I think RV does all of this because he likes to win, he likes the process, likes the work. I know that he is complaining how hard it is but he wouldn't do it if he didn't like it. In the middle of a hard training cycle, things seem very hard and almost oppressive. It makes you feel beat up and almost depressed. You start to question whether it is all worth it or not. I think RV is in the middle of a tough training regiment, a grueling travel schedule and is just so tired mentally and physically that he can't get too excited about all of this. Think about it, does he get a day off after winning the championship? does he get a break from training, travel, media, testing, planning the next race? No, he has to race Vegas in a week. He has media to do. He has a flight to catch. He has to eat some crappy, healthy diet. He has a full training day when he returns home. He has testing to do for outdoors. He has more work to do. RV is at his best interview wise when he is off the cuff with someone like Matthes that he is comfortable. I think when Ryan retires, he will truly appreciate what he has accomplished. When he finally gets a real break. I think anyone that has really done a hardcore training, competition season would understand what RV is feeling.
I agree McCollough, a great article by Swiz and some good points made by yourself as well.
I have a question for you McCollough as I think Ive read before that you've trained a lot. Why cant guys use Aldon for a couple of years to get a "base" training level and learn some good nutrition/training habits and then back off and maintain? I read(listened) to Bryne talk about training less as hes gotten older and also Tim Ferry said the same thing. You have this level of endurance built up why continue to punish yourself and risk burnout? Just maintain.
Although I race motocross, most of my formal training experience is with swimming. I try and adapt it but it is not 100% crossover. I know Aldon's base knowledge is with cycling. With swimmers, as they age, their body is better suited for sprint oriented events and less suited for endurance events. There were many instances of swimmers staying competitive in shorter events and the endurance competitiveness goes away. This last summer Olympics saw Michael Phelps struggle with the 400 IM but remain competitive in the 100m events. I know that he was not nearly as motivated and did not prepare as he had in his younger days too. I think he will likely focus on 100m events in the next Olympics, maybe a 200m fly because his fly is so dominant.
Michael Phelps was world class at 15 years of age. He was training like a world class athlete by about the age of 13 or so as I recall. That training consists of 6-7 days a week, 3.5 to 4.5 hours a day in the water. That training is at heart rates of 150 - 180 during the entire time. Rest time is minimal, maybe 15 minutes total of a 2 hour workout. I did 8-10 miles a day as a DII collegiate swimmer for a point of reference. Phelps didn't do weight training early in his career. He added it before the Beijing Olympics. Weight training would had another 5 hours a week. That is as a teenager. I doubt that a typical 13 year old motocross kid is doing that kind of dedicated formal training. I suspect that a national level kid is doing 3-4 20 minute motos a day and maybe an hour of endurance work a day. That is half of the work a swimmer is doing. I suspect that it is evolving but I doubt it is on par with sports like swimming and cycling yet. The base of a swimmer that is in a good program like the one Phelps was in as teen is far and above what my experience tells me a moto teen is doing. Villopoto included. I suspect that Villopoto's base was decent, but I bet if you got Aldon to tell the truth he would agree that moto teens are behind in terms of training when compared to swimmers and I suspect cyclists. So RV is 26 now and has been training hardcore for 4 full seasons? That would put him at 22 when ramped up his training. It is a little late to cause the type of physiological change in someones cardiovascular system that would him allow him to just maintain. And unfortunately, endurance capability is the first to go away. Strength is the capability that more easily retained and thus just maintained. Motocross requires a great deal of endurance as well as strength, but I think mainly endurance. Phelps tried to just maintain essentially for the last Olympics and got beat in the 400IM (which I think is a good comparison to a moto) which he used to dominate. Phelps like RV has a ton of skill and that doesn't go away very easily. That is why older motocrosser's can still go fast for a few laps. I have heard RC can still haul for a bit but can't lay it down for 20 like he used to do.
I do think that everyone goes too overboard on the healthy nutrition side of things. I don't have anything concrete but in my experience with swimmers, if you eat enough generally good foods and train your butt off, you will have enough of the right nutrition. I think that would be the compromise I would make if I were RV.