Recently, a chunk of my time has been dedicated to preparing the Great Britain Transplant Cycling team for the World Transplant Games being held at the back end of June in Malaga, Spain. At their core, the team are a technically mature group of riders with a good deal of international experience but we also have some new ‘unblooded’ riders and the addition of a new event to play with.
This year, the organisers have introduced a 3-man (or woman. Or man and woman etc) team time trial over 20km so much of my skills coaching focus has been around developing their technical ability to achieve what I hope will be world beating times. Team time trial is great to coach because there is so much in it (group riding, pacing, changing and communication to name but a few) and it’s great to ride because you can learn so much useful stuff. It’s also really exiting!
My challenges have been around advising on selecting the right teams and getting dedicated training time for them – tricky when they're spread all over the UK (from Scotland to the South Coast) and, with Captain Ottilie Quince, there is an international dimension as she’s based in Mallorca!
Physiological training for both the particularly brutal 5km individual TT and the team time trial has, for some of the riders local to me, been at Aldersley outdoor velodrome in Wolverhampton which has allowed them to get some very specific sessions in and produce some useful power figures to help with both training and competition. It is a great facility but nobody, ever, has walked away from Aldersley claiming they’d over heated – it’s always bloody cold there!
To resolve this heat deficit and get some warmth in to my bones, last week I swapped Wolverhampton for Sineu in Mallorca where it was 32 degs to put Otts through her paces in a controlled environment. It's a tough life, but somebody had to live it, right? Turns out I can't speak the language at either venue...
We did two very tough sessions amongst some other (rather less strenuous and more enjoyable riding) along with Steve Donaldson, a more recent addition to the GBTx team. Steve is a classy rider with national representative experience as a young rider before his heart transplant. He also enjoys the awesome almond cake at Sa Ruta Verde in Caimari, but then who wouldn't?
Saturday 20th May sees six of the transplant team competing in the Bromsgrove Olympic 10 mile time trial as a prelude to a skills training session at Stourport the following day. So, keep an eye out for times from me, Gavin Giles, Bob Joliffe, Michael Oliver, Declan Logue and Steve Donaldson.
My GBTx team duties are a happy addition to coaching a number of non-transplanted riders so, if you’re interested in engaging a cycling coach, take a look at the website and drop me a line.
Cheers for now.
The ramblings of a cycling coach...