Take the pro-rider challenge

Are you stronger than Gee Atherton? Fitter than Brendan Fairclough? Tougher than Tracy Moseley? Time to see what you’re made of…

Words by Alan Milway

Max power output

Measuring your maximum power output is useful to know and monitor because it tells you if you’re getting stronger. The easiest way to find your power is on a Wattbike, you’ll find them at plenty of gyms these days. We don’t just want to know the wattage though, we also want to relate it to bodyweight to get a watts per kilogram figure. Can you pump out over 15 w/kg?

20 w/kg is very good and takes you to Santa Cruz and EWS rider Mark Scott territory — which equates to 1500w for a 75kg rider.

Calf raises

The simplest of exercises but an indicator to muscular endurance and one that allows you to see if your left and right legs are similar or there is a weakness in one. Standing on a step with one foot, lower the standing heel all the way towards the floor, pause, and drive up right on to tip toes. Pause and lower right back down to bottom position. That is one rep. No bouncing or half reps. Over 15 is adequate, over 25 is the benchmark, and over 30 is excellent!

One of the highest I have seen is from Tracy Moseley – well over 40.

One minute press up challenge

The press up starting position is lying on your chest with your hands off the ground, you have to press up and return to this position before starting the next one. How many can you perform in a minute? Any more than 30 is very good.

Gee Atherton will do almost one a second for the full minute. Animal.


Horizontal rows

Rows are a simple but useful upper body pulling exercise. Grip a barbell with both hands and hang under it, with your body nearly horizontal and you heels resting on the floor. Pull up, keeping your body straight until you chest touches the bar — make sure you touch the same spot on your chest each rep. How many reps are possible in one go?

Over 15 is good, over 20 is competitive and over 40 is only just going to start to worry Dan Atherton.


A great conditioning exercise and also good for monitoring performance. I use a number of ‘challenges’ with my athletes and will not just take the maximum figure, but the ability to repeat these efforts. 500m rows are full sprints: Can you get under 1 minute 35 seconds? For 2,000m it becomes a challenge to keep the power high. Under 7 minutes 30 seconds is very good, and under 7 minutes is the ultimate goal.

Brendan Fairclough’s best time starts with a 6… And no, it’s not 60 minutes!