At the start of 2014 I was lost. My training was going nowhere. I had enjoyed doing some sessions on the track and had managed to get my Accreditation at Manchester Velodrome however I felt like I was going backwards.
I remember it being an enlightening experience, made a fair bit of progress (resulting in me winning the Macclesfield Wheelers 10 mile TT handicap trophy in 2011.)
However following my broken back/shoulder in 2011, in 2012 I was lost again. In 2013 I started doing a bit on the track and a couple of club time trials but I was very poor. I was going nowhere.
It took me until February 2014 to ‘remember’ about Garry’s services. So I booked in for a cycling test.
The results were equally shocking yet expected. I had absolutely ZERO endurance. None. Somehow my body seemed to have no aerobic capacity whatsoever. I started burning glycogen almost as soon as I started turning the pedals with virtually no fat burning going on at all. Soon after that I was getting in oxygen debt.
We had a good chat about my goals, I was interested in Time Trialling and racing on the track. Garry pointed out that the two disciplines weren’t particularly compatible but I was determined to get somewhere.
Armed with a training plan and my new training zones I began…
The aim was a mix of aerobic base building (Classed by Garry as Level 2 in line with British Cycling Heart Rate guidelines, but scientifically, accurately, derived by Garry from my aerobic capacity test) with some sub threshold work (Level 3 British Cycling, based on my ramp test.)
If I used traditional methods of calculating my ‘Zone/Level 2’ from maximum heart rate or from a typical ‘threshold test’ it was way out. Far too high. I was far too rubbish. I was a donkey.
During my Level 2 rides I felt like a complete beginner, I was so slow. However I made sure I stuck to my zones. My average speed on local rides was around 14-14.5mph. My level 3 rides were equally slow – for those that don’t mind getting bored by power levels, they were intervals varying between 5-12 minutes at around 220-230watts.
Keeping my ego in check I coped with being overtaken by all and sundry whilst out on the bike with the mantra in my head (in Garry’s voice) ‘it is what it is’ playing on permanent loop.
Over a couple of months I noticed my speed was creeping higher. As was my power during the Level 3 sessions.
I got myself a TT bike from ebay built on the cheap. I was utterly dreadful but experienced told me to get a fit by Adrian Timmis at http://www.cadencesport.co.uk. Much better but limited still by the frame, the saddle angle was too slack for a TT bike but Adrian made the best of a bad job.
The time trial and track seasons started and I was doing OK. I started with the club 10s on the local Macclesfield to Congleton course and got my times down to the mid 23 minute region. I did my first ’25’ and ’50’opens and was quite pleased. I managed a 1:03 something in the 25 and 2:12 something in the 50.
On the track, when I could get there, things were going a bit better with a 2nd place finish in a scratch race and I was getting more and more comfortable in the bunch after my initial wariness from my broken back inducing crash. However the logistics of getting to the track around the shiftwork of the wife and I and childcare were taking it’s toll. I had to knock it on the head.
I sold the track bike in the autumn to get a new TT bike. I took the trip over to Planet X and got myself an Exocet 2 frame and built it up. Off to Adrian Timmis at Cadence sport again and it was much better, although the frame was too small I got a good fit on it.
An autumn test with Garry resulted in a long chat about realistic goals. He didn’t tell me directly what he thought I should be aiming for but like any good coach, through his questioning he led me to making my own decision on concentrating on the Time Trialling.
Into the new year the training continued in a similar vein but I was getting so much faster, able to ride fasted for much longer at Level 2 (my heart rate at this point had increased substantially too, I was much more efficient). My power at Level 3 intervals was substantially higher than 12 months earlier too. I was doing my Level 2 rides at 19-20mph on the road bike.
I retested again with Garry in the spring of 2015 and the results were clear.
I had entered a few open time trial events with one big aim of getting under 2 hours in the Beacon Little mountain Time Trial. My favourite event. I’d done this event a few times before with mixed success, I love the course but I had crashed there in 2011, didn’t enter in 2012 and in 2013 did not finish (due to my dreadful aerobic fitness resulting in crippling cramp).
I was pleased with how I was doing, come the Beacon LMTT I just missed out on my goal of sub 2hrs but came 5th in the ‘biggest improvement to PB’ prize.
I knew things were going well in 2015 when I beat my PB on the local Macclesfield Wheelers Gawsworth course from before I broke my back with a 22:44. I got under the hour for the first time on the local 25 Time Trial (J2/9 for you geeks) course in the Stretford wheelers open with a 59:17 which was such an amazing feeling. I also knocked 6 minutes off my 50 time on the same course as last year. I was feeling great.
I also did a couple of ‘fast’ events, recording a big 25 PB of 55:42 and 10 PB of 20:58.
But. By the end of the season I was getting bored of it. The training for time trials was very monotonous (if effective) and I was just chasing times. Even the racing was a little dull. I needed something new.
In the autumn it was time to sit down with Garry again.
This is where it was all change…
Pt 2 and 2016 coming soon.