Health and Longevity in Cycling with Aerodynamics Expert Alexander Bauer- EP022

 In Podcast

‘Your life after cycling is way longer than your life in cycling.’

When Jan Ullrich was pulled from the Tour de France in 2006 amid one of the biggest doping scandals ever to hit the sport, the German minister of the interior expressed the need for a shift of focus in cycling – away from short-term performance toward long-term health and well-being. Today’s guest knows all too well how difficult it was to compete against the professional cyclists who were using performance enhancing drugs in the mid-1990’s as well as the positive changes that have occurred in the sport since then.




Drawn to cycling by the epic battle between LeMond and Hinault in 1986, Alexander Bauer has raced at the juniors, pro and masters levels, earning numerous State, European and World Championship titles. Inspired to help clean cyclists excel, Alex started designing high-performance cycling clothing in 2005, which led to a venture developing skinsuits and aero gear for Team High Road. Since then, national federations, pro teams and individual riders have called upon Alex’s expertise in aerodynamics and high-performance consulting to take their cyclists to the next level.

Alex is also an expert in SRM PowerMeters. In that capacity, he has supported 30 World, two Olympic and 15 National Champions in earning gold, silver and bronze medals in both road and track cycling. He has served as Performance Optimizer for Team Canyon-SRAM since 2011, and added consulting for Team Sky to his resume last year. Today he speaks to his experience struggling to compete without the benefit of PEDs during his pro career in the 1990’s, the benefits of using PowerMeters to measure effort, and the myriad of factors that impact speed in cycling – including apparel. Listen in as he shares how a shift in mindset has changed professional cycling for the better, with an emphasis on health and longevity over short-term success.

Topics Covered

[2:48] The event that inspired Alex to become a cyclist

  • Uncle was recreational cyclist
  • Took to race in Graz in 1984
  • Saw Polish rider in serious crash
  • Coach gave two new wheels, sent back out
  • Racer caught pack, went on to win
[5:11] Alex’s experience as a pro in the 1990’s

  • Turned pro at 28, ‘last guy on team’
  • Discouraged by inability to keep up with cyclists who were doping
  • Felt alone, quit after 18 months
  • Returned to amateur racing
[8:17] How Alex got interested in cycling apparel

  • Approached by pro sponsor (clothing company) looking for graphic artist
  • Worked with best friend to develop clean approach to racing (success without PED)
[9:26] How much cycling apparel affects speed

  • Cyclist’s body comprises 70% of drag resistance
  • Cover with correct fabric, overcome air resistance
  • Bad skinsuit can cause up to 40 watts of drag
  • Good skinsuit can give 20-watt advantage
  • Can mean difference between winning and tenth place
[13:18] Additional factors that affect cycling speed

  • Mechanical resistance (e.g.: chain, drivetrain, etc.)
  • Tires
  • Position of body (what you see from front is what wind sees)
  • Minute details like wireless shifting system, removing handlebar tape
[17:06] Alex’s experience as an early adopter of PowerMeters

  • Track testing in late 1990’s
  • Measure performance immediately from legs
  • Translates to newton meters, # of watts pushing
  • Tool to express what effort is worth
  • Use to develop training strategies
  • Changed school of thought around base miles, training efficiency
  • Can gain same worth to body in three hours vs. five
[22:52] How power meters affect decisions around recovery

  • Allows cyclist to rate performance
  • Determine what is needed to recover, replenish
[24:36] The importance placed on long-term health in professional cycling

  • Body shape determines cycling discipline (climbers vs. sprinters)
  • Climbers rated in watts/kilo, many in ‘starving mode’
  • Driven by coaches, team members and society
[28:23] The evolution of ‘health’ in cycling

  • Old idea that skinny = fit
  • Now cyclists still skinny, but have muscles
  • Influenced by improved societal awareness of healthy food
[31:19] How professional cycling educates its teams regarding nutrition

  • Team Sky and Team Canyon have chef, provides healthy meals (fruits, vegetables, rice, chicken)
  • Cyclists educated re: necessity of protein, carbs after race to refuel

Learn More About Alexander Bauer

LeXXi AeroSmartSuits

Alex on Twitter

Resources Mentioned





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