"I was born on February 20th, 1992. I’d say my cycling life started February 21st, 1992."
Lawson Craddock entered his first race when he was four years old, a local pee-wee mountain bike event.
"The dream of all cyclists is to ride in the Tour de France. Growing up, it was always something I figured was just a dream."
IN 2016, THE AMERICAN
RACED THE TOUR DE FRANCE FOR THE FIRST TIME.
"Being there was an incredible experience. At first I thought I was some hotshot who could compete, but I quickly found myself left in the dust. That was when I realized how big a step up the Tour de France is from any other race on the calendar."
Lawson left the 2016 Tour de France with a lot of motivation to come back in the future and turn the race upside down. He needed to be more than just a guy who hung in there, he wanted to be a guy ready to compete for glory.
"In hindsight, it may have given me too much motivation heading into the next offseason. I trained harder than I’d ever trained in my entire life. I also dieted harder than ever before."
Lawson ignored all the small signs of not recovering properly, of not refueling his body properly. His mindset was that the more tired he was after workouts, the more dead he was when he came home from training rides, the better he'd be when it was time to race.
"In 2017, I’d go to races and be one of the first guys dropped. After all the work I’d put in, I couldn’t believe what was going on."
"It was really just a disastrous year for me on the bike. I needed something to get me out of the funk I was in. Right from the start, WHOOP helped me break the cycle of overtraining."
Take a look at this two-week sample of Lawson's Strain (blue) and Recovery (green, yellow and red) data shortly after he began wearing WHOOP:
Following several days of light-to-moderate Strain, he had a 90% Recovery on September 1. He was ready to go hard. For four straight days, Lawson put up Strains of 20+ (on a 0-21 scale). You can see the effect that had on his Recoveries (red) above. He rested on September 5, which put him back in the green. In the past, Lawson would’ve tried to get right back at it. But after an easy day on September 6, he was only in the yellow–his body was still recovering from his intense training period.
"Having these metrics makes such a difference. When I can look in the morning and see a 62% Recovery (like on September 7) I think, 'OK, I’ve got to be better.' Then I do things like focus on being hydrated, taking a nap in the afternoon, maybe getting to bed 20 minutes earlier that night to try to hit 90% the next day."
"I keep a close eye on my heart rate variability and resting heart rate as well. For example, I may say to myself 'Hmm, my RHR is higher than normal today, what’s factoring into that? Am I fatigued? Am I sick?' I also like to see how certain training regimens and nutrition habits can affect my HRV."
Lawson is looking forward to seeing what WHOOP can tell him about competing in France and at the other Grand Tours (Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España).
"They’re unlike any other races –so much more hype, more fans, more media, a lot more stress. All of those things impact your day-to-day Strain and Recovery over the course of a grueling three weeks."
"Last year put a lot of things into perspective for me. I realized I was taking racing and the lifestyle for granted. When it gets taken away from you, that’s when you really start to appreciate what you have."