World Bicycle Day: Training on the Roads and Trails

World Bicycle Day: Training on the Roads and Trails

Appropriately enough, today’s UN-designated World Bicycle Day kicks off the first week of June; cycling is a huge part of summer training. Whether it is on roads of trails, Lukas Hofer summed up the time of year in an Instagram post this week, “Bike season is on!”

World Bicycle Day

Road or Trail Dilemma
Many biathletes live and train in some of the best areas for road cycling and mountain biking, which leads to summer dilemma. Is it the long tour on smooth roads through farms and fields punctuated by slow ascent and fast descents? Or is the choice the lower-paced beauty and quiet of forest trails interspersed with streams, rocky trails and spectacular vistas? Klemen Bauer finds it hard to choose. “I feel privileged to being able to include so much bike training into my sessions. I could not pick one road over mountain bike; I love them both the same way.”

Likewise, Benedikt Doll is a fan of both his road and mountain bikes. "I like to ride on the road in spring and summer, but prefer the mountain bike in the autumn."

World Bicycle Day: Training on the Roads and Trails
World Bicycle Day: Training on the Roads and Trails

Marketa, “Single Tracks and Adrenalin”
There is no doubt in the mind of Czech Biathlete of the Year Marketa Davidova, “I am totally in love with small routes in the woods. I like all single tracks in the mountains; downhills are the favorite ones, because I love the speed and adrenalin.” Emilien Jacquelin is in total agreement admitting, “I am young so my favorite is mountain biking, especially riding in the Vercors because the landscape is so beautiful.”

World Bicycle Day: Training on the Roads and Trails

Trails and Roads
Pursuit World Champion Dmytro Pidruchnyi admits to favoring the trails, but spends more time on the roads. “I would prefer riding the mountain bike somewhere in the forest, to mash the mud and for the adrenalin. Nevertheless, in general, it turns out that I spend more time road cycling.” Belgium’s Florent Claude gets caught in the middle, "Road bike until July, then on the trails.”

World Bicycle Day: Training on the Roads and Trails

Road Cycling for Belarusian Team

The Belarusian team skips the off-road cycling according to Olympic Relay Gold medalist Dzinara Alimbekava. “We do all of our training on the roads. I really do not remember the last time I trained on the mountain bike. At home, we train mainly long the Minsk-Vilnius Highway.”

Alimbekava “Cycling the Stelvio Pass”
Whether on the roads or trails, everyone has a their own “fave” route or tour, which in many cases is not at home where they are most familiar, but in a more “exotic” training  camp location. Alimbekava admits the mainly flat routes in Belarus are far different from her favorites, one of which is in Bormio, Italy. “I like the mountains, passing beautiful lakes with serpentine turns. It is very pleasurable and the time flies by. Cycling the Stelvio Pass (with 48 hairpin turns) impressed me the most, even though it is difficult and dangerous.”

World Bicycle Day: Training on the Roads and Trails

Desthieux and Jacquelin: Tour De France Fans
Olympic Mixed Relay Gold medalist Simon Desthieux loves road cycling and is a big fan of the various routes and climbs on the Tour de France. He stopped for a photo atop the Col du Colombier. “On the Tour de France, you can discover the best of France.”

His teammate Jacquelin also a big TDF fan, noting, “my favorite road tour is to climb Alp D’ Huez, maybe the most famous climb in the world.”

World Bicycle Day: Training on the Roads and Trails

Road Biking in le Lavandou
Claude has his own favorite route in France, “in Le Lavandou (in the southern Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region). It’s the perfect place to begin the new season on the road bike: you can have the sea, little mountains very close, the landscape is wonderful and it’s always sunny.”

World Bicycle Day: Training on the Roads and Trails

Home to Istria
Bauer prefers roads tours that go from A to B or long round trips, but they need to be challenging, like Alimbekava’s Stelvio ride. “I like to ride from my home to Croatian Istria, which give me some of my home mountains on the way to the sea.”

Obertilliach to Grossglockner
The Ukrainian team usually conducts a couple of training camps in Austria, at Ramsau and Obertilliach. He loves a special route. “We cycle from Obertilliach to Grossglockner Glacier. It is about 120 km to reach the Grossglockner road with another 30 km added coming back, before the coaches pick us up.”

World Bicycle Day: Training on the Roads and Trails

Black Forest Tour for Doll

2017 IBU Sprint World Champion Doll's favorite tour is out his door near Freiburg in southwestern Germany, "Heading to the highest peak in the Black Forest, the Feldberg. It is a ride through beautiful nature without any cars and stress."

World Bicycle Day: Training on the Roads and Trails

Whether it is on a cool shaded trail in the Dolomites, cruising along a flat highway in Belarus or tacking a climb in France, there is no doubt that hundreds of biathletes will be in the pedals celebrating World Bicycle Day today.

Photos: Marketa Davidova, Klemen Bauer, Vincent Favre Photography, Florent Claude, Lukas Hofer, Dmytro Pidruchnyi, Dzinara Alimbekava, Simon Desthieux

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