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Q&A with Team Rabobank’s Laurens ten Dam

Laurens ten Dam, along with his mates from Team Rabobank, commence arguably the most famous and grueling cycling race in the world tomorrow, June 30.  We were fortunate enough to catch up with the Tour de France competitor and avid Strava member and get the inside scoop.

What’s the biggest thing on your mind as you enter the Tour de France?
LTD: That I am entering the biggest race in the world. The race where history is made. Really looking forward to rip this thing.

Cycling can provide the best of days and the most difficult of days; how do you find the motivation on those days when getting on your bike feels like a “job”?
LTD: I don’t have those days very often, but if I have them I’ll phone some friends and buddies and we’ll go train together. We’ll hit a few KOMs in the neighborhood and stop for a coffee and a piece of pie during the ride. That day will be good and I’ll know why it is good to be a pro rider again!

What are some simple tricks that you’ve learned to keep yourself fresh, motivated, and having fun over the course of a Grand Tour?
LTD: Lots of laughing at the dinner table. A good steak and glass of wine will do the trick if you’re really depressed.

You and Ted King had a friendly Strava rivalry going on during the Tour de Suisse. How’d it start? Will you miss vying with him for KOMs in the coming weeks?
LTD: Yes of course! He is a nice guy, and better for me, when the mountains start his work is already done. I love the fact that when I upload my file a little later he’ll get those annoying emails from me!

If there’s one KOM you claim during this year’s Tour, which one would it be?
LTD: An uphill finish! To win the stage. I love the Tourmalet climb, too.

Your Twitter profile says you own a Chevy 89’er and love to BBQ – where do the American favorites come from?
LTD:  I love to go camping in my Chevy.  Along with the camping comes BBQ. I prepare my meat on the grill at home almost every summer night. I do like the USA a lot. My wife and I go there for holidays. Last year we did a train trip from New York to San Francisco. That was awesome and we got to see the Rockies. We also did a 3-week tour in California with a rented mobile home.

Riding at the highest level of the sport, do you have advice for Strava users and aspiring cyclists looking to improve?
LTD: Like Fausto Coppi said on how to become a good bike rider: ‘Train, eat, sleep. Repeat.’ It is like that; just ride your bike a lot and when you start to feel good, go faster on the hills.

How did you learn about Strava? What keeps you uploading your rides?
LTD: My manager told me about it originally. It is really nice to show the amount of efforts we do as pro riders. I like to show that to the public. Also, it is nice to show my buddies who’s the boss on course. A lot of riders I train with in Maastricht are on it since I started.

What’s a typical day look like in the life of Laurens ten Dam?
LTD: Get up early; feed my kid; breakfast; leave between 8:30 and 9am for a 6-hour Ardennes ride; home at 3pm; lunch; chillin’. Then, at 5:30pm we’ll go into town for an aperitif. At 7:30pm, I’ll light the grill and have some meat, potatoes, and wine. Our preferred dinner place is outside in the garden. At 10pm, I’ll feed my 10 week-old kid again and go to sleep.

How do you aspire to be the best athlete you can be? Does it extend beyond the sport?
LTD: Train hard. Show some grinta in the race.

Lightning Round:

First Bike?
Steel Giovanni (local bike shop brand)

Current Bike?
Giant with Shimano

Favorite Bike?
My fixed bike: An old English steel EllorBriggs frame

Dream Bike?
Pegoretti

Gels or Bars?
Bars

Booties or no booties?
No booties

Climbing or descending?
Climbing

Embrocation or leg warmers?
Leg warmers

Fenders in the rain?
Big YES!

CO2 or frame pump?
Pump

Tubes or Tubulars?
For racing, tubulars

Dream ride?
A bike holiday with my wife and kids from Maastricht to Santiago da Compastella

Dream date?
The day I win on Alpe d’huez

What do you want to ask Laurens ten Dam? Ask your question in the comment field below and we’ll ask him when we catch up with him during the  Tour.