In November 2015 I sat down at work with a couple of mates and chatted about my strengths and weaknesses as a rider. We concluded that I was brilliant at riding my bike for 5 hours, but in reality I wasn’t that quick.
I’d had no tuition on, or access to, Training Peaks where my training was being uploaded for me. After making a list of possible coaches I chose to get in touch with Matt and have a consultation about my training and what I wanted to achieve.
The first thing that hit me was Matt's passion, frustration, even anger almost at the quality, or lack of quality, that I had been doing for the year. I didn’t know how to feel initially, when somebody sits in front of you and tells you that the training you have been doing is very average (putting it politely) and then lists 5 or 6 reasons why I wasn’t going as quick as I’d wanted to be going it shocks you a bit! This passion for speed is what had me sold straight away, there was a coach in front of me that clearly cared about what I was doing and how I was doing it.
So what happened next?
Well I started the training instantly, and it was brutal. I was doing half the number of hours that I’d been doing previously, double the rest days, but getting stronger every single week. I hit the beginning of 2016 the best I had ever gone wondering how it had all happened.
The best thing about that winter...I was motivated!
After a year of racing for the team I helped to set up at Wellingborough Cycles I chose to move over to Team Bottrill, where it was clear that every element of your performance as an athlete was catered for one way or another. 2017 started equally as well, better in fact, I hit April with the best form I’d ever had after a winter of carefully working on weaknesses and strengths to make me a much stronger rider all round.
Good Friday 10 on the V718 - 1st 18.12
What followed this was a pretty major dip in form and the reason is pretty simple, I couldn’t handle the training load any more. So why did I persevere with it? At 23 I needed to know my breaking point, that level of CTL, training load, overall Fitness Vs Fatigue that my body could handle. As a young rider I knew I wasn’t at my best still, so finding my ceiling level in a year where I was still developing in hindsight was the most effective way to move forwards.
Mentally I learned a lot about myself, I learned what I needed from a Cycling Coach and I learned the importance of having somebody at the end of the phone to motivate you when a zone 2 ride once again feels like a zone 5 ride for no particular reason.
While this has been going on out on the road, back in the office I have been completing my ABCC coaching qualifications, another process that has taught me a lot about how cycling coaching practices have developed within the last few years. Matt and Kate have given me an excellent opportunity to already pass on what I have learned in my 8 years in the sport. I’ve made many mistakes and continue to do so but learning from these is enabling me to develop as a rider and coach.
In the short time I have been working with some of my coached
riders It has become very clear that there is as much, if not more, satisfaction in their results as there is your own. Everybody works in different ways but essentially becoming that athlete, or living the processes with them, gives you a unique sense of satisfaction when they get a result. You find yourself becoming increasingly impatient waiting for a text or call with how they got on, and that anticipation builds with each event they do.
Passion for performance. When I first began racing power was everything, then aerodynamics took over, and now as a rider and a coach we need to consider every aspect of performance to get ourselves or our athletes to the top step. One trick ponies don’t win any more, it simply isn’t as easy as that now.
It is because of this all encompassing philosophy that we developed our Performance Reviews at MBPC, looking at performance indicators such as sleep patterns, bike maintenance, tyre and rim interaction and even nutritional patterns both on and off the bike. Combined with looking at your position on the bike the Performance Review Report quite literally sends you away with everything you will need to know for how to improve your training, with example sessions, right through to what tyres and tubes to run compared to your current set ups.
So what is next for me at MBPC? Well, I’m looking forwards to taking on more coached athletes and helping them balance the training with their work life, I’m also really looking forwards to what the year holds for my current coached athletes, some of whom have already started the year in some mega form. But lastly, I am looking forward to working with Matt and managing my own training and racing again knowing exactly what I can and can’t take and refining everything to get results the MBPC way.
If you have enjoyed this read and feel inspired MBPC has an introductory offer of 5 spaces working with trainee coach George for £120 per month after the initial first months sign up fee. Get in touch at www.mattbottrillperformancecoaching.com quoting GEORGE120.