10 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.

Faster with Dr Hutch Stripped Media & Cycling Weekly

    • Sports
    • 4.9 • 28 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.

    Kristen Kulchinsky and Jay Vine

    Kristen Kulchinsky and Jay Vine

    The rise of esports has been the most important change we’ve seen in bike racing in the last 20 years. Zwift and similar platforms have begun a revolution, not just in how racing happens, but in who can compete. Zwift is open to anyone, from anywhere. It’s the very opposite of professional road racing in terms of accessibility and expense.

    From a performance point of view, Zwift means that any of us can race against the best, and it means that talented riders from outside mainstream pro cycling can get themselves noticed.

    In this edition of Faster, I talk to two of the world’s most successful Zwifters. Aussie Jay Vine is the current UCI Esports World Champion, and also races on the road at the highest level. Riding for the Alpecin Deceuninck team, he’s been second in the Tour of Norway, and was unlucky not to take a stage of the 2020 Vuelta a Espana. We look at how racing online in and in real life can benefit each other, and how he’s used them together to get the best out of himself.
    In contrast with Jay’s twin-track career, Kristen Kulchinsky from the US is a full-on esports specialist. She has been the top-ranked Zwift woman for much of the last couple of years, and while she’s dominant online, she barely rides in the real world at all, even in training. No one knows more about the physical and mental demands of this very pure form of bike racing.
    And coach and former pro-racer Dan Fleeman tells me about the Zwift Academy, a talent search programme that finds some of the best esports riders (including Jay Vine himself) contracts with top pro road teams.
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    • 1 hr
    A Chat With Sir Chris Hoy

    A Chat With Sir Chris Hoy

    This time on Faster I’m talking to the man who is probably the UK’s most famous bike rider
    – Sir Chris Hoy.
    Almost all of us are familiar with endurance riding. Very few riders know about the specialised world of track sprinting. How do you prepare for an event that might only last a few seconds, where the forces on bike and rider are huge and the decisions have to be made instantly?
    Sir Chris tells me about training protocols so short and so brutal that the pain in the muscles keeps increasing even after the effort has finished. About how a sprinter might only ride a handful of laps of the track in a full training session, but go home broken and exhausted. And about how he used to prepare for races – watching videos of rivals, learning the people he was racing inside out so that if he had to rely on his instincts, the instincts would be right.
    And we’re joined by Mehdi Kordi, the exceptional coach to the all-conquering Dutch track sprint team, who tells us about the physiology behind sprinting, how to train as a sprinter, and whether a sprinter is an animal that is born or made.

    ---------------------------
    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 5 min
    The Hour Record

    The Hour Record

    This time on Faster, I’m talking about the Hour Record. And I’m talking about it with a stellar group of guests, including current record-holders Ellen van Dijk and Victor Campenaerts, as well as former holders Joss Lowden, Molly Van Houweling and Alex Dowsett.
    The Hour is the simplest challenge in cycling – how far you can ride on a track, on your own, in one hour. There are no tactics, or teammates, just you and what you’ve got.
    And while it’s simple, it has a reputation as just about the toughest thing you can subject yourself to on a bike. Even the great Eddy Merckx said it was the longest hour of his entire career, and that he’d suffered as never before.
    We look at what makes it so difficult – the challenges of pacing, and the unrelenting pressure of riding at full effort with no snatches of rest, no chances to move on the bike. There’s the question of how you train for something so unique, something that only a tiny handful of riders have ever even attempted. And what can you learn from it – does the Hour make you a better rider back in the world of normal racing?
    We talk about failure too, because Hour attempts can and do go horribly wrong. What’s it like to square up to something as black-and-white as the Hour and not quite make it? More than one of my guests tells me that a record attempt that fails is a much worse experience than one that succeeds, not just emotionally, but physically. It’s the most important record in cycling, and it’s a great way to kick off the second season of Faster.
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    • 46 min
    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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    • 54 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 1 min
    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.
    -------------------------
    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.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 3 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
28 Ratings

28 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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