Staying Race Ready with ODLO


Staying race ready

Scott-SRAM athlete Lars Forster targets Tokyo in another start-stop season.

AT 26.09.2021

Scott-SRAM is busy testing kit and riding trails at a training camp in Tuscany when we connect. It’s been unusually cold in Europe, and while the team typically heads to South Africa in February to train, logistically this year has been more complex – a reality felt by team manager and former pro, Thomas Frischknecht, and athletes like Lars Forster.

Forster – a Swiss pro and winner of the 2019 Cape Epic – has just come off two weeks with the Swiss national team in Grand Canarias. He has already podiumed this year – a silver at the Swiss cyclo-cross championships in January – and is carrying good form in the lead up to World Cup events in Albstadt, Germany and Nove Mesto, Czech Republic (both in May). He will need a strong result at both races if he is to punch his ticket to Tokyo.

“I have two upcoming World Cup events first to make the selection,” he explains during our conversation over the phone. “All the uncertainty is difficult. It’s hard to stay in top shape when you don’t know if you’re going to be able to race.”

“Last year, the whole team was ready and fired-up for the Cape Epic,” Frischknecht adds. “They invested so much time to stay in shape. Then things got postponed or cancelled. There was a long period when our team was trying to stay race ready. At that point, most were just running on fumes.”

While the 2021 season outlook looks brighter, with race formats and schedules evolving, much of the uncertainty remains. With training camps, Frischknecht explains, the team had several booked in case restrictions forced last-minute changes. In the end, Tuscany proved easiest. “We’re all in the same boat,” Frischknecht says, “and for the athletes it’s worse because maintaining that level of performance is incredibly difficult.”

Athletes structure plans with coaches to ensure their motivation and fitness are sustainable. Without a regular race calendar, however, shades of 2020 remain. Last year, many suffered from fatigue, enduring a never-ending training load observed for the off-chance races would go ahead.

“Giving myself time off the bike under all that stress has become just as important as the race days,” explains Forster when asked about how he has adapted. “Racing now feels like a reward, so I’m really looking forward to showing what we worked on and hopefully earn the kind of results that will line up a selection for Tokyo.”

“Every athlete wants to prove himself, and right now that’s the missing link – and an important one. We just have to see what happens.” 

Forster’s favourite ODLO kit: the Concord long-sleeve and Zeroweight Dual Dry jacket. 


Stories that might also interest you