Miles LaMon of Team Clif Bar on Racing, Nutrition, Motivation and Faux Hawks

Miles LaMon has worked for Art’s Cyclery since 2008 and has been a valuable member of the Art’s warehouse crew. During his years working for us we watched as he has transformed himself from a broken pro jr. downhill racer to a powerful road racer. His level of commitment to the sport throughout this period has been unwavering. Two years ago it was not uncommon to see Miles putting in 700 mile training weeks! Besides his impressive climb through the amateur ranks and into the pros, Miles stands apart from the stereotypically stoic humorless pro cyclist with his quirky yet wicked sense of humor.

Q: Miles, tell us what you have been up to this season and how your team is doing.

A: My season so far has been successful both as an individual but more importantly as a team member.  My season started in the last week of January.  I came in with some very good form after putting in a very solid strength program and base miles over the winter.  I had some very respectable and good results early in the year.  Overall, I’ve continued to progress throughout the season.  As a team we had a lot of new riders and it has taken a little bit for us to start clicking.  During the Tour of America’s Dairy Land, which consisted of 11 days straight of racing, we really started to come together as a team and we rode very well.   It resulted in getting an enormous amount of respect from many of the larger Pro teams.  We achieved numerous strong finishes, which included a top 10 in an NCC event. Last weekend we finished 3rd at the Dunnigan Hills road race and 5th at the Suisun Criterium.

Q: How did you get started racing?

A: Basically on my birth certificate it says born to ride somewhere.  Riding bikes is just something I’ve always done and enjoy doing.  I got into racing bikes because it’s just in my nature.  I’m competitive, I’m addicted to speed (no not the drug), the challenge, and I’m very goal oriented.  Cycling it is such a difficult sport that when you achieve those goals it gives you such a great sense of accomplishment.  More specifically though, I got into road racing after racing downhill mountain bikes for about 10 years.  Due to numerous injuries sustained from racing downhill I found my way onto a road bike for physical therapy.  In my final year at Cal Poly I decided to give the collegiate road season a try.  Things just clicked.  I really enjoyed all the aspects that go into road racing like teamwork, the discipline, and the dedication it requires to succeed.   I decided to hang up the mountain bike and pursued racing a full season on a road bike after that.  I haven’t looked back.

Q: Was it a smooth transition upgrading to the pro ranks?

A: The transition to the Pro ranks definitely was not as smooth as I would have liked.  I had progressed through the ranks very rapidly.  Within one season I went from racing at the amateur/collegiate level to signing a contract to race for the Yahoo Cycling Team, which to move through the ranks that quickly are typically unheard of.  Because I progressed so fast I never really learned how to race properly because I depended on my strength and tenacity to get results.  When I got to the Pro level everyone was just as strong or stronger than I was and had much more experience.  Now, I had to learn how to race more with my head and not just with my legs and heart.  Trying to learn at the highest level was not easy and I failed over and over again in my first year, but from all those mistakes I learned more than I would have if my first season as a pro had gone smoother.

Q: I know that your training regimen is absolutely brutal. What does it entail?

A:  Training is a year around thing.  Yes there is an off season, but that is mainly to let your body recover from the previous season and to start preparing for the next.  I work with a coach who designs my training to ensure I’m in peak fitness when I’m targeting a specific race.  My training is broken down into certain periods throughout the year.  The first phase entails base training, which consists of a lot of lower intensity riding and higher duration to build endurance.   Usually, I will ride between 20-30+ hours a week during this time.   Once I’m done with the base period it goes into a build period.  The intensity increases and duration drops during this phase to ensure proper recovery.  This is where much more specific workouts are completed such as hill intervals, sprints, and higher intensity riding.  Once, the season starts the training will taper into races to ensure that my body has recovered properly and I’m going in mentally fresh, ready for battle.

Q: What about nutrition? What are you doing on that front?

A: Nutrition… I ride for Team Clif Bar, so Clif Bar products are all I eat.  I even brush my teeth with Vanilla Clif Shot.  It’s yummy and makes you fast, so go buy some!!!!  Actually, my diet is pretty limited because my body weight gives me trouble on the bike especially in the mountains.  I eat very lean meats, lots of fruits and vegetables, eggs, almond butter and lots of coffee.  I’m constantly counting calories and very conscious about what I’m eating.

Q: What tips do you have for aspiring racers or even recreational riders that are looking to get faster?

A: Besides the necessities such as shaving your legs, getting a sweet euro faux hawk, doing countless hill repeats, starving yourself and listening to techno… just kidding!!! (Except for the hill intervals those will make you fast)  I’m not going to lie this is one of the hardest sports in the world.  It requires so much of a person physically, mentally and emotionally.  The best tip I can give is work hard.  Hard work will beat talent any day and this is especially true in cycling.  You need to be able, at any moment, to sacrifice what you are for what you will become.  I’m where I want to be because I realized I had to commit my very being to this thing and the path to get to there is done by working hard.  One other thing is never give up… even if people may doubt you, always believe in yourself.  It’s ok to believe that there is no can’t, won’t, or impossible.  If you are going to pursue getting faster and improving in this sport you got to believe in yourself and in the work you are doing that when it comes race day you are ready to let it rip.

Q: What are your goals for next season and five years from now? What is your motivation and where does it come from?

A: My goals for next season are to win a lot and continue improving.  Five years from now I plan to still be racing my bike and would like to win a National and State Championship.  The dream goal would be able to make my way on a team that I could compete in the Tour of California.  My motivation comes from many things.  Ultimately somewhere behind the athlete I have become, the hours of training, sacrifices made, the coaches who push me, the teammates who believe in me, and the family, friends, and fans who cheer for  me, there is the little boy who fell in love with the sport and never looked back.  I ride for him.

Q: Is it true that Euro faux hawk haircuts make you faster?

A: Absolutely the hair is what makes the rider go fast.  Never mind all this talk about hard work, training and nutrition.  Just look at Tom Boonen (former coke head), Mario Cipiollini (playboy) and now Miles LaMon (beast).  The thing we have in common, besides being monsters on a bike, is that we all have badass haircuts.