My first full year as a cycling and triathlon coach? Well, where do I start? Let’s go back 12 months…
Late August 2018 I was made redundant from my job as a Buying Director based in the Midlands. Now this was a blessing! Immediately when I got home that day we planned an epic World trip starting in November 2018 and taking in California for the World 6, 12 & 24hr Championships in Hawaii. Well why not?! Then onto the North and South Islands of New Zealand for the Lake Taupo Enduro challenge. We also decided to relocate to ‘Gods own county’, get a dog (the loveable Riley! who of course loves to Mountain bike ride with me) and start our lives again.
The ‘opportunity’ of the redundancy gave me the chance to follow a passion, rather than continuing to be a wage slave. I’d been coaching 3-4 great athletes for the past couple of years, and seen some great results achieved by them. For me the satisfaction from THEIR results easily out weighs any of my own achievements and the associated nerves! I clearly remember sitting in the local Indian one July day in 2016 waiting for Roy Bailey to finish his first Ironman, frantically waiting for the text and live tracker updates I was following – I was so nervous! Needless to say Roy did a FAB job, from not riding more than 70 miles in one go, to completing an Ironman in 9 months was just an amazing feat to be part of.
So ‘Peaks Sports Consulting’ was born, taking inspiration from the stunning Peak District in which we are based as well as recognising that there is much more to success than just ‘coaching’. From this our unique ‘VIEWPOINT’ performance package was developed.
I set about my coaching qualifications and an in-depth bike fitting course to supplement the years of experience I had garnered from working with some of the best cycling and triathlon coaches in the business.
I started in 2018 with three athletes, quickly growing in numbers across both cycling and triathlon. There have been some great successes, of which I have listed many below.
As a cycling and triathlon coach I think its important to reflect on the learning I have gained from my athletes over the year, and how we have applied these, adapted and will continue to adapt going forward. So what have been my focuses with my athletes this year, and what have I learned?
- Be truly personal, every athlete’s plan is built specifically around their key race focuses, their time and availability to train and their performance level.
- Be responsive – I encourage athletes to use the shared Training Peaks diary as their calendar, tell me their work / life diary and I work to make sure they achieve what we need BUT manage their total tiredness and stress. The key to offering personal coaching is being responsive and reactive.
- Be available – I don’t set ‘contact’ limits. I try to be available as much as I can to listen, adapt and reassure.
- Coaching is at least 50% Psychological. Everyone is different, but my role is to understand the athletes needs, both physically (regards training) and also their mental state. Reading between the lines of training commentary, adapting, questioning and probing. Advising on not only training and race strategies, but life strategies to manage a complicated busy life and achieve all goals. My most used word this season is BALANCE
- Balance in training versus rest versus work versus family
- Balance in diets
- Balance in focus
- Training plans
- Race analysis – pre & post
- Pacing – HOW to ride a race. With my experience I have raced a lot of the races my athletes enter, so I am equipped to offer insight into HOW to ride the race, where to push, where to recover, where things will be different from what you may learn on a STRAVA profile
- Planned discussions
- Technique – key to my triathletes in all disciplines but specifically swimming.
- Position – Specifically in the bike leg of triathlon and for the time triallists. I cannot stress enough the importance of balancing power and aerodynamics. Having a HUGE engine is pointless if you look like you are sat on a shopping bike – SPEED wins races not WATTS. I have personally been trained in bio-mechanical and aero bike fitting so I can offer my athletes the best fit advice and support.
- Analysis & Why – Everyone has different needs, some of us like to ‘just do it’ – tell me what to do and I will do it. Others like and need to understand and ‘buy into ‘ the process and journey. I like to try and meet my clients expectations by understanding what they want and need to motivate and succeed.
- Kit – I discuss with my athletes the best kit to help maximise their speed. Again from my experience and access to test data via my partners Aerocoach, I am able to help advise on what will work best and we have seen some great results from this.
- ENJOY THE PROCESS! Many many times I have reminded people that most of us are just keen amateurs, so enjoy the journey. Also celebrate the destination when it is achieved too of course!
So what about my athletes? Here is a low down on their successful seasons.
- Bex Rimmington. Winner 2 x Half Ironman, 4th overall & 1st AG athlete at Ironman Bolton qualifying for the Kona World Championships in October.
- Rod Mason, one of my long time coached athletes, who has PB’d at every distance from 10-100 miles this season, set club records and won his first open event. As well as 2nd in the club hill climb #allrounder!
- Mark Haynes, my very first coached athlete, despite having to cut his season short due to personal reasons he accomplished some excellent rides and over the time we have worked has seen a massive improvement in pb’s at all focused distances.
- Gavin Richardson. A stunning sub 4:45 performance in a biblical wet Weymouth Half Ironman, just missing out on AG qualification for the Worlds. But he will be back.
- Colin Hill. Colin is an old boss from my corporate days, and a stunningly focused athlete with an excellent triathlon pedigree. This season the focus was TT’s and ultra swimming. Some excellent early season progress was made and Colin finished with a stunning top 5% placing in the Dart 10K swim in just over 2hrs!!
- Dominic McNeill who we guided to some stunning long distance sportives culminating in the Etape du Tour. We are already planning the Majorca 312 next year!
- Oliver Potter. Oliver joined mid season, with a focus on 10 and 25m TT’s. We’ve seen some great results so far and worked on Oliver’s position and power generation. Oliver’s detailed feedback is excellent allowing me to analysis the subjective feelings with the numbers to tailor his development.
- Jon Roden, focused on short distance Crits. He possesses an awesome sprint, winning some early season races and developed massively. We have started a new focused build targeting his 2nd Category licence for next season.
- Lorna Potter. Lorna joined mid-season and following a successful bike fit and focused work on her training achieved her 10m life time PB in August.
- Pete Hooper. Pete has had a STUNNING season. PB’s in 100m, 12hr, 24hr TTs. 3rd in the Long Distance BBAR and club records at all sorts of distances were just rewards for one of the hardest working athletes I know.
- Chris O’Keffe. Chris is based in beautiful California and was challenging me to get him ready for ultra endurance races over 200m / 500m & 24hrs, off the back of around 10hrs training a week. We totally revolutionised Chris’s training and position and the results have been great – we’re now for the World 6-12-24 hrs in 3 weeks in California.
- Tamara Walton-Evans. Tam and her partner Christian, live locally in my village and joined me in July. We worked on their positions and power generation and pacing. Its been awesome to see Tam knock out 10m and 25m PB’s taking almost 10min in total off her 25m PB! Now we build towards the ‘Island Games’ in Gibraltar next year, Tam will be awesome!
- Christian Walton-Evans. Christian is a massively powerful rider racing across almost all cycling disciplines. We have seen PB’s in TT’s , some fantastic cyclo-cross and mountain bike race performances and we now have a focused plan to how we develop next year.
- Chris Day and Rad-Hart George who are coached via Aerocoach have also put in some great performances and delivered PB’s across all focused distances.
- I won the odd race too which was nice!
Its been great to recently add a number of new athletes and start the winter planning, preparation and building towards next year.
Why not drop me a line and see how we can work together to achieve your goals next season?
I cant wait to see what the guys achieve next year!