Performance is now the name of the game

Performance is now the name of the game.

Data, studies, numbers. Cycling is one of the most measured sports of all times, and Mikkel Frølich Honoré takes us on a journey divided between calculation and instinct.

Published: June 17, 2024

Light years away from the heroic allure of pioneering cycling, the sport we know now is a product of our times in which machines stand beside men to the point of measuring their breath. Heart beats, numbers, graphs, energy produced and then energy consumed: wherever we look, cycling retains its appeal, even in its more mathematical side. It opens our eyes to horizons we never imagined before, endless potential, projections into the future. The role of performance is no longer just a result of body and numbers but something much more complex that defines the rider not only in his current state but also in all that it could be thanks to the astounding alignment of planning, power and courage.

Development and innovation.

Danish by birth and Italian at heart, Mikkel Frølich Honoré has been a professional cyclist since 2019 and currently rides for the EF- Educational Easy Post team. For him, performance means everything, although he likes to call himself a rider somewhere between instinct and performance pursuit.
"I think cycling is one of the few sports where everything can be measured," he explains. "If you look at the last decade, there has been an incredible pace of performance development and innovation. I personally like to get into the details of all my equipment to figure out how to reach the highest level. On the bike and in the race, however, I rely much more on intuition. Calculations are useful even though, in the moment of action, when you follow your feelings you don't make mistakes. This allowed me to get better results, attacking at an unexpected moment that surprised everyone."

All in a matter of inches.

The evolution of performance computation is something incredibly exponential. As well as the entire area of science and technology, it has grown tremendously in a relatively short period of time. This is noticed by professional cyclists who, year after year, witness the advancements of science and test them on their own legs.
"Today we have so many tools available that allow us to get better analysis and measures," he continues. "From training software to bike fitting software, which the riders have access to, and of course the performance staff we work with. I feel like this has evolved a lot since I turned pro - just five years ago."
Among these many tools, there are some that are athlete's favourites. In Mikkel's case, it is the bike computer, a little treasure holder that fits in one hand and can mean a cyclist's whole life - a bit like a telephone.
"I like using it, I upload the data and compare it with my coach," he explains. "It provides the power and heart rate information: there is no question that it is a very useful tool, even for programming my training. However, I also believe the fact that we cannot forget one important thing that is to listening to our body. For us cyclists, it is still important to stay connected to our feelings. For this reason, in recent years I have also started to go on longer rides leaving the computer in my pocket. I like to alternate, discovering and measuring oneself are not the same thing. We also need to train our sensitivity."
Like Yin and Yang, these two dimensions continue to meet, whether in competition or simple training, technology and humanity remain worlds united by the relentless thread of competition.

Every single detail counts.

Some riders just can't help checking their bikes constantly. You can call them real control freaks, although it is not so difficult to understand why. In fact anything can happen in a race, whether you have a great day or an unlucky one. That doesn't matter, a mechanical accident can cost you everything.
"I always like to check the bike," Honoré confirms. "Especially because of past experiences, where you could end up with a small problem that could totally compromise your race. There are so many little details on a bike today that could potentially have a problem - a broken component for example. I often talk to mechanics about the choice of equipment, this includes the gears, the wheels, and so on. I want to be aware of what I ride, always with a view to giving my best."

The exact science.

Training, recovery, nutrition, equipment. Today’s studies cover a multitude of fields, and sports is much more than mere application.
"I wouldn't talk of technology, rather of science," he continues. "As I said, everything in cycling is measurable, and certainly this has advantages and disadvantages. That does not change the fact that it has made me a stronger cyclist today."
Mikkel also emphasizes how it is always very interesting to follow developments and new thinking. In a world that is constantly changing, we have the obligation to embark in this new challenge.
"Many people think that development and innovation have peaked, but I'm sure it's not over yet. The future is ahead of us, and there are still many steps to be taken to improve even more."