We asked Professional Cyclist Nic Moerig to provide a little bit of insight into what it’s like on the road as an elite athlete. Her account may surprise you…
Words by Nic Moerig
At World Tour races you are constantly surrounded by athletes from the World’s top teams. You race together, stay together and eat together. In the dining hall, you’re surrounded by the greats. Wiggle, High5, Rabo, Liv and Boels-Dolmans to name a few. It still puts me in my place, being surrounded by these amazing athletes with years of experience over and above me.
I never would have expected eating in this sort of environment would have made me feel so self-conscious about my food choices. Filling up my plate at the buffet and parading around in front of the rest of the peloton with my selection of dinner on display is a nerve-wracking experience. Yes, I see the eyes watching me, just as I watched my competitors do the same walk of judgement back to their designated seats. How can you blame us though, it’s a natural response to look and see what your competitor is doing, right? It made me question what I was doing and then change it in a bid to replicate those I look up to.
Where this strategy falls short, is that no two athletes are the same and what’s best for one athlete may be quite detrimental to another. This is something I’ve come to realise and am still working on to find the balance for myself. How do you learn from those more experienced around you but at the same time ensure you are doing what’s best for you?
A perfect example of where I have fallen short on this front, (which has happened quite regularly over the past few years), is post-race massage. I have naturally high muscle tone, my flexibility is poor and I don’t get massages very regularly. When I get a deep tissue massage I really suffer. My legs feel flat for the next 4 days and the day after I feel like I’m getting sick. All this I have grown to understand over the past year through trial and error. So when I turned up to my first Pro Tour Stage Race last year to find out we had a swonnie on hand to do daily post-race massages, I didn’t question it. Everyone else was doing it, right? It must be good for you right?
Fast forward to the next day, 20km into a 140km stage race and I had been dropped. In hindsight, not only was it detrimental physiologically but it continued to affect me psychologically throughout the remainder of the tour as my confidence took a significant knock. It made me question my ability as a professional cyclist and whether I was good enough to race at this level. Something that’s taken a while to get over and has only just restored after racing in the Tour of California last month. Since this experience, I have worked out a plan that suits me in relation to post-race massages. When questioned, I now have the confidence to know what I need and express that without being swayed by someone that may not understand my needs as well as I do.
The mistake of falling in line with those around you is one I have experienced all too often. Here is what I have learnt over the past year whilst travelling and racing.
Nic Moerig, Pro Cyclist, Podium Ambition powered by Club La Santa
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Tags: Brisbane Dietitian, Brisbane Sports Dietitian, cycling, cycling nutrition, Dietitian Brisbane, pro-cyclist, Sports Dietitian Brisbane, women in sport