Dutch ex-professional cyclist Laurens ten Dam got virtually together with Spanish sports journalist Laura Meseguer to talk shop – meaning taking a tour of his career, the excitement, worries, memories and atmosphere of grand tours, the “gift” of living the life of a pro cyclist, training schedules compared to then and now, digital racing in Covid-19 times, the newfound passion for gravel, podcasting in Dutch, launching a cycling brand, how winning a race can upend your life, and more. Read more about Laurens in our previous article.
As you could see in the beginning, Laurens and Laura are somewhat old acquaintances, as she recalls they last met at the Giro d’Italia 2017, which makes the stream a joy to listen to as it unfolds friendly and naturally. The light-hearted mood was ensured when Laurens noted on account of said Giro that he saw Tom Dumoulin (who went on to win the 2017 edition) at the breakfast table morning before the race not being nervous at all: “I started drinking beer and hope for the best.” Below, we’ve highlighted the most inspirational moments, advice and funny quotes Laurens had to offer.
When Laura asked him about whether he misses the competition and being on the road with teammates and the supporting team, he was fonder of the shared moments than racing and winning per se. “To be with the boys, to work together towards the goal, that’s something really nice. Yeah, the memories are nice, I don’t think you can really find that in the normal life again but we’ll see.” (laughter) He also shared that he still likes to take part in one low-level race per year but nowadays, he prefers to stay at home with the family and watch the children grow and not to race “90 days a year but maybe 5-6 good days.”
When asked about the content of his LSRF (Live Slow, Ride Fast) podcast episodes, Laurens mentioned the general tone of the talks and how important is it to get in the zone and value everything for what it really is: “Enjoy the small things and do them well, like good coffee, good wine, good food […], pay attention to detail and you can enjoy it more afterwards and it’s the same with the bike.” After 16 years in the pro peloton, he readily admits that he now finally has time to be “all over the place” and for his own projects, especially enjoying bikepacking and camping.
It also seems that Laurens made the best out of the recent lockdown as he claims his condition skyrocketed with frequent training and he would be confident to take on a race right on spot. “I did already 11,000 kilometres this year because I want to be ready for Dirty Kanza (a famous USA gravel bike race) and still want to ride it, it’s pretty high-level so you have to be in shape.”
Following up on gravel racing and Dirty Kanza, one lifestream viewer inquired what will Laurens be doing the day before this demanding and unique race. “That’s a really nice question. I thought I would do a little spin, maybe 90 minutes, stop for a coffee and then I’m going to eat a lot of pancakes for lunch.”
For about 50 minutes of fun and Laurens’ wisdom, including how to wear leg warmers to look like a pro, you can watch the archived livestream in its entirety here on our Instagram.