Our riders are based all over the country so whilst these training sessions are vital to the development of the team, as a coach I have to be cognisant that people are coming from as far away as Glasgow, Hampshire and Northern Ireland at their own costs. This puts added impetus on me to make sure they get genuinely useful learning outcomes from their investment of time and money in their development as racing cyclists.
Saturday at Aldersley stadium in Wolverhampton dawned a bit grey but thankfully dry and frost free. There are some experienced track riders on the team, so along with our expert riders for the day (take a bow John Ireson and Mick Perry) they were quickly ‘above the blue’ and getting some air into their lungs. We had a couple of new riders in Simon and Will, experienced enough on road bikes but new to the delights of fixed wheel track riding, so I got them up, going and remembering to keep pedalling… !
It didn’t take them more than a few laps on the running track before I was confident enough in their ability to get them up on the banking. It’s a testament to them as riders that by the end of the session they were at race pace in a four man team pursuit along with John and Mick.
It was a different experience for the girls. Mel Slaney was bristling with energy and zipping round the track on her brand new matt black Dolan Forza with a rather frustrated and snotty Ottilie Quince watching proceedings from the side lines whilst sensibly trying to shake off the last vestiges of a cold.
The Jolliffe brothers, Chris and Bob are always good value and the ‘Jolliffe off’ is becoming something of a tradition with them trying to best each other mentally, physically and verbally during matched paired sprinting. You get the feeling they’ve been doing this for the last 50 years or so…
Sunday at Stourport was a beautifully day. One of those bright spring mornings when it feels really good to be alive. We were fortunate to be joined again by John Ireson together with Steve Elcocks of Revolutions Racing and my lad, Charlie, all of whom acted again as expert riders for the day.
I love doing coach led racing. It gives the riders a chance to practice techniques over and over again so, when they find themselves in a race situation they are better able to execute moves that will help them win. We looked two scenarios that are common at the European and World Transplant Games, dealing with 2 on 1 situations and finishing off a race from a small group of riders.
It’s pretty intense stuff. Most of it is run at or close to race pace with riders make or responding to multiple breaks and sprinting to the finish line.
A good weekend was had by all, some good laughs and a lot of learning.
It’s easy to forget these guys are transplant recipients. First and foremost, they are racing cyclists who want to be quick and skilful on a bike so they can, you know, win stuff. I’ve said it before but coaching these riders is a real privilege and I get a huge amount of satisfaction out of it. In fact, I need to do a lot more of it…
Dave Perry was kind enough to come along on Saturday and take some frankly excellent pictures which you can see here
I’d like to thank the riders who helped us on the two days and Mamil Cycling for picking up a few of the costs. Cheers guys.