Sunday, 30 January 2011

After a great 2 and a half weeks in Spain where I have been able to ride like a full time pro. I am happy with progress and sensations. My mind has now turned to the season and what I hope to achieve as it will need to be added into the big plan now. It's all about form cycles and they need considering now for the whole season. I'm looking at the Tour Series and Nationals now because it will influence what I do next week and the week after.

Pendragon-Colnago-Le Col will be doing a training camp end of Feb then were back to the UK for some races before heading back to Majorca for the Cintron Tour of Majorca with all the continental pro teams. This will be my first objective the week before the Rutland-Melton on April 17th. Then we hit a busy time with classic and exciting races such as the Lincoln GP before we begin the Tour Series races.

The next few weeks will see me lower the volume of training in favour of some intensity along with the first early season races in the UK. To top it off I have my new race bike to collect next week. Really pleased to be riding the new Colnago C59 in bastile day colours of red White and blue.

For now lots of visualisation is important for a good season so I'm going to go and do that now.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Form cycles

This week has been a good one training. We have done some quality miles on great roads which is all contributing to what I hope will be my most successful season so far. I am someone who needs to achieve the goals I set for my self. I don't ride round for the sake of it and this season is no different. I have been working on base miles but with some good quality intensity and strength work added in. One thing to consider is that all the intensity we do out training will bring us up in our own personal biological 'Form Cycle' part of being a successful athlete is understanding these cycles and how the racing and training intensity is influencing them. Then you can make your best form a choice not an accident. It takes a sixth sense to listen to on many occasions. You have to pay attention to the subtle indications your body is giving you every day and interpret them correctly. Then you know where you are and what to do about it. This makes it a real pleasure racing, you can then manage your expectations on what you will be capable of at any time. This I am sure will contribute vastly to the amount of success and failure you will experience in your season. Success is relative to our expectations. If we have managed them well they will match our capability, and if we have done the work out on the bike we should be able to fulfill our capability. That's the goal for the season any way, without being too soft so as to set your expectations too low and never truly fulfill out potential, but also not be unrealistic about what we want to achieve. How much you want to get out of your self, how close you want to push to the limit will depend on how much stress and pressure we are willing to manage on a daily basis. This will give you your ceiling. Have a think about how much pressure you are willing to manage to achieve your goals.

Enjoy the process.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Self worth

Interesting thoughts of the week;

Ho does self worth affect us and how do we get more of it by what we do?? Answers....
Well having had a little time on the bike recently I have been thinking about this. Combined with the experience of having 'retired' for a few years I remember what it was like not having a respectable job and nobody knowing what I have done. Quite an eye opener!! I say this because I was always told that the hardest year of my career as a cyclist would be the first one abroad, when you move out from your parents and to a foreign country where no one knows or cares that much about you, you will be far away from home and unable to communicate properly in a foreign language. Well for many years this was correct and the memory of saving up all week for a phone card to call and speak to my girlfriend back home stood out as a very hard year. That was until I decided I was not going to get to the level I'd always hoped in cycling and I was not going to make enough money to retired full time by the age of 36 or 37. So what should I do??.... I know stop now reinvent my self and start something new, a new career easy!!... NO not easy.

I stopped riding all together and took some time to think about what I wanted to do. It was hard I had no idea, worse I had so little experience of life outside of the cycling bubble. I realized how little I knew. I felt low and frustrated and learned the value of having conviction and direction in my life that was now missing all together. I realized how much of my self worth was attached to what I did and who noticed, to read articles about how I achieved what I did in cycling and journalists and fans coming and saying 'good job,' was a regular ego hit that I was reliant on for basic confidence, and now it was all gone and I felt low! Compounded by the fact I had stopped exercising completely and this also had an effect on my internal sense of satisfaction about life. I realized how lucky we are as sports men and women because so many people go to work every day anonymous in their life with rarely anyone to come and say 'hey great job,' 'I love the way you wrote that email,' or made that website, or any of those things, least of all journalists saying, 'the way you handled that meeting was great, where did you learn those skills?' Imagine that!! After a year and a half, I had been humbled by life outside of cycling. The confidence gone, I had also seen success in other areas of life by people very skilled in ways I had never even realized existed before. As a cyclist in the bubble, its easy to become conditioned to thinking, only cycling related results matter! I know good cyclists who look down on the public as punters not worth any time or attention. Even at races when they are obviously fans, this astounds me. Many of the people I met who are fans of cycling were successful in their business and deserved respect in their own right. I was glad to have my eyes opened to the fact the cycling world relative to the BIG world is so small!!!

I'm explaining all this as, after all these experiences I came back to cycling via skipping and rowing. I started exercising again to release stress and it worked, but my competitive nature came through again and I was trying to beat my PB every night after work. I thought I may as well start riding again and think about how to get back involved with a great sport that had given me so much. I am pleased now to be doing my business. It gives me a much broader involvement with a wider spectrum of people within the industry, its not so singular and gives me an opportunity to implement all my values and ambitions to the benefit of more then just me.

The reason I was thinking about all of this was because I believe our inner confidence influences how we ride, but also that riding contributes to inner confidence in many ways. For the pro's training is a means to an end, to be able to compete in races where doing well bears consequence on their life. But for those who don't have time to race, training is everything, training, racing, a way of gaining confidence from beating your mates. All this stuff influences us.

Have a think on how much cycling contributes to your confidence in life by making you look better, ride faster, or just the fresh air and a chat with the lads (or lasses) helps set you up for a good day or week.

One last thing, since last week was not a good week for the poor guys who lost their lives and the families who are left missing a loved one, be grateful for the simple grace of getting home safe after every ride. Its a dangerous place out there on the road and we should not take it for granted that we will make it back safe every day! My condolences go out to the families of the young guys who didn't come home last week. Lets all keep our eyes open and pay attention.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Training with the pro's

Here is an interesting thing. Training with the Pro's is easier then training with amateurs. What?? I hear you say. Well its like this, I have spent all winter up to the 12th of Jan training with the boys in London, they come out for a day here and a day there. But a common theme is that they have very limited time to ride, so they really make an effort to make the most of every min they are out by pressing on. Basically half wheeling me. This is not a major problem until you start doing 25h a week and more. Then its an issue when its some one different every day because 5-10h/week is not enough time to ride your self into a box, but 25h00 is! So all the guys come out with me and smash it for 3h00 and go home happy, I go home tired because I did 5 the day before and will do 5 the day after. Here with the Pro's they all train steady because were all respectful of the kind of miles everyone is doing. Don't get me wrong, when it goes hard it goes really hard, but the efforts are much more controlled structured and much faster! Like they should be! Most of these guys have coaches and none of them are just setting out to smash it all day, because that makes you into a mono speed incapable of responding to serious changes in pace which is what wins races. All you guys out there keen to make the most of training to get better results in races need to keep this in mind. A structured approach to training will make you much faster! Training hard makes you strong, training properly makes you fast, they are not the same. Food for thought.....

Monday, 17 January 2011

This is a picture of Jeremy Hunt Team Sky. We've been training together in Spain. Its hard work he is strong but we get on well and it helps to take your mind off the miles when you can chat easily. There are not so many cars on the roads here so we rarely need to single out and let them past. Its so easy to train here. The motivation it takes to do each hour is at least half of what it would be to do the same miles in the UK. Such a pleasure. I honestly appreciate every day I get to ride, and without rubbing it in to all those who don't have the time to train this much, but I am glad this is part of my job and I'm not sitting at a computer all day in an office!! I am very intentional about making the most if it while it lasts and I can ride to a good standard.

Another thing I have been noticing is the laid back approach to riding here. In London I get up early every morning and head out in a bit of a rush to get back in time to fit everything else I have to do into each day. Here, we get up about 08:30 - 09:00 and leave the house at 10:00 - 10:30. Partly because the temperature is very cold at night, 5-6C and it warms up as the sun comes up to about 16-17C in the afternoon. Also there is always dew and water on the roads till about 11:00 - 11:30 and that is dangerous, means you often go down the descents at the same speed you went up them because roads here are very slippery when wet! Any way its been a pleasure not to feel rushed every day even though I am still productive everyday after training. But I think that is just the London way... rush rush rush!!!

Will try and take some better pictures and make some regular posts. Till then ride safe.


Friday, 7 January 2011


This was a ride I did with a good friend Rich Mardle (in photo) to Box hill and back in the snow on the MTB's. We made it a 100km 5h00 effort. From Esher you can do basically half off road to Box Hill and back and this was one of many little foot paths that was 6inches deep in snow. A really beautiful ride.

This was an advert that recently featured in the Christmas edition of Rouleur magazine. A little background on the add. I was trying to design an image that showed something extra about what we are trying to achieve, from my self personally, the values of the company and everything to do with the product and the business. I went for a shot off road on Dartmoore up a very steep path but on a road bike with slick tires. This was to represent that we should not settle for other peoples limits. A version of 'Impossible is nothing' type message, as the path is totally impassable on a Mountain bike let a lone a road bike. Then I wanted to use some text with depth and meaning of its own. This is the first half of a Shakespeare quote that I really like. "Boldness has genius magic and power." I love it and it perfectly represents my attitude when I consider what I can achieve. Lastly we added a little post production on the lighting to give it that moody serious look. I feel serious about my job as director because I want to succeed and deliver a quality product with a quality service. Nothing less will do. I hope you like it.

Le Col has been seen in the equine world. That is not what it was designed for but apparently it doubles very well as a riding jacket.