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Video: Are Racers Not Fit Enough? | Leogang Story of The Race With Ben Cathro

Jun 10, 2024
by Pinkbike Originals  

Ben Cathro fires through a quick recap of the wild Downhill World Cup race in Leogang then throws the cat amongst the pigeons with a controversial theory about Finn's amazing result.

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Member since Feb 15, 2012
1,138 articles

88 Comments
  • 132 1
 If taking a day off is the secret to winning, they need to put me in there. I've been taking days off almost exclusively for almost 10 years. Who knows what kind of insane pace I could unleash on one of these courses with my perfectly rested muscles and clear mindset from not thinking about racing at all.
  • 27 3
 If you never have an "on" day, I don't think you can claim "off" days... Wink
  • 4 0
 @BiNARYBiKE: pretty sure @gorgeousbeaugaston is ‘on’ one right now!
  • 2 0
 Ah, a fellow Gaston. We think a like.
  • 49 2
 I think the theory doesn’t hold when looking at the race run sector times. More likely, Finn is just a nail gun and was able to slam a super fast stump section, and that gap allowed him to stay up in the overall time through the lower portion of the course. Then when you look at his results for the last two years, you see that he certainly has a chance of taking a podium at every race.
  • 11 1
 The comment I came to look for! Thanks and good night!
  • 6 1
 Another theory, Bruni and Finn are essentially running fairings on the lower part of the bike and it helps with speed, esp. in the motorway.
  • 6 4
 Absolutely. These guys and girls are doing heavy workouts, sometimes crosstraining several disciplines in one particular day. I couldnt imagine a 3-3:30 run a full day before the next one is making them tired.

It’s like football commentators in europe claiming players are tired on the weekend after playing a 90min champions league match on wednesday evening, a full 3 days before the weekend match, lmao.
  • 4 0
 @Snowytrail: Aero is everything !
  • 43 0
 Top teams are going to be bringing in Kawhi Leonard to coach load management I heard.
  • 4 0
 Ha. ha. ha.
  • 15 0
 In the interview with wyn, finn said that he had decided to just ride the race. The result was not the main focus. And I think that will have played a part in his result. He has the technique, he has the strength and endurance, but taking the pressure off yourself to win can be liberating. And I think the semi finals play their part in the guys being more exhausted on race day. No matter how well you train, nobody qualifies for the main race. The field is too tight and the level too high for that. Cancel the semis and let more riders start on race day. Then the first races will hardly have any screen time, as it is now, many of the top riders are often no longer in the race.
  • 18 0
 Ahh, let me sit down and watch this video.
* Takes bite of cheeseburger.
  • 16 0
 On Charles Murray’s YouTube interview, Finn says he’s 6’ 180, and has a resting heart rate of 37bpm. I don’t think out of shape is an issue.
  • 3 0
 100%. This theory is insane
  • 4 1
 A low resting heart rate doesn't necessary imply being great at an explosive sport like DH MTB. Even at 38yo when I was sitting upright in a hospital bed waiting for surgery (broken collarbone) and before they had given me anything to sleep, my heart rate was in the low 40's high 30's (according to their equipment). In my early twenties (when I first broke a collarbone) they measured 27bpm. Sure back in those early days I had all the time to go out riding or running twice a day but I still wouldn't have called myself an athlete by any means. At 38 I was nowhere near as active (obviously still commuting daily by bike and getting a run or mtb ride in four times a week or so, but also busy with a job and kids) so even further from what a professional athlete can and should dedicate to their craft. My genetics probably help me do fairly well at endurance sports and maybe the low heart rate works well there, but I don't think it is of much use for higher intensity stuff. Those top athletes have lean, strong and fast muscles, great coordination, commitment, skill and motivation. It all matters a whole lot more than a low MRP.
  • 3 0
 37bpm is nuts... borderline alarming for a non-endurance athlete (I know DH certainly requires endurance, but it's not really an endurance sport in the same vein as XC, ironman triathlons, marathons, etc. if you catch my drift).
  • 1 0
 @bridgermurray: No, I think it is largely genetics. Yet not everyone with the genetics is going to put the work in. And not everyone who does put 80% of the work in (relative to what a top athlete is doing) is actually going to bother with competition (which is what it takes to be called an athlete). And yeah, any explosive sport is going to demand a good bit of endurance training to actually make it through your training sessions (so yeah, training to train) with good strong posture and shape (which could otherwise lead to injury). But I meant to say that for that (the endurance to maintain stamina through your sessions) doesn't really award the low resting heart rate that benefits those endurance athletes who maximize aerobic endurance for competition.

My point merely was that MRP may be a decent metric for measuring your own shape and state of recovery from day to day, but it is not a suitable metric to compare fitness between athletes (or people for that matter).

As for alarming, if the doctors/nurses noticed the low heart rate as remarkable, but not alarming. I think they look for irregularities rather than just the number. And I assume these measurements were just done to have a baseline to compare my heart rate to during the surgery.
  • 12 0
 I think that Finn and Loic's bike set up with the adjustable suspension also helped. The motorway section and the steep muddy section were so different it would've been amazing to change your suspension settings on the fly for both types of terrain.
  • 5 0
 Great point, I wonder how much electronic suspension has helped Loic so far this season. He's always been consistent, but not usually this dominant.
  • 1 0
 @fentoncrackshell: I was wondering the same. Is a turnkey with two or three positions not enough?
It is a mechanical sport so it is great to innovate, but with electronics you cannot have any feeling of the impact, it is a bit frustrating if it makes such a big difference. We just do not know.
  • 1 0
 @fentoncrackshell: the field is a bit weak at the sharp end tbh.
  • 1 0
 Possibly, but I don't think Finn was one of the fast guys in the motorway section. This system might be new to him, Loic has had it for a few years.
  • 11 0
 Interesting theory for sure. But, as mentioned, Finn has the pace on most other weekends too so maybe not a good indicator. Wonder if we'll see other protected riders opt for a more restful race weekend before their final run?
  • 27 0
 Tricky tracks with rapidly changing conditions mean there's less benefit to having super dialed in lines after lots of practice. And going for it despite not having done qualis and semis probably means he was not not only rested, but also had no expectations and hence less pressure. That more relaxed what the hell attitude might have played a role in him not pushing too hard where others got in trouble. Then again, he also was hampered by his injury, which would have made it harder to find flow (pain does that...). So probably not a good theory either.

Regardless of Ben's "theory" and whether Finn's n-1 sample tells us anything, semis are BS.
  • 2 0
 Bruni in an interview on Wyn TV said there is a rumour that the UCI will be stopping Protected Rider Status at the end of this season. This could be to stop this possible "restful race weekend" approach.
  • 2 0
 @minesatusker: f*ck the UCI and f*ck semis.

Braindead shit.
  • 18 3
 The Video ADs interrupting Ben are really fucking annoying.
  • 11 0
 Has anyone checked out the moving the needle podcast Where he interviews Jackson Goldstone? He introduced an idea for the race weekend Called “last chance qualifications.”
if you qualify, your in finals. If a rider didn’t qualify they would have another chance to put it all on the line to get a limited spot in the final. Sounds very entertaining! Heres the link youtu.be/jB6mXi1SvOw?si=lEx93_T2yYM_ZNO1
  • 2 1
 I heard that suggested last year, as a misunderstanding of M.Whiteley’s suggestions of a feeder “DH1” series that’d run on the same tracks.
  • 5 0
 @owl-X: whitely for UCI leader!
  • 2 0
 The LCQ idea is great. That was a good podcast.
  • 2 0
 @Joe89: And can he run Warner Bros as well please?
  • 11 1
 Finn skips practise and is therefore better at DH due to being rested.
Martin Maes wins e-enduro, having competed in the proper enduro the day before.
Conclusion: riding e-bikes is not a workout.
  • 3 0
 How so? The bike is still recharging.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: It's true. E-bikes do need rest days......since they're the ones doing all the work.
  • 1 0
 You clearly have never raced if you think Finn’s decision was related to fitness.
  • 7 0
 The UCI should get rid of semis already. It's absolute useless crap and nobody wants it. They are not even televising semis and if Finn doesn't need'em, nobody does. Free downhill, remove and never talk about semis, ever. Make downhill great again.
  • 10 1
 Clickbait. If Finn had crashed in his race run, Cathro would be saying that missing out on those vital extra practice runs was the cause.
  • 4 0
 Finn is for sure a fit dude. He is a top 5 dude and perhaps not doing the semi/quali thing just took the pressure off and he rode in a calmer state. I do remember Jolanda Neff having to take off a bunch of time before the Olympics and she ended up smoking everyone. Could've been cause the course suited her strengths but also rest vs over-training is a thing. Was a cool race either way.
  • 2 0
 Don't know if that was a strategy that Finn wanted to try out, or if that's just how it all went down. But I do remember some of the racers talking about how much extra racing they're doing now at each event, and how tiring it is. I swear Minaar and Loic were two of the racers that might have mentioned it a while back.
  • 4 0
 If Finn can find the secret sauce to be more consistent, he could challenge Bruni for dominance. I think he needs to borrow Vali's mental coach.
  • 2 0
 He strikes me as being where Bruni was not that many years ago - insanely talented, insanely skilled, and always a threat, but basically a shoo-in for top three if he's got a good day. And from there, Bruni got better at having good days consistently. I wouldn't be surprised if Finn ends up developing the same way - he strikes me as a smart and thoughtful athlete committed to his craft.
  • 3 0
 It’s more likely Finn was at a disadvantage due to lack of track time, bearing in mind he is fitter than multiple butchers dogs this is a nonsense theory.
  • 1 0
 I’m quite sure the top riders are very fit and have worked with trainers, coaches and dietitians to ensure thier training programme meets the needs of the whole event format. They professionals and paid to do this. If they aren’t then you would have to ask why not
  • 5 0
 No mention of Lachlan Stevens-McNab?
I thought that was pretty amazing.
  • 3 2
 In browser player so you can get more ads... nice, but now I'll just put off coming to the site all together as I already pay for youtube premium... I'll just watch there, come here less.
  • 1 0
 They'll get a kick back from you watching through YT Premium too.
  • 6 1
 What ads?
  • 1 0
 @JonnyNorthmore: That's fine. But we just won't get ads.
  • 3 0
 I think Finn just didn’t feel a ton of pressure because he didn’t have high expectations… and just went for it.
  • 5 1
 I like Ben's videos but turned it off at the start of the first ad..
  • 4 1
 It's the ads in the middle of a sentence that are turning me off.
  • 3 0
 @Fill-Freakin: Take control of your browsers.
  • 1 1
 All of the top riders should be able to go hard for 3 runs, and peak for finals. Week after week. Every other sport, that is the requirement. The pro peloton sends it (the real F1 of cycling). Track cyclists, are going beast mode. The top 10 DH'ers wont even show up for their domestic races, what are they doing for 10 months of the year? That said, I love Down Hill racing, it's the best spectator sport. Also, the youth on teh come up, they're a different breed.
  • 2 0
 Someone could have a minor crash, claim they're injured and avoid doing two additional, exhausing runs so you're fresher than anyone else on race day. Mmmmm.
  • 1 0
 Finn is just one of the quickest guys on the planet and absolutely nailed that top section. Sour grapes or tin foil.... I think a bigger concern will be juicing if the schedule takes its toll.
  • 4 1
 Your theory sucks. Iles is a nail gun
  • 1 0
 Did you mean a RAIL gun?
  • 5 2
 Maybe Finn is just a nail gun and built different
  • 9 0
 what does this mean, to be a nail gun?
  • 9 0
 @Torbo24: It means that you are driven by pneumatic pressure, and can be used to fasted together a vast array .of wood and woodlike products with great efficiency. Or maybe just...like...real good at biking? or something?
  • 2 0
 Stop using this term. Hammer is better.
  • 1 0
 @Torbo24: Chainsaw was taken
  • 3 0
 @Torbo24: It's a Hockey term that only Canucks and Canuckophiles use.
  • 1 0
 I like this theory, but I can't decide if Finn making most of his lead in the top section debunks it or not.
  • 6 6
 If no other protected rider does this, Ben’s theory is complete BS. Calling out an injured rider, who was a gametime decision, is pretty low method to get clicks.
  • 2 1
 Agree.
  • 5 0
 I didn't see the part where he "called out Finn".
  • 1 0
 @tonestar: you missed the thumbnail of Finn and a title of “Are racers not fit enough?”

Combined with Finn being the only one who did this…..uh yeah, it’s pretty blatant.

But hey, the media clowns have to have something to make a video about.
  • 1 0
 @nvranka: But when you watch the video, they say that Finn was injured and that is why he didn't do the Quali and Semis. So, no, they didn't throw him under the bus. (I'm a Finn fan)
When you watch the video, the observation about riders "fitness", is all based around them having to do an extra race run (Semis), so they don't have the same energy for the Finals that they did before this format. They even moved the Semis to the same day as the Quali, because this was a problem last year.

In the end, they are finding out that having the Semis, could be damaging the quality of the racing that they want to broadcast. I think Mr Cathro is helping make this point with his observation in the video.

That is how I hear it anyways. The headline is "click bait", but that is what headlines are supposed to do, so we can't really complain.
  • 2 0
 @tonestar: fair enough, cheers
  • 3 0
 Turned off due to ads.
  • 1 0
 How does one make the final without competing in the semi-final? Does not compute.
  • 1 0
 Protected status because of past results - it's meant to make sure that the big dogs don't get cut out of finals because of a freak issue in qualifying/semis.
  • 1 0
 By being good
  • 1 0
 Just saying, but… Ahh wtf do I know?
  • 1 0
 Looks like you slammed your thumb in the door haaaard Ben! Ouch!
  • 1 0
 the production on these videos is fantastic
  • 1 0
 Interesting
  • 1 1
 the player is really bad, sorry
  • 1 1
 snarky reply deleted
  • 2 4
 Im thinking Cathro should take a couple rounds off and see if he can make a better vid in a month or two…
  • 1 0
 It’s PB’s fault - it’s like covid, you get too close to these people and it can take anyone down a few notches.
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