I was quite excited to have David Epstein on the Consummate Athlete recently to talk about his new book Range (which you can get here).
His latest book looks at whether being a generalist with a varied background is better than being a specialist with a deep understanding and experience in subject, sport or career field.
As with all things it very much depends on what you want to do. In closed sports and extremely specialized applications (think chess and dental surgery) the specialists are very important, are needed and thrive! But for areas that are developing, need new innovation or that are not as closed and predictable as golf, it may be beneficial to have a varied background.
What does this mean for you as an endurance athlete? To me, this means that as Smart Athletes we can be looking to the other cycling disciplines to learn new skills and using things like strength training, yoga and cross-training to build out our toolbox. Cornering, aero and group riding skills transfer to mountain biking and jumping, balance and spatial awareness from BMX transfer back to the road or track (especially if you need to hop a curb or make a sudden movement)