Mountain Bike Resources Online - Mountain Biking News - September 30th
September 30th, 1996
John Tomac Q & ASunday 9/30/96
Q: What are your favorite courses and why?
A: For cross country I prefer rolly terrain such as the World Cup courses in Houffalize, Belgium and Mount Snow, Vermont. For downhill I prefer steep, technical courses.
Q: What's the most difficult part of your training?
A: Traveling by far is the most difficult part. Sometimes I'll sacrifice my performance at one event by training right through it just to prepare for the next event. It is also difficult to keep a steady diet on the road.
Q: What's your training regiment like?
A: During October and November I taper off a bit. I'll do some cross training. Run, hike and nordic skiing are some of the things I'll do. Come December I'll start a more serious training program where I'll ride five days a week and do two or three gym workouts. By March the race season begins and I'm riding three out of four weekends until September.
Q: What's your view on diet?
A: People used to think that athletes needed high carb diets, but now this is changing. Most people think that you need to include a significant amount of protein, up to 20% of your diet. You also need to consume some fat.
Q: What are some typical meals that you eat?
A:My average non race day breakfast usually consists of a couple bagels, a cup of coffee and OJ. Lunch is usually a high carb meal that I consume right after a ride. My race day breakfast is a lot larger and includes things like muesli and yogurt. I usually try to eat three to four hours before the event.
Q: What injuries have you had during your career and how have you recovered from them?
A: The most serious injury was actually on a road bike. I went down and dislocated my shoulder pretty bad. It took three months to recover and I still don't have full range in my left shoulder. I've also had a bought with giardia in 1995 which took a long time to recover from. Other than that, I've managed to stay fairly healthy.
Q: With your busy schedule, do you still get time to ride recreationally and if so, where do you like to ride?
A: Winter. I like to ride around my home town (Durango).
Q: How do you make your tire selections?
A: My tire selection is limited to what my sponsor gives me. Generally I pick wider tires for rocky terrain and narrower tires for muddy conditions. I'll change tires for every race, and sometimes between downhill runs. At the beginning of every season my sponsor sends my about 200 to 300 tires, which I'll go through and then come back and ask for more.
Q: What do you put in your water bottles?
A: I just use water and then supplement it with the "goo" or "gel" products you see on the market these days. I'll go through five or six in one race, using one at the start and every half hour there after.
Q: What do you do to prepare for a race?
A: Try to relax. When you've been racing for 11 years it's not too hard to do. For XC I'll try to figure out how I want to ride the first mile. Downhills are more difficult to prepare for because it goes by so fast. The best preparation is to just train well for each event. Knowing that you are in shape and ready for the event helps you to relax.
Q: What are your future plans?
A: I'm going to focus more on downhill events over the next two years. I want to see what my potential is. After two years I may retire.
Q: If mountain bike downhilling is included in the Sydney Olympics in the year 2000 will you stick around?
A: It looks like there's a good chance that this will happen. If it does I'll consider holding off my retirement until then.