Are you still able to have off-bike pursuits at this level or does that get sacrificed?
One of my big hobbies right now is brewing beer. It fills the kitchen with the great smells of malted barley and hops. My all-time favorite creation is my Beehive Brown Ale. It's like a brown ale but a bit heavier, and it's brewed with three pounds of raw Colorado honey. That recipe I made myself from scratch, with a bit of help from a guy in a brew store when we were just talking about ingredients. It turned out actually drinkable.
Well, that dispels the notion that pro cyclists don't drink beer.
Everything in moderation, even moderation—that's the motto. A lot of guys have a beer with dinner during the Tour. It's carbohydrates, man.
Any idea how the life of a pro cyclist now compares with your dad's era?
I can't imagine when my dad was a pro. Now I can talk with my girlfriend on Skype and keep in touch no matter where we are in the world. We have the Internet and portable DVD players. I don't know how guys stayed sane when they were in Europe alone or at a stage race and all you had was TV in some other language. That must've been horrible.
Your grandfather attributed some of your dad's success to the massages he gave him. Your dad is a masseur as well. So has he carried on the family tradition?
Oh yeah. At the Tour of California this year my dad came to visit in the hotel and ask if I needed a massage. I never told the guys on the team, but I actually got two massages in one night, one from a soigneur on the team and one from my dad.
The Stetina Solution
The simplest way ever to plan your training:
"I often do two days hard, one day easy. This is a good general go-to plan. It gives you more and more fitness over time, while still giving you ample time to recover and relax mentally. For example, I will do a four-hour ride with hard climbing or specific intervals, then a five-hour ride the next day , just endurance or maybe some short, hard time-trial work. Then I'll take a fun day to absorb the work I've done. You can't get stronger with out resting!"
The evening before the U.S. professional cycling championship in Greenville, South Carolina—a 112-mile odyssey with multiple passes up the notorious Paris Mountain—Ben King called his coach for advice. USA Cycling's Jim Miller said, "You have to be patient." Instead, King, a founding member of the LiveStrong developmental squad, initiated an attack just a half-mile after the start.
After the first of four trips up Paris Mountain, the three-man breakaway was more than 17 minutes ahead of a talent-stacked and hungry pro field containing Tour de France vets such as George Hincapie and Levi Leipheimer.
King says he initially wanted to make the break stick as long as possible just so his teammates back in the pack could avoid working hard while others were forced to chase—and to keep Miller from wringing his neck.
He eventually shed his conspirators on the last trip up Paris Mountain and rode the final 40 miles alone, finishing 90 seconds ahead of a chase group. With the win, the 21-year-old, who also claimed the under-23 criterium and road-race national titles earlier in the year, became the youngest professional racer to don the professional stars and stripes jersey—beating Lance Armstrong by four months.
"He's got a work ethic that's nuts," says King's father, Mark, a former elite-level amateur who introduced his son to racing at 14. "He was a straight-A student, top five in his class in high school, and on the honor roll through two years of college at Virginia Tech."
Though King gave up school to pursue racing full-time, he's still diligently writing essays— in 2011, as a member of Lance Armstrong's RadioShack team, he plans to file regular dispatches about life in the ProTour ranks.