Interview with Arvind Panwar — Pro Cyclist from Ciclo Team Racing
Arvind Panwar. We’re sure you’ve heard the name. This 28-year-old Meerut Born cyclist is making a name at the international level along with Naveen John.
Recently, we happened to connect with him to showcase his journey to becoming one of the best cyclists in India. He tells us about his journey from getting into cycling to climbing his way to finishing 7th in a kermesse in Belgium.
So how did you get into cycling?
I was doing athletics (mid-long distance running) with my elder brother but didn’t see noticeable results than my cousin brother, Sachin Panwar. He got into the sport and got medals in MTB races. This was when I realised that I should take cycling as a sport. I was always into adventure and loved exploring new places. So I find it more exciting.
When did you start looking at cycling as a profession?
After becoming National Champion in U-23(ITT) & Elite Road Race in 2012, I got a job in Indian Railways along with a chance to represent India at World Railways. This seemed to be an eye-opening experience for me. That’s when I decided to do something remarkable in the sport with a professional approach.
What is that one thing that cycling has taught you in life?
Cycling isn’t just a sport, it’s a way of life that keeps you moving ahead. It gives you chances to meet new people, see new places and makes you healthy. Besides, it’s also a growing sport in a country like ours.
Tell us about your biggest achievement?
I feel proud of myself whenever I see myself on the podium. I have won many titles at Nationals, National Games & Internationally. I have got a Gold medal in South Asian Games, Bronze in World Railways, participated in multiple Asian Championships, taken the start at Commonwealth Games-2014, World Road Championship-2016 and recently got a top 10(7th) in a kermesse race in Belgium.
Tell us something about your training?
I try to be as regular as possible on my bike. Mostly, I do one session on the bike in the morning and one easy session off the bike in the evening (2–3 times a week). I also have a personal structured training plan for each day based on my routine and goal for the season.
Tell us something about your nutrition?
I’m a vegetarian, so I need to give special attention to my diet to get proper nutrition. Most of my diet comes from natural, dairy and plant-based.
Tell us something about your recovery?
Recovery is as important as training, so I ensure to get proper sleep each night and diet after each session.
What are your plans for the future with cycling?
Well, my future plans are quite simple. Every year we as a “Ciclo Team Racing” Try to go to Belgium for a solid training and racing block. And whatever we learn there, apply those strategies and fitness back at home and at the Asian level to set a benchmark for the upcoming generation.
Tell us something about veloinsight? What was the whole idea to begin?
“Velo Insight Coaching” is an online cycling coaching program for competitive athletes. This was something I wanted to start once my competitive career. However, I realized that most of the athletes today in India don’t even know the basics of training like- How to prepare for an event? How to get peak performance on race day? How to manage a balance between training and recovery? etc. A pile of questions like this.
As it would be too late to start working with athletes after my career, I started right away!
How can we help promote cycling in Kolkata?
To be honest, competitive cycling training is tough to manage in Kolkata. You have to be in the outskirts of the city like any other big cities in India to get on the highways. It’s an ancient city with narrow roads but some small training camps may be organized and build some short technical safe route for juniors with the help of state association, local authorities and many club owners. Then organising weekend races to promote the sport should be helpful.
Tell us something about ASFRA Racing Team?
“ASFRA Racing Team” Is one of the earliest and famous cycling clubs in East-Flanders, Belgium. The club allowed cyclists from all over the world to come and participate under their name. ASFRA Team also gives the opportunity to a cyclist to enter in a local kermess to Pro-Kermess, one day classic to stage races and national to international circuit races. The club also provides all the necessary ground support to all its players.
How does your recovery look like?
I like to take active rest or power nap after my training session. I don’t feel good if can’t take rest. I also feel eating food at the right time post a training session lets you recover well.
Time trail or hill climbing? What’s your favourite and why?
To be honest, I like both. As most of the selections are based on Time-Trial, I have to spend quite a lot of time on my TT bike. I have special love for mountains, they attract me a lot. I find myself more concentrated and focused on mountains.
Tell us everything about Ciclo Team Racing?
“Ciclo Team Racing” is the first elite racing team in the country. The Team is based in Chennai. The team owners, Ashish and Bachi are very supportive and started this team with this idea to promote cycling not only in the country but also internationally. The team supporting it’s athletes with all the latest equipment and training & racing exposure in and outside the country.
Currently, team Ciclo has two elite athletes including Naveen John and me and two young talented development riders- Srinath & Gagan. Both of them are very hard working and looking for the podium at Nationals this year.
Any message you want to give cyclist in India who are looking to go Pro?
My message for upcoming athletes is to be realistic of goals, have patience and achieve goals step by step. Life of a sportsman is not easy, it takes a lot of sacrifices and discipline. And definitely work/train with someone who has deep knowledge into the sport.