The Obree Way marks the first time Scottish cycling legend Graeme Obree has spilled the beans on many of the training techniques that twice powered him to the world hour record in the 1990s. Full of the idiosyncrasies and eccentricities of the man himself, this training manual is a thorough account of the sacrifices and changes a racing cyclist can make to squeeze every last ounce out of their potential.
Some training manuals can be over-scientific, too complex and unrealistic for the average rider with full-time work and family commitments. While some of Obree’s suggestions involve going to great lengths in pursuit of racing success – see chapter two and his advice on the intricacies of turbo training setup – this guide is aimed at those trying to fit training into their hectic lifestyles.
Forget impenetrable scientific theory, too. Much of The Obree Way is anecdotal evidence on training built through years of his own trial and error. Simply put, anybody could pick this up and learn something. Obree’s dedication to his sport may overawe you, but the refreshing lack of jargon won’t.
Suited to road or track beginners with a burgeoning interest in bike racing or those with more experience looking for marginal gains in their training, the book is split into 13 chapters, covering everything from the physiological and psychological aspects of training and racing (including time trials), to Obree’s own techniques and tips on breathing, pedalling, stretching, nutrition and combatting illness.
If there’s one thing that’ll stay with you long after you’ve put down the book, it’s that, according to Obree, turbo training is king. A huge advocate of the activity (he says in his professional days it would have been the first piece of equipment he’d save from a fire), he claims it’s almost impossible for a rider to reach their full potential without it. He tells you how to get the perfect setup, from the type of trainer you should use (magnetic only, as they’re the most consistent) to the environment you should be training in (warm air for better lung efficiency).
His breathing technique – the three-phase Obree Breathing Pattern – is also fascinating and before publication of this book was known to just three other people. Though we haven’t tried it yet (it’s complicated, and not something you could adopt overnight), it’s impressive of Obree to share information that helped him become one of Britain’s most accomplished athletes.
The only thing that lets this manual down is the production values. Obree would have been better served if someone had taken more time putting it together. To some, the litany of formatting mistakes will add to its charms, but for us, it detracted hugely. The £30 pricetag may also be too high for some, but if that’s the price to pay for the knowledge base of one man’s lifetime exploits in cycling, then we reckon it’s a snip. You can buy it from www.obree.com.
Graeme obree on his book ‘the obree way’
Video: Graeme Obree on his book ‘The Obree Way’
The Obree Way: A Training Manual for Cyclists (12)
Cycling Plus Features Editor and tireless domestique John has been putting in a shift for the magazine for seven years. Despite having been a ‘proper’ road cyclist for the last decade, he still can’t work out what his main motivation for punishing all-day rides is. A freewheeling attitude towards cake is the popular theory, however.