The cycling team I coach had cleaned up in the World Games in South Africa this year creating 9 new world champions and winning 19 medals with a team of seven men and six women. It made the riders part of one of most successful British cycling teams ever in international competition. Fantastic stuff, but it makes progression a sticky subject. I mean, how do we top that?
To put it simply, my problem was that taking nothing away from the amazing performance of double bronze medal winner Simon Ripley, we were short of young men aged between 18-40 to ensure the continued development of the team. Furthermore, I needed these guys to have been ill. Properly ill, like death’s door ill.
In the most peculiar of ways, my luck was in. It was truly heart rending to hear stories of young athletes with dreams of competing at 2012 Olympic dashed by illness but equally inspiring to hear stories of amazing recoveries aided by skilled medics, powerful drugs and the altruism of heroic but often unnamed and unknown donors.
October saw the first coming together of the GBTx cycling team since returning from the World Transplant Games in Durban and was heralded as a ‘Winter Masterclass’. It was an attempt to induct the new riders to the joys of winter training and re-base the programs of the current team for domestic competition next season. There was much talk of ‘volume’, club runs, zone 2/3, rollers, turbo trainers and the like.
I honestly didn’t think this team could get any better but it just has. We now have hard working riders across all the age categories for the Transplant Games who will be honing their skills in a domestic time trial, circuit race or track event somewhere near you whilst we are prepare for our next events, the European Games in Poland and the British Transplant Games in August 2014.