20 degrees in London today. Sometimes I question whether I should be writing a season summary at all given it still feels like May outside! Anyway, I have knocked the racing on the head for the time being so thought I’d cover the season gone and a few bits and bobs.
Firstly, a few people have asked me about coaching, so I’ll give a little overview on what I’ve seen over the past 12 months whilst working with RST (and Xavier Disley more specifically). The first step is to obviously take the mental step towards taking things a bit more seriously, or so I thought, the truth is, I don’t think you need to think coaching is necessarily taking it more seriously. I was riding 200 or so miles a week, every week prior to getting onboard with RST, that is taking it quite seriously, especially as I was racing most weeks. So really the way I see coaching is just a move towards a bit more clarity, I still end up riding a bike roughly the same amount as I did previously, but now there is a purpose to doing so. And I don’t have to think about it – for me having everything written down with a clear goal is far easier, and I have found I’ve done sessions that I would never have done on my own accord purely because they were planned out and I’d basically paid for them.
The upshot of this not immediately obvious because I was fairly well-trained already, however after around 4 months of following the plans the numbers started to show that I was moving in the right direction, and this was despite getting very unlucky with illness. And by the time I got to the RAS I felt I was in the best shape I have ever been, around 75-76kg, had knocked out 385W for half an hour a week prior in training, I was ready. And indeed the first couple of days of the RAS I felt fantastic, and I put that down to the coaching, I had done the work, backed off a bit to peak, and I was there, I felt amazing. I would not have been able to create that on my own. For sure. Obviously I ended up injured after stage 3 which then put a damper on the road race season after that, but that is the way it goes sometimes. So I would say if you’re already putting a lot of time into what you do, but you think you could be using your time better, at least consider it. It’s not particularly cheap I guess, but its nice to have a highly educated chap to bounce ideas off of, and of course to tell me what and when to do certain workouts. A bargain in that sense.
As said the road season petered off after that really, a few race cancellations, and a few clashes of events meant that I never really got back into that after, I managed 10th from a break in a tough SERRL race which was a nice boost, but really I was doing a lot more crits and TT’s after May. Having Xav on hand when it comes to time trialing is a huge boon, I have no doubt improved a lot in that sense, and I think my results speak for themselves on that. Ever since I got the TT bike I’ve been half decent (I’ve won 9 TT’s of around 18 ridden), but to really kick on and start mixing it at the sharp end was something I don’t think I was capable of until this year, that was namely due to tweaking position, lots of other small tweaks, a bit more power, and all of these things combined have meant I’ve been going considerably faster than last year, anything up to 30 seconds faster in a ten from my calcs. The highlight of all of that was in my mind the 48.14 in the Port Talbot event, which makes me the 22nd fastest rider of all time for the distance, and probably the performance at the National Ten. While I was not particularly amazed by the time (arrogant that may sound) I knew that I got the very best out of myself when it counted, most watts I’ve done in TT position by some margin.
I still managed to keep hold of my 1st cat, which will be useful for getting a ride in the bigger races what with the huge influx of talent in the sport, being a 2nd cat doesn’t always get you a ride. Next season I will likely try to put more eggs in the road racing basket, I really want to kick on in that sense. There is more intrigue for me in rocking up to a road race and not knowing how it might go or who might win. While I find time trials quite pure, it’s not vastly exciting to me knowing roughly what time and what position I will finish in, so next year I’ve set goals that many testers wouldn’t be fussed with. I’m not going to chase the super quick courses, mainly because they’re miles away, and mainly because it’s so dependant on conditions. I’ll target local courses more often and while conditions will be key, at least I won’t have driven 3 hours to get crap weather!
For next year I’ve planned out these as goals :
1. Defend title at Kingston Sporting 14 and break Wouters course record, top 3 in Redhill 18
2. Do a 49 on H25/8 (51.40 current best)
3. Do sub 19.30 on H10/8 (20.02 current best)
4. Break into 22′s on Richmond Park TT course (23.16 this years best)
5. Top 10 at Nat 10 & Nat 25 (16th in ten this year)
6. Have more success in road races and get a win, no wins this season for first time – hopefully without injury this will happen
I’ve yet to plan the season race wise as I’ve not looked at the calendars etc yet, but hopefully I will find those challenging but do-able if I can move things on a bit from where I am now.