Rising downhill star adapts training
Former junior downhill world champion Loic Bruni, 19, had a good first year in the elite ranks in 2013. In 2013, he was an impressive fourth overall in the elite men's downhill World Cup, finishing off the season with a second place in Leogang. He was 11th at the world championships in Pietermaritzburg. While still a junior in 2012, Bruni won the downhill junior world championships and the overall junior World Cup.
Upon moving into the elite ranks, Bruni stepped up his training accordingly. His coach Laurent Solliet talked about the training and sacrifices made by a top elite level downhill mountain biker. "For Loic, during his junior years in competition, the priority was school," said Solliet. "He made a good progression, he has been able to reach the highest levels and he is a professional racer now. Previously his training was adjusted to his studies, now his studies are adjusted for his training sessions. We always try to match up his training and personal life."
Bruni trains on average about 15 hours per week, with the amount varying by season and depending on whether he is emphasizing quantity or quality.
In 2013, he increased his specific training to address weaknesses, but did not limit himself to mountain biking.
"All sports can be complementary for a MTB rider," said Solliet. "Your personal coach will help you to know how to structure your training sessions, how frequently exercise and especially which the complementary sport is best for you. Personal coaching takes care of your needs and balance your sessions to develop your strengths and avoid any bad choices and injuries."
Solliet cited the example of an non-cycling exercise in which Bruni does isometric efforts followed by plyometric exercises.
"You can do a two-minute wall-sit chair exercise, then link up with eight extensions, in which you jump as high as possible with both feet. Then do another minute of the chair exercise and a final sprint session, a maximum intensity, of six seconds on the bike. It is helpful to repeat this exercise five times." Solliet suggested 5-8 minutes of recovering, soft pedalling on a bicycle, between each set.
"If you can do this session two or three times a week, after a month, you will feel a real increase in performance."
Editorial assistance provided by Mathieu Echeverri.