by Oliver Evans

Oliver Evans racing at last weekends Escape Velocity Spring Series. Photo: Tammy Brimner/tlbvelophotography

What music do you listen to before a race?

Nancy Labra, Winnipeg

Mostly smooth jazz. It really gets me going.

Honestly, I’ve never been one to have a pre-race playlist. Admittedly, some Basshunter and Lose Yourself by Eminem were part of my pre-race ritual back in the day when I was a cadet. That was a dark time.

I don’t really worry too much about music before a race. Anything loud, upbeat and a little aggressive helps to pump me up. At the very least, the music needs to get me doing some headbanging; extra points if I’m dancing around the parking lot.  However, this past weekend, I did select some Life of Pablo by Kanye and some other very explicit rap music by various artists to listen to in the van as I got dressed.

How does team strategy work in a race?

Terry Otto, Tillsonburg, Ont.

Cycling is a weird sport in that a massive team effort succeeds in putting only one person on the podium. It is, by no means, an individual sport.

Team strategy during a race is a tricky thing to explain. To simplify it a little, team members are generally assigned certain roles based on their abilities. Depending on the course profile, a rider’s duties may vary. A sprinter will generally be protected on a flat stage as the race is likely to come down to a sprint. The other riders will spend their energy chasing or covering breakaways and leading out the sprinter.

Some days, certain riders will be assigned breakaway duty. This could simply be to ensure that the team is represented in a break, even if it’s unlikely to make it to the finish.  If it’s hilly, riders who are stronger climbers will be asked to get into the breakaway as it may be more likely that the break will stick. Other teammates can work to protect that rider by covering attacks and allowing the protected rider to save their matches. The support riders will also go back to the car to get bottles or food for the team or even drop back in the event that a rider has a crash or mechanical and needs help chasing back on to the race.

Teamwork comes down to working for your protected rider. Whoever is considered to have the best shot at a result on a given day will ride with the help of their teammates, who will do their best to ensure that the protected rider does as little work as possible and has the energy for when it really matters.

How often should I shampoo?

Aidan Livesey, Victoria BC

I wouldn’t know. I’ve been shampoo free for over a year now. True fact. Need that money for food.

Oliver Evans is a 19-year-old cyclist from Winnipeg, who is currently based in Victoria. He races on the road with H&R Block Pro Cycling.

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