7 episodes

In Faster, former national cycling champion Michael Hutchinson (aka Dr Hutch) looks at what makes a fast bike rider, and what it's like to be one. He talks to some of the best athletes in the world, as well as coaches, sports scientists and engineers, about the physical and mental challenges, the equipment and the training, and above all about the relentless pursuit of speed.
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Faster with Dr Hutch Stripped Media & Cycling Weekly

    • Sports
    • 4.9 • 24 Ratings

In Faster, former national cycling champion Michael Hutchinson (aka Dr Hutch) looks at what makes a fast bike rider, and what it's like to be one. He talks to some of the best athletes in the world, as well as coaches, sports scientists and engineers, about the physical and mental challenges, the equipment and the training, and above all about the relentless pursuit of speed.
See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    Alistair Brownlee, Louis Passfield, Josie Perry.

    Alistair Brownlee, Louis Passfield, Josie Perry.

    This time, I’m talking to triathlon legend, Alistair Brownlee. Alistair is a two-time Olympic champion, a two-time World champion and has dominated his sport for more than a decade.
    He’s also a man with a sports science degree, and who is still more engaged in the current scientific research than most coaches. That means, from the perspective of Faster, that he can not only perform at the highest levels, he can talk about what that takes and how to keep looking for ways to improve.
    We talk about motivation, and how he (and others) can find the drive to keep working through 35 or 40-hour training weeks, even when the next major competition may be months or years away. We’re joined by psychologist (and triathlete) Josie Perry to look at just what you have to do to build that sort of dedication, and how the daily stresses of normal life can derail even the most committed athletes.
    We look at the long hours of work that all endurance disciplines demand, and I ask physiologist Louis Passfield about what effect they have and why they’re necessary. Louis also tells me about a six-hour-a-week training protocol that produced the fastest, most consistent improvements in fitness ever recorded in the scientific literature, but which was so deeply unpleasant that almost none of the test subjects was prepared to keep doing it after the study finished.
    And Alistair and I talk about his plans to attempt a sub-seven-hour Ironman – that’s around 40 minutes faster than the current world record – by amending one or two of the normal racing regulations.

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    • 53 min
    Dan Bigham, Beth Duryea, and Brian Cookson

    Dan Bigham, Beth Duryea, and Brian Cookson

    This time, I’m talking to Dan Bigham. Dan is probably the only person who can stand right in the centre of the Venn diagram of cycling science and tech where literally everything – including riding – overlaps.
    As a rider he’s a world championship medallist and a national time trial champion, and he’s also an aerodynamicist, engineer and manufacturer. He was the engineering brains behind the Huub Wattbike track-pursuit team – the four housemates from Derby who took on the national squads at the track World Cups, and caused them such embarrassment that the UCI apparently changed the rules to stop them.
    His meticulous approach started with aerodynamics, “I reckon I’m about 30-40 watts more aero than most of the people I’m competing against,” he says. And while aerodynamics is still at the centre of what he does, he’s moved on to improving drivetrains, handlebars and other hardware, and moved on again to optimising time trial pacing strategies and team time trial tactics.
    He tells me how he tries to balance his various roles and interests, and admits that as a rider there have been points where he’s almost given up training because the gains in speed he was making from engineering were dwarfing the gains he could make from spending the time out on his bike.
    We also hear from Canyon SRAM director Beth Duryea about Dan’s role in her team’s win in the world team time trial championships in 2018. And from Brian Cookson OBE, the former president of the UCI about how the sport’s law makers try to balance the technical innovations of people like Dan with the long-term interests of the sport.

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    • 1 hr
    Emily Chappell, Shu Pillinger, and James Hayden

    Emily Chappell, Shu Pillinger, and James Hayden

    This time on Faster, I’m talking to a trio of ultra-endurance riders about how you survive and win in some of the most extreme races in the world.
    Emily Chappell won the 4000 km Transcontinental race in 2016. James Hayden won it in 2017 and 2018. Shu Pillinger is the first British woman to finish the brutal cost-to-coast Race
    Across America, which she did in 2015. I find out about the dramatic differences between “normal” bike racing and events that
    continue non-stop for anything up to two weeks. And we talk about the sort of rider who can cope with it. “If you looked at the start line of a Transcontinental race, just the physical
    ability of the riders would be a bad way to try to pick the winner,” says Emily.
    Instead, you need the ability to keep eating, the ability to keep riding through the hallucinations of sleep deprivation, and the ability to measure an effort over days and days of
    racing. Above all, the three of them tell me that it’s a mental game. As James puts it, “Over a race that lasts for days, your own brain can be your worst enemy.”
    We discuss the unexpectedly big differences between unsupported races like the Transcontinental, where riders must fend for themselves with no outside help, and supported races like the Race Across America, where the rider has a team of helpers.
    Finally, we hear from Shu on how her RAAM ride was only possible with the help of someone reading a pornographic novel in a Belgian accent.
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    If you liked this episode of Faster, please tell your friends about it. It really helps people find us. It would be great if you could like and subscribe to Faster and rate it too. 
    You can find me on Twitter @doctor_hutch, if you want to get in touch, and I’d love to hear from you. If you want to read the book that inspired the podcast, it’s also called Faster, and available from places that sell books both online and in real life.  

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    • 1 hr 2 min
    Joe Laverick and Alex Dowsett

    Joe Laverick and Alex Dowsett

    This time on Faster, the Dr Hutch podcast, I’m talking to Joe Laverick and Alex Dowsett, and the question is how exactly a rider makes that difficult transition from under-23 (what used to be called “amateur”) to professional.
    Joe is a talented British U-23 rider based in Girona with the Hagens Berman Axeon team – probably the most successful development team in the world.
    Alex rode for the same team in 2010, before moving on to Sky, Movistar, Katusha-Alpecin and Israel Start-up Nation and winning, among other things, two stages of the Giro d’Italia and almost as many national time-trial championships as me.
    We look at the pressures on young riders, who have just two or three seasons to plot the biggest move of their whole careers. It’s a transition that has been made all the harder as Covid ravages their racing programme, and by changing demands in the World Tour – as Alex puts it, “Directors aren’t looking for under-23s anymore, they’re looking for children. They all want to find the next Remco Evenepoel.”
    We discuss how to balance your own long-term development with the immediate need to attract attention, how you manage issues like body weight when you might be under pressure from coaches with a rather short-term view of your usefulness, and how you learn to not just ride like a pro, but live like a pro as well. (A base in Girona helps, apparently.)
    And we hear how the current scramble for young talent might have led a top-level team to sign a rider based entirely on the results from a dodgy power meter.
    ---------------------------
    If you liked this episode of Faster, please tell your friends about it. It really helps people find us. It would be great if you could like and subscribe to Faster and rate it too. 
    You can find me on Twitter @doctor_hutch, if you want to get in touch, and I’d love to hear from you. If you want to read the book that inspired the podcast, it’s also called Faster, and available from places that sell books both online and in real life.  

    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 56 min
    Katie Archibald with Steph Blair

    Katie Archibald with Steph Blair

    I’m talking to GB track star Katie Archibald She’s Olympic champion in the team pursuit, and a world champion in team pursuit, Omnium and Madison.
    Katie is one of the most distinctive track racers riding at the moment, and someone with a reputation as an intelligent rider, one who analyses what she’s doing pretty carefully. That’s why I wanted to talk to her about how she and the team break-down track events to figure out how to improve their chances.
    Even in what looks like the pure chaos of the two-rider Madison relay, there are patterns to be found, patterns which a smart team can uncover and take advantage of. “For example, one of the things we found when we went through lots and lots of races,” Katie tells me, “is that the team leading going into a sprint lap is almost always the team that wins the sprint.” That’s a very a counter-intuitive but distinctly useful thing to know.
    In the flagship team pursuit event, she tells me about achieving the sheer precision that’s required, and what it’s like to be able to understand everything about how a teammate is feeling from just looking at the way their hips move.
    As well as Katie, I talk to British Cycling performance analyst Steph Blair, and hear from her about the ways the team can help riders improve both physical performance and tactical
    decision-making.
    And Katie and I discuss the stupidity of the ten-day week I invented in 2002 in an attempt to get more training done.

    ---------------------------
    If you liked this episode of Faster, please tell your friends about it. It really helps people find us. It would be great if you could like and subscribe to Faster and rate it too. 
    You can find me on Twitter @doctor_hutch, if you want to get in touch, and I’d love to hear from you. If you want to read the book that inspired the podcast, it’s also called Faster, and available from places that sell books both online and in real life.  

    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 54 min
    Steve Cummings w Josie Perry and Jamie Pringle

    Steve Cummings w Josie Perry and Jamie Pringle

    In this show I’m talking to Steve Cummings – former National Champion, Tour of Britain winner and double Tour de France stage winner. If you don’t remember his stunning outwitting of both Romain Bardet and Thibaut Pinot for the stage win at Mende in 2015 you have no cycling soul.
    But we’re not just talking about the elation of putting your arms in the air. We’re talking about how exactly you achieve that sort of victory. How do you get into the day’s breakaway in the first place, how do you save energy all stage as you wait for the last few kilometres, and what sort of power numbers do you need to be able to hit in the finale if you’re going to bring it home?
    Before you do any of that, though, how do you train for it? We’ll talk about Steve’s shed of pain in Tuscany, just big enough for a turbo trainer and a fan, where the foundations of much of his success was laid with an austerity that would have done credit to Rocky.
    He also tells me about how you have to be clever. It’s not enough to have the legs. You need to understand everything that’s going on around you and make things, like the aerodynamics of yourself and others, work your way.
    And there’s some context for Steve’s abilities from physiologist Jamie Pringle and psychologist Josie Perry, who between them help explain just how remarkable a rider Cummings is.

    ---------------------------
    If you liked this episode of Faster, please tell your friends about it. It really helps people find us. It would be great if you could like and subscribe to Faster and rate it too. 
    You can find me on Twitter @doctor_hutch, if you want to get in touch, and I’d love to hear from you. If you want to read the book that inspired the podcast, it’s also called Faster, and available from places that sell books both online and in real life.  

    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 39 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
24 Ratings

24 Ratings

triathlete one thousand ,

superb intelligent production

In a crowded podcast genre this one stands out for me. And I listen to a lot of podcasts. A lot. The blending of interview with expert analysis following clear themes works well. The Katie Archibald episode is what drove me to writing this review.

Tedular ,

Intelligent and entertaining

What a pleasure to listen to. One of the most intelligent sport podcasts out there at present, both Dr Hutch, and his perfectly selected guests. Keep up the good work!

germcevoy ,

A podcast a day to make the Dr stay

This podcast has started wonderfully. Hutch narrates like he writes and the interviews flow nicely. I imagine the quality of output will stay high going forward. Keep up the good work.

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