a lot for having me on.

Quad Lock

Chris, it's been a while since we touched base. So, do you want to give us a little bit of background and what you've been up to in recent times?

Chris Froome

Yeah, I mean got through to the end of the last season. Took a bit of a break. Time off, not too long, few weeks. Also got over to Israel obviously for last year I joined team Israel Startup Nation. And with all the coronavirus stuff going on, I wasn't really able to get out to Israel to go and obviously be part of the team or to see what the team's all about. I mean it's about promoting Israel, about understanding Israel, the Israel culture. So, we got over there at the end of last year which was an eye opener. It was great actually. I really enjoyed it. Fascinating country with a lot of different cultures. A lot to do over there as well.

Did some mountain biking in the deserts, did all kinds of tours around the different cities around Jerusalem, around Tel Aviv. Fascinating place actually. And then did a couple of charity events, over in the US with Best Buddies. A charity helping people with sort of mental disabilities. Before getting back into training and yeah, I guess preparing for 2022.

Quad Lock

Big year ahead.

Chris Froome

Yeah big year ahead. I mean it started in November sort of mid-November I started training sort of racking up the miles. I think I probably got a bit too carried away feeling sort of keen to get cracking early, and probably just loaded too much after a little bit of time off and actually ended up tearing my TFL tendon. Which basically attaches to the ITB on the side of the knee basically. So, did a bit of damage there and had to take the best part of a month pretty much off again to let that heal up. So, I only really got training back towards the back end of December around Christmas time. So, I'm a little bit delayed in terms of my preparations for the year ahead. So, I'm probably only going to start racing a little bit later. Only probably in March. But right now, things are going well. I'm doing massive rides at the moment. Big sort of 30, 35-hour weeks of training on the bike. So, all heading in the right direction.

Quad Lock

So, with that recent injury, is there stuff you can do to try and catch up in terms of the schedule? You obviously don't want to go straight back into doing long hours on the bike there. You've got to ease your way into it but is there time where you go okay in this period, we're going to have to work a little bit harder to catch up to where we want to be. You mentioned little bit of a delayed start to the season. But how do you go about that?

Chris Froome

Yeah, I mean I think the biggest risk you run is trying to play catch up when you're in a situation like that. When you've had a setback, you've just got to say, okay, that's it I'm not going to be racing in February for example. It's too early. I mean I could go and put myself in a race, but these days there are so few races that you can go to but you're actually training through the race. Now guys arrive at every race from February through till October basically. Just absolutely pinging. So, there's no kind of ease into the season like they used to in the good old days.

So, I think it made sense to basically cut February and say, okay, I'm going to cut a couple races from February. Spend this time really preparing getting massive sort of base work in at the moment. And then as I get closer to being race ready in March, I'll obviously step up the intensity there and start doing more race specific stuff as I head closer to the racing.

Quad Lock

Well, it's great to see you back in the tour last year. A bit of time off there and you you've obviously won it four times. Is there one that you hold a little bit closer to your heart? Like is it the first one? Is it the most recent one or is it something in particular about the different tours and one that you a bit more dear to your heart there?

Chris Froome

Yeah, I do think winning it for the first time, that was an experience and novelty as well, that just it was, I guess made it so special. I mean it's you just think of obviously growing up as a keen sort of cyclist and Tour de France becomes this sort of, I guess holy grail of cycling events. And to have been there the year before and riding in aid of Bradley Wiggins, I came second. I kind of I was so close there and I felt as if I could go for it myself. So, I was like, I guess when it came to 2013 getting that sort of green light to go for it and for everything just going to plan. I mean it's so rare in this sport that plans do work out, because I mean as you've seen, as we saw last year stage one of the Tour de France was just this massive pile up. 50, 60 guys on the ground and I was lying there thinking well that could be it, I might be out of the race after this I was in so much pain.

So yeah, I mean it just everything has to go right to be able to win a race like that. so, when it all came together first time round in 2013, that was just an incredible feeling and getting into Paris with the yellow jersey on my shoulders and crossing that final finish line is just a huge, I guess childhood kind of dream come true.

Quad Lock

Amazing. So, many years of hard work as you say like things have to go right for you. It's over that long period of time there as well. So, great to see you back on the recent tour, but as you mentioned there was that huge pile up there in the early stages, incredible that you're able to push through on that, because you were seriously banged up after that.

Chris Froome

Yeah, I was manned down. I mean I thought I'd broken something. I mean I was sort of my left hip; it's fallen up completely. I wasn't able to put any pressure on it. So, trying to walk was impossible.

Quad Lock

Yeah.

Chris Froome

I was like, there's no way I'm going to carry on. So, we went to hospital to go and do scans and all the rest of it and all the scans came back clear but there was just a massive, basically massive bruising on the bone. I was purple for like over 2 weeks, so all down my sort of left side which was yeah, made it challenging to say. I mean Tour de France is hard enough when you basically got half a left leg. It's a little bit harder as well.

Quad Lock

Well, that's what I was going to say. It's hard enough just getting through that whole tour in itself let alone with that injury that you carrying the entire time. How do you motivate yourself to get through in those tough times? I'm sure you go to some pretty dark places in your head.

Chris Froome

Yeah, you do. You do definitely and I mean I think for me last year the Tour de France I wasn't there trying to win anything. I mean I was there trying to do a job trying to help my teammates as much as I could. The guys who could actually try and win something. Like Mike Woods was trying to fight for the polka dot jerseys who are trying to help him out where we could. But for me the Tour de France last year really just marked I guess coming back from that massive crash I had two years ago, which took me out completely. I mean where I broke my leg, broke my elbow, sternum, ribs, vertebrae on the back. I mean that was a big stack and for the last two years. The goal has been sort of I want to get back to Tour de France, get back there, get back there.

So, just being in the Tour the France last year and okay I had the big on day one and I thought, it might not be possible now to carry on. But I got on the bike the next day. I was able to turn the legs, so I was like okay, I'm going to do everything. I can here just to try and stick in the race and I want to try and get to Paris even if, I mean even if I come in last I just I just want to get the Tour de France back in the legs and get that racing in. Which I'm really glad I did stick it out. I mean I think quite a few people didn't make it to Paris last year. It was a brutal race. So, I'm glad I stepped through it and got that in the legs and hopefully go back there in the future with high ambitions again.

Quad Lock

Awesome. Yeah, it must have been an incredible feeling getting to that over that finish line in Paris there. Let's take back to 2007 as you turned pro. You would have seen a lot of change in cycling over that time. Are there a few things in particular around equipment or preparation that you think's propelled cycling to a tour new age in 2022?

Chris Froome

Certainly, I think there's quite a few different technologies that have really played a massive part in shaping the sport in this last sort of 10, 15 years. I think first and foremost, the amount of data available through power meters and basically the collection and coalition of all that data, means that performances now are a lot more guided. Whereas in the past I mean we we've power meters that have been around for a while, but no one really understood basically how to train with them or what the data really meant, I guess. Now we've just got so much data from the guys who are winning the biggest races in the world. And that data basically helps form the basis of training programs and basically all preparation that leads to racing.

So, I think across the board we've seen a huge raise of the bar in terms of the general level of performance in professional cycling. Every professionals out there now doing 5 minute capacity efforts, 20 minutes longer steady state stuff. I mean everyone's got structured training now. It's very seldom you come across someone who just gets on their bike and rides. Everyone's got a plan. Everyone's got a coach. Everyone's got a structure to follow now. Which has been a big change I think compared to 15 years ago. But I think there are a lot of lot more guys just going out there and riding by feel and yeah, I feel good today. I'm going to do 6 hours. I'm a bit tired. I'll do two hours kind of thing like.

Quad Lock

Yeah.

Chris Froome

So, that's changed the sport a lot. I think actual technology in the cars has changed a lot, so the guys calling the shots on the radios back in our directors. They've got access to stuff like VeloViewer, apps like VeloViewer, where basically in real time it will tell them back in the car what corners are coming, how wide the road is at certain points. They can actually just click on the map and see what the road looks like. So, we've just got this abundance of, we've just got so much data coming through to us about the conditions of the road, what's coming up. So, everyone knows what to expect, so this huge fight for position now especially when, it's mental. Because I think it's the only sport in the world where someone says to you, ‘Right guys, if you're going through a really narrow dangerous little village coming up. The road's really tiny and there's a small bridge with a corner straight afterwards.’

It's the only sport that will actually go faster. They've told us there's danger coming up ahead because you want to be the ones to get there first. Because if you're at the back you're just going to be stuck in this sort of backlog of people trying to get through this narrow point, this pinch point in the race. So, it's probably the only sport in the world where someone tells you there's danger up ahead and the pace just lifts like five kilometers an hour. Everyone starts fighting position try and get there first.

It's mental. So, I think racing has actually as a result of that become more dangerous. And that through having more data, it's basically made the race more dangerous now. Because I think previously, we wouldn't have known necessarily that each pinch point is there and there wouldn't have been this massive sort of scurry for position and trying to get to the front first. We would have just got there and we would have all been more relaxed and got through it with no issues. But now it's obviously, that's changed quite a bit.

Quad Lock

Yeah, and we're talking about what you use in terms of preparation for the course as well. Obviously, you can't always prepare for the surfaces up there, but understanding the corners and what's coming up. You use BKOOL in your training as well?

Chris Froome

Yeah, basically so for us as professionals, so for example if we've got obviously the grand tours 21 stages to go and see all 21 stages, it's going to be extremely challenging. We'll probably only get to 3 or 4 of the most critical ones that we think are going to be decisive or the stages we really want to sort of target in the race. But now with technology like what BKOOL are offering, that gives us a possibility to send someone over there basically to recon it. Someone from the team it doesn't need to be all our riders, but it can just be maybe a director, or anyone in the team basically just go and video the road from point A to point B, so say a time trial. They can video the road, send it through to the guys at BKOO and what they'll do is, they'll integrate, use that video footage, integrate it into their software and create basically a route for us to go and ride virtually on the stationery, on the erg or whatever.

So, you can basically ride that route, you can see exactly what looks like all the corners and every pitch of the gradient and everything will come through on the turbo trainer. It will get harder and easier as you go up hills down descent. So, we can actually go and do recons virtually with guys like BKOOL. And BKOOL is actually a pretty cool app, if you're just looking to go and ride as well. It's quite a realistic animation of what a real riding through, say London. You can ride through the streets of London and you see all the buildings as they are in, and the streets as they are. It's a pretty cool little platform.

Quad Lock

I'm definitely going to have to try it out. So, if anyone's checked out your YouTube channel, they would have seen you using Quad Lock to check out your glucose levels in your training there as well. Do you want to take us through that?

Chris Froome

Yeah, I mean that's been another sort of fascinating side of I guess the tech development in the sport. Unfortunately, we're not allowed to race with them. I think the UCI put a ban on that. But for training it's become something that I use quite regularly. Obviously, so much of what we do on the bike is also related to getting into shape, losing weight, having enough energy I guess to get through big sessions as well. And so much of it is just kind of guess work. I mean anyone who's been on a bike for any decent duration of time will know. I mean you're going to blow one day, one day you'll feel a bit too bloated, you've eaten too much before, sometimes you don't eat enough. You don't get through a session completely without but just having that that crash of sugar level and yeah, basically you need to stop and get a coke on the side of the road somewhere or whatever.

It's all kind of subjective. I mean it's all done on kind of feeling. You say, ‘Okay, I have a bowl of porridge in the morning. This is how I feel on the bike afterwards.’ You have eggs in a cooked fried breakfast before you kind of feel different on the bike. But this gives us an opportunity to actually measure measuring real time glucose levels and seeing what that does to A, performance and B, how you feel after having whatever meal it is. So, having that date on the phone in front of me basically just strapped to the bike there. Having that data right there, gives me the opportunity to sort of see where my glucose levels are at on long training rides.

For example, if I'm trying to do a bit of sort of an endurance day where I'm sort of watching my calories and trying to sort of, try and finish in a calorie deficit. I know that I don't really necessarily want to be having really high glucose levels. Like I want to keep things pretty low, pretty stable throughout the day. But if I see it dipping basically too low, and you can kind of learn through using, using the app yourself, where those levels are for yourself. So, when I see it going too low, I'm like, okay, that's, I need to eat something, have a banana or whatever.

Quad Lock

Yeah.

Chris Froome

And, it's fascinating to see, okay, banana picks you up, and how long does it actually sustain your sugar level, so until you're back down again. whereas if you had a coke, you probably see a massive spike, but it would probably drop you down half an hour later as well. So, it's fascinating to see for each person, I guess it's, it's just like a more of an educational tool than anything else to see what foods work for you. And also relating your feelings back to actual real numbers that can be measured in glucose levels.

Quad Lock

That's it. Yeah, as you say you're educating your own body and mind to understand like how long I can sustain that type of food that's coming into my body. So, when you get into a race day then you're just kind of doing it automatically, I guess in a way.

Chris Froome

100% yeah, and you can almost relate those feelings to numbers. I've got to the point now where I try and sort of guess what my numbers are without looking at it. I'm getting pretty close, just by judging on how the body's feeling. I think you almost get that sort of built into your way of thinking that yeah, my glucose levels must be around there right now. So, I don't need to eat anything or actually I should have something to eat. So, on really intense days. For example, if I'm going to go out and do a whole bunch of intervals, I want to be seeing higher numbers. Higher numbers but I want to try and sustain it up there as well. So, that's a whole different challenge.

So, you're trying to eat quite a bit. You're trying to keep the glucose levels really high, so you can get through a really high intensity day and you can actually get the work done.

Quad Lock

For non-professionals Chris who aren't able to dedicate as much training as professional like yourself are doing. So, for example someone who can only do 10 hours a week on the bike, but they want to progress. What sort of advice or tips would you give for these guys to help improve their cycling?

Chris Froome

I'd say, certainly for I mean you can get a lot done in even 10 hours. I would say with those 10 hours, make sure you've got a plan with them. So, even if you're just strapped for time, you can only do an hour on the bike before work or whatever it is. Don't just get on the bike and pedal for an hour. Give yourself a plan in that hour. Okay, I'm going to do 10 minutes of warming up and then I'm going to do 3, 5 minute all out sessions, 3, 5 minute all out intervals. Or give yourself a target. Something that you can actually measure and improve on or work to improve on at least.

So, yeah don't just get on the bike and turn the pedals. Like you want to have a goal for each session that you're doing. Like sometimes the goal will be just to enjoy yourself. So, that ride you do just go out, and you're not looking at numbers you're just enjoying being on a bike. But there should definitely be days where you get out there and you're saying, okay, today I'm working on X. Whether that's leg speed, whether that's high power, whether it's sprints. Or whatever it is, give yourself a goal for each session.

Quad Lock

But that's really a good point as well just getting out there sometimes just to enjoy yourself and just remind yourself why you love cycling there as well. Because that helps to remotivate you, so for those tough times when you need to go through those hard sessions there.

Chris Froome

Yeah, exactly. I mean I think it's very easy with all the data available now to basically go out there, and you almost become a robot. You've become completely antisocial and you just, okay, I'm doing my training session and that's it. I'm not speaking to anyone or got my head down earphones in and that's it. But I mean you've got to remember why you're doing this as well. I mean cycling is a sport that, it's a social sport, it's a sport where you can meet people. It's a sport where you really enjoy the outdoors, nature. So, you have to find the balance. You have to find the balance and at least give yourself that one day a week where you say, okay today I'm just going to go out there and enjoy being on my bike, go and stop for a coffee somewhere. And keep that love, I guess keep that love alive.

Quad Lock

I was going to ask you, do you ever use your bike just to commute around these days, if you just need to pop down to the shops or something like that? Do you get on the bike?

Chris Froome

Yeah, definitely. So, I don't know, I'm a firm believer of every little bit counts. So, I mean even if it's yeah, 15 minutes to a meeting that I've got to get to in town or something. I'll get on my city bike. I've got a fixie that I use for just getting around to go and do shopping or meetings or if I've got to go through the bank or something like that.

Post office, quite often I'll just get on my fixie and just yeah, even if I've done a big training session that day just another 15 minutes. 15 minutes, there 15 minutes back, all of a sudden, you've got another half an hour. So, yeah that's generally how I do it.

Quad Lock

Yeah, awesome. Well, Chris it's been amazing to talk to you and get a bit more insight into your training schedule, into your lifestyle. Thank you so much. It's been incredible.

Chris Froome

Awesome.

Quad Lock

And good luck for the year ahead.

Chris Froome

Thank you so much guys and thank you so much for the support. I'm a massive fan of the product, and yeah, hoping to use it for many more years to come.

Quad Lock

Love your work, Chris. Thanks again.

Chris Froome

Cheers guys.

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