Friday 12 October 2012

Changes, trips and then more changes.

Crazy times with a lot on the go. I was a Commissaire at Junior World Track Cycling Championships. There was a panel of 8 UCI International Commissaire's and I was part of a group of 10 BikeNZ National Commissaire's. My role was assistant finish judge which gave me the best seat in the house to watch the racing and to witness first hand how International Commissaire's operate. I even got to be chief finish judge for the Men's sprint while the others sorted out the highly disputed Women's Keirin final. The big learning point was the difference between a racing incident and any action that could be sanctioned. It was a great opportunity and I thank BikeNZ for selecting me.

The highlight of the event was watching the Colombians carve up the Omnium and the Madison event. Real racers, a huge passion and their coach was an awesome guy, very humble and grateful his team was rewarded for their efforts.

Over the winter I have been trying to fit some riding around my coaching and even started a few races. The racing hasn't gone too well but have done a few good rides to Coffee Culture Sumner for a brew and a bagel. Great news is Greg Thompson and Anthony Chapman have opened Optimal Performance at 66 Wharenui Road where they have a very well set up gym and several LeMond Revolution ergs.

In August I had one of those meetings that become a game changer. I was given the opportunity to manage the Benchmark Homes Cycling Team for the Tour of Southland. Before the meeting I was also asked to manage a team supported by Felt Bicycles to the Tour of Tasmania. At the meeting I was asked to manage the Benchmark Homes Cycling Team for 2013. Initially I accepted and was Men's Team Director at one of the rounds of the Benchmark Homes (these guys put a lot into the sport) Elite Cycling Series.

Then I travelled with Dan Barry, Will Bowman, Hamish Schreurs, James Early, Sam Horgan and Team Masseur Hans Lutters from Hands On Clinic. Via three flights, Christchurch, Auckland, Melbourne starting at 4am we got into Hobart 14 hours later. There we met up with the sixth team member Josh Atkins who was winding down after a big season in the US and Europe, but keen to race.

 Hobart is a lovely port based city with Mt Wellington looking down on you from all angles. The start to the Tour was an 18km Team Time Trial to the top of Mt Wellington and we used the day before the start to ride the course from Cascades Brewery to the summit. It was a nice 20 degrees at the base of the climb but by the top at 1200m it was very cold and exposed and there was snow on the side of the road.

Racing started the next day the team excelled to finish 4th out of 22 teams including some very Professional set ups.

At the end of the day Hans got to work on the riders legs while I took care of the laundry and making sure the bikes were clean. Fortunately our accommodation in Hobart and Burnie had a hose handy and the weather wasn't too cold.

Day two of the tour the racing started with a 123km stage from New Norfolk to Lake Pedder. While we were ranked 4th in the convoy my rental vehicle was over 1.6 metre limit and I was shunted to the back behind team vehicle 18. This was mildly annoying but I got to see some amusing sights. Slightly different approach to assisting riders back on after a puncture, crash or mechanical and a lot of riders hanging on to team cars on the climbs out of the sight of commissaires. Despite being at the back I was able to get bottles to all the riders thanks to Annie from Pure Black (the other Kiwi team in the race) who helped me out. 

The next day started with a 3 hour drive from Hobart to Westbury going straight through the middle of Tasmania. Aside from getting stopped for speeding it was a comfortable trip. First up was a 30 lap criterium in Westbury with all right hand turns. It was an amazing sight to see 150 riders on a 1km lap as they came out of the top turn into the straight in single file. The guys started far back but Dan and Sam pushed ahead and Dan started clocking up Sprint Ace points. 

In the afternoon it was a 100km stage from Hagley to Great Lake. The course profile suggested that there were two Cat 1 climbs in the final 20km but downloading the profile into MapMyRide it looked more like the final 20km was one big arse climb to 1200m. To add to the challenge the wind had picked up and for the first 50km it was nasty crosswinds from all angles. Josh's legs decided it was one race too many in an long season and he climbed in the car with me. James struggled in the crosswinds but Will torched himself to get him back up front. It was crazy times in the support vehicle trying to get past groups to ensure Dan and Sam had support up front. 

On the climb, that did go on forever, James crashed early on after a branch blew off a tree and hit a Team Genesys rider but then found his climbing legs and went off in pursuit of the 4 riders who had broken clear early on the climb. Sam did an amazing ride for a big TT rider to foot it with the weedy climbers. James placed 5th on the stage and Sam moved up a few places on GC. 

Then another 2 hours of driving to Burnie for the next 4 nights of our time in Tasmania. A nice seaside town that was close to most of the racing. 

Next morning was the Ulverstone Criterium held on a tight course with a short sharp climb out of turn 2 and a finish straight beside a school so there was plenty of support. Dan was on fire in this race and took the lead in the Sprint Ace competition. It was also encouraging that James, who struggled in the Westbury Crit, stayed with the bunch for this race. 

The afternoon stage from Ulverstone to Penguin showed us a different style of course to the first two road stages. Short and savagely steep climbs were now the order of the day. After 3km of neutralised section it was straight on to the climbs and Sam went on the offensive. After making sure Dan scored points in the Sprint Ace Sam was in every move of the day and came in at the front of the race to move into the top 10 on  General Classification. The stage was end of Will's race. 

Next day started with a Crit in Burnie on a 800m circuit. James had an early mechanical but we got him back in. Unfortunately Dan was heavily marked by the Search2Retain team who worked Neil Van der Ploeg back into the Sprint Ace jersey but not without a fight from Dan and Hamish who worked hard to combat 6 riders chasing points. 

The afternoon stage from Burnie to the CAT Underground Mining (Race Sponsor) facility featured more savage climbs and some equally suicidal descents with a few gravel sections added for extra spice. Hamish suffered two punctures and we decided to employ a prolonged sticky bottle to get him back up to Sam and James in the 2nd group. This earned me a ripping out from the Commissaire but I played dumb, he doesn't need to know I have been a Comm since 1993 and know the rule book inside out. 

The break didn't feature any threats to the Drapac team and their GC leader so they shut down the 2nd group which saw Sam drop out of the top 10 on GC. 

The final stage was a 12 lap race on a testing 4km loop around Devonport with a mix of fast straights, roundabout, strong sea breeze and some stupidly steep climbs. It was Dan's last chance for the Sprint Ace and he won the first of five but Van der Ploeg was in 2nd and in the 2nd sprint he didn't place. He would have to settle for second in Sprint Ace. 

Disaster happened as the race radio announced rider 174 had crashed on the finish line. This was Sam and we let Hans and Josh out to support him but he was still down and it looked bad. He had gone down at speed on his face and Hamish and James had stopped to check he was okay. The race organisers credited all three as having finished the race and thus completing the Tour. Dan went on the attack to try and win the stage and finished with another top ten. 

It was a real downer to finish such a great event like that and we were more concerned about getting to the Hospital to check on Sam than reflect on the last six days success. We were still 7th from 22 teams on GC. Dan was 2nd in Sprint Ace and both him Sam and James had earned money in Sprint Ace, King of Mountains and Stage Placings. 

Sam had been taken to the Burnie Hospital and we were grateful that his injuries were not more serious. He would be able to fly home with us the next day. Early in the morning we drove to Launceston, said bye to Josh who headed back to Sydney while we made our way back to Christchurch. 

It was an awesome time but I did feel guilty not being at Denton Park for the first three nights of Track Racing. With the red stickering of the Grandstand there has been a frantic effort by the Track Committee to make the racing season happen and Syd Martin has been the main man making this happen and I really wanted to be there. I also had riders at the Yunca Tour and Track Carnival. The great thing about track is that I am there to see everything and can give each rider guidance on how to improve. 

With that I made the decision to pull back from managing the Benchmark Team for 2013. I will manage the Team for Southland but then will focus on my personal coaching and being part of the team out at Track Racing.  

Thursday 26 July 2012

The Coaching Process

On race day I estimate there are about a 15,000 different things you will need to keep focused on from the big things like taking control of the race to the tiny things like rubbing the creases out of your skinsuit or the difference to a DH cyclist between 21psi and 22psi in the tyres. When you start cycling you will know very little, may have some prior experience from other sports or other life experiences but a reasonable expectation is every year you may learn around 1,000 things that will benefit your cycling. Some of these learning experiences will be the stuff you need to avoid or at least manage. So when one commits to high performance sport one can expect to spend a good ten years before you can be assured of having a good base of knowledge and experience to succeed at the highest levels.

David Slyfield has studied this and confirmed that many of New Zealand’s Olympic Champions (Ulmer, Wardell, Ever’s Swindell twins etc) had all been part of a performance programme in their sport for at least 10 years before they won Olympic Gold. Sarah Ulmer started her journey in 1993 as an U19 cyclists and had been competing since 1990 and it took till 2004 before she won her first World Title and then later that year winning the Olympic Games breaking her own World Record time. It is crucial that you commit to putting in these years on getting experience before you can expect to succeed. This means getting experience and also realising that as you go through your first 5 years of major events like NZ Champs, Oceania Champs, World Cups, Junior Worlds, Commonwealth Games, World Champs and even initial Olympic Games or Professional events that you are going to encounter barriers and make mistakes.

Based on the work of Ivstan Balyi it is helpful to think of several stages you go through along the pathway to elite performance. It is also a heads up to why we don’t consider U17 and U19 racing and even U23 high performance and give it the label: development cycling. I have taken Ivstan’s ideas and changed them slightly. His concept can be viewedhere.

Learning to live stage

These are the fundamentals of life such as having goals, manage energy, have purpose, engage in meaningful activity, have friends and spend time with family. It is also finding educational or vocational pursuits that match your goals and life plans.

Learning to be healthy stage

This is living a healthy life where you make the time and commit to healthy nutrition and exercise for health’s sake. It is getting regular sleep, getting the balance of macro and micro nutrients and exercising for cardiovascular and muscular fitness.

These first two stages form the base of any plan to ultimately aspire to elite performance. The bigger the base the higher the peak can become. There can be no success at the top with a stable platform to launch sporting excellence from!

Learning to train stage

This is where you start to focus on the elements that build towards sport. Physical fitness, mental preparation and basic skills. It is where you start to practice sound training habits like dynamic stretching before exercise and static stretching afterwards. Learning what to eat before, during and after you train. Learning how hard to train and the differences between training to build fitness and condition and event specific preparation. Learning how to switch on and off from cycling, how to relax as a relaxed state is the best way to mentally prepare for training and racing. Realising that cycling is more than just physical and you need to learn the skills of the sport from bike set up, the rules of cycling, riding skills, and group riding skills.

Training to race stage

This is the stage where you start to focus on the specifics of your goal events. These should be the events that motivate you and excite you, the events that get you out of bed when your legs are tired, or it is wet and cold outside or you know that in today’s training session you must push beyond your current limit. A big part of this stage is chasing as much quality racing as you can. Any training session will isolate 2-3 features of performance like endurance, speed, skill but only quality racing will challenge all aspects and this is why you may have to compete in 3-7 NZ track championships before things click and then go through the same stages as you step up to Oceania Games, or World Cups and highlights the challenges of competing in Olympic Games that only happen every 4 years where no other sporting event or experience is quite the same.

It is from chasing quality events that you find where your strengths and areas for improvement lie. There is no fitness test or series or tests even that compare to the feedback any event will give you on the work that needs to be done. This also illustrates the importance of quality racing. No event in NZ comes close to the demands of a World Cup Downhill Event, a World Track Cycling Championship or Tour de France which is why we need to think further afield to test and challenge ourselves. For road and track cycling we are fortunate to have such high quality racing so nearby. For Downhill cycling the major events are based in Europe and America.

In this stage you can expect setbacks and harsh learning experiences but only by taking on the challenge do you find out what needs to be done to move to higher levels in the sport.

Racing to perform stage

This is the ultimate stage where you get to the start line with those 10 years under your belt, you have those Million pieces of information stored ready to put into action and are prepared to take control of your race no matter what gets thrown at you. The British track cycling team talk about chasing 1% gains in all areas and in the case of Chris Hoy talked about the differences eating a packet of chips six months out, deviating off the racing line or tyre glued on badly could make. In 2004 Hoy won the Olympic Kilo by .1 of a second. After they dropped the Kilo from the Olympics he made an attempt on the World Record and missed by a similar fraction of a second only to be told after he had flown back from Bolivia that is aerodynamic front wheel had been put in the wrong way round.

It’s where we get down to the smallest details of physical training and monitoring with power, testing aerodynamics in the wind tunnel, selecting the lightest but adequately durable equipment, determining the dietary intake to the nearest gram, spending hours visualising race day, developing contingencies for weather, crashes, the competition, the course, the history of the race to take advantage of all those little 1% opportunities that will present themselves leading up to the event and on race day. In 1996 when raging hot favourite Shane Kelly of Australia pulled his foot out in the Olympic Kilo ruining his chances you could see the past 10 years of preparation for that one moment flash across his face.

These five stages are the stepping stones you must tread carefully and slowly across in your cycling careers. Some of the riders I coach are well into the training to race stage and Steve Bayley as a 2002 Paralympic Champion in Downhill Skiing knows only too well the demands of sporting excellence that he now take on towards the 2012 Paralympic Track Cycling.

My job as your coach is to educate you along the way. The biggest things I can suggest is chase hard competition. It is only here where you find at your current ability and can decide what needs to be done to take the next step. Life is lived in a series of sprints. You should always have some event or challenge 2-3 months ahead of you to fire you up and inspire you to focus your energy to get the maximum results. There is so much exciting racing over the next 12 months that if riding your bike stupidly fast is your passion then you can live each day with motivation to burn!!!


Sprint Training 2nd Ed

In 2009 I wrote some thoughts on sprinting. Here is the 2011 update…

Here are some random thoughts I had about training sprinters.

1. The law of averages beats the law of extremes.

Everyone seems to want to hit peak speed, cadences, power, weights in the gym, mileage in training and riding as big a gear as possible. Even in a 200m sprint one can't sustain peak power for the whole 200m and I believe it's preparing to sustain that power over the goal duration and finding a healthy balance in training that will make for the best sprinter.

I have the SRM data which shows that aiming to sustain an appropriate cadence average for the race duration leads to a higher average power. Now that Tissot Timing give 100m splits from the flying 200m round of the World Cup and World Championship sprint events we can see that the rider with the greater drop off in speed from the 1st 100m to the 2nd 100m ends up with the slower time. Most riders in the top half of the field have a drop off of only .1 of a second while the riders in the bottom half the results has a .2 - .3 drop off.

2. Conditioning conditioning conditioning

When I did Sport Aerobics (a strength and power sport) we went to an Evil Russian Gymnastics Coach to learn skills but when he looked at us the first thing he said was "conditioning conditioning conditioning". You can build all the power in the world but without good condition you will not be able to take advantage of this. When Sean Eadie (Aus) won the 2002 World Sprint Champs his sum of 8 skinfolds was 39mm.

3. Conditioning for sprinters

I have trialled micro intervals (ie 20-50 x 10sec on 10sec off) but people tend to go out too hard and fail to do more than 10 reps which equals a pretty poor training stimulus. My preference is for longer intervals of 3-8mins done to target maximal aerobic power. A sprinter does not need to go overboard on aerobic training and should not do road rides over 2 hours and should only road race or do criteriums of around 30-40km or around 60mins in duration.

If body fat levels are high diet is where the main focus is. Due to the intensive nature of sprint training the cyclist does not have the same energy demands as track endurance and road cycling and dietary intake should reflect this.

4. Alactic and Anaerobic are easier to develop than Aerobic

I think the Aussies had it totally wrong under Martin Barras. They obsessed over max power, max speed and peak strength. Speed endurance was tacked on at the end. This failed for them at the Beijing Olympics and they now have Gary West back in charge. In 1996 and 97 I spent a bit of time working with Gary and picked up some really good tips from him. Anna Meares credits him with her recent triple Gold Medal success at 2011 World Champs.

My thoughts are in the general conditioning phase to transition from a major event then short rest (2-3 weeks max) into 3 week conditioning block then a 1 week speed block. Too much speed work and you lose good condition (lean body and good recovery). Too much conditioning and you lose your event specific fitness. Each conditioning week will include a speed day as 1 day a week is all it takes to maintain your hard earned top end speed and power.

5. Sprints are going long.

In the past on big tracks you could hold the sprint to well past the 200m mark. Now with smaller tracks and with it now being harder to pass on the bends (and straights) riders are going early. Even makes the 200m harder to assess opponents with sprints running 300-500m long. Another reason to avoid focusing on peak power.

6. Peaking for the sprinter

My plan is to run a 4 week speed and taper block. I had worked on a 3 week block but some riders felt 4 weeks was better. Having access to SRM files from several sprinters leading into major events it is clear to see that they are better to taper long and risk going in under-done. Better to have to dig deeper than be over-trained and have nothing left to fight with. This taper also applies to any event really. It is just that the sprinter needs to be very fresh to tap into their neuromuscular peak power will take longer to recover from intense efforts and be ready to give 100% on race day.

In this period the ideal is to be on the track you intend to race on (the British Sprint Team’s biggest investment is on track time) training on race gears, race wheels and in race kit doing efforts that will draw out your peak power relative to you goal events mixed in with tactical work to sharpen you up for race day. Always notable that the best sprint teams in the World like GBR, Aussies, French and Germans are the ones where there are several good sprinters (reflected these days in the Team Sprints).

When discussing sprint training with Gary West in 1997 he said they started out with 20 drills and realising that many were ineffective (mainly through SRM testing) he whittled them down to 4 core drills. Back then when they had a programme of 4 World Class Sprinters (the 5th Peden came to NZ knowing he had no chance of making the Aussie team) they didn’t even use the motorbike for speed when training indoors on Adelaide Superdrome.

My 4 core drills for sprinters in the peaking phase include…
·         Progressive efforts over 500-1000m
·         Motor accelerations over 200-500m
·         Standing start efforts over 50-500m
·         Windouts over 2-3 laps

Based on SRM data from several riders these core efforts provide the optimal stimulus in terms of event specific power and event specific cadences.

7. Tactics

The most important tactic is to be in control. In the individual events it is controlling your ride, your line, your pace, your position. In matched rides it is controlling your opponents. This applies if behind or leading out. In the lead judging your speed so you don't get jumped but not carting your opponent to the line. From behind forcing the opponent to use more energy to try and keep them guessing when you will strike.

8. Planning

I think we still need better race plans. I learnt this from 7 time NZ Sprint Champs Jon Andrews who was meticulous in his preparation for any event. Also from Aussie World Kilo Champ Martin Vinnicombe who after finishing 2nd at Seoul Olympics in 1988 sat down and mapped out the next four years to the day on winning Gold. These are the plans that get you to the line.

On the line the work should be done. Physical and mental. If you have to think in a sprint event your opponent could be 50 metres down the track before you know it. This is why experience is so crucial for a sprinter. From 2008 the NZ sprint team have made a steady ascent up the World Rankings because they have made a commitment to chasing more quality racing and perform at their best coming off good racing leading into goal events.

9. Diet

I have really been focusing on getting my weight down and fully paying attention to what I eat. Amazing how calories creep up on you and how I am eating more and but taking in less calories. And also eating a far more nutritious diet. Had a Meatball Subway and realised it had 4000 kilojoules whereas the same size (volume of food) chicken breast Sub was only 2000 kilojoules. Less body fat = higher power to weight, less to accelerate, lower frontal surface area and increased ability to maintain an aerodynamic riding position.

Recent research indicates what you eat before exercise has little bearing on performance. In many cases eating too much can have a worse effect than eating too little. If lowering skinfold levels is a priority one should aim to eat less before exercise when excess calories are stored in the fats cells and commence during exercise and especially after exercise for up to 2 hours when the working muscle will take up any carbohydrate taken in.

10. Equipment.

On the track Double Discs for all individual events on indoor tracks and Discs and Five Spoke Carbon Front Combination for Sprint and Keirin. FMB are the tyre of choice. 20mm for TTs and 22mm for everything else.

11. Warm Ups

No 6 hour warm ups like the French or Aussies. 5-15min is heaps so your muscles are ready and you are not worn out by the time you hit the line!

-8min progressive then 2 x 10sec sprints

We use the ergs as they provide the best resistance especially for high power efforts. The Revbox Drivechainer will soon be on the market. I have had significant input into its design to ensure it offers way more resistance and is quitter than the LeMond Revolution and is lighter and more cost effective than the BT-ATS erg.

Post racing cool down should be done till heart rate drops below 120 bpm or profuse sweating ceases.

12. Gearing

Cadence, cadence, cadence. While it is true that the gearing riders are using has gone up this is a reflection on the higher speeds we are seeing in racing these days. The important thing is that the cadence riders are using has not changed in the last 20-30 years. This also reflect better frames, wheels (5 spoke carbon is stiffer than a 3 spoke carbon or deep section carbon) and better designed tracks.

When my good friend Gordon Singleton set a World Record of 10.58 back in 1980 it was at a cadence of around 155rpm and in 2008 when Chris Hoy qualified first in the Olympics flying 200m in 9.8 it was at around 155rpm. The advantage of the smaller gear or higher cadence is less chance of going out too hard. Many sprinters run too big and while their jump and wind up may be impressive it is poor management of energy and they run short over the event distance. This applies in any event from the flying 200m or standing lap to the 21 day Tour de France.

13. Racing

Need quality racing. Especially leading into events. Even if you have to travel. Even if the legs are not there need to go through the motions to get big race day perfectly dialled in. In 1996 this was the difference between Gary Neiwand and Darryn Hill (top 2 qualifiers in 200m at Atlanta) and Jens Fiedler. Jens had been racing all year long while the Aussies had been training all the way. He was able to stay focused on the task at hand as he had been doing it all year long.

If any event in cycling is governed by experience it is the Sprint events. Every year you spend working on refining your sprint skills, developing your anaerobic power and capacity and practicing race tactics will make for a constant improvement in performance and results. This process takes years.

In Canterbury we will be running a Sprinter’s League. At present it may take the form of a Monthly (ie 4 a season) day long meeting interspersed with the Omniums where we may cover the following events…

250m Standing TT
400m Standing TT
200m Flying TT
Match Sprints
450m Scratch Race

I would also look to get on to the Invercargill track whenever possible to race and keep refining your positioning and passing skills in the final laps. Another great track to race on is Tinwald which is flat and effectively has four corners so you really have to think about positioning and power application unlike Denton Park where it is possible to win from any position and you can pass up to 4 wide.


Anaerobic Threshold Myth

Here is some more info on power meters to add to your knowledge on training...

Thanks to Ben Miller for the excellent article on the "Anaerobic Threshold". It brings up some points that have been well know in exercise physiology for several years but we still see these terms bandied around even by exercise physiologists and in sport science journals.

Anaerobic Threshold Myth

With the advent of Power Meters I see a couple of new thresholds being considered. Andy Coggan refers to "Functional Threshold" which is the maximum power one can sustain over a 60min period. He uses this threshold as the basis for the seven levels of training explained in his book "Training and Racing with a Powermeter" and on the Power Meter software "CyclingPeaks".The threshold can be determined from a maximal 60min effort or taking the max one hour power from CyclingPeaks from a race or hard training ride.

The Power 411

The British Cycling Federation go the other extreme and use a ramped test where power is increased every minute and the highest power one can sustain for a minute is called the "Max Min Power". Ric Stern refers to this as "Max Aerobic Power" or MAP. Both Endurance Threshold and MAP could be considered examples of the Critical Power concept where both could be plotted on a graph and used to determine power outputs for other durations.This type of testing is done in the US and Australia over various durations from 5sec to 60min. Some coaches use the data from such testing to plan interval training. Charlie Walsh takes the maximal power for a duration (ie 5min) and plots training accordingly...

Max 5 min Power = 400watts

1st week of training 5min efforts at 336watts (84% of Max)
2nd week of training 5min efforts at 348watts (87% of Max)
3rd week of training 5min efforts at 360watts (90% of Max)
4th week of training 5min efforts at 336watts (unloading week)

All three methods of planning training are useful as they rely on a direct measure of performance as opposed to a measure of intensity (lactate or HR) that could be affected by the weather, stress, fatigue and measurement issues. We can't look at a future goal and say an Olympic Pursuit final will be won at a lactate level of 6.4mmol or the Tour de France in 2010 will be won by the rider who can sustain a HR of 152. We can estimate that to break the Flying 200m WR that it will take a peak power of over 2000watts and ave power of 800watts and plan our training accordingly. Having used a power meter for 5 months now and being able to track my own performance from 5sec to 4hours I can be very precise with the level of overload and very specific with the type of training to prepare my body for the challenges of racing.

Apart from curiosity I wonder if I will ever need to do another Anaerobic Threshold test.


July Update

14 July 2012

 Lots been going on. After Club Nationals Maddi Campbell was selected to the U19 NZ Women's Road Team to compete in the Australian Nationals and the DBR Tour of Canberra. Holly Edmondston was selected to the U17 NZ Women's Road Team to compete in Canberra. She had been selected for this last year but we felt it was better to hold off till she was a second year U17. Adam Bull was selected for a U17 training camp at the Tour of Taranaki.

Maddi blew the predictions away at Aussie Nationals earning a Silver medal in the Road Race centimeters away from the Gold Medalist, Jnr World Champ Teams Pursuit Champ Emily Roper and ahead of other Aussie Jnr World Champs. She then backed up in Canberra with an U19 win in Stage 3. Holly was unlucky to puncture in a stage and lost any chance of a top GC but left the Aussies in no doubt that she was a force to reckoned with.

At the South Island Schools Championships it was a Gold Fest for the riders. Josh Smith, Phoebe McCaughan, Rhys Jones, Charlotte Hand, Holly Edmondston, Lachie McGregor, Luke Wieblitz and Olivia Podmore all won Golds and everyone posted PBs in the Time Trial.

Big news for the year was winning the Bike NZ Road and Track Coach of the Year for 2011. I had won Personal Coach of the Year in 2009 but winning the overall was awesome.

Have just come back from taking a group of riders I work with down to Invercargill. It was a very focused and select group with specific ambitions for next years Oceania Champs and NZ Nationals. It was good to be able to work more closely with people. We utilised local coach Matt Dodds to cover gate starts and this allowed me to take video footage.

Next on the agenda is building riders up for Southland Tour and Oceania Track Champs, Blenheim Schools Tour and NZ Schools Nationals, and Yunca Tour and U19 Ocea's.


Coach Ferg 3.0

14 July 2012

 This is the soft launch of my new website, an overview of my coaching services and through this blog an opportunity to stay up to date with everything that is happening. I have wiped the old blog as I consider myself progressive and always moving forward. I will still keep all the lessons learned in mind though. A person who forgets their history is doomed to repeat the mistakes.

Version 1.0 was the 21 year old Hamish who had to give up racing when pain in his knees got too bad. Within months I was coaching and the 3rd person I started working with was Brian Fowler and 4th Ewan MacMaster. In 1994 they went 1-2 at NZ Elite Road Nationals and I was on the fast track. I coached NZ teams while studying towards a Psychology Degree and then a Diploma in Sports Studies. By 2000 I had grown sick of the politics in cycling and decided to pursue other opportunities.

Version 2.0 came in 2005 when I walked away from a successful but emotionally crippling security business and started coaching again this time working exclusively with Junior cyclists. This was combined with working and was still a reflection of my passion for cycle racing and my interest in the technical and sport science side of the sport.

In 2012 my stable included many NZ Champions and now a several Elite and Masters riders. The Masters riders love the technical aspects of my coaching but many were business professionals and have volunteered their support to help me become a full time professional coach.

This was where CoachFerg 3.0 has evolved from where I lift my professional game to match my technical level as a coach. Check out the various coaching packages. I have been trialing the process with riders over the last few months and the results have been very encouraging. But this is only the start. Exciting times are ahead.