Gaining Weight and Brute Force: Is Cavendish Slower Because He Got Skinny?

Cavendish's career has been interesting. He's so dang fast. But sometimes he just doesn't seem to get many wins; also, many of his greatest stretches of wins seem to be earlier in his career. So, while on the trainer the other morning, I wondered: did Cavendish get slower when he went to Sky and lost all that weight?

Well, there are other factors at play here of course. He no longer had a dedicated train. Also, he was light enough to get over the mountains and win in Paris - wasn't that a more prestigious win?

But I think it's an interesting thought.

Sometimes when I've been letting myself go a bit, eating whatever and however much I feel like, I'll gain a little weight but I'll also gain a little, I don't know, let's just call it brute force.

It's not something I feel throughout a ride or race, for example on a climb or on a fast stretch, but it's something I feel when there are vicious accelerations or in the sprint - my body just feels like it has that extra little bit of brute force that can be thrown around. It's a little like anger, but it's physical, but not really muscular.

When I'm lean and especially while dieting, when the speed ramps up that fast and to those peaks sometimes I reach for that power, and it's just not there.

Because of this (rightly or wrongly), I always avoid undereating before a race by, not exactly overeating, but eating a touch more than my hunger tells me too (especially if I've been dieting, but because my stomach will be smaller and get full faster).

The lesson? Maybe Cavendish should eat a few more cookies if he feels like it.