Ask Oli: Fashion, junior gears and overtraining

The H&R Block Pro Cycling rider answers your serious and not-so-serious questions

December 20th, 2017 by | Posted in Blogs, Spotlight |

by Oliver Evans

Oliver Evans
Oliver Evans’ junior gear days. Evan rides for the Accent Inns/Russ Hay’s Cycling Team at the 2016 BC elite provincial criterium. Image: Courtney Molyneaux

Peak of cycling cap up or down?
Harrison Bailey, Sydney, Australia


What exactly are junior gears?
Terry Otto, Tillsonburg, Ont.

Junior racers (under-19) are restricted to a maximum gear of 52-tooth chainring and 14-tooth cog.This restriction is enforced by cycling’s governing body, the UCI. The maximum distance the bike can cover in one full rotation of the pedals with this gear is 7.93 m.

Junior gears are enforced to prevent the mashing of too hard a gear for a developing young athlete, in an effort to prevent injury, mainly in the knees. It’s also argued that perhaps junior gears are enforced for safety so that speeds during sprints aren’t excessive. That seems silly to me though because juniors will exceed any sprinting speed going down a hill anyway.

I believe, but could be mistaken, that junior gears could also be enforced in an effort to level the playing field. Kids develop at different rates, and some man-child that can push a huge gear will ride away from any kid like me, who developed slowly. (Still waiting for proper muscles.)

How do you know when you’ve pushed your body over the limit into overtraining?
Amy Cooper, Winnipeg

Now, I’m sure everyone’s body responds differently, but from my experience with overtraining and burnout last year, I certainly have some thoughts on this topic.

Fatigue is a natural part of training. Being sore and tired is just the way the cookie crumbles. Those sensations are to be monitored during training. However, I think the (blurred) line is drawn between regular fatigue and overtraining/burnout at the point at which you become mentally fatigued.

As far as I know, the symptoms of burnout are very similar to those of depression. If cycling becomes a trigger for sadness or self-deprecating thoughts, if you’re chronically tired and lack passion in many areas of your life, these are solid indicators that you need some time off.

Rest is a fundamental part of training. You need rest days and periods built into your training plan. If you get to the point where, after your scheduled day off, you’re still having trouble, you need to discuss with your coach and consider taking another day or two off. If you suddenly have no desire to train and that feeling isn’t going anywhere, then again, I’d say you need some time off.

Socks over or under leg warmers?
Harrison Bailey, Sydney, Australia

Under now. Over is so 2015.

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.