I have been a successful cycle coach for more than 20 years, including several years as a GB Cycling Team National Coach. I pioneered in the use of IT for coaching remotely and the quantification of workload, utilising heart rate and power data, for long-term monitoring. I am also one of the UK’s most experienced coaches in the use of power measurement for training and analysis.
I have worked successfully with World and National Champions, professionals and many riders at club and local level. These include men, women, juniors, masters and athletes with a disability.
My interest in coaching started in the late 1980’s when I heard a sports scientist, Roger Palfreeman (the ex-GB Cycling Team doctor), talking to a group at a BCF Centre of Excellence meeting. It was the first time that I understood the underlying mechanisms of improvement in athletic performance. From then, by various means, I learned much about coaching, exercise physiology, nutrition and sports medicine. I coached individuals and groups of athletes and gave talks to clubs and coaching groups.
In 1994, as BCF Regional Coaching Co-ordinator and in collaboration with the Sports Development Unit of Leeds City Council, I established a cycling coaching unit which was well ahead of its time and, I believe, an early model for the GB Cycling Team. The unit was athlete centred and coach driven and I was able to recruit the assistance and involvement of an exercise physiologist, sports doctor and physiotherapists. All athletes underwent regular physiological testing using a Kingcycle ergometer, and other laboratory methods, which presented an opportunity for ‘scientific’ reinforcement of advice on conditioning. The doctor provided general sports medicine support as well as referral to a variety of specialists. We identified a range of blood tests that were carried out to monitor athletes’ state of well being or to identify specific problems. The professional rider, Charly Wegelius, is a product of this unit.
In the years I worked for the GB Cycling Team I coached a wide variety of elite senior riders; male and female, road and track, able-bodied and riders with a disability. The achievements of the riders will illustrate the effectiveness of that work.
I have made extensive use of power meters for routine use and in performance analysis on road and track. In collaboration with Peter Keen, then Performance Director of the GB Cycling Team, I piloted methods of data analysis to quantify and monitor workload.