At Home With Alban Lakata - 2017 XC Marathon World Champ

Jun 25, 2017
by Markus Greber  
It s me Albanator on the wanted list Thanks for cheering for me for Singen today


Today Alban Lakata, the leader of the Topeak-Ergon Team, got the best birthday present he could imagine. Just in time for his 38th birthday he took the win at the marathon world championships in Singen, Germany. In the winning time of 3 hours 17 minutes he left the whole field of favourites behind and won the race in a spectacular sprint against last year's world champion. Tiago Ferreira.

Photographer Markus Greber and filmer Christian Walter visited Alban a couple of weeks ago in his hometown of Lienz, Austria to document the home life of of the marathon world champion.



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Cupping is very helpful for me It s painful for nearly everyone but not for me it s only when I ve had a big break from cupping that I have to get used to it again. Normally I do this once a week at my masseuse. She s really a herb witch makes a lot of creams and stuff by herself. Michaela is my fairy godmother and knows nearly all about me - so she s my physio - and also psychotherapist at the same time.
bigquotesCupping is very helpful for me… It´s painful for nearly everyone, but not for me; it's only when I've had a big break from cupping that I have to get used to it again. Normally I do this once a week with my masseuse. She´s really a 'herb witch;' makes a lot of creams and stuff by herself. Michaela is my 'fairy godmother' and knows nearly all about me - so she´s my physio - and also psychotherapist at the same time.

Alban Lakata
This interval is a new one. I do it for the World Championships because there are many of those parts in Singen. I don t know if I m able to do it today We will see.
bigquotesThis interval is a new one. I do it for the World Championships, because there are many of those parts in Singen. I don´t know if I'm able to do it today… We will see.

Alban Lakata
Testing stuff is a big part for me as I m a very technically interested guy. Testing new types of tires is a big point because a fast or grippy tire can decide the final results. I test them on my home trails because I can really feel the differences there - I know every stone and root so I really can ride at the highest level for the test.
bigquotesTesting stuff is a big part for me, as I`m a very technically interested guy. Testing new types of tires is a big point, because a fast or grippy tire can decide the final results. I test them on my home trails because I can really feel the differences there - I know every stone and root so I really can ride at the highest level for the test.

Ice cream and Cappuccino in the city of Lienz after a hard training is one of my vices When the weather is fine I can t resist.

bigquotesIce cream and Cappuccino in the city of Lienz after a hard training is one of my vices…When the weather is fine, I can´t resist.

Quality time with the family. After a tough day of training it s the biggest pleasure for me spending time with my family. Riding a local track at the river Isel in Lienz is one of the highlights for all of us. At the beach we throw stones into the Isel and build sandcastles with Fabian.

bigquotesQuality time with the family. After a tough day of training, it´s the biggest pleasure for me, spending time with my family. Riding a local track at the river Isel in Lienz is one of the highlights for all of us. At the beach we throw stones into the Isel and build sandcastles with Fabian.

I love the Tristachersee - the water is clear and so refreshing after the training. Often I also come here in the afternoon just to relax and cool down.

bigquotesI love the Tristachersee - the water is clear and so refreshing after the training. Often I also come here in the afternoon just to relax and cool down.

Changing tires. I have to be familiar with my bikes and I have to know all about the technology. That s why I decided to integrate an in-home workshop when we built the house.

bigquotesChanging tires. I have to be familiar with my bikes and I have to know all about the technology. That´s why I decided to integrate an in-home workshop when we built the house.

In the summertime one of my hobbies is my home and my garden. It is a pleasure for to get herbs and salad from my raised bed have a barbecue at my terrace with family and friends and grill some good food. Also the garden work like watering and cutting the grass is something to calm down.

Ice cream and Cappuccino in the city of Lienz after a hard training is one of my vices When the weather is fine I can t resist.
Quality time with the family. After a tough day of training it s the biggest pleasure for me spending time with my family. Riding a local track at the river Isel in Lienz is one of the highlights for all of us. At the beach we throw stones into the Isel and build sandcastles with Fabian.

Changing tires. I have to be familiar with my bikes and I have to know all about the technology. That s why I decided to integrate an in-home workshop when we built the house.

bigquotesIn the summertime one of my hobbies is my home and my garden. It is a pleasure for to get herbs and salad from my raised bed, have a barbecue at my terrace with family and friends and grill some good food. Also, the garden work like watering and cutting the grass is something to calm down.

Training session in my own gym at home. I also have a sauna and outside shower. 2-3 days a week I m here for about 1-2 hours.

bigquotesTraining session in my own gym at home. I also have a sauna and outside shower. 2-3 days a week I´m here for about 1-2 hours.

I always try to be multitasking. Electro stimulation for recovery on the couch and in the meantime doing some office work or watching cycling on TV.

bigquotesI always try to be multitasking. Electro stimulation for recovery on the couch and in the meantime doing some office work or watching cycling on TV.

Pizza time - against all the advice from specialists some shit has to be done I love pizza and I don t want to miss it. So normally Friday is my pizza day. Sometimes I meet also my teammate Sally and our manager Dave at the restaurant

bigquotesPizza time - against all the advice from specialists some shit has to be done… I love pizza and I don´t want to miss it. So normally Friday is my pizza day. Sometimes I meet also my teammate Sally and our manager Dave at the restaurant…

My legs are my capital hard training until they looked like this. Now they do nearly 500 Watts 8 times over 5 minutes. I count on them for the Worlds.

bigquotesMy legs are my capital… hard training until they looked like this. Now they do nearly 500 watts 8 times over 5 minutes. I count on them for the Worlds.


Alban Lakata. Photo Armin K stenbr ck
Your 2017 Marathon World Champion, Alban Lakata. Photo: Armin Kustenbruck



52 Comments

  • + 55
 Finally some XC on Pinkbike again.
  • + 11
 If I read correctly, the interval is 494w for 5 minutes, damn that's powerful! I can do 420w for 5 minutes and I'm not what one would consider slow... really highlights the huge gap we mere mortals have with the pros.
  • + 10
 485-ish Watts for 5 minutes...
... 8 times in a row. Check 2:59 in the video.
  • + 9
 @K4m1k4z3:

I was listening to a Geoff Kabush interview where he said his power meter would read 425ish watts over a 20 minute hill climb during a race. That's
dam impressive
  • + 11
 His XCM Worlds race is on Strava. His normalized power was 375w for over 3 hours. He averaged 18.1 mph on a course with 7,500' of climbing. Big numbers.
  • + 6
 @NoahColorado: Holy shit haha...and 334w average power for more than 3h. Pros are in a different a different dimension.

I had read Nino's FTP was 350w, but he's only 65kgs as far as I remember. Alban seems to be 78kgs based on the w/kg curve. FTP of 400w.

For those interested: www.strava.com/activities/1053677949/power-curve/1200
  • + 3
 @SwintOrSlude: You took 20 minute power from a 3 hour race to estimate FTP; that 400W guess is definitely low. For example on a training ride he does 20 min efforts at 410W which would estimate an FTP of 430W, But I would expect it to be slightly higher than that. Reference: www.strava.com/activities/994220711/power-curve
  • - 1
 @octanejake: Anyone else reading all of this watt talk going.... huh? I mean I understand the measurements and what they mean, I just dont have a reference point for myself as I've never used a power meter. Just means many of the PB folks that read downhill stuff all day are closet XC folks with a ton of knowledge. One thing is for sure.... Dude looks damn strong.
  • + 1
 @octanejake: I looked at the summary of Stravistix, where you can see the effort in % which is basically showing the % of FTP - here 94% and 375w weighted average. But yes this is probably off.

Also FTP=95% of CP20 (not the opposite), so FTP would be more like 390w. But you're correct, we have not seen an all out 20-min effort.
  • + 10
 @eswebster: No, it just means we don't only do DH... Smile but also XC, Enduro, and even road. Biking is awesome regardless of the form it comes in!
  • + 12
 It's cool to seen an elite athlete eat pizza, gelato, etc. in moderation.
  • + 27
 World champ told me to eat ice cream and pizza. Done.
  • + 1
 @Tinga: best comment ever! Big Grin
  • + 4
 The daily caloric exertion of this dude is quite possibly so high that he can binge pizzas and he'll still get room for more "healthy" food than most amateur cyclists. He probably averages at least 4h ride per day, that gives him 3k+ calories to play with aside of his base which with his metabolism is at least 2k. At that rate mate, you have trouble stuffing yourself with enough food. Try that with Time Restricted Eating and all you do is stuff your mouth with stuff. Then try being gluten free, avoid sugars and to keep makros right, eating becomes a workout on its own
  • + 1
 Last time I saw legs like that,they had a message tied to them
  • + 4
 I am most impressed with vegan athletes, who don't want to supplement, they must be eating like cows - all day, and stuff themselves with "delicious" hemp powders. Broccoli and Spinach has plenty of protein, yea if you eat a fkng kilo. Good luck with that. And then getting the microelements and vitamins... yea Frank Medrano is a vegan, except he takes iso protein... and he doesn't burn 3k calories. And then there are those ketonic marathon/ triathlete fkrs - you go ketonic because fat is fkng easier to stuff yourself with than carbs, convenience, not some holistic mumbo jumbo. 2 Tablespoons of MCT oil and you have just reached most of your daily requirements, and then you projectile sht for miles. Win win

The bullet proof diet: ketonic, raw vegan on interminent fasting and no supplements. You get so healthy and strong that your poop smells of sandal wood.
  • + 4
 Yeah but I'm from Chicago and didn't see and didn't see any pizza in the pics or video. At least not the artery clogging cheese and sausage blast that we enjoy in my part of the world.
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: Actually, according to his Strava, he has 382 hours so far in 2017, so about 2 hours a day or so. I'm sure he does some 4 hour rides but not very often. But I would imagine the intensity in those 2 hours is something I couldn't tolerate very often, if ever.
  • + 2
 @Fattylocks: good call, Fatty. The one he was eating looked pretty healthy and unlike many American pizzas.
  • + 2
 @BmanInBigD: i'd imagine he doesn't log everything then.
  • + 7
 Results here: www.uci.ch/mountain-bike/ucievents/event/uci-mtb-marathon-world-championships-xcm-2017/53248/widgets/entries-start-list-results-182816

Wonder why the US isn't more heavily represented. Seems like long-distance XC is pretty popular here.
  • + 3
 Howard Grotts finished in 27th place despite starting in 155th place. That is a pretty good # of passes I would say. Now they just need to get his country right - noted as Germany when he is from Durango.
  • + 3
 Wow, 17 starters in the mens were born in the 1970's and 12 in the womens, not to mention Gabi Stanger, born in 1969 and came 20th in the womens. Theres almost a 30 year age range in these races.
  • + 1
 @Roobar: Sabine and Gunn-Rita never cease to amaze.
  • + 6
 Anybody else see that Mathieu Van Der Poel came in 4th!!!!! Giving Nino a run for his money in XCO world cups and then busting out 4th place at marathon worlds! Sign that kid up for the TdF...
  • + 2
 I read the article first and thought it was all a bit "me me me" instagrammy but video was a good watch. Got to appreciate the balance between being the best at what you do but still enjoy life and not let it get in the way of a treat/ family/ etc. I do like someone is is a real geek with their bike and testing kit too!
  • + 5
 That electrothingy... What happens if you put it on your balls?
  • + 1
 Sweet stim set! Man oh man I love stim.

Thanks to this vid I just checked amazon, a "tens" unit is $30!

PS: Anyone know what kind of trees those are at 1:55? Bark looks like a doug fir?
  • + 2
 Lance Armstrong Leadville win - 6:28
Levi Leipheimer Leadville win - 6:16
Alban Lakata Leadville win - 5:57

Must be the cups
  • + 1
 And Lancey was fresh off of the tour. No extra juice there.
  • + 1
 Lance had a flat in KM 150-ish, lost a while figuring how CO2 tanks work and then just rode with a deflated tire to the finish (mad respect), so yeah he could have been a lot faster

And Lakata's record had some tail wind and teammates involved
  • + 2
 His legs look just like mine......except tanner, more muscle, and less fat.
  • + 1
 Impressive guy for sure. I wouldn't think of this as a particularly extreme version of XC though.
  • + 2
 CHINA Cupping ................
  • + 2
 Cupping also helps me.....
  • + 2
 What does cupping do, exactly?
  • + 8
 @aaronjb: nothing really, it is pseudoscience based on traditional Chinese medicine but lacks sufficient conclusive and non-biased evidence. At best it offers a placebo effect.
  • + 17
 Cupping actually has a proven, tangible benefit: it moves a certain substance to a place where it is more wanted - and that substance is money, and the place to moves to is the practitioner's pocket. The nasty side-effect is that you wallet is emptier.
  • + 0
 @iamamodel: yep, helps moves a 'substance' from my balls to where it is more wanted...free... depending on the relationship with the person providing the 'service' Wink
  • + 0
 wait where is he from? cuz his name is the most ALBANIAN name you can be named! By any chance he is by albanian origin ?
  • + 1
 Just look at the pictures...
  • + 1
 MVP came in for fourth the kid is a beast!
  • + 2
 leg goals
  • + 0
 Aero helmet for XC marathon?! Really?!
  • + 8
 Yes, because every second and advantage counts.
  • + 12
 Well there was 1 sec between 1st and 3rd after more than three hours racing... it called marginal gains
  • + 0
 Prumerna rychlost byla pres 29km/h takze aero je jasna volba. Navic mel i dlouhej vrsek. Leteckej den proste.
  • + 2
 The dude averaged 18 mph for the race. So I'm sure there were spots where he was going 25-30 mph. So hell yes, aero helmet. Every second/watt saved counts. Look at the finish!

Edit: his max speed for the race was 45 mph. Somebody get him a skinsuit!
  • + 1
 Absolutely...you need all the free watts you can get to be the champion!

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