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Real Riders Feature - Michael Knight

We caught up with Gareth Pymm coached rider, Michael Knight, to find out about his 2018, this last winter and what 2019 holds for him!

1. Firstly how has your winter training been?

This is my third winter training under the cycling coaching guidance of Gareth but this year has been somewhat very different. New work commitments , a wife asking me to re decorate 4 rooms of the house at the same time and a demanding 5 year old obsessed with football at home have meant that my training time/volume has been significantly lower than previous years. This was something I was really worried about and expressed my concerns on a number of occasions to Gareth on the phone. Needless to say Gareth never came across concerned and always said we’d work it out.

I do all my training on the turbo trainer, in previous years this meant doing this late at night with me climbing off the bike on many occasions around midnight. But this year a new opportunity presented itself when my work office relocated into Birmingham city centre and included a free to use gym in the building, to my delight there were 2 WATT bikes available. Gareth and I soon jumped on this opportunity ( no pun intended) and I found myself taking my gym kit to work and using my lunch hour to train. This was a challenge as people know what it’s like to turbo without a fan. Ultimately this has meant that my training time was almost cut in half but with some impressive creativity and planning from Gareth it meant I was holding on to my summer numbers by doing Sweetspot /L4 sessions through out the winter.

I have now emerged from a winter of doing Sweet-spot plus, still pushing the same zones I was in August last year. My first Race was a success and I bagged an 5th place ride on my local 10 course.

2. We know you have very limited time to train, what do you do for a job and how do you fit everything in?

I have worked in construction for 20 years now normally fulfilling a management leadership role. I am currently involved In the early stages of the Biggest construction project ever to be undertaken In the UK. Not obliged to say what it is but it has something to do with Fast trains. 😊

This means that I commute by train into Birmingham from my home in Cheltenham approx. an hour away every day, probably do around 50 hours a week at work with a few school runs thrown in for added stress. I don’t have hours to go trundling around the lanes which is lucky really as I only really like short distance Time trialling. I love testing because it really push the boundary as to what one’s body can achieve. The hardest part of fitting everything in is getting the diet and fuelling right. I really struggle on this front, grabbing lunch where I can then training on empty. An excuse used multiple times on my training peaks feedback comments.

3. We're on the doorstep of the 2019 season now, what is the main target for the year?

This year will be very low key for me. Some might question why I trained through the winter. But I really struggle with losing all the hard work I’ve already put in, despite knowing I won’t be able to do many races this year. May 2019 sees me achieving the status of VET after my name. having been time trialling on and off since I was 17 years old you would have thought I would be prepared for this. This year I have many exciting plans in the diary to celebrate my 40th with friends and family, it going to be a year never to forget. (Starting with a trip to the tour of Flanders, 30 secs of bike racing + 2 days of Belgium beers😊). I will try to get out to some of the fast courses where I can and see what I can do but will caveat these with the ‘I’m not taking it seriously this year clause and will not be beat myself up about my results.

4. Which results from 2018 are you specifically looking to rectify or improve upon?

I don’t feel under pressure to achieve results this year. My ultimate goal and the reasons for approaching MBPC for cycling coaching was to ride a ‘19’ and ‘49’ before I was 40 which I did last season after 2 winters training under Gareth’s leadership. Without MBPC’s help I don’t think I would have achieved this on my own having been trying for 20 years. Some might ask why don’t I aim for an 18 and yes I would love to ,if I didn’t have all the other commitments . For me I’m happy with my 19 and 49, plus I won an open TT in my first year. Really looking forward to doing a 2 up with Gareth and having a bit of fun with racing as I am one of these people who puts a lot pressure on myself to do well every time.

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