George presented to me in September 2014 as a youthful 68kg 19 year old with only three years of riding experience, and one season of amateur competition. Working full-time, 5 sometimes 6 days a week in cycling retail as a force majeure of cycling knowledge, George required focused training to steer him towards his personal aspirations of cycling nirvana and investigate the opportunity for his potential at more serious competition.
Upon initial assessment Georges lactate threshold (sustainable proportion of aerobic capacity) was not low at 279Watts (4.2Watts/Kg), but his overall power/lactate/ heart-rate profile was not conducive of optimal economy, efficiency or maximal aerobic capacity necessary to be appropriately competitive within regional races and placing well. His critical power was far from ideal without a powerful sprint and low anaerobic capacity required for attacks, bridging and short hill work but also to support a high lactate threshold power. We set about improving necessary performance parameters with the main objective to time performance as to capitalise on race experience, form and ultimately accrue necessary points on his license.
Winter 2014/15 involved a large amount of strength conditioning with tailored exercises, reps and sets during a concurrent endurance programme mainly in the form of interval sessions to accommodate a busy and tiring work routine so that George could enter the season with a solid base of general and specific foundation, to build on during the summer. His Lactate threshold increased to 300Watts by early spring 2015 and his critical power profile and anaerobic capacity was increasing rapidly and he started to develop a very good sprint (1000Watts average for 6 seconds). With little race craft experience to use his new performance, George’ learning curve was steady and secured his first win towards the end of the summer. His season was concluded sooner than necessary to enter the 2015/16 winter in a stronger position and build upon performance gains even more, in time for early spring races. This period consisted of sessions prescribed to address physiological limitations, specific weaknesses and to develop an early season peak performance to take advantage of available points. This low volume period was also a prime opportunity to correct a significant left leg imbalance and pelvic tilt through physiotherapy and muscle mobilisation and a chance to improve muscle compliance and blood flow which allows for long term development of performance gains. Georges lactate threshold tested at 320Watts (4.61W/kg) at 70kg by the end of 2015, close to that of a typical domestic elite racer.
Specific conditioning followed a structured and coached 2 week training camp before entering a series of tough criteriums and road races which gave him the win at his first race of the year. George continued racing during March to May, stealing another easy win and good positions to finish just a few points short of 2nd category to conclude the first peak of the season. George will enter another preparatory period to target races in June and July, and continue his successful winning streak, spring-boarding him to a Category 2 racer within two seasons of coaching. His power profile shown on Training Peaks suggests George has the potential of an elite racer, with a possibility of becoming a domestic professional within a short time frame if his racing acumen comes together at the right time. Update: George is considering the opportunity to race the remainder of the summer in Belgium, experience some brutal racing and work on his weaknesses, this should also help to propel him towards the goal of joining an Italian U23 team for 2017.