Olympic legend Sir Chris Hoy, who announced his retirement in April, said daily road rides reminded him cycling could be fun after tortuous track and weight sessions during his stellar career.
Hoy recently visited the BikeRadar offices to take us through his new aluminium bike range, which is being produced in conjunction with Evans Cycles. But we also took the opportunity to sit down with the track star – who holds six gold medals and 11 world titles in sprint, team sprint, keirin and the 1km time trial disciplines – to revisit his cycling career.
In this, the first of five videos, the 37-year-old Scot talks about life as a pro athlete and how recovery rides helped remind him that cycling could still be enjoyable even after the deep burn in his legs following heavy repetitions of track training and weight sessions.
“We did a fair amount of road mileage too,” he said. “I always did road recovery rides every day, for at least one hour, and that kind of allowed me to associate cycling with pleasure and not just with pain. You can actually enjoy riding your bike even through the tough times when you’re really struggling.”
When his career stretched ahead of him, Hoy remembered training up to 20 hours a week on the road. In homage to time spent on Majorcan roads, one of his new bikes is named the Sa Colobra – a famous, snaking climb on the Spanish Balearic island.
“It’s a really tough climb – it’s beautiful but it’s a pretty grim place to be for the last couple of kilometres when you’re struggling, especially when you’re a big sprinter like myself,” Hoy explained.
Reviewing a career that stretches back to his first world championship medal – a bronze in the team sprint in 1999 – Hoy said natural disappointments along the way spurred him to greater effort and training.
“When I look back at my career I don’t have any regrets,” he said. “There were times that were very disappointing and frustrating – you have crashes, you have losses of form, you have races you feel you could have done better in, but they all kind of serve to inspire you to work harder.”